Should You Appear in Your Book Trailer?

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As a follow up to David Le Roy’s article on book trailers, I’m joined by Australian editor Belinda Pollard who has kindly shared an article from her blog, www.smallbluedog.com, about whether you, as the author, should feature in your own trailer.

Q. When is it absolutely right for an author to appear in his/her own book trailer?

A. When the book is a very personal story.

Book trailers are all the rage these days, the latest marketing tool for the multimedia age. If you haven’t seen one yet, they are essentially like the movie trailers you see at the cinema before the feature… a 3–4 minute summary of themes or plot, designed to pique the curiosity of an audience.

Book trailers most commonly appear on the web, although sometimes you’ll see them in other contexts as well. Because words on a page don’t exactly create a visual feast (!), directors of book trailers find other ways to represent the imagery of the book. Some use actors, some use other kinds of pictures and graphic concepts. Some book trailers cost tens of thousands of dollars to make, or even more; others are made on a much smaller budget.

It’s rare for an author to appear in their own book trailer. A client of mine, Dr Ernest F. Crocker, chose to appear in the trailer for his book NINE MINUTES PAST MIDNIGHT. Ern is a senior and highly-respected medical specialist based in Sydney, Australia, and his book was published September 2011 with Authentic UK, has since been published in Germany, and is currently being redeveloped for the US market. I worked with Ern through the manuscript development and editing process.

If the video above does not appear, click here

I believe Ern made a good decision to appear in his book trailer, for the following reasons:

1. Getting to know the author is an important part of this particular book

NINE MINUTES PAST MIDNIGHT is essentially Ern’s personal story of how as a young, rigorously scientific doctor he was confronted with a medical miracle that science and logic could not explain. It altered the course of Ern’s life and career, and also set him on a quest to talk to other doctors about their experiences of divine intervention in their work and lives – including those times when the miracle doesn’t happen.

The primary strength of this book is Ern’s willingness to reveal his inner thoughts – including doubts, fears and failings – to the reader. It feels ‘right’ that we get to see him in the trailer. It helps us trust his honesty.

2. This author does a good job in front of a camera

Ern is a public speaker with many years of experience, which stands him in good stead when looking down the barrel of a camera.

3. It creates positive synergies with the author’s platform as a speaker

Ern is building a respected reputation as a speaker in the general area of wellness for business people. To appear in his own book trailer builds two-way ‘brand recognition’ between his speaker and author roles.

What do you think about authors appearing in their own book trailers? We’d love to see some links to your favorite book trailers, as well! If you’re writing a book, are you already thinking about your trailer? If you’ve made a trailer, did you appear in it?

Featured image is in the public domain By Popperipopp (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

About Belinda Pollard

Belinda Pollard is a writer, editor and publishing consultant based in Brisbane, Australia, experienced in both traditional and indie publishing. She is a published author of spiritual meditations, and at the other end of the sublime-to-ridiculous scale is writing a thriller about a group of old friends who hike into the NZ wilderness and don’t all come back. She blogs Real Life on a Beautiful Planet at http://www.belindapollard.com. She also blogs Really Useful writing and publishing tips at http://www.smallbluedog.com and spends too much time on Twitter as @Belinda_Pollard.

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