If Hollywood movies are always preceded by a promotional trailer to draw audiences in, why shouldn’t your book be, too?
Think of any movie that you’ve been looking forward to seeing in theaters lately. Chances are, you probably saw the trailer for it on YouTube, while browsing Facebook, or while watching TV after unwinding from a long day at work.
Would you have gone to see the movie if you hadn’t seen the trailer to get a glimpse of what you could expect?
Maybe you didn’t even see the trailer yourself…but you haven’t been able to stop your friends and family from talking about it and now you want to see the movie yourself.
There’s a reason that production houses create trailers: they’re incredibly effective at building hype and anticipation amongst potential audiences. That 30-second teaser can capture a lot of attention!
While your book certainly isn’t a movie, why not make use of what’s been proven to work and use a tried and true marketing strategy to help promote it? Treat your finished product like a Hollywood movie and create buzz about its launch by creating an attractive book trailer!
Why Book Trailers Are Effective
In today’s digital age, social content is increasingly shifting towards video. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram users have been proven to engage more with video content than images, and writing a quick 100-word post about your book’s launch to share with your followers is no longer going to cut it.
People might see it, but will they be as inclined to share it as they would a video that really speaks to them?
Keep in mind that with so much content being published on people’s social feeds nowadays, it’s increasingly easy for them to miss the one or two posts you publish about your book. And those posts will quickly be forgotten.
Sure, you can put an email marketing content strategy together and drip out info about your new book slowly to your subscriber list. But that only reaches people who have already signed up—not new people who had no idea they needed your book.
To have the most reach, you need to entice users to share your post, expanding your circle of influence and attracting new potential fans.
And what better way to quickly draw people in and spike their interest than by creating a well-edited, engaging trailer that perfectly encompasses what your book is all about?
Book trailers can work for fiction and nonfiction authors alike—you just have to focus on providing value to your audience and giving them an idea of what to expect from the book itself.
What Should Be Included in a Book Trailer?
If you’re unsure of where to start when it comes to creating your book trailer, here are some suggestions for what to touch on and include:
1. The problem that your reader is facing, or their greatest interest
If you’re an expert on a certain topic, chances are people are going to want to hear about it. What is your target reader’s greatest problem? Are they hoping to pay off their student loan quickly and efficiently while juggling other debts? Get the most out of their garden? Escape from the stress of the day with a great story?
Identify your target audience’s problem and focus your book trailer on that.
2. The solution to the problem, or how you can pique their curiosity
If you’re a money-saving pro, use your trailer to explain exactly how you’ll help your audience become debt-free—and fast. If you’re a master gardener, use your trailer to show before and after scenes of gardens that flourished after using the advice in your book.
Alternatively, if your book isn’t solving a problem, let your readers know why they’ll be interested to get their hands on a copy of it. Perhaps you’ve written a sci-fi novel about aliens. Now’s the time to highlight just how awesome those aliens are.
3. The benefits of reading the book and how it solves the problem
Let your readers know what they’ll take away from reading your book. What will they have learned after the fact and how will their lives be different?
4. An author description and your expertise in the field
Don’t forget—readers are always curious about the author behind the book! While it’s important not to make the book trailer entirely about you, do include a short bio about who you are and what your expertise is in the field you’re writing about.
5. A call to action
Consider including a special promo code in your book trailer for those who’d like to buy your book off your website, or highlight the fact that readers are welcome to join your Facebook community. Try not to make your call to action too sales-y, focusing instead on delivering value to the reader.
How To Make a Book Trailer: 3 Options
So now that your book trailer’s content is mapped out, how do you actually create it?
There are three templates you can use to promote your book, regardless of your level of expertise when it comes to editing or video production. Try to keep your trailer’s length to one to two minutes, keeping in mind that you risk losing your viewers’ attention if you create anything longer.
1. Talking Head Videos
Not a pro when it comes to videography? Fear not, there’s always the talking head book trailer! Authors can speak directly into the camera as though they were having a one-on-one conversation with the viewer.
These types of trailers are effective in that audiences love to actually see the author behind a book, particularly a self-help book, and tend to form an instant connection with them after watching them speak.
Example: Job Escape Plan trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Z2zFv9g9f4
2. Presentation Videos
Consider using a presentation tool such as Keynote or PowerPoint to showcase your book and what it’s all about. Be sure to use engaging images and narrate the presentation with your own voice throughout, so as not to lose your viewer’s interest.
In order to create the video itself, you can record your screen using a screen capture tool.
3. Animated Videos
Tell your book’s story with the use of engaging animated graphics! Creating this type of book trailer will likely require the help of a professional video editor or motion graphic designer, although there are some funky free tools online that can create a video for you. These can be kind of silly, though, so be wary of of creating a video with stock animation and synthesized voiceovers. You may not have the effect you wanted!
If you want to create a slick animated video, hire some experts. Our team at Happy Self Publishing specializes in this form of book trailers and can take care of everything from helping you record your voiceover narration to hiring external voiceover artists and putting together a complete attractive video.
The Marriage Mantra trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_29rvQMjRrc
Habit Stacking trailer: https://youtu.be/Oz6KDPuoBC4
Where to Publish Your Book Trailer
Once your book trailer is created, edited, and ready to go, here’s where to publish it:
- Inside Amazon’s Author Central, so that the video shows up inside your author page.
- On your personal or public Facebook page, where you can boost the post to reach a larger, targeted audience.
- On YouTube, using the right keywords to help your book to show up in the second largest search engine in the world. Make sure the link to purchase your book is included in the description below your video.
- On your author website, where future readers will visit to learn more about you and see examples of your past, current and future work.
Have you created a book trailer? Show it off in the comments!
For more creative marketing ideas, read on:
- Virtual Book Tours: A Powerful Promotion Tool for Authors
- Three Ways To Creatively Market Your Books on Goodreads
- How to Use Social Media to Promote a Book
Jyotsna Ramachandran is the founder of Happy Self Publishing, a full-service self-publishing agency that has helped hundreds of authors create their books. From formatting to manuscript editing and book cover design, the team has worked on a number of Amazon bestsellers and is passionate about helping aspiring authors find their voices and grow their businesses.