Welcome Sheila Clover English, a multi-award winning producer of book commercials, the CEO of Circle of Seven Productions and Executive Producer of Reader's Entertainment TV. She is a member of the Downloadable Media Association as well as the Internet Content Syndication Council.
Her company has been in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and on NPR as well as featured in technology circles such as TubeMogul University, Ask the Experts and The Robert Scoble Show, because of her innovative video distribution network. She started producing book trailers in 2002 at which time she trademarked the term "book trailer".
Effective Book Trailers
A famous saying in the marketing world is - "50% of all of your marketing efforts work. You just don't know which 50%."
People invest in a single, national USA Today ad for $10,000 and do it routinely. Why? At the end of the day it's on the bottom of the bird cage. But, it is a national ad. It is in the book section. A lot of people will see it. So, to many, it is worth $10,000. A NY Times ad can be as little as $4000 if you have the right connections. There's prestige in being seen in the Times, but is it selling books?
It doesn't matter whether you're investing $10,000 or $100 you want the best ROI (return on investment) you can get.
The fact that your video looks good does not make it effective. Meeting pre-determined goals is what makes a video effective.
For the best ROI for a book trailer you need to set a goal. Yes, everyone wants to sell their book and if that is your top goal you can gear the trailer to do that. But, not everyone has the same goals. Here are some goals and a way to measure whether or not you've achieved those goals:
You need to determine how you will measure the effectiveness of a trailer beyond the fact that you want the trailer to look good. And your measurements can vary according to what your needs are.
When you decide what kind of trailer you want to do, how you want it to look and where you want it to go you need to consider what you want to do with your career. Having a trailer just for the sake of having one, to decorate your website or because you feel you need to be on YouTube is not the best reason to have one. Inventory your career. What is going on with your books? How is your relationship with your publisher? Do you feel you're ready to go to the next level? First, determine your needs. Maybe you don't need a trailer at this point in your career? Maybe you need some other kind of promotion. And if you do need a trailer, maybe you only need a very basic one right now. Maybe you need to have your video seen on television to spark some interest from your publisher. Start with the end goal in mind.
A book trailer can accommodate any genre. The video just needs to reflect that genre and approach the target audience in a way that suits that target. Romance readers are online a lot. They love community. They do not love being spammed. They do not love being lead to believe a book is a romance when, in fact, it is not. Don't put a video in a romance community unless it is a romance novel. You need to stay on target with your audience. Online communities hate to be fooled.
Thoughtful distribution is key. You want to get your video in front of as many eyes as possible, but you also want to get the video to quality sites that are specific to your genre or the theme of your book. The genre-specific micro markets may get less hits, but are more likely to result in sales. Your distribution should fit your goal and target market.
Anyone can put a video up on YouTube and MySpace. And if you are using TubeMogul(www.tubemogul.com) you can get your video up on 15 or so sites at one time. But, which of those sites are best for your book or brand? With over 450 online sites that take book video do you really want to have yours only on the sites where everyone else is? If you're writing YA or chicklit are you posting to TeamSugar or Popbytes? If you're writing urban fantasy are you sending to TerrorFeed or Crackle Horror? If you're writing historical are sending your video to Clipblast or Magnolia? You need those micro sites that reach out to people who already have shown a predisposition to like your genre or storyline.
Distribution should go out to online communities to reach people, but it should also go out to booksellers, libraries and book clubs. All COS videos are sent to over 300 booksellers and over 5000 libraries. These are essential venues.
Offline distribution is also possible for a lot less money than you might think. With Google now allowing people to bid on media buys you can get your video placed on specialty sites with Google's keyword placement. You can have your video on television for $1000, in movie theaters for $2000. COS utilizes out-of-home placement for offline opportunities. Transit TV plays our videos in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Orlando, Atlanta and Chicago on their public transit buses. People read during commutes. This was a perfect place for book video. For $175 our videos are seen in those cities. The video plays several times a day for 7 days and is seen by a minimum of 10 million people.
You can see some of our distribution packages.
We offer several different kinds of video. We have a Cover Story video that starts at $300 that includes distribution to popular and micro sites, booksellers and libraries.
Here is a link to where you can see the different types of videos.
From there we go up in price, video complexity and distribution. You're never just paying for the video. We give you the video for your own use, but we also take into consideration where we think the video would do well online and upload to those places. Specialty sites such as GoodReads, RedRoom, Watch the Book, Preview the Book, LiveWriters and many others are included with the distribution package. We want the videos to be seen by readers.
We also maximize the SEO of your video. Within 12 hours of distributing a video you should see it in the first page of search on Google. Check it again in 24 hours and you'll be amazed at the results. We give a lot of attention to SEO so that your video comes up in prime placement during search.
Whether you're going to use COS or some other company you should take some time to know what you're paying for and make your expectations and goals clear. Get references on the company if you've not used them before. Ask them what you will get for your money. A book trailer is a marketing tool. Like any tool you need to know how to use it for the best results.
Thanks to Dara Girard for inviting Sheila to blog for us.