How to Create Buzz Before Opening Week(end)

  • Published in Film + Web

Today, the book “Ancestor” by Scott Sigler is available in stores from Crown Publishing. But that’s not enough. This author, a New York Times best-seller and pioneer of the podcast novel, is always on his toes for reaching new audiences, regardless of what publicity his publisher garners.

Pre-sales and first-week sales add to his count for climbing up the NYT best-seller charts, where moving up one rung to the next means quite a lot. The “Ancestor” blitz began months ago by building up anticipation. It’s finally available in hardback — after being a free podcast, mind you — but people have been talking and tweeting about this book for months.

One of several buzz generators that Sigler figured out with other books was the “Ancestor” book trailer, which I directed and FWD:labs produced. As publicist Areille Ford wrote in the article “Why Make a Book Trailer? Do They Work?,” a book trailer is “designed to get the buzz going.” Here is some of the feedback that the trailer received, amid all the buzz about the book itself:

  • io9: “Book trailers are always a bit like low-budget short films, but this trailer for Scott Sigler’s bio-horror film Ancestor relishes its exploitation movie cred. It’s flesh-rippingly awesome, and more than enough to get you primed for mad-science nastiness.”
  • The Creative Penn: “Scott has also created an awesome book trailer that is just like a movie trailer. Trailers are a great way to get attention from readers but also can be a way to attract a movie deal itself. Visual culture and YouTube is so ingrained in culture that a book trailer can convert people who might not go to bookstores into buyers. Trailers are also ‘evergreen’ marketing and get views daily. This is so much better than print advertising so it is worth spending time and effort on.”
  • David Moody: “There are book trailers and there are book trailers. This is a bloody excellent book trailer.”
  • Noel Tanti: “I admit I have never heard of Scott Sigler, however this trailer for Ancestor, his latest book, is awesome.”
  • Dread Central: “On June 22nd best selling author Scott Sigler’s new novel Ancestor hits store shelves from Crown Publishing, and to show off the cinematic, horror movie quality of the book, he’s created a trailer with blood, guns, guys, girls, and monsters! What more could you ask for?”
  • Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff: “I’ve seen book trailers before but this one is ridiculous! It looks like a movie already.”

Related, this is another growing opportunity for writers and screenwriters to work with sound and images to find new audiences online. Video can boost interest and draw attention for a literary or movie agent, if not a deal itself.

Director: Aaron Proctor
Writer: Scott Sigler
PJ Colding: Matt Hish
Software Magnate: Francis Dominic Olivieri
Dante: Montgomery Paulsen
Magnus: Jacob Holman
Galina: Dana Buchanan
Sara: Whitney Ullom
Sven: Nolan Mecham
Producer: P. James Keitel
Director of Photography: Aaron Proctor
CGI / Visual Effects: Kevin Capizzi
Editor: Jamie Surgener
Casting: Ashley George
Costume Design: Dana Buchanan
Make-up: A Kovacs
Make-up Effects: Ron Karkoska (Monster Effects)
Sound: Mike Weinstein
Prop Master: Dana Buchanan
Assistant Camera: Jackie Sutton
Gaffer: Jeff Stewart
Key Grip: Sean Griffith
Grip: Nick Kane
Music: “Prayers” by In This Moment (courtesy of Century Media)
Production Company: FWD:labs


Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site


This is a great trailer – makes me want to watch the movie.

But I can’t help but wonder what the budget was (or, if in-kind support, what a real budget for a trailer of this quality would be). I suspect it’s beyond what most publishers/authors could justify for book marketing.

But very effective for attracting movie agents/selling screen rights.

Jacqueline Windh #

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