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First write a book, then shoot a trailer to sell it

Published on : December 18, 2011
First write a book, then shoot a trailer to sell it

Kamini Mathai

CHENNAI: There's nothing like a well-made trailer to sell your movie. Or book, as writers and publishers have now discovered .

To market his first book, 'The Immortals of Meluha' , based on the life of Shiva, writer Amish Tripathi decided to create a trailer, just like the ones done for movies, complete with visual effects.

"The idea came from a friend who found the manuscript vivid and told me the book had a visual feel," says Tripathi , who put in the money for a trailer, which has a soundtrack by tabla maestro Taufeeq Qureshi. "Since I was not working on a big budget, we shot the actors against a green screen, added visual effects and then uploaded it on YouTube," says Tripathi.

The scene rapidly changed for the sequel, 'The Secret of the Nagas' , the second book in Tripathi's 'Shiva Trilogy' . "This time I had a publisher - Westland - and so could make a high-quality trailer. We hired a studio, managed some great special effects, it actually looked like a movie," says Tripathi.

The trailer, complete with haunting music, thunder and lightning, swoops through the heavens and shows the largerthan-life Shiva, the lone warrior , standing at the edge of a cliff. He throws his trishul across the skies and it lands on the title 'The Shiva Trilogy: Available in bookstores now' . The trailer was released across multiplexes to drum up interest in the book.

"We spend money only if we expect dramatic sales, like in the case of 'The Secret of the Nagas' ," says Gautam Padmanabhan , CEO, Westland Limited . Sales for the two books are reported to have crossed the 3,75,000 mark.

Lipika Bhushan, marketing head for Harper Collins India, says that the publishing house tries to create trailers for its bigger releases. "If we have the budget, we go on air, otherwise we create trailers for YouTube and retailing websites," says Bhushan, who adds that for C Y Gopinath's political-social satire 'The Book Of Answers' , Harper Collins created an animated trailer, which featured a man trying to get rid of a globe rotating around his head, only to have it replaced by a book. "The book features a similar scenario ," says Bhushan.

Trailers help sell books, say writers

Another writer, Ashwin Sanghi, is completely sold on the idea of creating book trailers.

"People in India have limited budgets, especially when it comes to books, and you have to do whatever it takes to get their attention. I think a 40-second trailer, along with the first chapter of the book, does a lot in terms of getting people to make up their mind if they want to read it," says Sanghi, who created trailers for his books 'The Rozabal Line' and 'Chanakya's Chant' .

"The visual medium is a powerful marketing tool and as writers we need to learn to use it," adds Sanghi. "You-Tube has changed the way you can market. Look at what happened with the song 'Kolaveri di' . One little clip and the song has gone viral," says Sanghi, who also created a music track for 'Chanakya's Chant' .

Sanghi worked with a composer to create a fourminute track of a Sanskrit chant, which was available online in the MP3 format. The soundtrack also featured on the video trailer of the book. "I spent around Rs 60,000 on the trailer and the track. Was it worth it? Well, we got 30,000 downloads of the chant and 20,000 hits on YouTube before the book released," says Sanghi . "I find that releasing a trailer helps create recall for your book," adds Sanghi, whose first book hit the 50,000 mark in terms of sales, while 'Chanakya's Chant' crossed a lakh.

Sanghi is now working on his third book. Most likely, it's coming to a theatre near you. click here


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