Thursday, April 01, 2010


Okay, provided I haven't screwed something up at the eleventh hour (literally; it's nearing midnight while I'm typing this), The Book Trailer Project is ready for beta testing!

What is The Book Trailer Project? It's the code-baby I've mentioned in my last two posts; I've built a website that will show viewers either a book's cover art and blurb or its book trailer. Viewers are then asked to report in a month later and say whether they bought any of the books whose material they browsed. From that, I'll calculate statistics to see whether book trailers are better or worse at selling books than a more traditional advertisement.

But first, we have fun! If you're willing, I could use some help beta testing the site during the next week or so. I've already loaded up material for four fake books on the site, and once you've set yourself up with a login profile, you can browse that material and react to it.

You can also pretend to be an author and make up some fake books of your own. Silliness is encouraged! I'll explain how to do this in more detail later in this post.

First, here's how you get to the website. Go ahead and dive in if you don't want to wait through me explaining things; everything should be relatively self-explanatory.

The Book Trailer Project

For those of you still reading, the beta testing of the site will feature an accelerated time schedule.

Normally, a viewer is prompted say whether they bought any of the books after one month. You, however--wily beta-tester that you are--will get your prompting email one day after you browse the index. No, that doesn't give you adequate time to buy your imaginary books, but that's okay; just lie! just click buttons at random and test how things work. If you see something that seems glitchy, either leave me a comment on this post, or email me at webmaster "at" jjdebenedictis "dot" com to detail what you saw.

Likewise, if you're pretending to be an author and loading up a mock book to the site, try some kooky things and see what happens. If you get a response that seems problematic, again, please drop me a comment to let me know.

You're also welcome to suggest ways to improve the site, although given how badly I've fried my brain on this already, I only promise to implement the easy things!

How to Log In to the Site and Browse Content:

Click the following link to go to the home page, then follow the instructions to set yourself up with a login profile. After that, it's all a matter of clicking happily away at whatever strikes your fancy.

The Book Trailer Project

Once you have viewed material on the index page, and especially after you reply to say which books you "bought", you might find it interesting to go look at the site's statistics. These are what will eventually tell us how effective book trailers are at selling books.

How to Load Up a Fake Book to Amuse Us All With:

You need to set up a login profile first, but once you have one and have logged in to the site, click on the button at the top of any page that reads "Author Application". You'll be faced with a big form to fill out.

Don't panic!

You'll be asked to fill in your pen name and your book's title and genre first.

Next, you want to fill in your book trailer's URL (web address). Find a YouTube video or something similar that you think makes a good trailer for your fake book, then copy-and-paste in its address. There's space for a second trailer's URL too, but it's optional.

Okay, now you're asked for the URL of your book's cover art. Just find an amusing or appropriate image online and post the web address for it into the correct space.

The next thing is the book's blurb. This could be a piece of mock back-flap text or a made-up (and juicy!) passage from your fake book. Be creative!

The Sale Page URL comes next, which I would normally use to check the book's publisher, but you don't need that. Put any valid URL in there; I'll just ignore it when it hits the moderator queue anyway.

Next, you can put down your author website if you please. Go ahead and add your real blog or website's address, but this is an optional field.

Almost done! Now you pick a release area for your fake book, and click the "I'm Ready to Preview My Content" button. After reviewing your content, you can submit it to the moderation queue.

Once I've seen it, I'll either accept or reject your content (or I can ban you from the site, too. MWAHAHAHAHA!), and you'll be sent an email telling you whether I think your fake book is a hottie or a nottie.

If I accept it, your fake book will go up on the site's index and everyone can enjoy looking at the promotional materials you assembled for it.

The lifespan of a book in the beta version of the site is also accelerated. Normally, the author would have their materials up for six months. During this testing period, however, the fake books will only be up for one week. At the six-day point, you'll be sent an email reminding you to look at your book's statistics before they disappear. On day seven, your fake book evaporates without notice, and we all quiver with existential terror over the question of whether it was ever really there at all.


I hope I've covered everything; now I encourage you to please pop by the site and play rough with it. Any glitches or issues you discover, please let me know of by either leaving a comment on this post or by sending an email to webmaster "at" jjdebenedictis "dot" com.

Thanks for your help, everyone! I really appreciate any assistance you are willing to give.

Author website: J.<br /><br />J. DeBenedictis

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