The connection between book trailers and getting a movie deal is a no-brainer. Countless novels have been picked up that had an incredible trailer. Examples include A.G. Riddle, Ransom Riggs, Sally Green, and Emmy Laybourne. Did watching the book trailer influence Hollywood? Who knows, but it certainly can’t hurt to show agents and producers what your book might look like as a film, or tease their interest with strong visuals. At the very least it’ll show them you have some understanding of what it is that they do which is a good way to make friends.
So while there’s no guarantee – no metric to measure how book trailers play a part in getting a movie deal, a little bit of effort goes a long way. Here are a few things you can do with a book trailer if you’re using for reasons beyond the promotion of your book. We’re limiting our list to ten, although we can think of a lot more! If you have ideas please share them with us here.
1. Include a trailer link in your email signature
Seems no-duh but you’d be surprised. Using this tactic could do a lot for your view count.
2. Send your trailer to agents and producers
We’re not at all advising you on how to query agents or meet producers, just saying when you do reach out a trailer is a great way to generate the interest of someone who is so submerged in reading material they barely have time to read their own clients’ work. Plus they’ll know right away whether this is their cup of tea. Screenwriters and directors use mood reels all the time now to try and sell their scripts. Mood reels are a little different than book trailers in that you’re sourcing existing images for internal use only, not posting on social or anything. It’s the same spirit though: a visual presentation of written material.
3. Put a name actor (or two) in your trailer (make it so good they want to be in the movie)
Granted you’ll need a decent budget, but the good news is actors are for the most part devout readers and might be interested in projects that help further literature and reading. And if you’ve written a good book they’ve given themselves de facto consideration by acting in your trailer and believing in your project before anyone else knew about it. As an example, check out this book trailer featuring Oscar-nominated actor Eric Roberts.
4. Make it Good
It’s just that you see so many that… aren’t. And it’s like what’s the point? Does that mean it needs to be expensive to make a book trailer? Not at all. The only thing that matters is feeling, the feeling you put into it, and the feeling your audience gets from watching it. Here’s one we made for an independent author who has high hopes for seeing his emotional memoir turned into a film. Below that, a trailer for another novel that was shot in just a few hours in one location.
5. Don’t Overuse Stock Video
Do use it, just don’t use only that. Part of the thing we had to overcome when we got started was the perception of book trailers as spammy. Which without a doubt they were and in certain cases still are. Rather than rely on found footage for your imagery, try and use stock footage sparingly, weaving it into the fabric of the trailer so it’s hard to spot. Here’s an example of a trailer we made that contains two stock images, the rest of the trailer is all footage we shot. See if you can spot them.
6. Make a book trailer like a movie trailer
And that can mean any number of things, whether it’s wall-to-wall music, or features voice-over guy. It doesn’t matter. The idea is to use what you want from existing advertising forms such as movie trailers or music videos, and create a video that shares the idea of your book without giving away too much plot detail, and teases the possibility of a movie deal or feature film adaptation.