Episode 66: Writer Marketing Toolbox – Trailers and Short Films

On October 23, Kasie and Rex welcomed Thaddeus Jones into the studio. Here are the show notes:

Theme for the day

Alternate Marketing for your Book


  • Thad Jones and filming book trailers
  • How does multi-media content help you sell?
  • Book trailers are more or less popular now, but why?
man holding clapper board
Photo by Martin Lopez on Pexels.com

Segment 1

Thad and Fanatik Productions focus on storytelling through images. Learn more about Fanatik here. 

Fast Facts about Thad:

  • Teaches filmmaking at Midlands Technical College
  • Leads 1 Million Cups entrepreneur meet-up (9 a.m. Wednesdays)
  • Married with children, wife is an avid reader but he is not!
  • Loves horror movies

Get people interested enough to leave the screen and read the book. Don’t want to muddy the reader’s version of the narrator so we typically do these stories without dialogue. Have so far done three book trailers and two of them were never paid for so they went away.

The process: Hire actors, build a script without dialogue, decide on locations, schedule, shoot, edit, release.

Kasie’s book

Rex’s book

Segment 2

What is it like to take a film class with Thad? Technical stuff first, and then a focus on storytelling, where how and when to move the camera. Convey what you’re meaning to say to an audience without being too obvious.

Basic curriculum is 6 week class; certificate is 9 week.s Result is “feel comfortable producing a short film.”

Book trailers are two minutes or less. Distributed through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and on buying platforms (added as a marketing key picture on Amazon).

What about for horror or science fiction novels? Would that be a high level of production?

“Costuming doesn’t really sell horror. It’s the unknown and unseen things that sell horror.” Thad says the mystery is the better skill in filmmaking.

Then Kasie thought we were going to break but we didn’t and she asked Thad to quickly fill a minute about whether or not there are festivals and contests for the book trailer. He said yes and there are fees associated with entries. So think about building that into your budget.

Segment 3

Building your budget for a book trailer. Will the festival show it? You want people’s eyeballs on the work and have a talk-back session on it. So know what the festival is and whether you’ll get what you want out of it. Thad says he tries to put $300-400 away for an entry fee to festivals and contests. 

Overall budgeting items to consider: hire actors? Film on location? Costumes or make-up? Set design or props? Travel? Editing and music royalties? Camera?

Video as a marketing tool. Build the full plan, have a strategy — break it up into multiple segments and lead the viewer through a follow-the-story scenario with the conclusion in the book.

The OCD culture has trained people — if it moves, they stop. Every frame has to be engaging. Every image is a story. Get them to stop, continue watching, then want to know more.

Everyone’s looking for something different. So what is your audience looking for?

Let’s talk about who your core audience is and what they’re associated with on Instagram and Twitter and then try to align your trailer with those things. 

The script is generally an excerpt or a small scene from the overall work. With Kasie’s trailer, we worked on the theme and the sense or feel of what we thought this narrator was experiencing. That feeling, we thought, would compel people to want to experience the book.

Segment 4

Thad says work with the authors to do one of two things: 1) highlight a segment of the book that’s pivotal, or 2) develop a feel for the book, the world that’s been created in the book and make people want to be in that world.

Very little written dialogue or voice over work, mostly the visual storytelling.

Deliver on the promise of your book — despite length, we want the “world” to be accurate.

What’s next? Feature films and growing the short film book trailer work with authors who want to do multiple books and marketing for those. Multiple media projects here locally and regionally.

Ready to support Write On SC? Go to Patreon.com/WriteOnSC to become a patron!


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