Launched in 2010, the Trailees recognize the important role that promotional videos play in encouraging books and reading, as well as the talented people who create digital ads for books.
Six judges narrowed down more than 75 submissions to four finalists in six categories.
Public votes for the winners. Notice that for this award, the public votes for the winning videos. Check out the amazing trailers below and start voting for your favorites on October 12. The deadline for voting is December 31 EST, and the winner will be announced at the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting in Dallas, TX. January 20-24. VOTE HERE
Rubric for Judging Book Trailers
Justifiable Video & Graphics Selection
Video & Graphic Selections clearly relate to and help re-tell the story. 20 points
Justifiable Text Selections
Text choices—though economical—have strong relevance to story. 20 points
Justifiable Music Selection
Tempo, style & lyrics (if any) have relevance to story or support tone of story. 20 points
Gives clear “tease” of the book to future readers without giving away the entire book 20 points
Documentation–Not providing any of the above documentation will automatically disqualify a trailer from consideration
Title/Author of Book is included
Images and Music are either purchased or copyright friendly to use
For amateur trailers, proper attributions are given for images and music (actual owner AND URL must be given—just putting the name of a website, or “Creative Commons” is not proper attribution)
Link to original publication of trailer posted during the timeframe of July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011
MEET THE JUDGES!
Daryl Grabarek, Editor, Curriculum Connections and Touch and Go, SLJ
Shannon McClintock Miller, Teacher Librarian, Van Meter Community School District, IA
Melanie Mubarak, Elementary School Librarian, Fort Bend ISD, Houston, TX
Teresa Schauer, District Librarian, Pettus ISD, Pettus, TX
John Schumacher, School Librarian, Brook Forest Elementary School, Oak Brook, IL
Joyce Valenza, Teacher-Librarian, Springfield Township HS Library, PA
Note: If you can’t see a video, click on the title to be taken to YouTube to see it.
PUBLISHER/AUTHOR CREATED FOR ELEMENTARY READERS (PreK-6 grade)
If you upload your book trailer to YouTube, one limitation is the inability to have a clickable Call to Action.
In business terms, a Call to Action is a request to the viewer to DO something. Click here to take advantage of today’s discount.
Click here to buy. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.
Good marketing campaigns focus on the CTA and everything is designed to get the customer to DO this one thing. (ONLY one CTA per trailer, please!)
Up until now, you couldn’t get a CTA to be clickable on YouTube. You could put the CTA at the end of your video, but the viewer must type in your URL themselves.
But watch a video on YouTube and you’ll see a transparent ad across the lower section. And that ad is clickable.
ReelSEO has detailed instructions, including screen shots, of how to set this up for your video. Essentially, it’s a workaround. You set it up, but you never set it into action except for yourself on your own videos. It becomes a Clickable CTA for you, not an ad for someone else. It’s a detailed process, but these instructions make it easy.
You can see this at work on these two videos. NOTE: the overlay doesn’t show up on embedded videos, only those viewed on YouTube, so you have to go to YouTube to see this in action.
Humor. Duh. Of course, humor motivates teen audiences. Spoofs, parodies, gross-outs, laugh-out-loud–make ‘em laugh and they will watch.
Sharable. And if they watch, they will share. “Hey, look at this, it’s funny.” That is golden. Look for the right places to share the videos, places where teens are very likely to pass a video along to a friend. (73% of teens are on social sites!)
Findable. Put videos where they can be found, but also make sure your keywords, tags and titles make them findable–and relevant to the teen audience.
Watchable. I’m throwing in here anything that will get a teen to watch more than 5 seconds of a video. Compelling images, script, music. Originality and creativity. Unique and fresh. What makes YOUR video–your book trailer–stand out in today’s crowded market?
The goal should not be “How do I get X to watch our video?” Instead, focus on how your video’s content and marketing can leverage your organization’s existing customer relationships and also further their development so you can benefit in the future. And always think about how your video will fit into your target’s normal browsing flow. Most consumers have decided how to interpret and judge a video by the time they click ‘Play.’ Quoting Benjamin Goering, Livefyre from the ReelSEO article
Panel moderator Stewart Quality said, “social media is the campfire of which we sit around and share our stories.”
Think about your book trailer as something that adds to the story of our culture. Make it fun/funny, sharable, findable, watchable and tell a compelling story. And pull in the teen viewers.
What sounds does a ground hog make? An earless lizard? A burrowing owl? Six months ago, I had no idea!
August, 2011 Release
When I decided to create a book trailer for my forthcoming book, PRAIRIE STORMS, I knew I wanted something fun and useful for kids, parents and educators. We know the sounds of dogs, cats, horses, cows and goats. But do we know the sounds made by other common creatures? Skunks? For this trailer, I decided to focus on the sounds made by each animal in PRAIRIE STORMS. This post is about how I created that video.
Finding Audio for a Book Trailer
To anticipate the release of Prairie Storms, I’m debuting the Prairie Storms book trailer today.
As the author of The Book Trailer Manual, I had some simple ideas on where to find public domain sounds and inexpensive audio tracks.
Animal Sounds – FREE. Second, I needed audio of the sounds made by each animal. Any time I need audio or video for animals in the United States, I start at the Fish and Wildlife Multimedia Library. The government agency provides public domain multimedia, free for public use. Here, I found great audio for the American Bison and the Bald Eagle. However, none of the other animals had sound tracks.
Animal Sounds – Inexpensive. My next stop was www.SoundDogs.com, a site which has a wide variety of audio clips. Amazingly, they had every other sound I needed, except the ground hog. For these clips, I looked for short audio clips with clear sounds of the animal involved. You can sort by the length of a clip and I was looking for the shortest possible: I knew I wanted the whole video about one minute in length, so I would only need a 4-5 second sound clip for any one animal. I searched and listened to clips and made decisions. One disappointment was that the earless lizard had no sound; indeed, most lizards don’t make any sounds. I finally decided to go with a clip of a lizard running on wood as the most likely option.
After I put all the sounds into the shopping cart, I was a bit afraid to look at the total. It was a pleasant surprise to see that I had only spent about $20.
Ask Permission from Private Party. Then, there was that pesky ground hog. Fortunately, I found www.hoghaven.com, a site specifically about ground hogs, and they had a dozen sound clips of ground hogs. I wrote the site owner, explained the project and asked permission to use one of the sounds. They were gracious enough to give permission. That gave me the last sound that I needed.
Creating the Book Trailer for Prairie Storms
With Kathleen Rietz’s (www.kathleenrietz.com) watercolor images from the Prairie Storm book and the sounds, I set to work. I use Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum (http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/moviestudiope) to edit my video. No, it’s not a free program like PhotoStory, it has lots of flexibility and options. I searched and searched for a program when I started doing book trailers, until I came to Vegas. Here’s what sold me on this program: they have extensive tutorials right at your fingertips, built into the main screen. The learning curve for this program was minimal compared to anything else I tried, an hour instead of four or five.
To create this trailer, I made some decisions:
The trailer would run about one minute.
With twelve animals that meant about 4 seconds per animal, with the remaining time going to the opening screen and credits.
I set up the program with markers every four seconds and added the images on one track, the animal sounds on a second and the sound track on a third. Then, I went through and added to a fourth track the text that appears on the video. Vegas has the capability to scan across an image or zoom in and out, so I adjusted this. Initially, the images were full page, but the text of the book interfered, so I zoomed in on each animal, then panned across to create movement. Static images are weaker than moving images in a trailer, you lose the viewer’s attention.
After previewing it a number of times and getting feedback, I took my husband’s suggestion to create a bit of a splash at the end with the book cover. After the American Bison at the end, there’s actually a half second of nothing except the music track. This is followed by a thunder clap and the front cover of the book. To find the right thunder clap, I went back to www.SoundDogs.com and searched through their extensive offering of storm sounds.
The video ends quickly with credits to the publisher, Sylvan Dell, the film composer Jeremy Doss and thanks to hoghaven.com for the groundhog sounds.
Working with a publisher, I was careful to run drafts of the video past the editor, publicity director and publisher. Jeremy Doss approved the trailer, as did Kathleen Rietz, the illustrator. When all approvals were in, I uploaded it to YouTube. And waited. It was ready early June, but I knew that I didn’t want to show it until after I spoke at the American Library Association, where the trailer would have its debut. And now, here’s the debut:
To set the time period of George Washington’s day, we looked for drum and fife music. I searched Archive.org and found this drum and fife music in the public domain. It’s public domain because it was done by a government entity, The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.
Tip: Look for government sources when possible because they will often be public domain; you can’t assume they are public domain, though, you must check.
Many of the portraits of George Washington that we wanted to use are held by museums, which hold the copyright for the use of the image. It’s a grey area: the art itself is in the public domain, but the image of that art is controlled by a museum. As working professionals, we won’t resolve this conundrum, we must simply work within it. In this case, McClafferty worked through her publisher to make sure the use of the art was approved.
Tip: Work through your publisher’s publicity department to assure copyrights are being respected. If you’re self-published, you must try to obtain copyright permissions yourself.
When writing a script like this, you must tread carefully: you want to give enough information to entice an audience; yet you need to withhold enough to make the audience want to read the book. Here, we used images to entice–the wax statues of Washington at ages 19, 45 and 57. But the question hangs: did he really look like these statues? How do we KNOW that? You must read the book to find the answer to these questions.
Tip: Test! Try a couple different scripts, or a series of revised scripts until you reach one that works.
These are the Moby Award Winners. Wow!
I disagree with so many of these, which just goes to show that there’s room for lots of videos. I added the number of views as of Friday, June 3.
Grand Jury/We’re Giving You This Award Because Otherwise You’d Win Too Many Other Awards: 149,944 views
-Super Sad True Love Story – Gary Shteyngart.
I have seen this one before but never made it through the whole thing. The humor of a dyslexic author escapes me.
Book Trailer As Stand Alone Art Object: 7.666
-How Did You Get This Number? – Sloane Crosley
Great images in this video, a variety of cut-paper and innovative collage-type work. It’s a visual delight.
Best Big House: 24,399 Views
-Packing for Mars – Mary Roach. A spoof on body odor in a space suit.
Worst Big House: 39,205 views
-Savages – Don Winslow
Best Small House: 27,875 views
-Tree of Codes – Jonathan Safran Foer
I’m confused. The first video here is about Tree of Codes. The second is public reaction to the book. The Moby Awards winner’s page links to the second video. But I wonder if it shouldn’t be linking to this one.
And interesting: This one is not on YouTube, but on Vimeo.
-Pirates: The Midnight Passage – James R. Hannibal.
OK, this is bad. But it’s meant to be bad, isn’t it?
Worst Performance by an Author: 26,991 views
-Jonathan Franzen – Freedom
Most Celebtastic Performance:
-James Franco – Super Sad True Love Story
See above. Didn’t like it the first time, can’t believe anyone watched it enough to give it two awards.
What Are We Doing To Our Children?: 326,285 views
-It’s A Book – Lane Smith
Of course, this popular children’s book author wins the grand prize: the most views!
General Technical Excellence and Courageous Pursuit of Gloriousness: 1636 views
Most Monkey Sex: 7521 views
-Bonobo Handshake – Vanessa Woods
Nice use of video taken on-site.
Worst Soundtrack: 166,754 views
Aw, this isn’t any worse than any number of sound tracks that rely on just a song to carry the day. Besides with that many views, it appeals to it’s audience of teens. And that’s what matters.
Most Angelic Angel Falling to Earth: 3245 Views
-Torment – Lauren Kate
Critiques of the Videos
Optimization. Most of the videos fall short on optimizing their text and descriptions. For example, How Did You Get This Number, has only a one sentence description. Descriptions should start with a link to something, but the links are buried under the fold. And there are too many tags, about 10 is best.
Notice, also on It’s a Book, the description links out to 15 sites that “support” the video. Nice way to build traffic.
Could the videos have garnered more views? Optimization does help and how to do it well is covered in The Book Trailer Manual.
Audience. The videos with the most views were those for teens and children. For those audiences anyway, book trailers seem to be an effective way to reach readers.
Aesthetics. I argue that there are three aesthetics for book trailers: movie trailers, slideshows and “YouTube aesthetics.” Certainly all of these are represented in this collection of winning videos. The Grand Prize winner is a YouTube aesthetic, and perhaps that is why so many liked it.
The award was started last year by Melville House, which despite its small size and independent nature, managed to snag a lot of press for book trailers in general and the Moby Award in particular. Part of the fun of the award is the tongue-in-cheek nature of the awards, which look not only at the Best of the year, but also at the Worst. Last year, some of the best press went to the Worst category winners.
Here are this year’s categories. Notice that the children’s category is marginalized–it only gets one category, not two: rather lazy.
Book Trailer As Stand Alone Art Object
Best Big House
Worst Big House
Best Small House
Worst Small /No House
Worst Performance by an Author
Most Celebtastic Performance
What Are We Doing To Our Children? (good or bad, you decide)
Which would you rather win? The Best or the Worst category?
Darcy asked me to do a guest post about what I’ve learned about Youtube and doing videos. I wish I could fit everything here! But I can at least give you my top eight tips.
Tip #1 – Don’t Fear Failure.
A lot of people don’t do video because they think they’re going to look like an idiot. If I can look like an idiot, you can too!
Seriously, you don’t have to post it if you hate it. Try it, – maybe it’ll have a huge impact on the number of the visits to your site. My attitude is to try it and if it fails, learn from it and move on. The more you try, the better your chances are that you will succeed. I follow Pat Flynn and I loved his suggestion to people worried about being on camera – do a tutorial. You may need software to do it, but you won’t have to be on camera! (I use Screenflow for my videos but Quicktime has the capability to record your screen, too).
Tip #2 – Plan Ahead.
Videos are a Black Hole Time Suck. The more you plan, the more smoothly the whole thing will go. I plan because I am reflected when someone comes to my YouTube channel or sees a video I’ve made, I want that reflection to be of quality content. (We’ve all seen the many low quality videos out there that have gone viral, so take this advice for what it’s worth!) Still, the virals have something in common: mass interest for one reason or another. Consider your subject matter and what you want to put out there and how it will reflect upon you and your work.
When I say plan ahead, I mean:
Write a script.
Do a storyboard (stick figures are fine!)
Think about offshoot videos.
I created this one first.
Then, I created this one.
Tip #3 – Consider a Series
I produce a weekly podcast about children’s literature – the craft, the business, the product, etc., but because it’s weekly, I’m obligated to get it out there every week. It’s been a great discipline for me. However, with videos no one expects a series so that is less pressure.
If you are reading this blog of Darcy’s, you know you should start a YouTube channel! People can find your videos all in one spot, and you can double up on getting your videos out there – I have them on my site, and my Katie Davis Youtube channel.
And because most people, by this time, know how to watch a video on a computer, you’ll be getting your name out there to people who otherwise may not have heard about you.
The web is a visual medium, so video is a natural way to show things like your writing process, who you are, where you live, etc., which many fans love to see.
Tip #5 – Set Your Bore Alert on High!
One can easily be tempted to make long videos, which will then fall into the I-Have-No-Time-To-Watch-This category and then production time is wasted. Talking heads are boring. I will watch a one – three minute video. Unless you’re Alec Baldwin, it’s going to be hard to keep my attention for longer than that.
Tip #6 – Have Fun!
Book trailers aren’t the only kind of video you can have on your site. Think of all the visual ways you can relate to your fan base – or, if you’re just starting out, or are not yet published, your future fanbase! Do an animoto book review, interview authors you love, Skype visits with another author – but make sure you don’t end up with talking heads (BORE ALERT), give tips and tricks for others in your field – that would come under informational videos, you could do funny videos parodying books…the list could go on for many virtual pages.
Tip #7 – Use YouTube for All Its Worth!
Don’t forget YouTube is the second biggest search engine, after Google.
Do tag searches and use the most searched for words in your description and title of your video.
Find another video in your category that has gone viral, and do a video reply to it. You do that by clicking in the response field and then a link pops up next to it that says “make a video reply” and enter the information there.
However, your reply will have to be approved by the video owner you’re replying to. So just like on any other social media site, make connections because if you know each other, you’re more likely to be approved. You can also make a reply to your OWN videos on your channel, which will lead viewers to your other movies.
Once you upload your video, did you know you can add links to your videos? It’s under “annotations”. Go here for more info on that.
Tip #8 – Call to Action
At the end of every video, add a call to action. Anything along the lines of:
Check out my other videos!
Visit my site for more info!
Subscribe to my YouTube channel!
And to that last point, I must thank Pat Flynn again for a recent new effort I’ve made with my videos. I created a 10 second call to action clip that I am now adding to every video, in hopes it’ll get people to subscribe to my channel. So far, it’s working like crazy, and by crazy I mean that in the one day since I put it up there, two people have subscribed. Since I had to take my old YouTube channel down and reupload it, losing all my view numbers and subscribers it’s now very new. So maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t.
But remember tip #1? I don’t mind failing a bunch of times in order to succeed once or twice.
I’m speaking at the American Library Association conference in New Orleans on June 26, 2011 to promote my forthcoming picture book, PRAIRIE STORMS. I’ve joined with nine other nonfiction children’s book authors to do a session, NonFiction Book Blast. Of course, I volunteered to do a video to promote the session. This was interesting because it’s a group book trailer, a twist on a trailer about one book.
Concept. The idea needed to be literary, yet open-ended enough to accommodate ten very different books. The “Streetcar named Discovery,” courtesy of my brother-in-law Harry, was perfect. It alludes to a famous piece of literature and gives the idea of a neighborhood exploration, which can be extended as needed.
Music. I tried out just sound effects of a streetcar, but that didn’t seem to work. I anticipated that the video would be two minutes, so looked for either a two-minute piece of music or something that could be looped. I loved this upbeat piano tune of Dixieland jazz, and it about a minute long and sounded good when looped.
Images. Of course, this was easy: I needed a shot of the New Orleans skyline and a streetcar, but easily found those on Flicker as images licensed with Creative Commons–see the credits at the end. After that, it was just the book covers. I debated about using pictures of the authors, too, but I wanted to stay under two minutes and thought the extra images would make it too long. For transitions, I used–of course–page turns.
So, here’s the result!
If you attend the ALA Convention, stop by and say, “Hi!”
If you’re not attending, please pass this along to someone who is.