Book Trailers: The Whys, Hows (and If-at-Alls!)

I’ve had many authors ask me about book trailers. Some have heard of them, but don’t really understand what they are. Others are wondering exactly how they can help sell the book. With that in mind, here’s what every author needs to know about book trailers.

What Is a Book Trailer?
A book trailer is just like a movie trailer … except it’s promoting a book. Of course, from the production end, they’re far from the same thing. A movie trailer is simply snippets from the movie. A book trailer needs to be made specifically for this purpose. Some authors choose to have actors hired to play the characters in the trailer. Others just want images/graphics/text. Some go with a voice-over, too. These short snippets (usually a few minutes long) are used as a “hook” to get people interested in reading a book, much like they’d see a preview in a movie theater and want to go see that movie.

Who Should Get a Book Trailer Made?
In my humble opinion, the people who benefit most from book trailers are those who have written fiction books (I don’t see much benefit from nonfiction) that are dramatic in nature. Writers of suspense, mysteries, sci-fi, romance novels, etc… can get a lot out of a book trailer. Those genres are well-suited for a video that gives people the feel of the book.

How Do You Get People to See Your Book Trailer?
If you choose to have a book trailer made, you’ll obviously want to get as many eyes on it as possible. Include it on your website (it can be embedded and playable right on your homepage), and include links to it on your blog, your Facebook page, your email signature, etc… Also, make sure to upload your book trailer to YouTube. That’s where it’s likely to really go viral. Lastly, make sure to optimize your book trailer — especially on YouTube. By giving it the right name and putting in the right keywords and tags, you can get your trailer to show up when people are searching for those keywords.

Is It Worth the Money?
That’s a question I can’t answer. I would hate to tell any author to invest the funds, and then have it not bring the return they’re looking for. But I encourage you to talk with other authors and see what their experience with book trailers was like. Was it worth it for them? You can start by checking out this conversation on CreateSpace.

How about you? What did you do with your book trailer? If you could do it again, what would you do differently? Please share your thoughts!