Jeff Rivera: Create a Book Trailer on a Shoestring

Had I known my book sales would skyrocket from creating a book trailer of my novel, I would have done it a long time ago.

We live in a visual multimedia world and it is important to get with the times. People’s attention spans seem to have shortened and since we live in what I call the A.D.D. Generation, it is important to grab their attention about your book. To do that, you need to do something that will shock them or appeal to their need to be entertained.

With little money for advertising (virtually nothing) I knew that the bulk of my audience would need to come from online. I knew the potential for a mass of readers could come from the Internet. I just needed to find them.

First of all, you need to know exactly who your audience is. I know, I know, you say your book appeals to everyone, and I’m sure that’s true but what you need to do is focus your energy on one type of reader. Whether that’s classified by careers, age, beliefs, or something else. Close your eyes and imagine your reader. What does he or she look like? How old is she? What is her age?

If you’re writing a novel and you can’t figure it out, just ask yourself who your main characters are? They are most likely the same demographic that your market is. Even if your main character is a Hodgebodge from the Planet Neptune in the 25th Century. How old is Hodgebodge, oh it’s 400 years old? What is that in human years? Is it a he or she? It’s both? Well, then appeal to the feminine side because most booksellers say females make up the bulk of their sales.

My novel is a coming of age love story called Forever My Lady. It’s about a Latino juvenile delinquent that struggles to turn his life around while in prison boot camp. And although I knew the story was universal and could easily appeal to a cross-over audience, I knew I had to make sure my book trailer appealed to Latinos and not just any Latinos, teens or young adults and not just teen or young adult Latinos but urban young adult Latinos that were bilingual and most likely Chicano. Be as specific as you possibly can and appeal specifically to them.

I went to websites and message boards appealing to that group and studied them for awhile. What were they talking about? What music did they listen to? What did they like? Not like? And having come from a background of writing screenplays, I designed a cinematic movie web trailer for my book that would appeal to that demographic.

I wrote it out in a half page script form, more like a list of what shots go next. And since I did not have the funds to go out and shoot a movie, I knew that we would be using mostly still shots and music.

I hadn’t the foggiest idea how to do a book trailer, but I knew that it would need to be YouTube compatible so I put an ad on Craigslist in my area and other areas for someone to do a web media trailer. My budget was small so I let them know that right off the bat in the ad. I also let them know that I would provide a link to their company on the site and you know what? I must have had 50-60 responses overnight. I went through and checked out all the responses and finally chose one called that read my script and put it together. We did go back and forth several times until it was just right but within 3-4 days Jason Dedon of SKW Graphics had it completed.

Now I needed music. Top directors in the film industry often say that the soundtrack is 51% of the movie. I agree and I needed music that would appeal to my demographic. I really wanted to work with Latinos because it’s so important to give opportunities to groups that are under-represented. So I put an ad on a message board for one and I included a link to my book trailer. I got several responses. One already had the perfect music done and he emailed it to me. I sent it off to SKW Graphics and told them exactly what part of the music I wanted and within a few hours the entire book trailer was done and on my site.

The response from the public was unbelievable. It gave fans of my book something new to look at and new readers found it intriguing enough to read the first chapter, send the link to their friends, and buy the book. My sales for the novel have gone up over 30% since I put the book trailer on my site and I cannot recommend it enough.

Jeff Rivera

Jeff Rivera is the author of the award-winning novel, Forever My Lady. This self-published book recently sold to Warner Books. He also is available to design a movie web trailer for you. To find out more, visit him on the web: or email him at

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About John Kremer

John Kremer is author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, the Relationships Matter Marketing program, and many other books and reports on book marketing, Internet marketing, social media, and book publicity. -- .

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