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Behind the Book Trailer II

Case Study Romance: Rite of Passage


Rite of Passage

First-time romance author Kevin Symmons created an evocative "mini-movie" book trailer for his novel, Rite of Passage.

The Wild Rose Press
A video book trailer can be an effective element of a book marketing and publicity campaign. An appealing video trailer is easy to share (on YouTube or other sites) with potential readers of your book. Even better, it’s easy for those who view the trailer to share with others who they feel might enjoy it or find it informative.

Kevin V. Symmons produced a trailer for his book, Rite of Passage, a romance novel with magical elements. The trailer combines live action with animated still images and animated text to create a mysterious mood, while the “teaser” text intrigues the reader by laying out an enticing bit of the plot (see for yourself; the link to the video is at the end of the article).

Symmons answered questions about the thinking that went into his book trailer’s development and how the plan — and the budget — changed during the execution.

Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Kevin. What made you decide to produce a book trailer for Rite of Passage? Was it your idea or did Wild Rose Press [the book's publisher] ask you to do it?
Several bookstore owners and librarians told me they do not have time to scan through all the new releases and use trailers as a quick, simple method way to find new material.

So, the idea to do it basically came out of market research — your asking around to see what helps get a book into bookstore and libraries.
Yes. Also, many of my friends — both traditional and self-pubbed — had done this and got good feedback. So, I went for it!

Who came up with the concept?
I did. Several of my writing friends had done trailers so I jumped into the water. I did the concepting and the storyboarding for my trailer and followed my book’s story line.

What role did your publisher play in the developing the trailer? Did they weigh in? The Wild Rose Press loved the idea but (as you might guess!) gave me no money for its production or technical resources. But they do support it.

That’s the answer I’ve heard most often—publishers love video book trailers, but often don’t want to pay for them. So let’s talk a bit about paying for the production of the trailer. What was your budget?
I originally targeted $1,000, but…

You spent more.
Many low-budget trailers I saw felt canned. So there was more cost.

There’s your market research, again — you looked at other trailers. Of course, if you’re not getting some or all of the video production work done by friends who are pros or who are very accomplished, there’s a correlation to budget and the type of trailer you can do. You found that out.
I used a professional videographer who had come recommended by my photographer and had done work for Cape Cod Writer's Center. We ended up being Spielberg and Lucas and blew the original budget number! We made this like a mini-movie. Live actors, live location shoots at an elegant horse farm on Buzzards Bay... the works!

So it was a little bit like that old tale, Nail Broth—you start off modestly and you just keep adding to make it a little better, and a little better…
Yes. The production of the book trailer took on a life of its own. We used a real championship equestrian instructor for the riding scenes and a local girl who was her lookalike for the "witch/moon" scenes. We went way overboard, scouting locations and people, etc. I could never have imagined how great this process was and I was really happy with it, and lucky to have [had the additional money] to spend on it.

Okay, I have to ask—how much more did you spend? What was the bottom line?
We spent nearly double what I'd initially budgeted—almost $2,000.

Well, you got a lot of quality and value for that price! Overall, what do you have to say about producing an online trailer for your book?
Rite of Passage is my first book and I think the trailer has made a big difference in it’s publication. It was a great experience.

View the Rite of Passage book trailer video on Kevin Symmons’ website.

If you’re considering creating a video trailer for your own book, read:

The basic elements you need to produce a book trailer

Tips on producing an effective book trailer

About the book trailer production details for a an illustrated book and a cookbook.

For lots of great information about video production in general, visit About.com's video production site.

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