Until BookBub came along, daily deal promotion websites would promote any eBook so long as the book had a handful of positive reviews and the author had cash. What made BookBub successful is careful curation—they choose books they believe their mailing list subscribers are likely to want. This created sales success for authors and word spread.
Book trailer videos have been around for years—and for good reasons. The visual learners among us gravitate to watching, rather than reading. Video typically keeps people engaged longer than reading. Video, as content, is another way to improve book discovery—and we all know that YouTube is the Number 2 search engine after papa Google.
Like the daily deal promotion websites, there was an early gold rush of websites and businesses eager to capitalize on the growing interest in video. Inexpensive video production sites and tools, dedicated video distributors, and video promotion websites.
Here are a few I found mentioned as recently as 2016 that are no longer with us: Living Jacket, Expanded Books, BookScreening, GetYourVideoOnline, TheBookTrailerBlog, and OneLoad.
Options to Promote Your Videos
One important reason why some of these services failed is the rise of social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others have all embraced video uploads. And of course, there is Amazon and YouTube.
But where do we turn for that BookBub-like quality filter? How do we elevate our game?
Trailershelf.com launched in May of 2017 to fill this void. Like BookBub, Trailershelf exercises tight editorial control over what gets accepted on the website. As frustrating as this might be to authors and publishers looking for increased exposure, it seems to be working.
I spoke by email with Jared Drake who co-founded Trailershelf with his wife Julia Drake, both graduates of UCLA’s film school. Here are their answers to my questions about what they look for and how authors can benefit from using Trailershelf.
David: What did you see in the marketplace that made you think this was needed?
Jared: Book trailers have gotten a bad rap in the industry because most of them simply regurgitate the back cover description of the book slapped across a handful of random images with bad music.
We decided to create a curated website dedicated to good book trailers. Most of our focus is on attracting authors who have invested time and money producing a quality book trailer and need an effective outlet to promote their work.
What kinds of book trailers does Trailershelf accept?
Trailershelf is interested in all video-based promotion for books, including book trailers, author videos, commercials or other new concepts of using video to get readers interested in their next must-read.
But it must be great. It must move us, shake us, tease us, and make us exclaim: “I have to read this book!” Trailershelf’s editorial board of book industry experts reserves the right to decide whether we feel that your video meets these standards.
How does having one’s video on Trailershelf help sell books?
YouTube, Vimeo, etc., don’t have sales links built into the video’s page. Trailershelf does. In other words, when a user on YouTube watches a book trailer and wants to buy the book, they need to click over to Amazon or BN or iBooks, or wherever they buy books, search for the title, and find the purchase link.
This is a lengthy process that risks losing your consumer as there are many opportunities to get distracted as they search for your book. When a user on Trailershelf watches your trailer, they’re offered purchase links for all bookstores directly on the page. All they need to do is click.
It’s the first rule of online video: keep them on the page. You don’t want to captivate a user for three minutes only to send them elsewhere.
Do you charge to post videos?
Zippo. It costs nothing to submit unless the author or publisher is interested in sponsored listings. These include special placement in various sections, inclusion in our weekly newsletter, social amplification through our channels, and more.
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It seems to me that we are heading into a new era of self-publishing—one that is more professional. If that is the case, it is increasingly less about simply spending money—what I call checkbook marketing—and more about the quality of what we produce. New publishing services are taking notice and responding accordingly.
We’ve seen this take hold first in reviews (ahem), extend to promotion platforms, and now perhaps to the video marketing of our books. Click here to check out TrailerShelf.com.
DAVID WOGAHN is president of AuthorImprints, a professional self-publishing services company. Wogahn has helped more than 100 authors and businesses establish their own publishing imprints, resulting in the successful publication of 250 books…and counting. He is the author of Register Your Book: The Essential Guide to ISBNs, Barcodes, Copyright and LCCNs, LinkedIn’s Lynda.com course Distributing and Marketing eBooks, and is a speaker for the Independent Book Publisher Association’s (IBPA) Publishing University.
Learn more at AuthorImprints or contact Wogahn at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (877) 735-5269.
If you’re an author looking for a simple animated video to promote the various book reviews you’ve received, check out City Book Review’s video services.