Friday, August 10, 2007

Putting the Pro to Promotions

Charles here.

First, read Vicky’s blog (see below).

The funny thing? I LOVE the promoting part. The book club chats, the panel discussions, the one-on-ones with would-be authors, the mini tours to introduce myself to book store employees, the email blasts, the postcards, flyers, and phone calls. I love it all. Some of my friends who have known me for years even claim that the only reason I write the books is so that I can talk about them. There may be some truth in that.

It’s easy for me to separate myself into two roles – the author and the promoter. When I’m writing I don’t think about promoting, when I’ve got my promoter hat on the only thing I can write well are, well, promo pieces. But remember, I work in advertising as my day job – this is what I do all day. And I’m lucky that I am both good at it and that I enjoy it.

So now I have a new book coming out in the fall. Expect a huge roll out, my friends. The trailer is just the start of this public relations juggernaut.

The weird thing is that I’ve already got the next book all but finished and the one after that plotted out rather clearly.

Now about the trailer. The little snippets I used are from YouTube and other web sources. I’m pulling a page out of the dub/remix/rap school of sampling. The courts have ruled that small, non-iconic images/sound bytes can be used to create a new work. Yeah, it’s a gray area and I’m so small time that I doubt there will be any issues. Still, I’m having some folks look into the legal side before I go any further. The big question is, is it worth it? It cost me nothing – one of the interns at the ad agency did it for me so he could learn how to use the editing equipment. But will it help sell books? I have never bought a book based on a trailer (or a book mark, or a postcard) so I can’t see that it would work for me, but am I typical? So weigh in here, folks. What do you think of book trailers IN GENERAL?


Rick Blechta said...

First off, I think your trailer is very good. It gets the viewer in a way that reading a description on the book's jacket, or reading it on the listing can't hope to approach.

The other thing that makes it good, is that most publishers have been slow adopting this marketing strategy, so you have full control of it, my friend. And to be honest, I think you know the advertising game better than any publisher I can think of.

Lastly, you said it yourself: it's cheap and in many cases, free. That's my idea of GREAT promotion. It's pretty depressing when a very expensive print ad brings out the reading public in drove. This is the way the vast majority of books are advertised and if you're a struggling author, you can't begin to afford it.

Book trailers travel very easily, too. The one my publisher (one of the smarter cookies in the promotional jar) did up has been viewed many, many times (sorry I don't have the exact figure, but it's a lot).

Wait a minute! There's a blog topic for me here. I shouldn't be giving this great stuff away on Charles' blog!

That's another rule of good advertising...

Vicki Delany said...

I've been thinking about this quite a bit, and I've decided that I don't think book trailers will accomplish much. A movie trailer works (sometimes) because you think 'that movie looks like it has exciting scenes, great costumes, good music (whatever) so I think I'll like it'. But a book trailer? A book isn't visual, or auditory either, in fact it tells you nothing about the main point of the book - which is the writing skill. So I think a book trailer is hitting the wrong note.

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