Thursday, April 28, 2011

Everything I know About Marketing, I learned From Tina Turner

“What’s love got to do with it?” asked Tina Turner in the sixties. 

Today, they’re still asking the same old question and I’m sure it’s a question we’ll be asking for generations to come. “What’s love, but a second hand emotion,” is the answer.

Ahh, emotion. What would the world be without it? How can you distill that emotion, bottle it up and cork it tightly? And when you’re ready to play, pop the cork, and unleash the genie inside. But what really are the bottle’s magical contents? What exactly evokes all those emotions? What inspires people to stop, watch and listen to your book trailer? More importantly, what motivates them to click and buy? Meaningful stories, filled with conflict. 

Problems, problems, problems. In real life, we try to avoid problems at all costs, but in literature, problems, better known as conflicts, are front and center stage at all times. Without conflict, there are no meaningful stories to tell. But how much should you tell? How much of the story do you give away in your book trailer?

The case for making long book trailers revolves around this idea, “The more you tell, the more you sell" mentalityBased on a tried and true advertising model, particularly ideal in the seventies and eighties, but not as relevant or as effective today, at least not on the internet.  Remember, the internet is quite unlike print publications. The internet is limitless and forever growing and expanding like some kind of universe―super fast and far-reaching. It demands speed even as it instills a speedy, almost anxious mindset on its users. Click, scan, click, from here to infinity.

This is not your Daddy's Internet:
The days of slow modems are long gone. Today, most people have high-speed fiber optic connections that are always on and lightning fast. Page loading times are virtually no longer an issue. When you click on a link, there it is, in a flash. For the most part, as long as your computer isn’t bogged down by registry errors, bloated browser caches or software-developer’s anti-virus, viruses, (hint, clue, wink) your pages load almost instantly.

Readers see the internet as a prime source of an immediate, speedy way of getting relevant information. Today’s readers and web surfers (largely, a younger generation) search for and consume huge amounts of digital information, seemingly as fast as it loads, and just as fast, they move on to something else.

This sense of immediacy and instant gratification has bred a whole new generation of web surfers that not only rely on high-speed internet access , but they thrive on its ability to deliver information faster than they can process it. In turn, that prompts them to stop only when something is meaningful enough to get their attention. And that means attention spans are cut drastically, to mere seconds per page sometimes. 

With billions of pages at their fingertips, it’s no wonder users are so finicky about what they read. So the obvious question is: What stops readers dead in their tracks? What keeps them riveted and glued to a particular page?

What's the Answer?
The answer is simple: An emotional connection. A speed bump on the lightning fast information super highway. Period. End of story. There’s no other reason because emotion is the only reason. What kind of emotion? How about curiosity? What about fear, anger, or longing? Do you think the search for love can stop a person dead in their tracks? Love of what? Love of a particular thing, a certain subject matter, a kind of personality or a particular image that speaks volumes to them. Anything that tells a meaningful story, in a flash.

Ever since the beginning of time, human beings have been searching for happiness through love and relationships, through friendships, through an understanding of something else. Anything that promises or suggests meaning. People are forever curious and searching for happiness or anything that even looks like the semblance of a good time. Something that really matters to them.

"Good ole emotion, folks. Take it or leave it,  it’s here to stay—forever and ever."

So what does emotion have to do with book teasers? Everything, of course. Problem is, most people don’t realize that emotion makes the world go round and round, and even more people don’t know how to define or present an emotional story on video. Wow. Houston, we definitely have a problem.

Luckily, I know a little about emotion. After all, I died once for 45 minutes, and then I died again when I got divorced after 13 years of an impossible marriage. (Yes, that’s precisely when I regretted not dying for an eternity the first time.) But that’s just the tip of the emotional iceberg, folks. Can you feel my pain? “Right, we’ve got it,” they said.

Forget you!
But what about book teasers? What’s up with that? Why is 30 seconds so much better than a long, 2 minute trailer? You’re right about one thing. Thirty seconds is not long enough. Whaat?

That’s the whole point, my friend. If a short 30 second book teaser doesn’t show enough, that means the viewer is left wanting more, and that’s exactly what you want. Long trailers tell way too much of the story and leave very little to the imagination, draining the story of its very essence―its mystery. If you seemingly tell everything, then there’s no reason for the viewer to search for more. You’ve given away too much, and possibly the best parts of your story.

That’s where the 30 second teaser works its magic. A very short story that engages the viewer in a meaningful way, but piques their curiosity to the point where they must click to find out more about the book and how your story ends.

Piece of cake, folks. All you have to do is find the emotional thread that drives your story. But that’s only half the job. You’ll then have to write the emotional words, find the right images and the heartfelt soundtrack, and then put that all together into an intense 30 second video presentation. Nothing to it.

The Hard Truth:
It’s a lot like watching someone play Mozart on piano. Looks like nothing more than someone hitting a bunch of keys, big deal. Seemingly, anyone can do it. You have two hands and two feet, what more do you need? Right.

Listen, if you want a powerful book teaser that represents you and your books in a meaningful way, I can play the piano. Heck, I can especially play some Tina Turner. So, if you have something in mind for your first or your next book trailer, run the concept by me and I’ll be happy to take a look at it and offer you suggestions on how to make it even better. No strings; just solid advice on how to make your book trailer more than just catchy music―but an effective marketing and sales tool instead.

Email me today with any questions and if you missed any part of my 3-part Book Trailer Tutorial, check it out here from the beginning. It’s filled with eye-opening stuff you can use to design your next book trailer that will save you time, money, and plenty of headaches.

Learn more here:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book Trailer Tutorial Part III

Part Three:

If you just saw the Duma Key Teaser, you know how effective it is―all 32 seconds of it. 

Here's the article:

It’s all in the writing concept, the imagery and the music. In essence, the very short, short story, told with a twist that highlights the hook. They’ve left nothing to chance and made every second count. This is your goal, even if your book teaser turns out a little longer, the important thing is that you play up your hook but keep it as short as possible.

Notice the opening and the tag line in this teaser.

Opening: “Need to escape?”

End Tag: “Return trip, not guaranteed.”

This is more than just a clever play on words.  It’s powerful sales copy, designed to prompt you to take action. The reason you’ll click on this teaser link is because you need to find out more about this story. Remember the old saying? “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back.”

How true that is, and more so in your marketing. Now here are the big secrets why you want to keep your book teaser so short.

1.     Brevity leaves your reader wanting more: By highlighting only the key points to your story and playing up your hook, readers have no choice but to seek more information, so they click for more.

2.     Brevity leaves a lot questions about your story, unanswered: Leaving holes in your presentation builds curiosity. This is priceless because no one can resist curiosity, so that propels readers to click for answers.

3.     Brevity creates a sense of incompletion, which in turn, motivates readers to click in search for a resolution: This is the best reason of all to keep your teaser short. With limited information, just enough to build curiosity, readers have no choice but to click because they need closure. You’ve created an open loop and readers need to tie all the loose ends together, so they click.

As you can see, there’s a lot of clicking going on here. When you work off a strong story concept, an unusual angle, a unique hook, you engage readers at a deep emotional level. You draw them in and the only way out is for them to click and find out how your story might end, at least in their own mind.

Should all book trailers be short teasers like this? Of course not, but the key here is brevity. Be succinct and don't linger. Get to the point as quickly as you can, without giving away too much. Build suspense and curiosity by focusing on your hook, until readers have no choice but to click for the rest.

Great, clicking is good. Your short book teaser has done its job. Clicking on your teaser link draws readers one step closer to buying your book. But what happens once they click? Where do readers, (potential buyers) go? Do they reach the outer limits of the unknown universe, or do they land somewhere important, like landing on your book planet?

Closing the sale is the subject of my next Post. Where and how do you close the sale? They’re called Landing Pages, and I’ll cover everything you need to know, how to design and put your Landing Page to work for you. In short, your Landing Page must convert interested shoppers into paying customers.

Find out how in my next Post:
Landing Pages 101 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Trailers: More Than Just Promotional Tools

We already know that an effective book trailer can help you promote and sell your books. After all, it is first and foremost, a sales tool. Effective book trailers motivate readers to click and buy your book--that's the point. But aside from helping you promote your books 24/7, they also help give your books a unique voice by bringing them to life with the right soundtrack and special sound effects that help set the tone and mood of your particular book.

That's important because all readers know about your new book is what they can see--the title, its cover, the review blurbs. But the essence of your book. It's real voice is unheard until interested readers click the play button and hear that special piece of music or that spine-tingling drone that quickly instills fear and suspense. Now they really know what to expect.

Just like a movie teaser, your book's voice can set a specific mood and define what your story is all about. Get the sound wrong and it's all over in a flash. Instinctively, people know when you've got the right soundtrack because the music will draw attention to your story and engage them instantly with what's about to happen, and not focus on the music for the sake of beautiful sound.

The right soundtrack must be undetectable as mere sound and should play just beneath the imagery at a subconscious level under the text or any voice-overs. Ideally, text should also be kept at a minimum and voice-overs should be short and never state the obvious.

With a good ear and plenty of luck finding the best sound, plus using appropriate sound effects, when readers click, your book teaser should speak volumes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Book Trailer Tutorial Part II

Last week I laid down a short spiel about the purpose of a book teaser and how to set one up effectively to perform like a perpetual marketing machine.

Today we’re going to talk about your all-important hook. Let me say this up front. If your book lacks a strong hook, you’re dead in the water already. Without a hook, a catch, a story question which propels the reader to seek answers out of curiosity, your story has little chance for commercial success. That’s the cold, hard truth, but a necessary component in all marketing and sales materials, regardless of the marketing media.

So, what’s a hook? It sounds like a self-explanatory word, and it is, but there’s more to it. A hook is more than just something you include or slug into your first chapter for a cool effect. It’s more than just a lure to attract readers. Your hook must be an inherent part of your premise and not just a clever occurrence that fades away into obscurity after the first chapter ends.

Having said that, many writers can open and get away with banal happenings but guess what? If by the end of your story your opening set-up doesn’t pay off in a big way, it will be a big disappointment to your readers. It certainly creates ill-will that won’t lead to positive word-of-mouth and repeat sales, which is what a superb hook will do for you. If you think your hook is weak, I suggest bolstering it and anchoring your premise to something more substantial so you can reap the rewards by the end of your story, plus a strong hook will instantly strengthen all your marketing.

Your hook should propel the story question and intrigue readers, leaving them wanting more. It’s the “what if” factor. For example: A scientist searching for a cancer cure is an ordinary story since many scientists are doing the same thing. But a story about a scientist who harvests aborted fetuses from unsuspecting cancer patients, that’s a unique hook. With that hook, that unusual and controversial angle, this is more than a story about a cure for cancer. It becomes a story with moral and ethical issues at its center.

I wish I could elaborate, but that’s an entirely different topic. I only bring it up because a strong hook is an essential component for writing your teaser concept. There’s simply no substitute. Okay, let’s assume you do have a killer hook, and I’m sure you do. You must use the hook for all its worth.

Just imagine what “The Hangover” story would be if their drinks hadn’t been spiked with Rufies? That’s the hook, hence, the story’s title. It might be an old Rufie joke, but they’ve elevated it to new heights by showing their moments of Rufie amnesia in flashbacks and surveillance camera playbacks. A brilliant concept that goes a long way.

The point is, your story must have a unique angle that you can play up. A hook that dramatically sets it apart from similar stories. It’s that kind of hook that publishers, editors and agents are looking for. Without it, your story will lack a flashpoint that helps set it off.

Everything hinges around the hook in your story. It’s the heart and soul of your story. It’s not only a major selling point, it’s an essential component―an important cog in the wheels of your marketing machine. You must use your hook to develop the concept in all your marketing materials, especially in your book teaser. Once you figure out how to play up your hook in 90 seconds or less, then you’re onto something. Let’s use our mad scientist as an example on how to develop your book teaser.

The hook is this: Mad scientist harvests sickly fetuses searching for cancer cure. Can you see the irony in this story? The scientist must sacrifice lives in order to save lives. Let’s mine for a story question to use in the opening of our teaser.

If we start by revealing the scientists shocking methods, we’ll give away all the suspense up front. Not what you want since building suspense is what we’re after. The way to build suspense and shock readers is to reveal his use of fetuses at the very end where it’s not expected.

So, lets begin by showing the scientist’s good intentions, his dedication and research to find a cure for cancer. The positive side of the story. “Dr. Blankenstein has a dream.” “To rid the world of deadly cancer.”  “But first, he must rid the world of angels.”

Okay, I know this is a far-fetched premise but the hook is there. Cancer patients in remission unknowingly donate their healthy fetuses to benefit scientific research. First we show all the good and proper research Dr. Blankenstein conducts in the public eye. Then about half way through (15 seconds, the music turns ominous and we expose Dr. Blankenstein’s dark side.

It’s all about misdirection. The teaser model is simple. We open with something positive but end with something evil and sinister. Check out Stephen King’s teaser for Duma Key, plus my play-by-play analysis of this masterful 32 second teaser.

Watch this teaser and see how it makes you feel. Notice how calmly it opens and then slowly escalates into the unthinkable. This is the effect you’re after if you’ve written a suspenseful thriller.

Bottom line is this: Search for something meaningful in your story. A strong hook, a unique angle,  and focus on that particular feeling to kick-start your teaser. Just as your book opens with a tease, so must your teaser. You must open your teaser with a question, but not just any question, your question must be filled with curiosity that speaks to the reader in a meaningful way, an emotional way.

Remember, emotion and story concepts are always at the center of all your marketing. Without these two vital components, your marketing will flatline and die before it even has a chance to breathe.

Don't miss Part III and the exciting conclusion to this mini Book Teaser Tutorial, next week, right here. Hope to see you then. Meanwhile, rethink your hook and build it up until you get it to a point where it's pure marketing gold.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Orphan Book Rescue Society

It's a crying shame, but there it was. That poor book stood proud among the other rejects and misfit books in the Dollar Store bargain bin. It had a magnificent cover, an intriguing title, and a great story concept. What's wrong with this book, I wondered?

I turned to the back cover and read all the glowing reviews, opened to the back flap and saw the Random House logo in all its glory, along with the author's photo and short bio. Everything was certainly in place and the book was in pristine condition. No remainder marks, no stains, no dents, no curves, a straight spine. It was a brand new hardcover book in perfect condition.

I flipped to the first chapter and began reading. Sounds like a good story, a strong opening, filled with intrigue. Nice first chapter cliffhanger. Gotta have it. WTF! Why is this book in the bargain bin? Beats me. I've never heard of it though, or its author. What gives?

Then it hit me. As an author, peddling my own literary mystery novel, is this what I have to look forward to? Uh, yeah. Why should I expect my story to do any better, especially these days? Can things possibly get any worse than for a great book to wind up in the bargain bin of a Dollar Store? I thought the Dollar Store was already a bargain.

Hey, it's not all that bad though. The books weren't tossed about like yesterday's trash. They were neatly stacked and displayed with a good measure of dignity. They just looked like lonely orphans waiting for someone to rescue them. They seemed helpless. I rescued all 37 of them and took them home where they stand tall in my library. I'll keep my favorites and give the others away as gifts.

Come to think of it, some day I hope to reach this level of success in today's publishing world. The Dollar Store dollar bin. Heck, might even be a step above self-publishing.

You see, I knew there was a bright side, after all.

But, the real question is. What's an "emerging author" like me doing at the Dollar Store anyway? Oh, I get it. I'm not the next James Patterson. Right.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Book Trailer Tutorials: How To Improve Your Teaser

The following is a three-part book trailer tutorial. Here's what you'll learn:

  • You'll learn what the most important element in your book teaser is and how to make it work for you. 
  • The number one reason book trailers fail to sell books.
  • How to build an exciting book trailer readers will love.

PART ONE: What Makes Book Teasers Tick?

Book Teasers are like perpetual marketing machines. Set ‘em up and let them work their magic. But, to understand how this kind of marketing really works, we have to see our marketing machine in slow motion and study all its moving parts, one by one. Let's take our machine apart and get familiar with everything that makes it move. We'll then rebuild it, stronger, faster, and design it to work effectively, persuasively.

If one picture is worth a thousand words, than many pictures are sure to be worth much more. But there's a big difference between one picture and a motion picture. Yet, each has to tell a story, which means that your book teaser must focus and center around one concept, just like a movie, except that it’s more than a movie. It’s a visual presentation wrapped around a sales message. Sorry to break the news to you, but yes, book teasers are not just eye candy. They should be appealing but you must also design them to sell, and that means you must design them to function as effective sales tools.

Your message must be short, powerful, and persuasive. Your teaser is not an epic movie or a novel. In fact, it's a very short story. Ideally, about 30 seconds short, to be exact, and certainly no longer than 90 seconds. Why so short? Two main reasons: One is because of people's short attention spans, especially on the internet where readers click at the speed of light. People are in a hurry. They're busy. They have much to read and see during their limited time surfing the web. There’s just too much to get to. Every second counts. Every moment is limited by a myriad of interruptions outside the world wide web. So you have to hit ‘em and hit ‘em hard. No mercy, and by that I mean, your message must be on point, like a laser.

Secondly, and unlike sales copy, the less you tell, or say, the more readers will want to know, as long as it's relevant. That's what teasers do, they tease the reader's imagination and leave them wanting more. That wanting curiosity is what leads readers to keep on clicking. You must instill an urge to find out more about your book, but that happens only if you've raised a question they want answered. That question, or series of questions you've planted in the readers mind with a series of photos, words, and audio must be backed with the right soundtrack and sound effects too. That's a heck of a lot to accomplish in 30 seconds flat. Let's break it down.

"Your sales message must 
be subtle and unobtrusive."

You’re probably thinking, “sales tool?” or “sales pitch?” That’s tacky and so transparent. Surely you don’t want me to say something that sounds like an advertisement. Absolutely not. That’s the whole point. When you watch a movie, the director doesn’t want you to think about the movie-making process. The director wants to involve you in their carefully written story. They want you to take the journey, not just with the protagonist, but the director’s goal is to get you to become the star, or inhabit the protagonist’s mindset.

They want to wrap you inside their story bubble, the protagonist’s world, his or her wants, needs, desires, and dreams. Wow, now we’re talking. When you walk out of a movie theater and hit the streets after inhabiting someone else’s world for 120 minutes or more, you might feel a bit foolish and realize it’s all been a “clever ruse” on the director’s part. He had you hooked for almost 2 hours. Not only were you entertained, but you’ve been sold something other than a movie ticket. You’ve been sold a location, a city or a country, a way of life, the products used by the actors, and so on.

Hey, this is commerce folks. Everything’s for sale, including your books. Your sales message must be subtle and unobtrusive. It cannot be an obvious sales pitch. If we take a clue from our movie analogy, aside from a few cleverly presented product placements, nobody screamed a sales pitch at you. What the director did, ever so slyly, was to stir your emotions in such a way that you might respond to the movie in a positive way.

"If you remember nothing else 
about marketing, remember this: 
Sales is all about 
emotional responses and nothing else."

The difference between a movie and your book teaser is that nobody expects you to run out of the theater and buy something you saw in the movie. But that’s exactly what the purpose of your teaser is. It’s not a mini movie. Your book teaser needs to sell your book, or at least get readers to think about buying it, and there’s only one way to accomplish that.

Just like a movie trailer, your teaser must grab the viewer’s attention with something entertaining, interesting, or curious, and then, it must persuade them to buy. Not a movie ticket, but your book. That decision to purchase comes only when you’ve moved your viewers on an emotional level, in their gut.

Come on, on top of everything else, an emotional investment in 30 seconds? What’s next? Good question, and as far as your teaser goes, a moving presentation is all you need. That’s a mouthful. Here’s how to get it:

If you remember nothing else about marketing, remember this: Sales is all about emotional responses and nothing else. No emotion means no response and no sale. Sound simple enough, but it’s not so simple to execute. Here’s what you need to know.

Evoking an emotional response from your reader means that you must trigger a desire in their mind. Without getting too heady on the psychology of buying, we all have needs, wants and desires. Feeding ourselves is a need. Craving a hamburger is a want. The search for happiness is a desire. Not only is the search for happiness a desire, it is the ultimate human desire. It’s the one desire human beings are constantly searching for and funny thing is, just when we think we’ve found it, something or someone comes along and bursts our happiness bubble, or maybe our perceived happiness fades, and we’re back to square one, searching for that elusive moment, all over again.

"The endless search for happiness 
is the reason we buy stuff..."

The endless search for happiness is the reason we buy stuff and try to acquire whatever we think will bring us all this elusive happiness. Our quest is endless, and as part of the scheme of things, your book can be part of that quest.

People try to fulfill their desire for happiness in many ways. Through love, acceptance, friendship, favorite foods, fine wine, vacations, products of all kinds, like fast cars, fancy houses, flat screen TV’s, computers, books, maybe even your book. Wow, that’s a long way around just to get to your book, isn’t it?

Well, yes and no, because considering how important emotional responses are to your marketing, all or nothing, in fact, it’s certainly worth mentioning. Okay, now that you realize how important people’s emotions factors into our perpetual marketing machine, next week we’re going to get to the business of evoking those feelings so that we can trigger those emotional hot buttons and persuade readers to click and buy your book.

Come back for Part Two of this exciting tutorial next Monday.
Here’s what we’ll cover:

1.     Find the hook: We all know what a hook is and what it does, right? Well, I’m going to demystify that term and break it down so you get what it really means.

2.     Translate words and images into meaningful concepts: Putting together a video presentation that conveys your sales message is easier said than done. We’ll cover everything you need to know.

3.     How long should your book teaser really be? I’m going to lay this one to rest once and for all. I’ll cover all the reasons for both short and longer trailers and which format is best for your trailer and why.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Get Your Free Book Trailer Analysis Today

Analysis? Hell, I'm not sure if that's even spelled right. Whatever. You know what I mean. You've spent hours, no, no, weeks working on your book trailer and after all that blood, sweat, and tears, you're not sure if the damn thing is any good. By that I mean: 

Will it really help you to promote and sell your books? Who's to say?

Uh, me? Yes, of course. Who'd you expect, the Count of Montecristo? (Bad reference, I've never even seen that movie.) Never mind. Just point me to the link where I can see your masterpiece so I can have a few laughs. Not at your work, I mean at your concept. It is funny isn't it? (Yes, there's a hint of sarcasm in there somewhere.)

Listen, life's too damn short, baby needs a new pair of booties, and my pig heart valve is about to rupture. Why reinvent the wheel? You've got books to promote don't you? I thought so. Problem is, your marketing materials suck. There it is, I said it. Big deal, you know it's true. You were not born with 25 years of marketing experience and a foul mouth like I was. (Thank you, mother.) Hmm, come to think of it, neither was I. But somehow I got that way.

Okay, enough of that. Let's get to it before my meds wear off and I come to my senses. Where was I? Ahh, your book trailer. Of course. You've come up with a great concept, problem is, it's off the mark. Not quite what you expected, and you know it hasn't done a thing to promote your new book. Why?

Because it lacks emotion.

Emotion? Yeah, that's what has you riled up right about now, wondering who the hell I am and why you're still reading this crap. But rest assured, I've not escaped from the local psycho ward (again) I'm just a marketing cuckoo bird that loves a good challenge. Go ahead, send me your book trailer link and if I can't improve it in any way, I'll send you one million dollars.

You get the idea. No, there's no million dollar prize, (really?) but you can find out if I can help or not. Let me put it this way: If I can't improve your book teaser concept, I'll shut down this annoying blog once and for all. (Wow, just the thought of that sends tingles up my spine. Caribbean breezes, Mojitos, bikini clad Spanish mamitas, hmm, I just might throw the next one.)

This is a good time to email me. I'm busy, but not too busy to take a break and see what you've got.

(I promise to only laugh on the inside.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Trailers and Teasers - What's The Secret?

Here are two new Book Teasers that I just finished. One is for Vincent Zandri's "GODCHILD", the other is "Promised Valley Rebellion", a historical novel by Ron Fritsch.

You'll notice the difference in length for these teasers. Godchild is just over 60 seconds, while Rebellion is 90 seconds. Let me say that it's difficult to keep teasers like these so short at 30 seconds. Sometimes, 30 seconds is just not enough time. Everything depends on how much information you need to put out.

Historicals, in particular must run longer, especially if the soundtrack is slower. It takes more time to tell that way since everything seemingly runs in slow motion. Again, 90 seconds should be your longest for any genre. I've gone over on occasion, but only because I've managed to keep readers interested long enough.

My goal is either 30, 60 or 90 seconds, depending on the genre and soundtrack tempo. I think these new teasers work to keep readers hooked to the end of the presentation and ultimately, motivates them enough to keep clicking for more information that will hopefully result in a sale.

The important thing is that your teaser does its job, and that is, to generate excitement for the book. Anything that happens or doesn't happen after readers click on the teaser link, is beyond your control, such as the landing page and the quality of its sales copy and its relevant content.

Getting your book teaser to the point where it does its job, meaning that readers will click on it for more information or follow the book's website link, is your goal. What happens after that is what I call, the doorstop effect.

The doorstop effect is my way of saying, "What readers do once they click the teaser links and buy your book is up to them, even if they use it as a doorstop. Your sales job is done, at least up to that point since the content of your book, especially if it's a non-fiction, must be loaded with plenty of sales copy if you want repeat sales. But that's another topic entirely, which I plan to delve into some other time.

The focus here is coming up with a great writing concept for your book teaser and inspiring people to click, click, click, and buy.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book Trailers and Teaser Concepts

Good Ideas are Only the Beginning

Marketing concepts are much more than just clever ideas. Your goal, by the end of your book teaser, is to inspire readers and motivate them to take further action, to buy your book, right now, not later. Later is too late because people not only have short attention spans, they have short-term memory, especially these days since consumers are bombarded with advertising, 360,  24/7. 
Although, that’s why advertisers repeat their ads so many times. People need to see them more than once. They need to process all the information until they understand what you’re communicating, and then they need to take action―they must react to your message. What is your message? Your message must be simple and direct. It must entertain, inform, compel, build curiosity, inspire, and motivate readers into wanting your wonderful product―your book.
Your book teaser must break through all the advertising clutter, and that doesn’t mean that you’ll need big, noisy explosions or fancy special effects. You need to trigger your reader’s emotions and reach them on an emotional level, pushing all the right buttons along the way, and believe me, there are many buying buttons you need to push.
But these buttons are not negative buttons. They are positive buttons, filled not with fear, but with hope, exciting news, and great expectations. What are you selling? A book, yes, but its contents serve a greater purpose. A meaningful statement about the world and how readers process their world through your story to enhance their lives. People don’t just collect books, they buy into the experience your book offers. It is that particular experience you must tap into, distill, and bottle up. It is that essence you must tease out and present in its most curious form, so that readers who come across your ad, your book teaser, are immediately taken by everything it has to offer. What does it offer?
Does it offer a rare insight into the mind of a serial killer? Does it offer a glimpse into the distant future, or someone’s dubious past? Does it arouse the reader’s curiosity and leave them wanting more? It should and it must, if you want your book teaser to succeed in generating sales for your book.
Speaking of serial killers, you hopefully saw and remember the movie, Silence of the Lambs. What a curious title, isn’t it? What do lambs have to do with a serial killer? On its surface, nothing, but dig deeper and you’ll find the hook to this incredible story, and how the serial killer uses that bit of information: detective Starling’s fear of slaughtered lambs on the farm where she grew up. It’s the killer’s ace in the hole to weaken her defenses.
Suddenly, this story has depth and meaning to readers. It’s not just another gory movie, it is a very unusual psychological thriller. This story works on many levels and has multiple layers of meaning. There’s a lot of gold for readers to mine here. That makes it fascinating to watch and unforgettable. Your book teaser must accomplish the same thing, but it must do so in seconds. Not so easy to do.
In order for you to tease out the hook in your story, and play it out in such a way that readers feel the need to find out more, or they’ll die of curiosity, you must act quickly. You must strike like a cobra and infuse your readers, not with venom, but with desire. The magical desire button. The desire to want something so bad, they will go through the process of learning more about it, and go through all the impulsive  steps in the shopping cart purchasing process.
The good news, desire is an easy emotion to evoke. All it takes is an intriguing and urgent presentation of any universal emotion, such as love, jealousy, apprehension, happiness, etc., and the triggers are pulled. These are the buttons you need to push at every turn.  And in turn, a reader’s desire to satisfy their wants, their curiosity, propels them to keep pushing more shopping cart buttons―all the way to the most important button of all, the PLACE YOUR ORDER Button.
Search your story high and low for its crux, a hook, its meaning, and capitalize on those emotional hot buttons by pushing all of them in 60 seconds or less. 
It’s a killer combination that can’t miss.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Here's a new Teaser I recently put together (upper right). Notice how short it is (under 40 seconds) and how it does just what a book teaser should do. It's a curious, jarring spot that leaves you with more questions than answers. That's what you're looking for. You want to wake people up and motivate them to click on your teaser (with an active hyperlink, of course) to find out more.

That being said, you don't have to scream as I've done here (I needed that) but it helps. What you need is to capture your readers attention with curious images and sound, right away, then persuade them with a unique message. BTW, I didn't spend weeks coming up with this concept. All I started with was the screaming part, which captures people's frustration with dull, ineffective book teasers (at least mine).

From there, it took on a monstrous life of it's own. Besides, Frankenstein's the monster that best describes me. We sure look alike anyway.

If this floats your boat, check out the other Frankenstein Amazon spot, way at the bottom.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Book Teasers Are Not All The Same. 5 Tips That Make a Difference:

Have you taken a look at all the new Book Trailer Production Companies out there? Go ahead, search the internet and check out all the big production companies and their book trailer offerings. I can't believe what I'm seeing. These trailers are laughable, and worst of all, they don't work. They won't do a thing to help sell your books. What a gyp!

Listen up folks, before you spend a ton of money and waste your valuable time on something that doesn't work, here's what you need to know:

1) Book Trailers are not Mini Movies:
You can't design a book trailer that runs for 2 or 3 minutes or longer. People's attention span is very short, so ideally you want to keep your trailer or teaser to 30 seconds or maybe up to a minute or so, but nothing longer. Although, if you can manage to keep things interesting, sometimes a minute and a half is okay.

The point is, however, the shorter, the better. The reasoning behind that, aside from short attention spans, is that a short 30 second teaser leaves the reader wanting more. And that's key because if they want more, the next logical thing, as long as you've piqued their curiosity, is that they'll click on the book teaser link to find out more about the book. If you've told too much in your teaser, they have no reason to continue searching.

2) It's All About The Concept:
Book teasers are advertisements, not journalism. You must come up with a curious concept and design that concept around questions instead of answers. You must keep readers guessing--wanting more. Don't give away the whole story.

3) Expensive, Flashy Production is Useless to Readers:
Over-the-top production means nothing. Readers are hungry for a moving story, an emotion. Why would you feed them fancy effects that don't serve the storyline? Chroma keys and vibrating titles are not sales tools.

4) Your Images Must Serve and Sell The Story:
Use images that sell, not tell your story. You've got to be a tough editor and remove anything that doesn't apply to the storyline concept--your hook. Stick to your concept and keep it short.

5) Your Ending Must be Dramatic:
Sure, it's only a 30 second teaser, but those last few seconds must drive everything home because that's what readers will remember. Build it up and end with something meaningful.

I'll be posting more tips and going into great detail about many other things you need to know about designing a successful Book Teaser that gets the job done. And that means, getting readers to click (because your book teaser hooked them) and buy your book.

I've posted articles on my other Blogspot (BookFreak: The ProseFreak Files about impulse buying. When it comes down to it, that's what you want to create--a book teaser that encourages impulse buying. Why make it impulsive? Check out my take on Impulse Purchases here. You'll be glad you did.

My next Post: How To Build a Killer Book Teaser Concept. Don't miss it!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Book Teasers Coming Soon

Hey folks, I've been busy lately with 3 new Book Teasers in the works. I'll be posting several of them by the end of this week. One is for a Historical Novel, the other is a Noir Detective novel, plus I've got a few more lined up. Working fast and efficiently as always. You'll want to come back and take a look at these new teasers. Generally, I can put a simple one together in a few days but I like to take my time to tweak and fine-tune everything for about a week, sometimes longer. It all depends on how complex it is.

By that I mean, if it involves voice-overs or film footage of some kind. Voice-overs are great but you have to know what your doing. Most authors tend to overwrite. For a good example of voice-over work, checkout the teaser I designed for James Hayman,"The Chill of Night" (Thriller). He'd sent me the script, he's also a copywriter, so I knew I could trust what he'd write, and it worked out nicely. I managed to get that feeling of suspense in the voice and the soundtrack certainly helped put it all together.

Another example of good voice-overs is my own DFB Teaser, of course. I love the female voice I used for that too. It takes a lot of time to tweak these voices. Can you tell they're computerized? Hard to believe, but they are. Hey, I'm putting a lot of actors out of work. Yeah, I doubt that.

While you're here, checkout the "Deed So" teaser, under Sentimental Novel. It's simple,but very effective and moving. I've got another one similar to it that I really enjoyed putting together. Posting it soon. A lot going on, I wish I could clone myself, but hey, one of me is enough. My ex-wife can attest to that.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Do Book Teasers Really Help Sell Your Books?

The short answer is YES and NO. Sure they work, when done right, and no they don't work, when they're poorly done. So what's "done right" and what's "poorly done"? Glad you asked because I have plenty to say about it.
Here's a fact of life: Selling is easy! You read that right. Selling is easy because people's desires and needs are built in. People will always want things; things they like, things they need, they even buy things they never use. We're all alike when it comes to wanting things. Most of us want a beautiful house or a fast car, a big screen TV, nice clothes, great furniture, like a Lazyboy recliner where you can read a good book. So what makes selling your book so difficult? How about the wrong approach, the wrong words, the wrong sound, a vague platform, the wrong venue. You want to make selling your book easy? Then make buying your book easy. Everything must be in place--all green lights.

Human beings need instant gratification, all the time. We're always searching for something that will make us happy and make us feel good or feel better about ourselves, even if it's just for a brief moment in time. Don't derail that blessing with horrible advertising.

Desires are a natural human condition, an addiction we can't live without. In this digital age, do you wonder why so many people still read books? The competition for your attention (your dollars) is ferocious. With hundreds of channels on TV, cell phones that can do just about anything you can imagine, movie theaters, and tons of electronic gadgets, it's a miracle we find time for our wanting spouses and children.

Last time I checked, my family had been missing for 3 days before the annoying chime of my doorbell woke me from my electronic stupor. It was my wife and 3 kids, and I didn't let them in. Heck, after months of trying, I was just about to finish Norman Mailer's "Oswald's Tale."

* * *
 "You want to make selling your book easy? Then make buying your book easy."

* * *

Okay, you get my drift. Some of us love books. We love the control we have over books. We pick them up, read a little, get sleepy, toss them aside, sometimes we fling them across the room or tear them from limb to limb when we come across something we don't like. But for the most part, we love stories and we like to indulge in all the pleasures reading offers.

Point is, sometimes, people must have something, whatever that might be is personal, but hopefully, it's your book. Your book? Why would anyone want to read your book? Who the heck are you that anyone would take interest in what you have to say? Got you, didn't I? There you have it. A big part of selling your book is selling yourself, as a person, as an author, as a writer. And of course, that's where, among many different advertising and promotional efforts, book teasers come in. Holy crap, Lindsay Lohan just did what? You’ll have to excuse me, Showbiz Tonight is on and I digress. See what I mean?

Okay, let’s get to it. You’re an author, probably self-published, which is a good way to publish books these days. But let’s face it, nothing beats being backed by a major publishing house, when they champion your book to stardom, that is. Let’s not forget the thousands of Random House titles that go unnoticed because their authors don’t have enough clout, or literary cache, if you will. I recently came across a good book that frankly, I was surprised to see in a bargain bin for a buck. But there it was, a mid-list offering drowning in a sea of misfit bargain books. Well, I rescued it and I love that book. God only knows my own novel will wind up right next to it some day. (someone hug me)

Isn’t it refreshing when we put things into perspective? Are big house publishers a better deal than self-publishing? Not if you’re the author of the next “The Shack.” I’m sure William P. Young doesn’t miss the paltry advances and penny royalties the big publishers offer these days. He’s one of the many self-published, self-made millionaires and loving the huge profits that go with it. Why not you? What’s the big fu*#!&@! secret?

Here’s what you really need to know:

First and foremost, you must write a killer book. Nobody will buy a book that apparently, its author put little effort into. Here’s the short of it. If you’ve written a non-fiction book, you’re selling solutions. If you’ve written a fiction book, you’re selling a story. Stories offer many things people crave: an escape, a journey, learning about other cultures, a reflection of their own life, a hero to root for and commiserate with, a different way to look at things, anything that will make them forget about their next mortgage payment. Come on, it’s entertainment first, facts second.

* * * 

What a shame, but that’s life in the big city, folks. Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug."

* * *

Next, you need to show and tell people who you are and what you stand for in this world. What’s your thing? What moves you? What drives you to write about dogs, cats, houses, relationships, your lovely mother-in-law? Whatever. You have something unique to tell the world in a way that only you can tell it. People want to know the story behind the story too. This is where press releases, publicity, and media kits come in. Don’t have any of that? It’s all easy to get. If you look hard enough, you can find most of it for free on the internet. Might not be the best, but it’s a start and it’s better than nothing.

Next, you must introduce your book to prospects. As you read this, people are searching for books online (get back here). They’re looking for all kinds of books, maybe a book like yours. Is your book, your author website searchable in Google, Bing and Yahoo? If not, get it there. It only takes a few minutes to list. Your book is the star, even if you’re John Grisham. 

Stories are why people buy books, and not because a famous author wrote it. Remember, even famous authors often write lousy books that nobody buys. Your book (its story) is front and center at all times. Your book is the main product. People want the product and everything that product has to offer that can make them smile or laugh or reflect. If your book can offer a life-changing experience, then you’re way ahead of the game.

To successfully advertise and promote your book, you must spend some money, but some marketing can be had for a song. Last time I checked, YouTube wasn’t charging to display your book teaser. You can pay for positioning if you want, of course, but start by uploading it for free in their massive database and test the waters. There are dozens of other sites where you can upload your book videos. Google it!

Don’t have a book teaser? Uh, what are you waiting for? You need one. Don’t have enough to make a really good one? Make one yourself with Windows Movie Maker. With a little practice (about 3 weeks) you’ll come up with something horrible, hard to watch. 

Newsflash: It’s not about the snazzy photos, it’s about how to sell a product. Don’t know enough about sales and marketing? That’s no excuse. Got a few thousand bucks handy and a few months with nothing to do? Take a marketing course. You know, I don’t intend for this to come off sarcastically, but it’s turning out that way. It’s the hard truth. There’s so much more to making great book videos than you think.

* * * 

"People are not like dogs that you can train with Pavlovian tricks."

* * * 

Take a look at all the big production companies that make book trailers and see if you like any of them. Honestly, they’re laughable and embarrassing. Sad part is, authors are paying thousands of dollars for these atrocities and thinking they’re getting the best.  What a shame, but that’s life in the big city, folks. Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.

Well, if you don’t like being splattered across the highway of life by big production companies, listen up. The purpose of a good book teaser is two-fold. The main goal of a book teaser is to inspire you, and then to motivate you to buy the book. Inspiration is artistic, emotional. Motivation is psychological. Both are triggered by strong writing concepts. Notice the key words here. Emotional triggers. People are not like dogs that you can train with Pavlovian tricks. Human beings feed off and respond to emotional events. It’s what makes us human above all other animals in our known universe.

Aside from intuition, we have a cosmic understanding that keeps us in tune with all the things we like. Things that make sense to us. Must be why I cringe whenever I see the so-called book trailers these big production companies have to offer. I call them anti sales tools. They’re big on flashy production and very short on creativity and value. When was the last time you heard anyone praise a movie for its production values? There it is.

Good marketing concepts, with the right images and the proper soundtrack, make for great book teasers. Anything less is a waste of your time and money. If I were to charge separately for writing, designing, and producing your book teaser, it would cost you thousands, yet it would still be worth it. Take a look at some of my teasers and see for yourself.

The good news is you won’t pay thousands of dollars for your book teaser at Book Teasers Pub! In fact, you can get a 30 second book teaser for as little as $399 complete. That includes the marketing concept, all the images enhanced on Photoshop, special effects filters and the best soundtrack for your particular teaser, all for one low price. Film footage and voice-overs are available for additional fees since these can drive up the cost considerably.

I encourage you to shop around. Check out all the other production companies out there that claim to be the best. I have yet to come across one that can match what I can offer.  You simply get much more for one low price with Book Teasers Pub, and the best part is that you’ll have more than a great looking and awesome sounding book teaser. You’ll have a marketing concept that works for you as an author--a marketing tool that helps you sell more books.

Let’s discuss promotional ideas for your book and ask me how I can help you put together an amazing book teaser that represents you and your books in the best possible light. I promise to make it great and make it functional or your money back.

Get an instant Discount!

Ask me a question here or email me and if we do business, I’ll discount $50 off your Book Teaser. Email me right now before this offer fizzles into obscurity.

Don’t miss this discount. It won’t last forever!


Next Post: Book Covers: The Doorstop Effect
Having trouble getting a good cover design in place? Don't miss this Post next Monday.


This article was swiped from Alberto's upcoming book, "Don't Freak - Secrets of a Marketing Guru"

Projected Publication August 2012

Your moment of Zen: Not giving up is your best revenge.