Book Trailers- are they worth it?

I have read a lot about book trailers, and I have watched my share of them, and here is my final thought on whether they are worth it – I don’t know!
There seems to be little evidence that book trailers help sell books. I enjoyed watching some of them and a few actually got me interested in taking a look at the book. However, in general, most looked amateurish; they were just a slideshow with music. They were more helpful if I went to the book’s website first and then watched the video. In other words, they did not grab my attention on their own; rather they simply added to my overall interest in the book. But the point is I’m not sure they would encourage me to actually buy the book.
Obviously, I am biased but I do enjoy being able to click on a book trailer when I go to one of our B.R.A.G.MedallionTM Honoree detail pages. But, there again, I have already sought the book out and I know it is well worth the investment of my time and money.
So here is what I think-
A book trailer is a nice enhancement to all the promotion you do for your book but it may not increase your sales. As such, it does not appear to be the next big hook to gaining an audience – at least not yet.
If you choose to do a trailer to give added interest to your book’s website, be sure you research the subject thoroughly first, and watch as many trailers as possible before plunging ahead. Determine what makes for an interesting trailer; one that tells your story.
There are numerous companies ready to make that award-winning trailer for you but I would be cautious before I spent thousands of dollars on something with unproven positive results. And while you can make one by yourself for very little cost, remember that creating a boring, amateurish trailer may be worse than not having one at all.
If you have had a trailer produced for your book, let us know why you did it and what you have gotten out of it.
And if you have made a trailer yourself, tell us how did you did it and whether it was a positive experience or not.
We would love to hear your thoughts on using book trailers-

10 responses to “Book Trailers- are they worth it?”

  1. Dana Pratola says:

    I agree completely, especially about most of them being amateurish. I can count on one hand the trailers I’ve actually liked.

  2. M.M. Bennetts says:

    My publisher had two book trailers made for my last book.

    I ended up liking them both, though both were whilst they were being produced, huge head-aches, since neither company seemed to ‘get’ what the book was about or even take my editorial comments when I’d say that’s not what happens, or, point out that the imagery they were proposing was post-war Paris and my book was set in 1812…

    That said, do they sell books? I don’t think so. They may–in the future, if say Amazon regularly featured them alongside the book… But for the moment, readers don’t have any framework for responding to them: they don’t know where to regularly find them, so they’re not easily accessible…

    So the question has to be asked, who are they for? Mostly, I think they turn out to be for the authors and marketing bods, who will feel cool that they’ve got this nifty book trailer out there. But they’re already onside, so why spend a few thousand quid and/or the angst and work to produce a book trailer…you could get the same warm fuzzy feeling from going out to tea and eating red velvet cake.

  3. Geri says:

    I was told that the “younger” generation actually search for books on youtube.com- I just don’t see that. I asked my sons-one in movie production and one a programmer- both who use the internet for just about everything, and neither of them search books in this way (not that they are a a representable sample!) but what I do know is that they would be very critical of the quality.

    I agree that they are probably more for the author. I do think they are a nice addition to an authors web page for those all ready interested in your book so, if they aren’t too costly go for it. Just don’t expect them to increase sales.

  4. Malcolm Noble says:

    I don’t think the booktrailer has worked out what it is there for. It isn’t in the right place to be an effective advertisement for the book. But there might be a role for trailers if they bring something extra to the reading or “following” experience. There is only one thing worse than being an amateur booktrailer, that is being humiliated into being an amateur trailer that’s trying to look professional. (That’s a little like serving ice cream and popcorn in the middle of a home movie show) Feel free to disagree

  5. Emma Calin says:

    I have book trailers for two of my books and these are hosted on my website, YouTube and my Amazon Author Page and do not get many views, so doubtless do not generate many sales either.

    I noticed that some products on Amazon are starting to have trailers shown beneath the main photo on the product page – so browsing buyers are aware of them and can watch without leaving the product page. BUT they only allow videos made by Amazon Video – for which there is a massive fee of around £1500 for a 2 min video. If you offer your own completed trailers they insist on remaking them and charging the full fee of course. Shame as the ideal place for the trailer is on the page with the book.

    Here’s my latest one http://youtu.be/eUxzzHaN8fA – always grateful for any feedback.

  6. Michelle says:

    Currently working on a trailer for my book with a group of talented actors I have done plays with in the past and a great camera guy who knows the ins and outs of special effects, so it will look like a movie trailer. I don’t know if it will increase sales, but it’s just fun to experiment. This is all sweat equity from friends I have made, so there’s no monetary cost. It never hurts for writers to get out and get to know other creative types and to channel your own creativity into your promotional ideas.

  7. Linda Gillard says:

    I have never bought a book as a result of watching a book trailer and I don’t know anyone who has. My readers are mostly mature women who would read reviews and be influenced by other readers’ enthusiasm. I think that’s the great strength of IndieBRAG, that one of your criteria is, “Would I recommend this book to a friend?”

    I debate with myself constantly whether I should invest more time in marketing, but I usually conclude my best marketing tool is a new book, so I just focus on writing.

  8. Geri Clouston says:

    I agree. I often think about going and watching the book trailers but seldom do. I can’t think of a single video that made me buy a book. I have, however, watched a couple of trailers by authors of books I liked. I think this is a bit backwards for increasing sales!

  9. Martha Kennedy says:

    I had a good time making the book trailer for The Brothers Path — but it wasn’t easy (at first) to wrap my head around what the audience of a book trailer would want to see. Luckily, I had friends who were not shy about telling me where I was going in the wrong direction.

    I don’t think I actually care if it helps sell my book. It was free to make, a great learning experience, it came out well (NOT amateurish), kept me off the streets for a few days. I have thought about making them for Martin of Gfenn and Savior, but haven’t done it.

  10. Geri Clouston says:

    I do think that there are those who enjoy them. As I said, I do like looking at ones on books I have enjoyed (such as yours!) I am not sure they sell books and if you are not doing it for that reason only, I think they are fun!

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