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Book Video Preview Comparison Chart

Book Video Preview FAQ

What is a book video preview?

A video book preview (or trailer) is a short movie that promotes a book. These videos can be posted on websites, blogs and video sharing sites. They can be fun, little works of art in their own right, but in the end, they are commercials and are all about name branding. Use your book video on social media, blogs, in email newsletters and at book signings.

How long does it take to finish a trailer?

On average, trailers take 10-14 business days to complete. Trailers with voice-over may take longer in order to have the audio recorded. If the author questionnaire is not complete, trailers may also take longer to finish. Certain times of the year are busier than others. We try to keep you in the loop during all steps of the trailer creation. Should we feel that your trailer will take longer to complete, we will let you know. We work on a first come, first serve basis. But if you need your trailer for a certain deadline, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you.

What happens after I order a book video preview?

  • At check out, you will prompted to download a short but detailed questionnaire about your book. As soon as you fill this out and return it, one of our experienced producers will review your information and contact you within one (1) business day to confirm that we have all the information needed. If you have trouble downloading your questionnaire, please contact us at admin@castelane.com.
  • From your questionnaire, we will write a dynamic script that will hook viewers and sum up your book.
  • If you have chosen the voice-narration option, we will send the script to one of our professional actors. Voice actors have three (3) days to return the finished recording.
  • At this point, we pair the script with images (still and video) and music to create a first mockup. This mockup will be posted on an unlisted YouTube link for you to view. This link will not appear in public YouTube searches, but you can use it to have friends, family and colleagues give their opinions of the mockup. You will also be given instructions on how to mark the video for revisions.
  • Revisions will be completed within three (3) business days and another mockup will be posted for your review. Every Castelane package comes with at least two rounds of revisions.
  • When you have approved the final video, we will make it live on YouTube and share it on our social media sites. You will be given a link to a Dropbox to download your master file. This video is now yours to share with the world!

I didn't get a questionnaire at checkout. Where can I download it.

Click here to download your Video Preview Questionnaire.

Can I do my own voice recording?

Yes, but only if you have the capability of producing a quality sound product. If you want to use your own voice recording, we will need an audio sample from you along with the completed questionnaire. A voice recording from one of per professional voice talents costs $200. If you would like to record your own you can forego that cost, but there will still be a $50 fee for audio mixing.

Can I use my own images/music?

Yes. You can send us music or images for consideration in the trailer. All media must be ROYALTY FREE or you must have written permission from the copyright holder to use it. We will need to keep this permission on file. For more information on the importance of royalty-free, see: A Few Cautionary Words about Royalty-free.

Furthermore, if you shoot your own photos, remember that you will need a model release for all people in the photos. Some images, such as buildings or trademark logos, might also be copyright protected. Finally, we reserve the right not to use media if we find it inappropriate for the video. Choosing images is not easy. We need high resolution, striking pictures that leave room for text. Searching for images and music is included in the price of our trailers, so you may be better off giving us suggestions and letting us find the images for you.

Can I write the script?

Yes, you can write your own script. Keep in mind that a 60 second trailer has a max of 8 short lines (50-70 words maximum). Voice-over trailers can include more verbiage. If you decide to write the script, we will edit it to suit the video medium. We enjoy the back and forth collaboration with authors, so feel free to input as much or as little as you feel comfortable with.

Do I get to make revisions?

Yes, all packages include 2-3 rounds of revisions. But we want you to be happy with your trailer and we’ll go the extra mile to make sure your are. Once you have accepted your trailer and we have uploaded it to our various sites, there will be a fee for any extra revisions at this point.

How many trailers have you made?

We’ve been making trailers since 2008, when they were a relatively new promotional tool. Since then, we’ve made over 500 in all different genres. Want to see them all? We have a good chunk of them listed on our Youtube channel. Samples of various preview packages are also available on the individual package page.

Do you read the book before making the trailer?

No. we make too many trailers to be able to read each book. Instead, we have developed a comprehensive questionnaire for you, the author, to fill out. We have found that there is some advantage to coming at the book as an outsider. Instead of getting bogged down by details, we can pinpoint the most important aspects of the book and highlight these in the trailer. It is important that you take the time to properly fill out the questionnaire in order to give us all the information necessary to create the best promotional tool for your book. Should you feel that a complete reading of your book is necessary to create the trailer, we can make arrangements.

Where do you post the finished trailer?

When your trailer is complete we will post it on our YouTube channel. We also post a link to the trailer on our social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Google+). You will receive a master file to post it anywhere else. There are hundreds of sites to post your trailer. Everything from standard video sites to specialty sites for your genre/topic. Don't forget to upload it to your Amazon Author Central page!

How do I use a trailer to promote my book?

You should post them to YouTube, Facebook etc, but these sites are designed primarily for fun videos, not for promotion. We had one author ask why some trailers on YouTube get more viewers than others. That’s because some authors promote their trailers better than others. He said, “What? I have to promote my trailer too? I thought the trailer was supposed to promote me!” He’s right in one way, but wrong in another. YouTube is a huge site. You need to tell people how to find you in that din. You wouldn’t create a great TV commercial and then put it on at 3am when no one’s watching! The advantage to a video sharing site (I keep saying YouTube because it’s the best known, but there are many others), is that strangers surfing the net will stumble across your trailer. People who might never otherwise see your website or your book will get a glimpse of it. And it may only be a glimpse if your trailer doesn’t catch their attention.

But what if you have a newsletter and you want to invite people to see your trailer? Or if you participate in a chat group and want to show it off? You shouldn’t send them to a video sharing site. Send them instead to your own website, where they can watch the trailer and then immediately learn more about you and your books. Another way to use trailers is at book signings. You can bring a computer and have a series of trailers running. CD’s are relatively inexpensive. If you have a lot of trailers, you can put them all on one CD or DVD and hand them out to people at signings. Amazon's Author Central accepts videos. You can even use it as part of a social media advertising campaign. We’re continually amazed at the creative way that authors use their trailers. If you have an innovative marketing technique that involves your trailer, we’d love to hear about it.

What is royalty free?

Royalty free means the artist keeps his copyright but allows people to copy and distribute their work provided they are given credit — and only on the specified conditions. We use only royalty free media (images, video and music) in our trailers.

What does that mean to you, the author? It means peace of mind know that your trailer can be posted anywhere without risk of copyright infringement.

Just because artwork is free on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s free to use in your commercial project. As a producer of video previews for books, we often have authors send us images that they found through Google search, on Wikipedia or even images they shot themselves. We won’t use any of these without carefully considering the following:

  • Who took the picture or created the art/music?
  • Is the copyright holder willing to let the work be used for commercial purposes?
  • Can the media be altered?
  • Are there visible faces in the image that would require model releases?

Oftentimes, these questions can’t easily be answered, which is why we rely on stock media sites for most of our images and music. These sites do all the hard work for you. They demand excellence in their artists and keep copyright and model releases on file. Read more about the importance of Royalty Free media in my article A Few Cautionary Words about Royalty Free or at CreativeCommons.org.

Who owns the rights to my trailer?

When the job is complete, we send you a master file via Dropbox.com for uploading to any site. Under the Creative Commons License, this trailer is now yours. You may use it anyway you wish as long as it is not altered or resold. Alterations to the trailer can only be made with direct written permission from Castelane. For more information about the Castelane Creative Commons License, visit our Terms & Conditions page.

Do trailers sell books?

Considering the relatively low cost of making a trailer compared to other online promotions, we think it’s a good investment to make. We live in a multi-media world. People get their information from the internet and a good trailer can hook viewers across the globe in a way that no other advertising medium can. Recently, Facebook changed their algorithms to favor posts with video in their feeds. A book preview is a great way to take advantage of this trend and get noticed by your readers.

But do trailers really sell books? This is the big question and there isn’t really a way to test this. The only evidence we’ve had is anecdotal. Author, Mary Deal commented that after we posted each of her trailers to YouTube and other sites, she noticed a jump in her Amazon rankings (which comes from sales). Take a look at the references on our pages for comments from more authors on how their trailers helped to sell books. We’ve had several niche stores contact us to say they saw an authors trailers on YouTube and asked how they could stock their book. Certainly, a professional preview should be one tool in your book marketing toolbox.

Have more questions? Feel free to CONTACT US.