Should You Have a Book Trailer?

The latest thing to hit the book marketing world is the book trailer. I’m sure you’ve seen them – short videos, typically 1 to 3 minutes, that advertise a book. You’ll find them on author websites, blogs, publisher websites, and bookselling sites. (You can visit to view lots of book trailers.)

When I’m talking with my clients about marketing, of course they want to know if they should have a book trailer. I’ve thought long and hard about my answer, and I acknowledge I may change my stance on this as time goes by and we collect more data on the effectiveness of trailers. But for now, my answer to the question Should I have a book trailer? is…

Only if you really want one – and you can easily afford it.

The truth is that we have no evidence to show whether book trailers sell books. There’s a “cool” factor with book trailers, and it’s certainly fun to be able to show your family and friends. It’s a nice little promo vehicle you can have floating around the Web.

But a book trailer is just ONE of ten, twenty, or a hundred different things that’s being done (by you and your publisher) to market your book. Your video counts as one small part of an overall marketing strategy. But it’s not a necessary or indispensable part of your strategy.

In this digital/visual/multimedia world, I think authors might be thinking they’re really missing out on a valuable marketing vehicle if they don’t have a trailer. I don’t think that’s quite true.

If you want a video for the fun of it, and to have out there so your family and Facebook friends can see it, great! If you can find effective ways to use it – even better. It definitely can be fun to show people an audiovisual representation of your story. In fact, I think authors enjoy book trailers because it helps them envision their books as movies. And who wouldn’t want that? But we don’t know yet whether a trailer can help sell books.

You may want to consider a more effective and less expensive kind of video (and this was actually suggested to me by a publisher): an author interview video. Just set up a camera (making sure you have high quality video and audio), have someone interview you about your book, edit so that it’s short and only includes the interesting stuff, and voila, you’re done. You can include this video on your Amazon page, feature it on your blog or website, and put it up on YouTube. This kind of video has the potential to offer readers something they usually appreciate: a glimpse into you, the author. An author interview doesn’t look like an ad in the way a book trailer does. recently had an article on why book trailers are silly. Read it for a one-sided yet nicely in-depth explanation of the anti-trailer side of this argument.

My official advice to my authors is this: Don’t spend a lot of money on a book trailer, unless you can truly afford it. If you want to create one, great. Have fun with it, but realize that an amateur-looking trailer can backfire and work against you, so carefully consider how you’re going to approach it. Then do your best to use your trailer in every way possible. Hopefully it will help the sales of your book – just don’t expect it to be the cornerstone of your marketing plan.

Q4U: What do you think of book trailers? Do you think they serve any real purpose for authors? Have you ever been motivated to buy a book from watching the trailer?

P.S. While I encourage open and honest opinions on this blog, I ask that you please refrain from unnecessary criticism of other writers by name, especially fellow commenters of this blog. You can find a way to express your point without calling out a specific person.

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


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  7. Gina Kamentsky on June 27, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    It really depends on the subject matter. For certain non-fiction subjects, a YouTube video can be great for creating interest and driving traffic to your site.

    I’m currently working on a book about 18th and 19th century mechanics. I’m planning to put together some animated illustrations and models which be perfect for video.

  8. Matt on February 19, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    >One more item to consider as well – youtube. A book trailer posted on youtube can be linked, tagged and optimized to reach your intended readers. As you start to generate views, youtube collects demographic data from registered users for free. Youtube also allows you to see viewing trends and (once linked) allows you to trace back to the area it was linked from. In many cases, it is to a forum where it is being discussed. This offers a unique view into the marketing of your book and can assist in fine tuning your marketing approach.

    Consider this – according to an Alexa report, the top 4 accessed websites are-


    Source link –

    Google owns youtube so the two are cross indexed. Facebook is VERY youtube friendly and an excellent place to generate interest in a book. So a well done, tasteful and intriguing book trailer (no more than 30 sec) can grant you access to the three most accessed websites in the net while collecting free demographic data and link-backs to readers.

    Like it or not, a well done book trailer can expose you far beyond traditional means if done correctly.

  9. Matt on February 19, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    >Interesting article. I agree that a bad book trailer can bring a book down.

    If anyone is ever in need of a quality book trailer, please feel free to email me at I am a 15 year veteran of broadcast promos and have several cost effective ways to produce a quality trailer. Even if you're just a little curious, contact me and let's see what we can come up with. Click the link in URL to see some examples.

  10. Anonymous on February 15, 2010 at 2:16 PM


  11. An Englishman in New York on February 4, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    >As an author and someone who works in film and tv, I wouldn't create a book trailer unless it was of the kind of quality that movie trailers are. I think bad book trailers can do more harm than good. I haven't seen a book trailer yet that's made me want to go and buy the book it was advertising.

  12. Dominique on February 4, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    >I've seen book trailers that were quite good, and they made me go see if the book itself were good or not. But, then again, if the blog post had said "This book rocks" instead of showing me the trailer, I'd have checked it out anyway.

    I don't think I'd ever make a book trailer, though. I don't know much about making things like that, so the quality would be poor, so it wouldn't be effective for me.

  13. Karin on February 4, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    >I would only use a book trailer if I found someone who could do it very professionally. Right now I think there is a desire to have them, but I'm not sure there are a lot of people who know how to make them well.

    I've seen two book trailers. Both were so unremarkable that I forgot which books they were for – that seems like a terrible waste of money for someone to forget your book!

  14. Caroline Clemmons on February 4, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    >I enjoy short book trailers that don't dawdle between scenes, but I've never bought a book because of one. As you said, it's just one tool of many. Promotion is the hard part of writing. The actual writing is the part I enjoy–even the difficult days–and promotion is the price I must pay to indulge the part I love.

  15. Sharon A. Lavy on February 4, 2010 at 6:11 AM

    >Thank you for the practical advice Rachelle.

  16. Dineen A. Miller on February 4, 2010 at 1:50 AM

    >I think book trailers can be effective selling tools if done well and used wisely. But beyond a minute long, it's overkill and you risk losing the viewer, in my opinion. Short, sweet and with a powerful punch is the best sell. Like TV commercials, viewers don't have the time or patience for trailers longer than 30 sec. to a minute.

  17. Donna Hole on February 4, 2010 at 12:29 AM

    >I love book trailers! Way cool. I'm not sure I ever bought one off the strength of the trailer. But if I ever make it big time as a novelist I'd be willing to invest in the novelty.


  18. elaine @ peace for the journey on February 3, 2010 at 10:36 PM

    >Well, after watching Mary DeMuth's for her recent release, YES… I would buy her book based on that trailer. It's obvious someone spent a pretty penny putting that one together! I actually like book trailers; some are good, some bad, but I think they can be a good reflection of an author's pulse.

    I agree with you, though. It's not a huge marketing point, but I like them. What I don't like is a background voice-over that is obviously not the author's voice. I'd rather read text than hear a voice-over.


  19. Henya on February 3, 2010 at 10:35 PM

    >Rachelle, What a great idea!!!!
    …An author interview. I like that much better than a book trailer, simply because I don't have the patience to view them. A trailer seems gimmicky and glitzy, while an interview promises an intimate view of the writer.

  20. steeleweed on February 3, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    >A bad video would be worse than none, and even an interview would need high quality to avoid looking tacky. For 95% of us, I suspect the cost of a good trailer would be beyond our budget. I've seen them advertised for $3-10K. I've watched probably a dozen, and while some were amusing, none even remotely motivated me to buy the book.

    BTW: If you could do a video like this couple's, it might be a whole new experience:

  21. Jemi Fraser on February 3, 2010 at 8:43 PM

    >I don't have strong feelings about trailers one way or the other. I've seen some that were awesome – those I enjoyed were usually shorter & had something unusual about them.

    Thanks for the advice 🙂

  22. Nicole on February 3, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    >I am undecided on whether I really like book trailers. When I pick up a book the first thing I go to is the back. When I search for books on Amazon the first thing I read is the blurb from the back of the book. This is where I think efforts should lay. Most people aren't going to spend time looking through trailers when they can just read. Book readers are just that: readers. Movie trailers are for movies, you watch a movie you watch the trailer. Book blurbs are for books, you read a book you read a blurb. It just seems natural. I personally wouldn't invest in one, but that is just one book-aholic's opinion.

  23. Rachel on February 3, 2010 at 7:17 PM

    >I've never bought a book solely because of a trailor, but I recently saw one for Mary DeMuth's new memoir, and it was very poignant. I can imagine a book trailor being a keen way to attract interest for a memoir, (since we memoir-readers often want an even bigger slice of the author than the book affords, and a video can be a compelling addition). Having said this, I already loved Mary's books, so maybe that's why I liked her trailor.

  24. Rob Eagar on February 3, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    >Great post, Rachelle! I agree with your remarks. As a marketing consultant to authors at all levels, I find that book trailers are one of the most misunderstood and wasteful uses of money. That's because most trailers aren't recorded wisely. Many just make the author feel good, rather than enticing the viewer to buy the book.

    Here's a couple of video trailers from bestsellers that I really like. If you're going to do one, follow these examples:

  25. God and Ponytails on February 3, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    >Indeed, a sucker for all things that hype. I am fully in favor of enticing me with more than a good cover.

  26. lauradroege on February 3, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    >Believe it or not, I've only seen one book trailer, and it was for a book I had already read. I'm not much of a video person (though I am visually-oriented) so I'm not necessarily going to spend time looking at videos on the Internet (or TV, etc.)

    Still, if a well produced book trailer catches a potential reader's eye, that's great. If it catches a filmmaker's eye, that's great, too. (Congrats, Cliff. That's exciting.)

  27. Cliff Graham on February 3, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    >Timothy Fish, I never disagreed with you. No need to be condescending.

    No one is saying that book trailers are the savior of marketing. All they need to do is catch someone's eye and point them to where they can find out more. Like a website. If filmmakers happen to see one, it can make them very interested. All I was saying is that it happened with me, so it's possible.

  28. Laura Cross on February 3, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    >I enjoy book trailers. I produced one for my latest nonfiction book – I'm not sure it will help me sell any books but it has helped me get my name "out there" and let people know about my services and classes, which has led to business revenue. if you're interested you can check it out – and download a free chapter form the book – at


  29. Faceless on February 3, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    >The first book trailer I ever watched was for "Sharp Teeth." Talk about an awesome trailer! The voice over was hilarious, and the vintage-style ad made me want to snatch the book right up. I did, and "Sharp Teeth" turned out to be a book that really impacted my writing style. I LOVE a good book trailer; sometimes it puts the author's voice out there better than a summarizing paragraph can.

  30. Lindsey Edwards on February 3, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    >I like a book trailer, it's a quick way to hook a readers attention and stimulate their senses (music, pictures or actors, text and what have you or simply an author reading an excerpt of her book). There are cheap and free ways to make your own book trailer. is a fun way to make one.

    Romance author Teresa Medeiros has a book trailer, but of all her books, music with pictures of the covers and text. Very intriguing!

  31. jess on February 3, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    >The only book trailer I've seen that was truly effective (and I've seen some expensive ones, with choreographed fight scenes and everything) was for Neil Gaiman's Blueberry Girl, in which the whole text of the (children's) book was read, and the illustrations moved in a cut-out sort of way. It was very simply done (none of that "Coming THIS SUMMER…" stuff) but it made me want to read the book.
    Mostly, though, they just sort of make me say "This is the future?"

  32. Livia on February 3, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    >Good point about a bad trailer turning people off

  33. Author Sandra D. Bricker on February 3, 2010 at 1:55 PM

    >I used to wonder a lot about whether a trailer was really necessary. I'm a very visual person, so I enjoy a really good one … but the expense and trouble of making them kind of outweighed that for me. So I started asking around. I talked to other authors, and more importantly to my editors. They brought up things that I really hadn't thought of before.

    In particular, I addressed this topic in my article this month at Christian Fiction Online Magazine, and I thought Maegan Roper (the publicist at Abingdon Press) gave the best reason of all to have one: “I saw a blog recently where a writer said that trailers are unimportant. But when you, as a publisher, have thirty seconds to present a title to a room full of retail buyers, you’re going to want to make the most of those thirty seconds!”

    To read the full article:

  34. Lena Nelson Dooley on February 3, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    >I like book trailers, but I don't usually like those the author makes. The professional ones are better, but they do cost quite a bit.

    The trailer for my next book is being produced by Trailers to the Stars, and it will be done soon.

  35. Jennifer Deshler on February 3, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    >Hi Rachelle,

    Thanks so much for asking this question, as it is very relevant in the days of social media, e-books, etc. As a creator and proponent of book videos, here are a few thoughts on the subject:
    1. Book videos shouldn't be done by amateurs. If your publisher isn't paying, or you aren't hiring someone who specializes in video production, Don't do it. Bad videos have shown to hurt sales, because people sometimes equate bad video with bad book.
    2. A book video should never be the sole component of a marketing campaign. But with tracking built in, they have been a proven help in generating increased sell-through when used as an "action item" for the consumer.
    3. Certain categories and genres benefit from book videos better than others. Fiction is all about story, and book videos are made to give a high-entertainment glimpse into the story. But even within Fiction, videos made for thrillers and young adult titles have statistically shown higher view rates than categories like Amish Fiction, for instance. As with any other tactic in marketing, it requires knowing your consumer for each title before you ever begin brainstorming ideas.

    We're selective in what genres and even on which titles book videos are made for. And it rarely ever has anything to do with budget, and everything to do with: what kind of reader would likely watch it, what are the best opportunities to have the video seen by multiple audiences, and how would the video fit into an overall strategy to make the book a success. Asking these tough questions early-on helps determine which titles will or won't benefit from having a book video created.

  36. Aimee LS on February 3, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    >PS – Mia – Those pulling away from the pack in the marketing / branding field nowadays are suggesting that television advertising is losing its impact significantly (i.e. it really only works in very specific, very expensive positions that are out of reach to the individual).

    NOTHING (and I do mean NOTHING) sells like word of mouth. People are much more savvy about advertising and marketing these days. They don't trust the executives who are invested in it. They trust their friends and family (and fellow blog-commenters) who don't have a penny in the game.

  37. Kathryn Magendie on February 3, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    >PS – I did think of doing just what you suggested -the author interview on vid – I asked a local actor friend to help me by being my "interviewer". . . we haven't done it yet, mostly because of WNC's bad luck with weather, but I'm curious how it will work.

  38. Kathryn Magendie on February 3, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    >I think they're just a fun thing to do, and another layer, albeit small, to the marketing of the book. I never heard of book trailers until BB made one for TG; then, for this next book I decided to make my own as BB did–with just some images, music, text – it was a learning experience and fun to do…

    will it sell books? probably not much, but it was cheap to do, fun to do, and I stick it here and there, show it around a bit…

    One 'chain' bookstore put my first book vid on their site with my book – will it help sell it? I don't know, but I thought it was nice of them and pretty cool.

  39. Aimee LS on February 3, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    >I think your 'if you can afford it' tag is critical. Unfortunately, the vast majority of book trailers I've seen have been amateurish, or clearly low budget. Having come from a branding background I'm of the opinion this will hurt more than help.

    I'd also add one more tag: if you're writing for the teen or under 25 market.

    Let's be honest, those of us born pre '85 haven't ever had ANY multimedia attached to the books we've read. We don't expect them or need them. But 'kids these days' have come to expect a multimedia experience in…well… everything.

    So I'd say if you're writing for Teens / YA it something you need to seriously consider.

  40. Timothy Fish on February 3, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    >I find that my vision exceeds my budget when it comes to book videos and I think that’s true of all of us. We can talk about needing high quality all we want, I think back to the chalk board stick figure Cheerios commercials from the early 1980’s. I never have forgotten those. These days, anyone who can draw could duplicate them at home. The thing that made them great wasn’t that they were so “slick,” as Christopher puts it, but the story they told. They followed a simple pattern. This boy is running out of energy. This boy is eating Cheerios. Now this boy has the energy to make it through the day.

    The most important element in measuring the quality of any marketing video isn’t the quality of the imagery, the sound, the visual effects or special effects. We can do all of those inexpensively, like General Mills did with Cheerios commercials, but we can’t afford to skimp on the story the video tells. Everything we know about telling a story through a book applies to telling a story through the book video.

  41. ninidee on February 3, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    >I recently did a book trailer for a contest held over at Let The Words Flow Blog.
    I had a blast making it. It was for a book I am currently writing so I used clips from movies and t.v. shows.(of course I stressed I did not own copyrights. I have movie maker on my computer so the only thing it cost me was time.

    Honestly, I like the idea of a book trailer. I think watching one might make me choose to read a book that I never would have thought to read.

  42. christopher on February 3, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    >er…than good, I mean.

  43. christopher on February 3, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    >One of the problems with book trailers is that we're all accustomed to extremely high quality media. We're bombarded with slickly done commercials, movies, TV, etc. I think, therefore, that the typical viewer has rather high expectations when they click on a vid. It has to be good. It has to measure up. If it doesn't (and it seems like most book trailers don't), then I think more damage is done then good.

  44. Alexandre Lobão on February 3, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    >A related question: books should have nice covers? Can one say that since the cover would never represent the book in a proper way, then we should have no covers?

    The (good) readers may be atracted by a nice book cover, and then they will get more information on the book to decide if they should buy it. The trailers are exactly the same thing!

    I believe that if you can do a nice trailer, do it. For example, check out the trailer of my last novel 🙂 at:

    But NEVER do a poor quality trailer, since it will surely work as a negative marketing.

  45. Anonymous on February 3, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    >Should you have a book trailer?

    No. It's a waste of money, no one cares except your family and friends, and there are far better ways to promote books.

    And if you don't believe me, go back and ask anyone who has spent good money on book trailers in the past and never saw returns based on sales that came from book trailers.

  46. Jessica on February 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    >The reason I think book trailers can help with sales is because movie trailers sell movies.
    The book trailer would have to be hooky. So hooky that the reader doesn't care about writing, only about what happens in the plot. So I think a book trailer would work well with a unique plot.
    Also, the book trailer needs to be well done.
    I've seen a lot that are really boring. I think a book trailer should be really similar to a movie trailer. Personally, I don't think the author talking about the book is effective, but that's me. 🙂
    If the trailer is too long or not hooky, then I don't think it'll do anything.

    I love them though. I'm definitely making some for my books and will stick them up. 🙂

    I love watching good ones too. I've seen a few that really grabbed me and made me want to read the book.

  47. Valerie Comer on February 3, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    >As someone who reviews books, I go to the author's website and scrounge around for material to make my blog post visually appealing. If there's a book trailer, I often post it at the bottom of my review.

    My pet peeve with trailers is the line: Coming May 2010, or whatever. The use of the trailer isn't over at that time, possibly just beginning. I really wish they'd dispense with the date so the trailer is more timeless.

  48. St. Andrew on February 3, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    >Well, here are two very different book trailers for the same book, T.C. Boyle's "The Women"…one is more like a music video in which you get little information about the book. The other is the usual still images with narration.

  49. writer jim on February 3, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    >Anon 8:56

    That's interesting. It reminded me that I still remember a TV ad about 30 years ago that caused me to never again buy their product. Without that ad, I probably would have stayed with their brand all these years.

  50. hollywoodclown on February 3, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    >As an actor, film maker and writer, I love the idea of book trailers. I do agree that a bad trailer can do more damage than good. They can also look cheesy and have an amateur feel to them.

    I think that adding the visual medium element to book marketing is a brilliant idea in this technological age. People can view the trailer on their phones and then pass it on to everyone in their contact list. I think it's great! I'm in preproduction on my book trailer and I don't even have an agent yet.

    For me it's a good mashup of my passions. I've been working in the entertainment business in L.A. for almost 18yrs and have made many connections. I have an Oscar winner and a few Grammy winners that have already said they would help me when the time came. I'm very fortunate and blessed.

  51. Nicole on February 3, 2010 at 11:24 AM

    >I can take or leave book trailers. If they reveal too much about the plot, they're a failure in my opinion–which is why I rarely view them. Some of them contain too much "reading", wrong music, or depict characters in ways a reader might not accept as "their" version of said character.

  52. Arabella on February 3, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    >A lot of book trailers are silly and either turn me off completely from books, or make me feel nothing for them (and no, I'm not going to mention which ones). I would still love to make one for the fun of it, though. I'm afraid that mine would be just as amateurish as the really bad ones. Oh, well.

  53. Rachelle on February 3, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    >Anon 9:14 am – well, yes, this is what I've been saying all along. The best marketing tool is the book itself. Everything else is gravy. But added up, it all can help, you know? Sometimes these other tools (like trailers) can lead someone to at least consider a book. Then they can decide based on its content whether they want to buy it – and whether they'll talk about it and recommend it to others.

  54. PatriciaW on February 3, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    >Book trailers do nothing for me. Granted, the early ones were poor quality, but some I've seen recently are mini-movies. Still, I don't like them.

    I don't want to see the characters embodied by actors before I have a chance to read the book and apply my imagination. (I'm one of those read the book first, see the movie second people.)

    I think the vast majority are too long. One to three minutes? Three minutes is a lot of time. Give me the 30-60 sec version. No more.

    Would I buy a book based on a trailer? Probably not.

  55. T. Anne on February 3, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    >I do think a great book trailer can be very engaging. I've seen a few good ones. I've only come across a couple I thought were cheesy. It's a new dimension to books and I for one plan on embracing change. A book trailer, like our books, must be well done.

  56. Anonymous on February 3, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    >Does it strike anyone else that, with all the online promo activities that authors either feel inclined or strong-armed to undertake (book trailers being the most recent) it's reviews, quality of the first couple of pages, and strong word of mouth that seem to generate the most sales?

  57. Shelley on February 3, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    >I'm new to this blog, but I just wanted to say, thank you so much for posting on this topic. I recently discovered book trailers (as in the past month or so) and have been wondering if they're actually effective or just a waste of time.

    I agree with those who have said that a poorly made trailer isn't worth it, and it's better to have no trailer than a cruddy one. I wouldn't want an amateur video to be a reflection of my probably-not-so-amateur book.

    But if the trailer is made well, I'm sure it could help. Personally, I'll see what resources are available to me when the time comes and decide then if I can make a decent video, or if it's best to leave it out.

  58. Maryann Miller on February 3, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    >Very interesting discussion and I am taking all the comments to heart as I consider whether I want to continue to make trailers for my books.

    I just finished my first one, with the help of my son who writes music and can do some video editing. Here is a link if anyone is interested.

    I like the idea of doing an interview as opposed to the kind of trailer I did for One Small Victory.

    I have purchased a book after watching a trailer, although that was not the only selling point. First was meeting the author, maybe on a blog or reference from a blog, checking out the author's Web site, then reading an excerpt from the book, and finally watching the video. I will never buy a book from a new author unless I can read an excerpt, but that may just be me. Smile

  59. Nicole Unice on February 3, 2010 at 11:04 AM

    >I like the comment about being motivated to NOT buy a book b/c of the trailer. A trailer tells if the writer is relevant and serious about their work. Trailers have sold me on inviting a writer to speak, and also to buy their book. Conversely, a bad promo of any sort will send me in the other direction. So I guess it's about the product. If you can convey personality and tone in a professional manner, it's a great tool for writing and speaking. If not, don't do it.

  60. Richard Mabry on February 3, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    >I made a book trailer for my forthcoming novel because my publisher encouraged me to do so, and I found that I could produce a pretty nice one using available online and computer tools. It's posted on Facebook,, and my online presskit. I also did an "author video" to post on my Amazon author page. So, yes, I made a book trailer, but didn't invest a bunch of money, just time.

    That's what I did, but do trailers influence me? Nope. I don't even watch book trailers. I still go by the author's reputation, the blurb on the cover, and a quick run through a few pages. But that's just me.

  61. Pam Halter on February 3, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    >Sounds like making a book trailer is a personal decision. The only thing I'd like to say is don't make a book trailer until you've written the book and it's under contract with a release date. I know someone who made an incredible book trailer for a book they hadn't even written yet! That, in my opinion, was a waste of time and money.

  62. Anonymous on February 3, 2010 at 10:56 AM

    >I have been motivated NOT to buy a book after watching a book trailer.

    Just sayin.'

  63. Mira on February 3, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    >I LOVE the idea of a book trailer airing on TV! Thank goodness, books can finally break into TV as a marketing strategy.

    That's really wonderful.

    Good luck, Cliff!

  64. katdish on February 3, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    >Hmmm…I concur with some of the other comments here. A bad trailer can do more damage than good. I've seen a few cheesy ones.

    But the author interview idea is fantastic. Yep. Like that a lot.

  65. Jevon Oakman Bolden on February 3, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    >I think the idea of a good book trailer is part of a layer of marketing that helps to buid interest in a book. We have done both for our authors and the benefits from them have been seen. I have to agree, though, that it does need to be high quality. And with any other marketing decision, ROI and affordability is a key factor.

    I am also not sure if all genres can benefit from a trailer as much as a fiction book can. Nonfiction books may do better with an author interview video. Those can be easily placed in numerous places on the Web as you stated. Something visual like a trailer or interview video increases interests. I don't think either of them hurt sales. It helps readers and book reviewers put something concrete behind what they are reading.

  66. Nurit on February 3, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    >As a reader, the best book trailer is the first page of the book.

  67. hipphop on February 3, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    >Just wanna keep this short and sweet…

    one really important detail:

    "Only if you really want one – and you can easily afford it…AND you can do it well"

    If you don't have access to people who can help make a professional-looking trailer, it could end up doing more harm than good.

  68. Dara on February 3, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    >I love book trailers. And there have been a few trailers that have enticed me enough to become interested in a book. One of my favorites was made for Cindy Pon's YA fantasy Silver Phoenix.

    I can also understand why they are viewed as silly or not effective. I also wouldn't use it as the major facet of my marketing plan. I still think they are fun to watch though (and make–I've made a "mock" book trailer for my WiP).

  69. Rachelle on February 3, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    >My client Deborah Vogts blogged about her book trailer experience HERE.

  70. Kat Harris on February 3, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    >I don't think book trailers work as a marketing tool at all.

    But they are a lot of fun to make.

  71. Southpaw on February 3, 2010 at 10:13 AM

    >Book trailers do nothing for me, at times it’s detrimental because it’s giving a visual to me instead of letting me imagine the world while I read. And that is what I like to do.

    However, I have seen one that intrigued me more than put me off on a blog somewhere. It was less of here is a photo of the main character and the house he live in and more, hum, abstract sort of.

    Oh, I also don’t like book commercial on the TV.

  72. Liberty Speidel on February 3, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    >I think if they're done well, book trailers (or book videos–the term 'book trailers' is actually trademarked) can enhance the book that the author wrote, especially if it's a historical setting or set in an unfamiliar place to the reader. That way, they get a real sense of what the story should look like, and a glimpse into what the author intended.

    I think for an author, it can help bring clarity at the end of a project, but as you said, most of the time, they're probably just something fun to share with friends/family.

    I actually HAVE bought a book based on the book video. It was for K.M. Weiland's 'Behold the Dawn', which turned out to be a fabulous book. She and her brother put together the video (view it here: ) but I'd say it's as top notch as any movie trailer.

  73. Cliff Graham on February 3, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    >Your point is valid, Rachelle, but trailers really do work for a certain audience. If the right creator does it, it can look and feel just like a movie trailer. Here is my trailer, which my publisher created, and it is airing as a national television commercial this spring.

    It helps that this book is actually being made into a movie, but the cinematic nature of it is generating interest. It's not the cornerstone of marketing the book, but it does nudge buyers on the fence.

  74. Heather on February 3, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    >I agree with elizaw – some of the trailers I've seen look a little cheesy, and can even make me feel less connected to a book than the jacket copy or a gorgeous cover might. I hardly ever watch them, and unless they are really huge by the time my book goes forth into the world, I don't think I'll make one. I read a post about how you should focus on what you're good at in terms of marketing – so unless you have access to great film editing software and went to film school, maybe skip the trailer.

    The author interview is an excellent idea, though! I almost always watch those if it's a book I'm considering or really enjoyed.

  75. mary bailey on February 3, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    >The one you showed here is only the second book trailer I've seen, and I didn't like either.

    I can see why some authors and readers would like it, but for me its like music videos, where you're given someone else's ideas of what a song means. Granted, in a book we ARE given someone else's ideas, but also a lot is left up to our imaginations.

    I like the old-fashioned way of selecting a book—looking at the cover, reading the inside jacket or back cover, reading the first page, reading a review.

  76. Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought on February 3, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    >I’ve been curious about this. I’m drawn to book trailers because of the imagery, the music…the movie mentality they impart, but as you question…do they work? If there hasn’t been evidence of this being the case, I don’t want to waste money or my time. I’d rather spend an extra week polishing my MS or beginning a new one than piecing together a book trailer.

    Love the thought. Not sold on the application.
    ~ Wendy

  77. Alexis Grant on February 3, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    >Oh, but it looks like such fun to make one! And I love watching them. You can bet I'll make one when my book comes out!

  78. Shelby on February 3, 2010 at 8:48 AM

    >I made one myself a few months ago (a 'trailer' preview of sorts)

    My son photogged the images for it and I did the rest (except the music).

    It was a fun exercise.. and it helped tighten up my vision for the story.

  79. Katy McKenna on February 3, 2010 at 8:43 AM

    >So far, a book trailer has never influenced me to purchase a book. There have been more than a few, though, that have dissuaded me.

    My feeling is that any piece of video should be produced with the goal in mind of it going viral on the Internet. What if the wedding party dancing down the aisle video was actually a scene from a romantic-comedy novel? Now THAT would sell books, IMO.

    In other words, instead of trying to tell the story synopsis with a book trailer, choose one vignette (the most visual and ENTERTAINING) from the novel and do it up right!

    Entertainment has to be key. The trailer needs to be a stand alone piece that a viewer would return to for its value alone, and then maybe you've sold a book—or thousands.

  80. Alicia on February 3, 2010 at 8:29 AM

    >This question has such interesting timing for me. I actually saw what I now would probably call my first real book trailer yesterday. It was for Katrina Kenison's book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day, and I loved it! She was simply reading a chapter from her book about beauty in parenting to a room full of mothers, interspersed with photographs of her with her two boys. It was lovely. It made me cry. And I immediately put it on my Amazon wishlist with a highest level priority note and a birthday wish.

  81. Timothy Fish on February 3, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    >It’s all about visibility. Will a book video sell more books than [fill in your favorite marketing device here]? How can we possibly answer that? When I was younger, I once bought a book because the woman on the cover was attractive. Sure, I thumbed through the pages and saw that it was an interesting topic, but by that point I was looking for an excuse to purchase the book, not making the decision to purchase the book. It’s hard to know why people purchase a book and they often can’t tell us, but one thing is certain, if they don’t know about the book they won’t purchase it. Amy says the true book trailer is the jacket. While I see some truth in that, the reality is that some people will never read the BCC on my books because they don’t know about my books.

    Look at Jill’s comment. I didn’t know she had a book until she posted a link to her book video. It doesn’t exactly tell us what the book is about, but now we know she has a book. Will we buy Blood and Groom because of that video? That will depend more on the book itself, but we have been made aware of the book because having a video gave her an opportunity to post something about it in the comments here. The video may not be any more effective than using a book cover as a profile picture, but it is one more thing we can do to make people aware of our books and to bring thing to a decision point.

  82. TerryLynnJohnson on February 3, 2010 at 8:13 AM

    >I have to join in here to say I love book trailers! I enjoy the thread on Verla Kay website that has everyone's trailers posted. It's a fun way to shop for a book. Though I may also watch them for ideas on how to make my own, I have certainly purchased books because I thought the trailer looked interesting – hush,hush. Silver Phoenix. The Iron King, to name a few.

  83. Kristen Torres-Toro on February 3, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    >I'm so glad you wrote this. I struggle with book trailers because I don't see the point. It's a completely different medium and so much money. Plus, I think there's something to be said for the reader's imagination. It's something I'd hesitate to do (but would do if it were required of me without complaining). I'm glad to know there are others who don't think they are necessary.

  84. Krista Phillips on February 3, 2010 at 7:42 AM

    >I agree with the "can't hurt" mantra, but at the same time, I've always wondered about the use of a trailer. Most of the people that will view it are people that already know you anyway.

    I think it's a cool thing to put on your website/facebook, and I'd probably try my hand at one for fun, but I wouldn't shell out a lot of money or put a ton of faith in its marketing power.

    That said, love the author interview idea, or any book trailer/ad idea that is unique and out of the norm.

  85. Jason on February 3, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    >I agree with elizaw…most of the ones I've seen look like they were put together by an amateur. So I suppose I am against them if they are not done well.

    I also like what Amy Sue said…it does take away from my own vision of the book based on the writing. Like for example, the Artemis Fowl cartoons on Eoin Colfer's Web site are NOTHING like I'd envisioned Artemis and Butler to be…and I like the ones in my head better. 🙂

  86. Amy Sue Nathan on February 3, 2010 at 7:25 AM

    >I think a book trailer can take away from my own vision of a book I'm reading.

    Trailers are for movies, imo. A book's true trailer, is its jacket copy.

    But, in today's online, visual world people want pizazz. To me, a video book trailer is like having a pamphlet that describes a movie. Harmless, maybe helpful, but a little strange.

  87. Timothy Fish on February 3, 2010 at 6:38 AM

    >I've never bought a book because of the trailer. I've come close a couple of times, but most of the time I see little to persuade me. Many fail because they don't have a voice over and we are forced to read at whatever rate the video sets. The example shown on this post doesn't have that problem, but it doesn't match the perception that I had of the book from what I had already read about it. That too is a problem. Which is more believable? The video of the back cover?

    But all of that doesn't keep me from doing videos for my books. One of the videos I did for And Thy House is built around the characters appearing on a television show to talk about my book. I don't know that it will sell books, but I had fun doing it and it cost me only time. Besides, it gave me something to post on my blog.

  88. Lance on February 3, 2010 at 6:33 AM

    >Seriously? Have you ever bought a book you wouldn't have bought anyway because of a book trailer?

    I view book trailers as just another distraction that has no net gain (well, maybe negative).

    We don't need to do these things just because people do. There needs to be a rational, fundamental reason behind our actions, not just hype. Some trailers be justified, 99.9% are waste.

  89. Jill on February 3, 2010 at 5:57 AM

    >Barring financial constraints, I see no reason why you shouldn't make a book trailer. It can't hurt and may in fact help.

    Here's mine – it cost very little to make:

    As you said, it's just one of many things you can do to promote yoour book, so why not give it a try, especially if you're an unknown author and it's early days.

    Thanks, Jill
    "Blood and Groom" is now in stores!

  90. Anonymous on February 3, 2010 at 5:06 AM

    >I feel strongly about it both ways. 😉

    Seriously, I have issues with visual media for things that I would like my imagination to see, so I'm probably never going to be a fan of book trailers. I went through the same thing in 1980-dirt when music videos first gained popularity. I'd rather let my mind's eye visualize. Things tend to have deeper meaning for me that way.

    On the other hand, if done incredibly well (professional), book trailers could be a benefit to people who are more likely to read (or listen to) books by being enticed by that sort of visual set up for a novel.

  91. Ellen B on February 3, 2010 at 4:51 AM

    >I've only watched one book trailer, and it was for Sherry Thomas's Not Quite A Husband.

    She created it for free and I found it very funny. It was the script that sold it to me rather than the technical accomplishments of the trailer.

    That said, I would probably have bought the book anyway on the strength of her blog. So I'm not a great test case!

  92. writer jim on February 3, 2010 at 4:41 AM

    >Of course book trailers would be great IF people saw them. But they don't.
    Word of mouth beats all else to promote your book. The method I've used is to talk to influencial people that subsequently spread word to many others.
    But it depends what your topic is, as to who/how you ignite your word of mouth campaign.

  93. Erastes on February 3, 2010 at 4:10 AM

    >I think they are a little bit self indulgent. I have them, and I enjoy making them, but no-one watches 'em. Storm Grant did a poll the other day

    and it came up resoundingly with: they aren't any good as a marketing tool. Small response, but decided.

  94. Steve on February 3, 2010 at 4:09 AM

    >I think it the writer has access to the needed resources, either personally or through their support network, it can be an exciting and classy addition to the publicity effort – and (hopefully) a work of art in its own right – as music videos have become. Alternatively the (rare) writer who is financially flush may want to consider having one done professionally.

    I'd consider this purely an Internet marketing tactic – I don't see any easy way to fit it in with more traditional marketing activities. Thus, check the demographic of the projected readership. Are they likely to be internet video fans?

    One piece of advice – do NOT NOT NOT put out a poorly presented trailer. Unless it's SO bad that millions will watch to laugh at the lameness, it will hurt more than help.

    Just my thoughts,

  95. elizaw on February 3, 2010 at 2:36 AM

    >My main objection to book trailers is that they tend to have an amateur feel to them. Authors, for the most part, are not film students with access to high end editing software, a background in design, or experience in 3d modeling. There's only so much you can do.

    Look at movie trailers. They're fast paced, exciting, and definitely help sell movies. If book trailers could be like that, if an author has the software and the art background to make something really cool, I think you might get a lot more publicity.

  96. Mira on February 3, 2010 at 2:32 AM

    >I like book trailers. I think they're awesome. Debra's was beautiful.

    I like the idea of an author interview, too, although I think book trailers are more fun and easily…digestible (?) by the reader. But why not both? 🙂

    The benefit of a trailer is it hooks the reader in a way that a book cover or even the first couple of pages may not. Someone might keep reading because of a book trailer.

    But I agree Rachelle, I doubt many people are watching them – yet. With e-books, they will probably become fairly standard. In fact, they'll probably be a feature on e-books – to watch trailers before or after the current book – or even an entertainment form in it's own right. I could totally see Amazon posting book trailers on their site, for example.

    But not yet.

    I also really think authors shouldn't spend any money on them – I actually think they should be paid for by the publisher. I'm really not sure what the publisher does for marketing, actually, other than putting it on a list….?

    Barring that, I think there are some really inexpensive programs ou there.