Design consultant and ALLi Partner Member Aimee Coveney considers the benefits of video book trailers to promote self-published books, shares top tips on how to make them, and offers eight ways to put them to good use.
Video media is causing quite a stir in today’s book industry. Online promotion is highly effective in reaching a wide audience, and sharable media, such as videos, play a key role in gaining attention for many professionals. With that being the case, video media and, subsequently, book trailers have become increasingly popular amongst readers, authors and publishers. They are however, still held with some scepticism, many claiming they are simply ‘author bling’. This is due mostly to the amount of poorly produced examples there are, and the lack of knowledge in creating that buzz.
- Some authors and readers feel strongly that book trailers invade on an otherwise traditional medium of words and imagination.
- On the other hand, video is a proven method of marketing, and authors need to cater for all readers, both traditional and those that embrace the shift into a digital reading age.
What's the Point of Book Trailers?
Book trailers bring your work to life in a way that many authors dream about during the writing process. With visual elements on the internet bringing in far more interaction than those websites without, book trailers can now play a huge role in your online platform.
The elements of your book trailer should be striking and professional. Images, video footage and music can be sourced online, although it is imperative to ensure they are appropriate for your work. Having a well-thought-out script, and putting these elements together effectively, is key. Having image and text appear one after the other can appear lacklustre and outdated. Smooth and creative effects are vital in creating a professional finish.
If you’re not able to employ a professional, ensure you watch other successful book or movie trailers to get a sense of how they are put together.
(Below is an example of a book trailer made by Aimee – for more examples, visit the book trailer page on her website.)
How Long Should a Book Trailer Be?
Duration is significant. Many authors are very passionate and have a lot that they wish to include. The longer the video, however, the less likely it is that people will watch to completion, and they may even lose interest. A length of between one and one and a half minutes is about right.
Eight Ways to Use Your Book Trailer
Once you have a completed book trailer. it is imperative to distribute it effectively. A professional should let you know if this is included in their service.
- Uploading your video to Youtube is only the first step. When uploading, be sure to include keyword tags, a clear title and description so that your video is easy to find.
- Having your book trailer on your website home page can also increase the length of time visitors remain on your site by up to 88%.
- Sharing via social media is also effective, as many of your existing readers will have already connected with you through these channels, and the shareable nature of videos makes it very easy for others to spread the word for you.
- Keep it visible during promotion by pinning it to the top of your social media pages.
- Amazon and Goodreeds will also allow you to upload a book trailer directly onto your author profile and book’s page, meaning you have further means to capture reader’s attention.
- There are also book trailer dedicated websites including www.bookreels.com that drive traffic to specific genres.
- You need to think strategically about placing the trailer on sites where your book-buyers frequent. If you have articles or a blog tour where you can increase the chances of your book trailer being seen and shared, be sure to let the site owners know that they can embed the book trailer to gather interest.
- Lastly, if your existing books are available on Kindle, you can easily include a link to your book trailers at the end, tempting readers to immediately purchase the next in the series or your most recent offering.
A good book trailer should not tell the entire contents of the book. Instead it should create suspense and visually stimulate the reader, enticing them to make a purchase, or at the very least, keep them interested in your work in the future. This growth in book trailers is allowing authors to reach a widening audience, and keeping your name visible in an overcrowded market.
OVER TO YOU What's your experience been of book trailers – good or bad? Do you have great tips to share? We'd love to know!#Authors - top tips on how to make and use a #booktrailer by @authordesigner Click To Tweet
Thank you for the informative article Aimee 🙂
I tried my hand on my first book trailer after my book debut. It was a challenge indeed. Do let me know what you think. I am yet to properly launch it 🙂
Glad to help. If you can, post a YouTube link to your trailer in this comments section! Would love to see it.
[…] As recently as a year-and-a-half ago, industry professionals like Design consultant and ALLi Partner Member Aimee Coveney were already calling the benefit of this new trend. In part, she said, “Video media is causing quite a stir in today’s book industry. Online promotion is highly effective in reaching a wide audience, and sharable media, such as videos, play a key role in gaining attention for many professionals.” (check out her super useful article How to Use Book Trailers for Successful Book Marketing) […]
Thank you for the article and tips, very helpful I have done book trailers, but mostly with my own illustrations. Was nice to learn where to find other free resources.
[…] How to Use Book Trailers for Successful Book Marketing by Aimee Coveney […]
Thanks for the helpful article. I came across it while contemplating if I should work with https://corrcommercials.com . They seem like a legit service and have made some pretty good trailers especially for their price. I’ve heard some authors use their trailers for FB ads with much success.
Good solid advise. I used to crane my neck over a computer to make videos, but using the free app Splice for iPhone was able to make this book trailer that I am very satisfied with: http://youtu.be/YPLqK9TuT_M
I make book trailers for $30, and also do book trailers for special events from $50 and up. My book trailers have been featured by Visionary Press Collaborative and Owl’s Eye View Publishing. I also make trailers for my own books. Thank you for this informative post, as it will serve me and my clients well for future undertakings! 🙂
Let us know what you think of the Vintage Style.
We’ve made book trailers affordable, sharable, and slideshow-free.
i’ve made them for all my books using iMovie. I make sure I create a proper storyboard, so I have the script and specification for each photo/video clip. Then I select media, buying in new one as required. I *love* making them, but I’m a bit of a geek…
And yes, I’d endorse using them in all the ways Aimee suggests.
I enjoy your trailers for your Roma Nova series, Alison, and am still stunned at the way you are able to do these yourself, and how professional they look. They certainly create exactly the right atmosphere and wonderful sense of the heroine.
I made a book trailer on my own, as I could not afford to have one made by someone else.Took me four hours. In the future, if possible, I’ll probably use a pro to make my trailers, but it can be done on your own as well.
It certainly can! I have seen some excellent examples out there of ‘homemade’ book trailers, and even some very poor professionally produced versions. Ideally you want something that appears professional, and markets your work in the best possible light. If authors are able to do this themselves, that’s great, however if you have any doubts, it can be an ideal investment to ask a professional.
Book trailers don’t necessarily have to cover only one book either, it could cover an entire series, which can therefore obviously be used in the marketing of each release, with very minor adjustments.
Thanks for putting it all together, crisply.
What’s your take on using film for promotional purposes? I’ve shot two teasers and one preview film for my upcoming book ‘A Ladder Of Panties’. These films have live actors and have been shot at three locations.
My plan is to release the two teasers first (90-120 seconds) and follow it up with the longer preview (7 minutes). The logic I’m applying is that the teasers would possibly work with the shorter attention span marketplace whereas the preview could cover the rest. It’s an experiment that could provide valuable insights. Your opinion?
Thank you for your question. The use of film within trailers or ‘teasers’ is ideal as long as it appears professional and you are detailing information about the book. I have seen some examples that unfortunately do not, and therefore do not set the best tone for a book, or give very little detail, therefore making it fairly poor marketing. If it is professional, then yes, it is essentially a very creative and visual way to introduce characters to readers, which they can develop in their own minds when reading the book.
Statistically a video over one minute in length rapidly loses ‘watch to completion’ numbers, which is why we always keep book trailers at that sort of length. If you are producing teasers in order to gather eager viewers for a longer video, I don’t see that as an issue, as I assume that most of the viewers will be watching due to the teasers.
I would love to hear the results of your experiment and how it goes!
Thanks again, Aimee.
‘Statistically a video over one minute in length rapidly loses ‘watch to completion’ numbers…’ This is a point I’m not clear on.
Let’s take your point that the film should be professional and informative as a given. One can’t expect people to watch garbage. But moving on from there, here’s another piece of personal logic – if a person can’t sit still for more than a minute, how will that person read a book? Reading a book being definitely more time consuming and demanding than a video.
That being said, there is another inherent advantage here (teasers/preview films) which, possibly, hasn’t been factored in. The action taken by the viewer is voluntary. She/he has clicked on the thumbnail/link. Something about the book has piqued interest.
The example there is kinda meh… Here’s a REAL book trailer!
Sanbai, I notice the one you’ve cited is for self-publishing megastar Hugh Howey – and I’m sure we’d all love to have his budget! 😉 As you’ll see if you check out Aimee’s examples on her website (and there are plenty more besides the one I’ve linked to for her post), her rates are very affordable and a great entry-level service for anyone wanting to try the book trailer route without needing Hugh’s sales volume to justify the costs!
I agree Debbie, thank you. Unfortunately it isn’t feasible for most authors to spend the amount of money on a trailer such as this would cost. I have seen some examples that go into the thousands. However it is still possible to produce a professional and eye catching design which offers an insight into how well this kind of media can convert to interest 🙂
Thanks so much for the well-thought out info, Aimee!
I had BookCandy.com do one for me in 2006 after my second book, and it still seems to be serving me well now, even after the trilogy is complete.
It is important that it is done well and that it creates some suspense.
I’ve got a new book coming out and will consider doing another. I’ll be interested to hear about other companies from other authors’ comments here.