Book Trailers – what is the point?

The first time I saw a book trailer, I knew I had to have one for my own novel. I had never seen one before, but it made me think that this book I was about to read was going to be turned into a film. It intrigued me because I felt like I was one of the lucky few who got to read the book before the movie came out and ruined it.

(The book was “One Day” by David Nicholls. He actually created a total of four “One Day” book trailers, from what I could find. This was before Anne Hathaway was commissioned to play the title role, and from what I hear – the movie did indeed ruin the book.)

Here is one of them:

What the *&%$ is a book trailer?

Good question. A book trailer is essentially the same as a movie trailer. Its an advertisement for the book in a visual form. For me, a book trailer was another way to reach my audience. It was another way to inspire and motivate potential readers to read the book.

It’s not to be confused with an author reading from their book in a video. Book trailers are generally scenes, or splices of scenes acted out from the novel.

I knew that the production value had to be high quality, and that it had to leave a cliff hanger of an ending. If no one wanted to know more, then what would be the point? That same token, if it looked like a cheaply made home video, no one would care to learn more. The hope is that inevitably, if its high quality, people will want to share it with their friends over and over again.

Why spend money on a book trailer?

This all ties back to a few points that I made above, but most importantly – there has to be some kind of ROI (return on investment). I spent $1500 on my book trailer (used from the money that I raised on Kickstarter). I researched how much the big companies were charging compared with the indie companies, and got my number.

To be honest, from the research that I did, no one knows if there is a return on investment for book trailers. Similar to billboard advertisements or TV commercials, there is no solid way to measure why people bought your product or how many took action after seeing an ad. As one of my favorite author bloggers said, “No one knows what the hell sells books.”  In fact, I can’t see any demographic data (besides the country they are from) on the purchases made on my novel. (I wish Amazon would change that).

However, I knew that I wanted a book trailer in my arsenal of marketing weapons – I knew that it was an added component to everything else I was doing (guest blogging, email marketing, social media marketing, book signings, giveaways, PR, etc).

I had a secondary reason for making one as well -I figured it would be a great way to get the eye of a publishing house or agent – all they have to do is click “Play” and watch for two minutes to see if this is a story that intrigued them.

If I were measuring purely on book sales, I can tell you that my book trailer currently has 921 views so far (on the Youtube channel – see below to watch). If every single person who watched the trailer bought my paperback book, I would have made my money back. Perhaps it’s just another weapon in my arsenal of making the book stand out from the crowd. Or maybe I just really enjoyed making it…

So, I want to ask you – what do you think the point of a book trailer is? Do you see value in having one?

My book trailer is here:

Buy Three Questions, the novel, by clicking here.

1 Comment

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