Day 5 of the Muse Online Writers Conference
A book trailer is like a movie preview: it gives readers an idea of what the book is about. You can see the one I made for Little Shepherd at http://www.youtube.com/user/ccmalandrinos?feature=mhee#p/u/12/rA2KStzoCPo You can create a trailer using Windows Movie Maker or some other program, and then upload the trailer to YouTube or other video sharing sites. I have very basic software, so mine isn't complex. There's also http://www.onetruemedia.com/ which can help you create a trailer. Here is a professionally made trailer that one of my clients had made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fy_37Tf54dc
I've always been opposed to paying for something I could do myself. Would I like a nicer trailer for Little Shepherd? Yes. Am I willing to pay hundreds of dollars for one? No. Have I bought a book based upon a trailer? Yes. I've also requested a review copy of a book that I've seen a trailer for. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Virtual book tours (VBTs) take place over a certain amount of time: two weeks, a month, two months, etc. An author completes interviews and short articles (often referred to as guest posts) that will appear on a number of blogs during the length of the tour. Book reviews are also usually included in a virtual book tour. The main goal of a virtual book tour in the company's mind is to generate or increase an author's online presence, which can lead to sales. The main goal of a VBT in an author's mind is to generate sales. This can cause some disconnect if expectations aren't discussed ahead of time. Nothing guarantees sales. If handled correctly, a VBT will create exposure, which can lead to sales. I've had clients who sold books during their VBT. I know I did. Our company has had clients who met readers at in-store book signings as a result of their VBTs. We've even a client who had his books considered for film as a result of his VBT. He went on to work with A&E's Biography Channel.
You don't need to pay anyone to coordinate a virtual book tour for you. If you have the time, contact a bunch of bloggers and start planning one. I coordinated my own while planning tours for several others. But if you need help or don't have the time, VBT companies are there to help.
Reviews, we all want them and we all hope they end up being 5-star. Prior to blogs, writers had to depend on printed publications to review their books. Obtaining book reviews--and hopefully having them posted at Amazon, B&N and Goodreads is part of every writer's marketing plan.
I held one book signing for Little Shepherd. I spent 7 hours at our church's bazaar and tag sale, and I sold only 6 books (to people from the church that would have bought them anyway). No, I'm not hot to do this again, but I might try it at a store, just to see if I have greater success.
I've only touched the surface on most of these. Feel free to chime in with comments, questions, and concerns.