I first learned about Jerome McLain and his company BookFrenzy when reading a blog post by Joanna Penn. It was such a valuable conversation that I thought I would continue it here on my blog with a few additional questions. I hope you enjoy meeting Jerome and learn more about how to market your books with video.
When and why did you start your new company BookFrenzy?
BookFrenzy was officially launched on January 3, 2015 because I realized I could help authors use video marketing to sell books.
Ever since YouTube was launched, videos have been extremely important and popular. Their dominance in social media marketing – not to mention their popularity on social media – only seems to gain momentum over time. How do you explain this phenomenon?
I recently played a recording of a dial-up modem accessing the web for my twelve-year-old son. He turned with a frown and said, “What’s that?” I told him that was what the web used to sound like. He replied, “That’s terrible.” After which he went promptly back to watching a soccer match on YouTube over our household broadband. With that in mind, I believe the phenomenon has been due to four main factors.
- Increased internet speeds: Since 1991, internet speeds have steadily increased to blazing speeds with the use of fiber optic networks.
- Increased internet users: As of 2013, there were more than 2 Billion internet users worldwide—that’s a lot of people watching and sharing video every day.
- The explosive growth of mobile device usage: Video watching in established and emerging countries is fueling the demand for more video content.
- Social sharing of content: Social platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Vine, etc. allow a video to be easily shared with millions.
Hiring a company to create a book trailer isn’t an inexpensive proposition for an Indie author. To make the investment worthwhile, how can you substantiate that book trailers really do sell more books?
Instead of investing in just a book trailer, an Indie author will get better sales results by working with a company that will create their video marketing strategy, as well as book trailers. Many vendors will just sell you a book trailer that looks amazing but after it’s completed, you still need to know what to do with it.
Besides producing a high-quality trailer, the company should distribute your trailer to several high-traffic social media, bookmarking and genre-specific sites. This will help you be found in the search engines and generate more traffic back to your author site or blog. A sound strategy will also effectively use video or your book trailer to turn website visitors into book purchasers.
Here are some great stats that authors will find useful:
- Readers are 64% more likely to purchase your book if they see a video that effectively promotes your book. (Source: ComScore)
- Using a video (book trailer) on a sales landing page can increase conversion rates by as much as 80% (Source: Unbounce)
- Visitors to your author website stay an average of 2 minutes longer than on author sites that do not use video. (Source: ComScore)
- 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others. (Source: Invodo)
- Some authors who have used book trailer videos in email campaigns experienced Open Rates [increases] from 19% to 300%! (Source: Forrester Research)
What do you need from authors to create a successful trailer for a new book?
To produce a great trailer we need:
- A brief conference with the author via phone or Skype to discuss their vision for the book trailer.
- The synopsis for their book.
- Any high-resolution cover artwork, images, photos, etc.
From these elements, we produce a script to be submitted for approval. Upon approval, your trailer is produced in 7 business days.
What are the basic principles that must be met for a book trailer to be successful?
There are three principles we adhere to:
- SHOW Don’t Tell: This means you provide visual hints and cues as to what the book is about without giving away the plot. The way our minds are hard-wired is that we will always try to fill in the blanks to the story or what we have been shown. A good trailer tells you just enough to make you want more. How many of us have purchased a movie ticket based on what we saw in a trailer?
- Keep It Short and Tight: For a promotional trailer, we recommend no longer than 90 seconds to deliver the message. Trailers that are more author Interviews can go longer if the information is very good.
- Present a strong Call to Action: At the end of the trailer, show them where to get more info or purchase your book. I’ve seen way too many trailers that leave off this important info.
What are the typical traits of a book trailer done poorly?
The typical traits of a poorly done book trailer are:
- Inappropriate music: Music sets the tone of the video. Poor selection causes a disconnect with the video and lessens its impact. A great resource for free music can be found at freestockmusic.com.
- Unattractive Images: Low-quality images reflect negatively on your brand. Always seek out great looking images for your trailers. You can download free great looking photos at unsplash.com. Also check out www.gratisography.com.
- Too long in duration: Try to keep the trailer between 60 and 90 seconds. Studies show that viewers lose interest dramatically around 2 minutes.
Which version is most effective in selling books, the 30-second video or 60-second the video? Or is it a matter of another element altogether?
The 30-second book trailer is designed to be an Elevator Pitch for your book. It can be used very effectively on Facebook to tease viewers (or the media) about an upcoming launch. A 60-second trailer works well when distributing the trailer on various video sharing sites, blogs and at live book signing events. As far as an impact on sales, you can use either in the driving of sales as long as it’s used within a video marketing strategy.
We know that people have short attention spans and that 60 seconds is about as long as a video can be. How do you pack the necessary punch into such a short amount time?
Our most popular book trailer package includes professional voice acting, 10-15 images and video, book cover art, music, 2D motion graphics and sound FX. Done right, 30 or 60 seconds is enough time to create an emotional desire to learn more about a book.
I’m wondering what you think of Vine, the application for six-second videos for Twitter? Have you created a need to promote books? Is that even a valid medium for authors?
I don’t have any experience with Vine. I think the Twitter app is cool but haven’t put any thought into using it yet. I think any medium deserves exploration but within the framework of a well-constructed video marketing strategy.
How can authors contact you?
To see book trailer examples and pricing, visit our website at www.bookfrenzystudios.com or call my personal number at (704) 802-9076 to discuss ways you can use video to sell books.
About the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by signing up for her newsletter. Connect with Frances on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+