Skip to content

Should you create a book trailer?

December 3, 2011

A book trailer might be a mini commercial for a book or more editorially oriented, like a short piece of programming. Should you spend your time and money creating one?

It’s important to remember that, as an author, you’re part of the media business. You are competing for attention with artists from all fields—music, film, gaming to name just a few. Your book trailer needs to stand on its own merit as persuasive and engaging. Don’t sweat it if you think this is beyond your reach. Videos are not for everyone and your book’s success does not depend on having created one. But if you have a touch of the showman or showwoman in you, along with a filmic message that has the potential to go viral, then by all means put all that to good use.

Here is an example of an effective editorial book trailer for Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls, one that capitalizes on the author’s storytelling skills as well as on her very interesting story:

Here are two more that are more commercially oriented, from novelists Douglas Clegg and Brad Meltzer for Inner Circle (below.)

You may rightly say these are big time books and authors and you don’t have the resources they did. But you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a video. Here’s a good example—not from an author. (And we should always be looking for inspiration from our colleagues in other fields.) Kevjumba (Kevin Wu) created a series of home-spun videos about his college and home life that are utterly engaging and which he is now parlaying into a media career. Here’s one:

The takeaway: With pointed humor, this lighthearted little video exposes cultural and racial stereotypes. (Take a look at the rest of his video library—the ones with his dad are a hoot—and you’ll see that all his videos are inexpensively produced.) What works is Wu’s ability to tell stories with verve and humor. He’s had 5.2 million views for the above video alone.

Before you commit to creating a book trailer, have a plan for what you’ll do with it. You can post it to your website or blog, post it to YouTube, get your publisher to post it on your book’s product page on Amazon or, and upload it to Goodreads and other social reading sites. Those are good possibilities to start with. And do your research. Study book trailers from other authors to see which ones catch your attention and which leave your bored or indifferent.

If you want to explore videos further and need some professional assistance, here are two video production companies to look into: Turn Here and Circle of Seven.

Again, a book trailer is not going to make or break your book. Rather it comprises just part of a robust campaign around your book to get the word out to as many of your potential readers as possible.

Which are your favorite author videos? Have you bought a book after having seen one?

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: