Friday, June 8, 2012

Trailers: Trophies or Trash?

by Peg Brantley, author of RED TIDE

For those of you who do not want to watch trailers, even hate the things, today's post is not for you.

Several people have asked me about my process and what I think the results have been. The big and most important question is this: Did my sales increase because of a trailer?

First, here's the trailer:

The pieces: 
  • Music was chosen from Free Music Archive. This site allows you to search for music by category and keywords: a fast and easy way to find the right music for the mood you're trying to reflect.
  • Photos were selected from both iStockphoto and Shutterstock. I used the least expensive versions available for all of the images.

The glue:
  • I have a Mac and through trial and error (a lot of both) I figured out iMovie. Of course I'll probably forget everything by the time I make another trailer. (Hint: I will be making another trailer.)
  • For PC users, Windows Movie Maker has produced some stunning trailers.

The cost:
  • If you have the time the equipment and the talent you can create your own trailer for free. 
  • A professionally produced trailer can cost $2,000 or more. 
  • I don't happen to own a way to create video and I didn't want only static photos. I also wanted it done as quickly as possible. I also didn't want to have to sell a gazillion books to pay for the trailer. Mine ended up costing less than $200 and it took me about two days.

I have made my trailer available in all of the obvious places:
L.J. Sellers provided me with this link that has a list of other places to consider posting your video:

Now to answer the big and most important question: Did my sales increase because of a trailer? Given that there's not a box readers check to indicate why they've purchased your book, it's a little bit of a guess and comparison of numbers and timing kind of thing. But I believe my sales have increased because of the trailer. I'll make another one for Book #2.

What has been your experience with trailers? What worked for you and what will you do differently next time? Feel free to post a link to your video in your comments.


  1. Thanks Peg, for this information - you make the process seem easy, doable and worth the effort.
    Your trailer is tension-packed. The quality of presentation indicates you also have great skill in writing a captivating story.
    Love your title...such cute wordplay.

    Julie Golden, Vagilantes

  2. I had a lot of help in making sure the trailer did what it was supposed to do (special thanks to Andrew E. Kaufman), but the truth is that if I can do this anyone can.

  3. I love your trailer, Peg! Way to go! You've got a convert! I said earlier that I wasn't that into the trailer idea, but your excellent trailer has changed my mind. Well worth the effort, I'd say.

  4. Thanks, Jodie. I appreciate your kind words.

    It was also kind of fun to redirect my creative juices for a couple of days.

  5. Another inexpensive option for producing your own trailer is through onetruemedia,com. It has a very user-friendly interface, one that's similar to iMovie. I produced my first trailer there and had great results--and they actually provide music you can use. Or they did when I used it.

  6. I've heard good things about onetruemedia… I think from our mutual friend, Robert Walker. I didn't use them as a resouce, but I totally agree that they should be on someone's list who wants to check everything out.

    Thanks, Drew!

  7. I used which has a ton of music to choose from. In fact, I loved my music so much, I went out and bought the album! :) is $30 for the year. It was drag and drop to make the video, took me one evening.

  8. Hey, fellow Indie Chick… thanks for stopping by. Your genre is different than mine but I think your trailer is very intriguing.

    I've heard of Animoto. It's wonderful when we find something that provides what we're looking for. And one evening? That rocks!

    Also, congratulations about your blog post about blogs being picked up. A very good day.

  9. Hi Peg, really liked you trailer. I know there's a lot of controversy over the use of them, but if you don't have to spend a fortune creating one, why cut off a marketing avenue. I also took a look at Elizabeth Ann West's and think that one is also well done. I think the biggest problem with trailers is that people try to tell the story, not create an impression of the story. Mine can be viewed at . Would love to hear what you think.

  10. Terry, you packed a lot into that little trailer. Very creative and clean. The music really helps to set the tone.

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