How to Approach Book Trailers

Some people are for them. Some people are against them. But the question still remains: Are they an effective marketing device for books? In a digital world where over one billion people are on mobile devices, chances are that consumers are more likely to hear about a book on the internet before they read the synopsis in a bookstore. Over 30% of Americans purchased eBooks in 2014, and 50% own hand-held devices some of which are dedicated to e-reading .So with the omnipresence of digital media and the popularity of eBooks, it would make sense that authors and publishers find a way to market on such a platform, right?

Sheila Clover English defines book trailers, in her eBook, The Book Trailer Revolution: Book Marketing and Promotion through Digital Video, as:

“An acted-out dramatization of a book synopsis. Book trailers use scenes from the book with live actors. These are primarily professionally made, and involve full production crews.”

Quite simply, book trailers serve as digital advertisement for books.

When advertising a product you want to answer critical consumer questions like:

What is this product?

Why do I want it?

Where can I get it?

When can I get it?

Though most authors wouldn’t like their novels to be viewed in the same light as a new vacuum cleaner or latest electronic gadget, books are essentially commodities, and in order to be marketed successfully, there are a few things to be learned from digital advertisements.

Keep it Short

On average, people spend about (45% Of Viewers Will Stop Watching A Video After 1 Minute & 60% By 2 Minutes) watching a video, that means you have less than 30 seconds to hook the viewer from the beginning. Book trailers should exceed no longer than 60 seconds. At that point you might as well make a short film. You are creating a small intro into a longer piece of work. Online videos are not where you place long, complex content. That 30 second intro of your mysterious protagonist walking up the stairs—cut it. Get straight to the point.

Keep it Interesting

You might think that it is impossible to captivate a viewer in the first 30 seconds, but think of those seconds as the first sentence of your novel. You want to draw the viewer in immediately without giving too much of the story away. Don’t fret about the time limit, let such confinements push your creativity.

Be Strategic

 Though YouTube is the number 2 search engine in the world, you don’t just want to rely on that cite as your only ad placement. You want to analyze your target audience: Which areas of digital media do they frequent? You wouldn’t place an ad for a science-fiction novel about aliens taking over the world on a site for make-up and skin care, would you? revealed that “website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video.

Though ads cost money, you’ll make a return on your investment from all the digital pre-orders your book gets.

Give Direction

There must be a call to action: What do you want the viewer to do with this information you have given? Make it easy for the viewer to be linked to either an eBook site or your own site for them to purchase. If the book hasn’t been distributed yet, provide a link for pre-order. Digital consumers are easily distracted, you don’t want to create this digital ad and hope they write down the release date. Give all of the information you possibly can to the consumer while you have their attention.

Book trailers are still fairly new in the digital marketing world, and they can shed the accusations of not having clear direction or target audiences.

Thinking of book trailers as digital commercials is another way to engage with digital consumers and gain traffic to your site (this is especially helpful for the independent book publishers out there). These trailers can be repurposed into tweets, Facebook posts, Vines, you name it. Digital media is a creative playground, and what’s more imaginative and creative than the world of books?

One of the better book trailers I have seen is the one below for Maria Semple’s novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette, created by Orion Publishing. Though I believe the trailer could be shorter it is still concise and engaging.

Check out this book trailer for Helen Fielding’s novel, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy.

I believe with a bit of revamping, book trailers can become an effective staple in the publishing industry’s digital marketing approach, and bringing the joys of reading to the mobile consumer.

What are some creative book trailers you’ve seen?


2 thoughts on “How to Approach Book Trailers

  1. I’ve been wondering if book trailers actually work. Very helpful post, and I think that they can be helpful. I was thinking about having one made, but I still want to do a bit more research. May wait to experiment with these trailers.


  2. Great post! I’m almost finished with pre-production on my first self-published graphic novel’s book trailer, so I’ve been researching this topic a lot! My book trailer cuts together shots from different scenes in the book as I want to give the viewer an idea of the type of world the characters inhabit. Having a book trailer is a key part of my marketing strategy and I’m really excited about utilizing it for book promotion. The different phases of production on a book trailer can give an author a lot of content to use to promote their book (release screenshots leading up to the book trailers debut, interview the book trailer creators about creating it, etc.).


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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )


Connecting to %s