Book Trailers: Do Authors Get Enough Bang for Their Buck?

This post, by James Moushon, originally appeared on The Self-Publishing Review on 11/26/12.

Because book trailers are becoming a popular online marketing tool, I thought it was time I did a study of what was going on in this phase of book promotion. First, a trailer has to be a part of the total book package. You must keep that in mind as we proceed.

I reviewed 50 trailers, some from the HBS Author’s Spotlight group and some from high-profile authors. That should give us a good cross-section of the development of this relatively new process.


Are they worth the time and money? What did I see and hear that made a good book trailer? It must be noted at this point, the following are my opinions and hopefully some helpful observations.

Plan your Trip

Before you go down this trail, you must plan where you want to end. As you’ll find out, it is more detailed than you would image.

The first major decision to make is how I am going to produce the trailer? Am I going to do it myself or outsource it to a professional? Cost is the primary question in this decision I would guess. As you’ll see in this blog, there are some real good trailers created at a very reasonable cost.

Start of the trailer

Most start with a storyboard in which they create a scene list and match script text alongside each picture or slide. For example, the majority of trailers in my review start with the book cover or a slide with the Title and Author displayed. You may think that is elementary but there were several that didn’t give you that information until well into the video.

How does it sound?

This is important to the effectiveness of the trailer. The music and sound should fit your vision of your book. The sound includes music, voice, singing and special effects. Here are some observations.

Some trailers had great mood music which fit right into the story line. Some had singing in the background. A couple started off with strong music right up front which was a great attention getter.

There was one that was streaming along at a steady pace then out of the blue there was a loud gun shot. That got your attention. Several had cry outs, screams, eerie sounds and even the sound of arrows whizzing through the air.

Two observations: if you are going to use voice over for your slides, use a professional or not at all.


Read the rest of the post on The Self-Publishing Review.