Marketing is, for most authors, the most difficult part of the job. Honestly, the first time a query required a marketing plan be submitted along with my book synopsis and sample chapters, I choked.
That was a long time ago. I've since added 6 years at a private marketing firm and another 3 as a marketing director at a nonprofit to my "day job" resume. I'm getting much better at the marketing part of being a writer. Just in time, too, because my first middle grade novel releases in the spring of 2022.
I've known since the first word was typed on the first draft of my middle grade novel that if—no, not if; when—I landed that book contract, the first thing I was going to do was invest in the production of a book trailer.
It's cliche, but true—timing is everything. Currently, one of my sons is a filmmaker with a local nonprofit production company. His company was not only able to offer a great price for the book trailer, they were also able to secure an animator who could do the animation portion as a nonprofit-priced add-on. My son, his coworkers, and the animator with whom they contracted are all graduates of the same fine arts school. Connections are equally as important as timing.
The book trailer will be a mere 30 seconds. A quick snippet to tempt the viewer with the tone and flavor, if you will, of my book. Just enough to pique curiosity and make the sale. Pre-sale, really, as the book trailer will be released with the pre-sale links ahead of the release date.
We were able to secure amazing local talent, including my mom who, despite Alzheimers, has a big personality—big enough for the big screen. The day of the shoot, we filmed three shots. We got mom as Mrs. Mildred Erdos; an amazing budding talent Sabine Langer as Danni; and the birdhouse that will feature the animated main character, Zahra.
Now the torch has been passed to the animator who is creating sketches of my main character.
A word of caution to my author peeps: always keep your written character sketches up-to-date. I made the mistake of sending the original character sketch to my son and his team. It wasn't until we received the initial drawings that I realized Zahra looked nothing like the picture in my head. I re-read the original character sketch. The animator did a great job sketching what I'd sent. However, the Zahra from the first draft looks completely different from the Zahra in the version (at least 7 drafts later) that sold. We literally had to go back to the drawing board after I updated description.
The decision to include animation means the production process will take months instead of weeks. We're on schedule to finish up in late February. Meanwhile, I have several spreadsheet pages of dozens of other marketing tasks in my marketing plan to keep me distracted until the final cut hits my inbox.
Here are some photos of the shoot with RhinoLeap Productions:.