V is for Video

But I am an author. Not a screenwriter.”

Admiral 7 inch bakelite

Do not scoff. It is twice the size of a mobile screen.

Have you been around long enough to remember the first television sets? The scenes on the television brought a new dimension to radio. Now, instead of stimulating only one sense (hearing), shows were able to stimulate more senses and allow for more subtle means of communication, like body language.

Books are one dimensional. They only use visual cues to stimulate your reader. Ever wonder why people watch more television than read? It stimulates more senses. Do you really only want to appeal to those who can read your social media updates and print ads?


Borrowing a page from the movie industry’s playbook, incorporating video into your marketing of your book can grab far more readers than you might imagine. Start your reader’s imagination by giving them a different look into your book.

Mood Music

Mind the volume...but never let it be silent.

Music is a powerful draw for many people. Sound is completely missing from your book. Setting your video to music is going to expose different people to what you have written.

Can you think of music which you think would make a good sound track to your book? By using the genre of the music as a keyword for your trailer, you are going to get people to stumble over your trailer when they are looking for something (soothing, energizing, fun) to listen to while they are trolling video sites.

Be certain you have the appropriate license to use the music. Having your video listed as a copyright violation is not good to the health of your marketing effort or your book or your reputation. Your video needs to contain credits for the contributors, including the license you have to use the music.

With an appropriately licensed song, you have access to the musician’s fans as well. Were you marketing to them before?

What’s wrong?

XThe above video commits a few errors which can hamper its performance. (This is a shout out to everyone who thinks I am perfect. I learn a lot of what not to do by doing it wrong the first time.)

The first issue is length. With the exception of fans of either the musician or the author, the average user is not going to sit through it. After all, it is an advertisement for your book, not an infomercial.

The second is the text over lyrics. The human brain processes verbal and written language differently. Not everyone has the ability to process them simultaneously. For the watcher who is entranced by Cat Forsley’s voice, by the second text frame eyes are sinking closed to listen to the lyrics without being distracted by the screen.

The third is timing. While certain images are timed really well (like the fractal by Janet Russell at 1:11), other transitions do not sync as well with the music.


The images you use are terrifically important. If your book is not one with drawings or illustrations, choose images which are evocative of the content of your book. Do not be deceptive and advertise something your book is not going to deliver.

Exactly as you needed a license for the music, you need to use licensed images. You need permission to use art and photographs. Just because you found it on the Internet does not mean it is free for you to use as you see fit. Since trailers are promotional products, they are considered commercial use of the images and the music. When in doubt, only use things you create.

Keywording according to the images you use can target photography buffs, art enthusiasts and artists.


letter vTrailers are another weapon in your marketing arsenal because they offer free content to your reader before asking them for the sale. Every customer likes to know what they are getting in advance and getting something for free makes your book even more of a bargain.

Do not forget to ask for the sale. Does your trailer have a link to where your book is for sale?

Sharing the link to your video adds one more step before your reader can buy your book. Be sure the link you use is to the buy page. Do not send your reader on a goose egg hunt looking for where to buy your book. The next button available to press should be a buy button.

Marketing your book on social media with video is easy. When you share the video, lead in with something of interest:

  • A snippet from your book (Think #novellines.)
  • Trivia about your book or the music
  • Information about your latest event

Include a link to buy. Many social media platforms allow for video to play without leaving the site. This means your watcher cannot see the buy link (which lives on the platform with the video). If you skip the link on social media, you are telling your reader they need to go through your trailer to get to your book, which is not true unless what you really want is for people to only watch your trailer.

Do not forget other places your trailer can live:

  • On your blog
  • On your social media page
  • Websites (Yours, publisher’s, reviewer’s)


Keep you videos updated. Did you create a pre-release trailer and describe it as “Coming Soon!”? If your release date has passed, change your description to accurately reflect the buy link and the availability of your book.


123After you book has been out and garnering reviews, why not put those reviews to work for you in an all new way? Use snippets from reviews as text in a video post release.

You will pique the interest of the people who watched your first video (especially if it was really good) and grab the attention of others (the ones who do not like being teased with what is to come or cannot remember to come back after the book is available). You also have a new link to market.

Has your book been out for a while, and sales are on the plateau (or slab)? Invigorate interest in your book with a new trailer. Have you thought about an anniversary video? You film your children’s birthday parties. Is you book not your baby anymore?

Bring it home!

  1. Good music
  2. Great art
  3. Good timing
  4. Short and powerful
  5. Linked on site and on social media
  6. Updated
  7. Revival editions

Do you have a trailer (or more) for your book? Have you made video mistakes in your trailers? Have you watched a trailer to help you decide to buy a book?

Hashtags: #AtoZChallenge #videos #trailers

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© Red Dwyer 2013
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  1. Some more important points Red,
    Music is a great idea, it does attract but it also repels, if not to the taste of the listener.
    You did great in using the classical genre of music, it really did match your publication perfectly.
    If music is to be used, I think popular instrumentals or classical music are best, no words, few distractions.

    I think I’m going to be using my Youtube account more often than I thought.
    Phil recently posted..The importance of sharing.My Profile


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