Book trailers are a funny thing – I don’t suppose they really help you sell more books, like a film trailer might at the cinema, because you’re only likely to see them if you’re looking at the book already. Unless someone comes up with a good way of inserting them as a movie file at the end of your kindle book, in which case you could promote your other books quite effectively, giving someone a taster for what else you’ve written or the next book in the series.
Personally, I love trailers at the movies – I like the challenge someone faces of condensing into a few short minutes the best chunks of the story, the action, the emotion, to make us want to know more. They are cinematic versions of the ‘book blurb’ – but do you think they are more effective than an blurb?
I saw an interesting infographic the other day, which was showing the split of sales between traditional and self-publishing routes, rankings on Amazon Bestsellers Lists (the main ones were 27% Indie/Self-Publishing – 54% Small-Medium Publishers and 18% The ‘Big Five’ Publishers – if you’re interested). One of the key images the infographic contained was ‘The Top 3 Things That Sell Books’, which are the cover, the price and the blurb.
Now a book trailer wasn’t one of the things included in the Top 3 – it might not even make the top 5, who knows? This tells you, that you should focus a good portion of your effort into getting the right pricing for your book, a great cover (for people to judge your book by, obviously) and writing an enticing blurb to draw your readers in. You already have a lot to think about, don’t you, before even considering a book trailer.
I have book trailers for my main books that are available to buy, as well as a couple of ‘teaser’ trailers I did for some short ‘missing moment’ bits in the series, to help bridge the long gaps between the release of one book to another. (I’ve included a couple here, for you to see my attempts). I did them myself with a combination of stock footage, self-filmed images, and royalty-free music – they take some time and effort, but I also always loved messing around editing and making films from my own stuff anyway, so at least I’ve been able to put that to some good use.
Taking Flight – Book 1.5 (Teaser)
Outlanders – Book 3
You’ll see that I don’t have millions of YouTube hits on them – if I did, I’d probably be too busy writing my next novel, whilst sipping champagne instead of writing about writing here 😉 What I have found a book trailer useful for doing is encouraging readers (mainly bloggers) to consider a read/review of my book. If you imagine, with the increasing numbers of indie authors, all looking for reviews and features on blogs to help promote their work and try to generate readership – when you send your request, with a blurb and book cover, with a link to a trailer they can quickly and easily get a feel for your writing, different to other requests they may get. You get a few more seconds of their time – you get to give some more information on your book and make it emotive – you get soundtrack, after all.
If you can get featured on a guest blog post, including your book trailer, may well make you stand out from the other features and offers you another route to readers that you might not otherwise get. On Goodreads you have the ability to include book trailers on your Author Profile, again, if potential readers are looking at what you do – it can help you showcase a different aspect of your work, over and above the blurb and cover image.
Overall, I think if you can create a decent quality trailer for yourself, then that is the best route with book trailers – it’s ‘free’ marketing, just takes a little of your time. If you’re having to pay someone to do one for you, I’d probably look at spending my money elsewhere – on the book cover, for example, as that will have a more immediate impact on your potential readers.
Still wondering whether it’s worth it – here are some further resources I’ve found on Book Trailers and how to use them effectively:
“15 Ways to Promote Your Book with a Trailer”
Previously, I did ‘Book Trailer Thursday’ meme on Aside from Writing, to showcase good trailers I’d come across – perhaps I will again, but if you want to check out some other examples, you can here:
Thoughts on Book Trailers by Readers (at Goodreads)
Never heard of Book Trailers – this is good overview article from David Albright explaining what you might expect one to be: