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Pure Imagination Enterprises' The Magic Christmas Ornament Book Trailer Runs in Theaters

Thursday, November 14, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Christopher Locke
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Still from The Magic Christmas Ornament book trailer and IBPA member author publisher Jim Barbato holding a copy of the book.

Book marketing can be one of the most daunting tasks for independent publishers, so IBPA is always looking for ways to support members in their marketing efforts. We thought it was a clever idea when IBPA member Pure Imagine Enterprises shared with us that they would be running their book trailer for The Magic Christmas Ornament in theaters across the U.S., so we asked Founder and author publisher Jim Barbato (the book is co-written by his daughter Victoria Barbato and illustrated by Joe Huffman) to share with the IBPA community the details of how they coordinated that plan. (A 30-second version of the book trailer will show in theaters, but a 60-second version can be viewed here).

IBPA: How did you come up with the idea to show your book trailer in movie theaters?

Jim Barbato (JB): It actually came to me in a local cinema some time ago. I was watching a G-rated movie and thinking about the children’s book I’d been writing for three years. As I watched the “Coming Attractions” trailers for films, it dawned on me that the stories on the screen weren’t that much different from my book. And that the cinema was a “captive audience” for promoting a new story.

Later, as the book took shape, when I saw Joe Huffman’s hyper-realistic illustrations, they seemed almost alive. This was the start of an intuitive leap from static pictures to animation. AuthorBytes, which developed the book’s website, explained that book trailers were increasingly popular in the publishing industry, and produced an amazing video, on a par with Hollywood trailers. Putting it in actual cinemas seemed like a natural extension of the book trailer concept.

IBPA: How did you decide how many and in which movie theaters to air the trailer?

JB: We wanted geographic diversity across the country, especially in high traffic urban areas. We found an article titled, “50 Best Christmas Towns You’ve Got to Add to Your Travel Bucket List,” published by National CineMedia compared this list with their network of cinemas, and came up with a list of six theaters in (or near) the same towns. For example, we added Lincoln Square 13 in NYC, since it’s one of the most prominent cinemas in America.

Still of The Magic Christmas Ornament book trailer airing in a movie theater

Here’s the full schedule:

11/1 – 11/21

  • Movie Tavern Trexlertown: Allentown, Pennsylvania

  • Solomon Pond Mall 15: Marlborough, Massachusetts

  • Stonington 10: Pawcatuck, Connecticut

11/22 – 12/12

  • Lincoln Square 13: New York, New York

  • Cape Cod Mall 12: Hyannis, Massachusetts

  • Monterey 13: Monterey, California

IBPA: What is the general cost of this process?

JB: As the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” The production cost of a book trailer can vary immensely, from a modest homemade video on YouTube, to the kind of slick Hollywood-like trailers that ‘name’ publishers produce, which can cost $5,000 or more. As a general rule of thumb, getting a trailer aired in an actual cinema costs about $30 per screen per week. But keep in mind that many theaters today have 10 screens, or more!

For our budget, we wanted the story of The Magic Christmas Ornament to become a tradition for families, as it already is for mine. The hardback, printed by Bookmasters, was designed to become a family heirloom: a full-color, large format casebound book with endleaves, 120-pound paper and brilliant color on every page. We want to give families a new tradition that they can pass on for generations to come. It’s not cheap, but the end justifies the means. I felt validated when the Kindle edition outpaced A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens on November 1.

IBPA: Were you involved with the process of creating the book trailer?

JB: I picked the music myself from And I was listening on speakerphone in the control room of the studio when the voiceover was recorded. I’ve been personally involved in every step of the book’s publication, like a father raising a child he loves. I’ve been fortunate to involve top people in the publishing industry at every turn, but ultimately the entire project has been to realize my personal vision of giving families like mine cherished holiday traditions.

IBPA: In terms of where you focus your book marketing, why did you decide that producing a book trailer and airing it in movie theaters was the best way to get the word out about this book?

JB: I believe that in today’s world, a book trailer is essential. But the cinema campaign is only one piece of the marketing plan. We also used a Kindle giveaway program managed by Rachel Thompson of Bad Redhead Media, that boosted the eBook to #1 rankings in two different genres. Press outreach by MediaMasters has produced scores of articles, in print and online. An article by “Grandma’s Coffee Cup,” was a giveaway of the hardback and the ornament depicted in the story, and it got more than 20,000 entries!

IBPA: Can you share some advice for other independent publishers who are interested in airing their book trailers in movie theaters?

JB: Keep in mind that a movie screen is huge, compared to a portable device. That means you need a super high-resolution video file. Timing and targeting are also crucial; you want your trailer in the right cities at the right time of year, based on your audience. And of course, you need a realistic budget.

IBPA: For other publishers who have books with holiday themes, this book is about Christmas, so will your marketing stop after the holidays?

JB: Not at all. We understand that any new business, whether a book or not, takes years to “grow legs.” 2019 is our first year. Pure Imagination Enterprises LLC isn’t a short-term business. We expect to expand and refine our offerings long-term. With IBPA’s help at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, we are already talking to publishers in Europe about translation deals in 2020. And who knows? We could be talking to Disney about a movie in the years to come!

Pure Imagination Enterprises' The Magic Christmas Ornament by authors James and Victoria Barbato

IBPA: The Magic Christmas Ornament is sold with an actual ornament. Can you talk about this?

JB: The full collection includes the ornament depicted in the book, “from Santa’s very own tree,” plus a stunning gift box to make a truly memorable holiday gift. The book is also available individually from BCH Fulfillment & Distribution.

IBPA: How has it been beneficial to you to be a member of Independent Book Publishers Association?

JB: IBPA has been central to our marketing programs. The IBPA Independent magazine alone is worth more than the price of membership! The IBPA NetGalley program garnered several good reviews before the book was even printed. The Frankfurt Book Fair display brought in an inquiry about translation rights in Europe. We expect to participate in more IBPA programs in 2020.

IBPA: Do you have any new books coming out soon?

JB: This is my first book, after more than three years of work. I think I’ll wait to see how it does before starting a new one! But there is one possible update for 2020: a new ornament that actually glows like the one in the story!

IBPA: Thank you, Jim, for sharing your story and marketing tips with the IBPA community!

Click here to read more about Pure Imagination Enterprises’ The Magic Christmas Ornament.

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