Todd Dombrowski, CEO of Book Candy Studios, is sympathetic to the many hats authors have to wear these days given that he's married to a USA Today bestselling author.
"Ten years ago, all you needed was a website. Now, it's social media, book blog tours, book signings, pr, street teams, prizes and web chats, just to name a few!"
A Creative Studio is Born
His path helping authors tell their story in one to two-minute video snippets began by accident. "I remember walking into my wife's office on her birthday back in 2007. She said she wished she had a trailer for her new novel."
Dombrowski at the time ran his own sales and marketing consulting firm working with technology start-up companies. He dove in and helped produce his first trailer for her book. Similar to a movie trailer, a book promo presents just enough of the story visually to entice a reader to want to buy the book, or as his company's tagline reads, “give readers a taste for more.”
Over the last five years, Book Candy Studios has evolved its voice and style much like authors do in the course of their writing careers.
"Our magic ingredient is we have an unfettered creative process," says Dombrowski, who takes pride in the collaborative spirit that he believes sets Book Candy Studios apart from other literary video-production houses.
"We don't charge per edit round and we don't micro-manage or cap how many images, video clips, or effects go into the production of the trailer. This frees us and the author to work together to find the emotional voice of the piece that represents the author's vision and speaks to readers. Oh, and have some fun, too!"
The process of creating a digital pallet or lightbox is time consuming, especially if you are sifting through thousands of images to find that 'diamond in the rough' that fits the trailer perfectly. "Authors need to be writing, not searching for photos for their trailer," he says, adding that more time is spent scouring for music than images. "I'm a big believer that music is more important in trailers because it speaks emotionally to the viewer."
Promotion Advice to Authors
So, what is Dombrowski's advice to anyone seeking to get their book exposed to the mass market? "Always align your book promotion to consumer behavior," he says.
That means don't rely on your author website as your main portal for selling books (it’s more of a post-sales tool to interact and connect with your readers); rather, focus on sites that book lovers troll like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Book, and Goodreads for reviews.
"Getting a book sold is 85 percent word of mouth," says Dombrowski. He believes reviews from real readers also spur sales.
These days, Dombrowski is turning his attention to the escalating issue of book piracy. He considers this a property rights issue for writers, and observes that the worst instances of this outlaw practice originate in China, Russia, Malaysia and Indonesia. He hopes this year to educate 500 authors through an author self-defense class on how to fight back.
He also helps authors publicize their works on his company’s Facebook page by hosting "Open Book Fridays" where authors can post a short blurb about their book.I'm impressed with the quality of the trailers I've seen from this Georgia-based creative start-up. I like the fact that the last thing you see on Book Candy trailers is the author's name, not the company that produced the piece.
Book Candy Studios also is the only creative agency I know of that offers a one-year window to do two free upgrades. That means authors can make two updates to their trailer at no charge -- pretty compelling since it significantly adds to the shelf life of the video if you can add a blurb that your book is on a bestseller list or has made "Pick of the Week" by Publisher's Weekly.
Check out these Book Candy trailers, and judge for yourself if they make you want to add these titles to your cart on Amazon.
Jeaniene Frost – Urban Fantasy
Alexandra Hawkins - Historical Romance
Richard Bard - Mystery Suspense
E.G. Foley - Children's/YA
Bri Clark - Paranormal Romance