Posted in blog, blog tour, guest post

Guest Post By Anna Mocikat: Are Book Trailers Useful or a Waste of Money?

Trailers have been around forever in the movie and TV industry. The big studios spend a lot of money on their creation, and even indie films have to come with trailers if they want to succeed in their niche markets. Video game studios also put a lot of effort into the production of trailers, which often show scenes exclusively shot for them.

With the rise of YouTube and social media, trailers have become even more important for the entertainment industry than they used to be in earlier decades.

So, why are book trailers still such a rare phenomenon? And why are many of them so poorly made?

Many indie authors consider the (often costly) option of a trailer for a marketing tool as a waste of money––which is understandable. A good custom-made trailer can cost $300-$500, but of course, there’s no limit on how much can be spent on them. Big publishers often hire marketing companies specialized in TV commercials and easily pay between 10k-50k to advertise the latest books of their bestselling authors.

Others argue that a trailer makes no sense for a book, because, after all, you’re supposed to want to read the book, not watch it like a movie.

I have to admit that ten years ago when book trailers were still a new phenomenon, I thought the same and was therefore surprised when my publisher asked me to have a trailer produced for my book.

However, I completely changed my mind on making trailers since then because of the success of mine.

I have come to believe that book trailers are a valid marketing tool for various reasons.

First of all, our daily life has become much more visual-oriented than ever before. More people are watching YouTube videos nowadays than reading books (sadly). To convince such an audience to give a book a chance, it’s a good move to offer them visual impulses they understand. This is only possible with a trailer. Marketing experts know that moving images are way more powerful than single images, which is why we see short clips as ads for all kinds of products in our feeds on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Secondly, if big publishers are willing to spend thousands of dollars on a single trailer for a single book, then it must be worth it. Big publishers never spend money on anything for no reason. They have stone-cold marketing experts who constantly evaluate which strategy is useful and which isn’t. So if it works for the big publishers, then it can also work for Indie and small press authors.

All that being said, I would strongly advise keeping away from making a trailer yourself if your only experience with videography is shooting little videos with your phone and posting them on Facebook.

It’s the same as with book covers. Every book marketing guru will advise you to hire a skilled cover designer instead of trying to photoshop something by yourself. Don’t. Just don’t.

It’s similar with trailers. A bad trailer is counterproductive. It quickly can turn out boring or look amateurish, which will likely scare potential readers off instead of convincing them to buy your book.

The same can be said about so-called “generic” trailers. If you do some research, you will quickly find people willing to make you a trailer for $50-$100. As so often in life, you will experience a simple truth: you get what you pay for. Your trailer will turn out dull, soulless, and/or feature footage and images everyone has seen a hundred times.

If you decide to have a trailer for your book, find someone who will put effort and creativity into it, and who is willing to create something unique for you––as unique as your book, and transporting its essence visually.

There are two kinds of trailers I would recommend:

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Posted in novel, novella, short story, story consultation, writing, writing advice

Free Short Story, Novella, Novel Consultation Offer

Image from Pixabay

I love stories. I love writing stories. I love reading stories. Why? Because there’s nothing quite like that feeling of rightness and satisfaction after finishing a great story.

It’s an even better feeling knowing when I write such a story. Yeah, that’s pretty awesome.

But for me, there’s an even better feeling of accomplishment. And that’s helping other writers feel pride in a story well written, and even helping them get it published.

That’s one of my goals for the new year, to help lift up other writers so they too can feel pride in a job well done. So they (you) can realize the dream of becoming a published author, or just feel freaking amazing for writing and completing that story that’s been a haunting obsession.

I know from experience that writing is not always a clear cut path. Doubt and indecision can be a constant plague. Sometimes even making us question our work, and if we should continue to write. The odds may not seem in our favor, so why even bother?

I want to help alleviate some of that doubt by offering my time and experience. I want to help those seeking guidance in their story, novella, or novel. So on a first come, first serve basis, I am offering free story consultation. It doesn’t matter the length or genre, I want to read your work, and then let you know what I think.

I will give you an honest opinion of how it reads, feels, and my reactions for the over all story. I can also give you an idea of what sort, if any, editing the story will need to complete it. I can also give guidance on steps to take to self-publish, if that’s your goal. Or give tips on how to prep your work for submission to a traditional publisher.

This is just an overview, a start to get you pointed in the right direction, a pat on the back for the parts of writing that are working for you, and a stop sign for the parts that need a little extra help.

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Posted in beginning writer, getting published, how to write, learning about writing, the writing journey, writing, writing advice, writing better, writing mentorship

Offering Free Writing Mentorship

Image from Pixabay

I always make an effort to be thankful, but it’s this time of year that really reminds me of how grateful I am. Each year I find more and more blessings in my life to celebrate and be excited for. This year I have been contemplating my journey writing, and all it has done for me.

How many years has it been since that journey started? I honestly can’t say with any certainty. I started writing as a teenager. I still have some of those crazy stories in a notebook somewhere. I stopped for a good while, but picked it back up in young adulthood. I believe since then, it’s been about fourteen years.

In that time, I have written many, many short stories (a few of them published). I wrote several novels (one of them published). I dived into journaling pretty hardcore (and even published one of those too). I also started this blog that’s been going for about six or seven years.

Besides the physical production of writing, the act of writing has immensely transformed the landscape of my life from the inside out. It’s allowed me to dive deep into myself and the world around me. It’s allowed me to stretch myself and expand into possibilities I once thought impossible.

I would not be the person I am today without writing, and I am very thankful for that. I love who I am. I love the confidence I have built in myself and my writing ability. I love how much knowledge I have accumulated about writing and the writing life/community.

This has given me a new appreciation for myself, my journey, and how much experience I have in writing. And I can’t help but think that perhaps there are people out there who might benefit from some of what I know.

So I have decided to start a journey of becoming a writing mentor. I want to help others who might be beginning their writing journey, or who might be feeling a little lost in their writing journey and need some guidance, or who just needs a sounding board to bounce off story and character ideas.

Here are some writing, editing, design experiences that I have had…

  • I’ve submitting work to traditional publishers (several short stories published).
  • I also have two books I’ve self-published.
  • I’ve helped several fellow writers publish their works traditionally, and a few who self-published too, including my eleven year old son.
  • I ran a writing critique group for two years.
  • I am running a writing blog, and maintaining multiple writing social media accounts.
  • I edited and published articles for Psych Central for four years.
  • I was a slush reader for Apex Magazine for four years.
  • I have a graphic design degree, and have designed many book covers for myself and others.
  • I also have experience formatting books for ebook and print.

Here are some specific things I can do for you…

  • Help with story and character development
  • Help with starting, planning, and finishing a novel or novel series
  • Help with submitting to a traditional or indie publisher
  • Help with getting into self-publishing, which includes cover designing and manuscript formatting
  • Help with starting up a blog
  • Overall guidance for how to be a writer and how to setup a good writing routine
  • Be a sounding board for story and character ideas
  • Help with world building and fleshing out story settings
  • Offer helpful story critiques for finishing up a specific writing project
  • Offer support and advice for moving out a writer’s block or staying motivated to write

Right now I have three spots available. So if you are interested, or know someone who is interested in taking advantage of this limited time free mentorship, then please feel free to contact me.

When contacting me, just let me know what sort of help you are looking for. Once you contact me, we can then determine if we want to keep emailing or do a video chat, or a combination.

My wish is to help keep the writing spirit alive in those who wish to travel the path of the writer. Writing itself is a lonely task, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. So if you think you are in need of a writing companion to help you cover some ground in your journey, please reach out and let’s see if I will be a good fit for your needs.

Posted in editing, inspiration, inspirational, publication, publishing, the writing journey, the writing process, writing, writing journey

A Writer’s Wings Cover Reveal!

I’ve been keeping mostly to myself this summer because it’s been an especially busy one this year. I’ve been packing to get ready for our move, which should happen in a few weeks. We are in closing stages now on our home in Florida. I’ve also been doing a lot of self-reflection work to help clear myself to be more beneficial as a Reiki healer and to be a more balanced person over all. The other major project I’ve been working on is a book that is near and dear to my heart, mostly because it is a large part of my heart–it is one of my very special journals that I’ve been writing in for quite some time.

A Writer’s Wings took years to write, but it was done little bits at a time as any journal is written. I spent a large part of April, May, and June of this year transferring my journal entries into a digital file. Then I spent July working on formatting, layout, and illustrations to place in the book to make it a little more eye-catching. I’ve been working on the cover off and on since April, but it’s only been the last week I’ve buckled down to get it finished.

I have a 11×17 image of the butterfly you see across the front of the cover hanging over my desk in my office. I created the graphic years ago, because I decided I needed something very personal and meaningful to inspire me as I wrote. In fact, as I was brainstorming cover ideas for Writer’s Wings I kept looking up at that image over my desk. After a while a light came on in my befuddled brain and I realized the image was exactly what I needed for the cover, since Writer’s Wings is all about inspiration.

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Posted in Blood Feud, Emperors of Ethia, Other Writing Stuff, The Writer's Toolbox, the writing journey, the writing process, write, writing

My NOT Marketing Plan

I know I’m not the only one who can claim to have a very busy life. Everyone is busy these days. No one has time for any extras, and it’s just plan impossible to squeeze in time for things you really, really don’t want to do. I wear many hats as a wife, mom, homeschool teacher, friend, Reiki healer, writer, sometimes employee, and a very sometimes blogger. Lately, I’ve added another job as packer and mover with our family’s relocation to Florida in the next few weeks. I really don’t have time for anything extra, especially for something I don’t want to do and something that’s most assuredly going to add more stress to an already stress-filled life.

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know I recently published my first novel last month. Most writers would be marketing their little hearts out and plastering the internet and anything else they can think of to get the word out about their new book! And why shouldn’t they? It was hard work and it’s time to reap the benefits. But I’m not like most people, I already got the “benefit” out of writing my book. I finished a really hard and tough project (well the first book of it anyways) and damn if that didn’t feel freaking awesome! If I actually sell some copies here and there… bonus!

But I did not become a writer to make money, and I do not and will not get to a point where I rely on book sales to supplement my income (that’s what my hard working husband is for–– love you Hun!). If I need money, I’ll find some other way to acquire it. That being said, it would be really, super awesome to at least earn back my investment in self-publishing my book, and I certainly appreciate anyone who has helped and will help to contribute to that goal!

I know there are a lot of hard working writers out there who do rely on writing as an income and my hat is off to them, but partway through my writing “career” I realized that’s not for me. I can’t write that way. I have to be one hundred percent free to be me when it comes to my writing and that means not limiting myself in anyway or stressing myself out over something I don’t want to do. And marketing is something I most certainly do not want to do.

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