Trailers have been around forever in the movie and TV industry. The big studios spend a lot of money on their creation, and even indie films have to come with trailers if they want to succeed in their niche markets. Video game studios also put a lot of effort into the production of trailers, which often show scenes exclusively shot for them.
With the rise of YouTube and social media, trailers have become even more important for the entertainment industry than they used to be in earlier decades.
So, why are book trailers still such a rare phenomenon? And why are many of them so poorly made?
Many indie authors consider the (often costly) option of a trailer for a marketing tool as a waste of money––which is understandable. A good custom-made trailer can cost $300-$500, but of course, there’s no limit on how much can be spent on them. Big publishers often hire marketing companies specialized in TV commercials and easily pay between 10k-50k to advertise the latest books of their bestselling authors.
Others argue that a trailer makes no sense for a book, because, after all, you’re supposed to want to read the book, not watch it like a movie.
I have to admit that ten years ago when book trailers were still a new phenomenon, I thought the same and was therefore surprised when my publisher asked me to have a trailer produced for my book.
However, I completely changed my mind on making trailers since then because of the success of mine.
I have come to believe that book trailers are a valid marketing tool for various reasons.
First of all, our daily life has become much more visual-oriented than ever before. More people are watching YouTube videos nowadays than reading books (sadly). To convince such an audience to give a book a chance, it’s a good move to offer them visual impulses they understand. This is only possible with a trailer. Marketing experts know that moving images are way more powerful than single images, which is why we see short clips as ads for all kinds of products in our feeds on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Secondly, if big publishers are willing to spend thousands of dollars on a single trailer for a single book, then it must be worth it. Big publishers never spend money on anything for no reason. They have stone-cold marketing experts who constantly evaluate which strategy is useful and which isn’t. So if it works for the big publishers, then it can also work for Indie and small press authors.
All that being said, I would strongly advise keeping away from making a trailer yourself if your only experience with videography is shooting little videos with your phone and posting them on Facebook.
It’s the same as with book covers. Every book marketing guru will advise you to hire a skilled cover designer instead of trying to photoshop something by yourself. Don’t. Just don’t.
It’s similar with trailers. A bad trailer is counterproductive. It quickly can turn out boring or look amateurish, which will likely scare potential readers off instead of convincing them to buy your book.
The same can be said about so-called “generic” trailers. If you do some research, you will quickly find people willing to make you a trailer for $50-$100. As so often in life, you will experience a simple truth: you get what you pay for. Your trailer will turn out dull, soulless, and/or feature footage and images everyone has seen a hundred times.
If you decide to have a trailer for your book, find someone who will put effort and creativity into it, and who is willing to create something unique for you––as unique as your book, and transporting its essence visually.
There are two kinds of trailers I would recommend:
A 100 percent animated trailer created by an animation artist. These should be kept short, and in the style of the animated ads, you see on Instagram.
The second possibility is a cinematic trailer. It’s a trailer that uses music and unique footage, making it appear like a movie trailer.
Will a trailer really help you sell more books? Of course, nobody can guarantee that. But that’s the case with every kind of advertisement. Personally, I can say from experience that a well-made trailer is worth the effort and money.
A book trailer can create attention for you and your book. It will make you stick out of the thousands of book ads you see on social media every day, which are usually using static images, or maybe animated covers.
If you’re interested to learn more about trailers, take a look at my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me on social media.
I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback!
Anna Mocikat was born in Warsaw, Poland, but spent most of her life in Germany where she attended film school, worked as a screenwriter and a game writer for several years. Her “MUC” novels have been nominated for the most prestigious awards for Fantasy and Science-Fiction in Germany. In 2016 Anna moved to the USA where she continued her writing career. “Shadow City” was her debut in English in 2019. She lives in Greenville, South Carolina, and is a proud dog-mom of three rescues who assist her when she’s writing.
Here’s the book blurb from Anna’s Behind Blue Eyes…
They are the perfect hybrid between human and machine. They are the next step in the evolution of mankind. And when they come after you, nothing in the world will save you… Welcome to the year 2095. Society has overcome everything that made human life miserable. It has become a utopia––so perfect that it needs killer cyborgs to hunt down anyone who disagrees with it. Nephilim isn’t just any elite death squad member, she is the best. Genetically and cybernetically enhanced, she and others like her strike terror wherever they go. Knowing nothing besides this lifestyle, Nephilim believes that she’s part of a righteous cause. But everything changes for her after a hostile EMP attack. She suffers a severe system glitch. Disconnected from the grid, for the first time in her life, she begins doubting the system. Shortly after the attack, she meets Jake. He is a 100 percent biological human, and she falls in love with him. Jake helps her discover that everything she had believed in was a lie. But there is no walking away from the system. And soon, Nephilim finds herself hunted by members of her own death squad. In an era of deception, who can she trust? And in this brave new world, is there a place for love between a human and a cyborg? Behind Blue Eyes is a fast-paced, cinematic action story in a dystopian setting. It’s a modern-day version of 1984––on steroids.
You can also learn more about this book and the author by following Behind Blue Eyes Blog Book tour. See dates and blogs below.