The book trailer phenomenon

Everyone at work is going mad for videos at the moment.  They’re the latest thing in our slightly behind the times, politics led sector.  At first our small digital team were very excited to be able to express themselves so creatively in something new with so many technical skills to be learnt.  The exicitement has been dampened slightly by the huge demand and the reality of creating of videos.

Videos seem to be the latest thing.  Traditionally published and self published authors are now making book trailers.  It makes sense, it is an easy and attractive way to virally market their work.  On the other hand, a bad trailer can make a book look cheap and an amateur video can show up an amateur writer.

I find the idea of book trailers a little strange.  I always found television adverts for book weird enough.  It is essentially someone reading out the blurb.  It has never made me want to read a book.  I don’t know why this is, it doesn’t make sense.  Movie trailers can capture the imagination and lead me off to new worlds and interesting characters.  Why shouldn’t a book trailer be able to do the same?

The real question is whether a video works to sell a book.  This relies on many factors including your target audience (and possibly your genre) and your budget.  A trailer may be an excellent way to sell a fantasy or science fiction book (just imagine it!).  You wouldn’t even necessarily need the large budget as long as you had the atmospherics or a good sense of humour.  Other genres may be a little tricky as the audience becomes less loyal to their favoured genre and authors – no one can say fantasy and science fiction readers are not loyal.  Although other genres may be easier to film, and perhaps slightly less fun.

Intruiged, I decided to have a look at some trailers…

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

 Above is an example of a book trailer from a top publisher.  I did find an example of a poorly constructed book trailer but felt it was wrong to share in this context.  It was amongst some of the trailers I found when searching for self published authors’ trailers.

Book trailers can be placed on the writer’s YouTube channel and promoted through social media, their blog and website, making it easy to share and sending it viral.

You don’t need money, but you do need to;

  • check your grammar (you’re a writer, after all), 
  • ensure consistency (capital letters, fonts, etc),
  • choose appropriate music,
  • make sure that it actually makes sense,
  •  and, most importantly, make it exciting!

There is so much you can do yourself these days.  As book trailers become more mainstream, more and more companies will offer the service.  If you do want to make one yourself then find some friends who want to try out acting and download or buy some free/cheap editing software.

Trailers can be made by anyone and is something that could, and maybe should, be considered by self publishing authors in their marketing plans.  However, I would want evidence that the book trailer can create awareness and increase sales before parting with any money or spending any length of time on such a project. 

The movie trailer – Looper

What do you think of the book trailer?

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