For authors and publishers, competing in the modern marketplace is a challenge, to say the least. The creative and industrious human mind is generating thousands of products everyday, and for any particular work to rise up above the masses, a clever approach to online advertising is a must. While the Internet has leveled the playing field for many self-publishers, only the savviest of players are generating any profits.
Story promos can reach millions of online viewers with zero advertising dollars if presented properly. Movie studios are thrilled with the success that their trailers are having on the Internet. Viewers search them, download them, share them, critique and rate them – and then, most likely, buy a ticket for the film. Trailers are the number one reason why people go to see movies, which is why the studios will spend up to $400,000.00 to produce an effective one.
Story promos are similar to movie trailers in that they utilize audio/visuals, titling and special effects. The tricky part is in the visuals. The power of the printed page lies within the simple aspect that the human mind assembles the imagery. Even though the writer crafts a vivid description of settings and detail, it’s the mind of the reader that paints the scene. To test this concept, read a screenplay and then have a friend read it as well. Afterward, compare your description of the characters to your friend’s description. You’ll probably discover major differences. This is because a good screenplay doesn’t describe details like hair color, eye color, height, fashion sense, etc. unless it is relevant to the plot – that’s the casting directors job. You and your friend will fill in the blanks as you see fit and thereby make it easier to relate to the characters. So the challenge with creating a pleasing story promo is to not reveal the appearance of any main characters. If you do, the readers are stuck with those images, which may conflict with how they believe the characters should look.
Just as Hollywood uses entertaining trailers to hook viewers into seeing a movie, it’s important to realize the purpose of a story promo is to get people to buy the book. Many story promos today try to squeeze in more info than is necessary. Only friends and family will sit through a trailer longer than a minute – and perhaps competitors, just to see what you did right and what you did wrong.
The key is to choose the aspect of what makes your work unique and then present it fast and furious in an informative, yet entertaining way.