What if I don’t have a book trailer?

Book trailers are a popular new way to promote both published and unpublished books. They usually are about 1-3 minutes in length and look just like those movie trailers we have watched for years but are to promote a book instead. I have received links to many well made book trailers through my twitter account lately and I have seen book trailers be used on television lately too.

Book trailers can be used as a way to pitch your novel to an agent (if they accept it), promote your published novel, and I have even heard of school librarians using them to promote works to students or get kids excited about a book before an author comes to visit. I can certainly see why people would want to produce a book trailer but I am curious as to whether they work. I asked my friends through one of my private social media pages if they had seen a book trailer lately and if so did they buy the book. The majority of my friends response was “There are book trailers?” So if those of us who are already in the writing and reading world are the only ones who know about the book trailers and we most likely already know about the books they are promoting, then what is the point?

Still the idea of book trailers intrigues me. Book trailers can be made as inexpensively as this one by Jill Elizabeth Nelson for her own book Reluctant Runaway which she made using Windows Movie Maker:

or as high production as this one created by Sheepscot Creative for The Crown Publishing Group  to promote this long-awaited novel:


What do you think of book trailers? Are they worth it?



About Billie Jo Schinnerer

Born and raised on the edge of the Helderberg Escarpment in eastern New York. Formerly a teacher. Moved to the North West area of England in 2003. Now a mother of three who doesn’t really know what she wants to be when she grows up.
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15 Responses to What if I don’t have a book trailer?

  1. Yes, I do think so, but….it should be well thought out, and no more than 1 1/2 min (IMO).

    Too many movie trailers give away everything,Editing seems non-existent. Less is more, in these cases, Tease me. Tempt me. Intrigue me. THEN I’ll approach the product.

    I did two for the bloogfest I co-hosted, and it was big fun.

  2. catwoods says:

    I’ve seen some great trailers and some terrible ones. Like all self-promotion, I think it takes hard work, practice and a knack. I’m not sure a book trailer is where my knack lies, but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out if they become hot selling points.

    So much to do, where is the time left to write?

  3. I agree with bornstoryteller – less is defiitely more. I want to read the book, not watch a movie. I try to keep my book trailers as short as possible without giving away too much. I only made mine because a few people asked me if I’d done one. As to whether or not it has affected sales I couldn’t say.
    Mine was as simple as you could get – a few photos, some music spliced in and tweaking on the picture lengths to tie them together. It had fun doing it because it gives me the chance to show what was going on in my head.

  4. I’ve been seeing a lot of book trailers lately too, Billie Jo. I was not impressed by either of the ones posted here: the first seemed like a powerpoint presentation, and hardly worth the effort, since reading the back or inside cover would be more interesting. And the second seemed like a lot of bragging over fairly uninteresting footage. (I’m surprised Auel didn’t spring for a more interesting production.)
    The best ones I’ve seen, IMO, are very stirring, with rousing music and images. They are exciting, and intriguing, rather than low key. They inspire curiosity.
    Are they necessary? Who knows. Unless the ones we make are boring, it can’t hurt.
    I’ve never heard of using one to sell an agent on a book. Do you know of anyone who has tried that and had success? I would think an agent would still want to see a query, to assertain whether or not a writer is any good. A trailer can’t convey writing ability.
    Interesting post! You got my little brain all awhirl. 🙂

    • I stumbled across someone in the blog world who was working with trying to get with an agent with a newish lit agency and they sent them the trailer along with the first three chapters and cover letter for their book. The agent apparently liked the trailer and asked for a complete manuscript but they had not heard back from the agent yet.

  5. gloriaoliver says:

    On their own I don’t think book trailers will make a sale, but they might be enticing enough to get people interested. What I’ve been doing with mine is adding them to my main book page as just an extra something a visitor can click on.

    I also do a sampler pdf on a CD and add the book trailers to that (why waste the space by not using it!) I also add some audio files. I don’t care what medium you like, I’ll have something for you in it to check out my stuff with! lol.

  6. Pingback: Mind Sieve 11/7/11 « Gloria Oliver

  7. Pingback: Here’s a trailer for my books. | Chazz Writes

  8. Pingback: Self-publishers: Why I went multimedia (and why you should, too) | Chazz Writes

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