THE BLOG
04/29/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Why Make a Book Trailer? Do They Work?

There is only so much marketing copy you can write about your book before you have saturated your target audience. But in one minute or less you can tap into the visual, auditory and emotional senses of your potential reader with a book trailer. Like its cousin the movie trailer, a book trailer is designed to get the buzz going and drive sales, or at least more interest.

What makes for a good book trailer?

  • Make it brief: Getting and keeping a viewer is essential, so respect their time and their attention span and keep it under three minutes. Consider that most television commercials only last for 30 seconds and even that can feel too long.
  • Keep it real: Make sure your message is authentic to your overall brand. The tone and feel of the video should reflect your content.
  • Make the connection: It should be fairly transparent how the trailer ties into the book content. No explanation should be needed for your viewer to "get it".
  • Maintain balance: Your images, text and audio should all flow well together and not feel like they are separate pieces being pasted together.
  • Create good pace: A trailer that consists of a slide show with still images and music scan be effective, but the pace has to be just right. It needs to allow the viewer time to read any caption but not put them to sleep or make them anxious.
  • Tap into emotions: Make sure you remember that the essence of any video is to entertain the audience as well as inform. Earning a laugh or a tear makes for a powerful message.
  • Name drop: If you have strong, recognizable endorsements, don't be shy about dropping the testimonial into your piece.
  • Manage the money: When deciding on a budget for your book trailer, you don't have to think box-office smash to get results. With the right images and editing, you can produce a quality trailer that does not look like it came out of Warner Brothers studios or your garage.
  • Soften the sell: It is fairly understood that the intent of the trailer is to illicit a sale, but it does not have to be a strong call to action to ignite interest. The desired result is to get the viewer interested, either in making the purchase or in finding out more.
  • Finish strong: As simple as this may seem, you would be surprised at how many people forget the minor (rather major) detail of ending with an image of the book and convenient purchase instructions.

YouTube has played a huge role in the viral brand expansion for many authors and it is well worth the time to develop an engaging piece. You may remember this book trailer as it created a viral explosion. Different versions of the video were forwarded to so many in-boxes around the world that it had more than 30 million views on YouTube. It is a homemade video telling the story of Christian the Lion, a pet lion released into the wild and his reunion with his "parents". Within it's 1:18 running time, it spurred so much interest for the 1972 nonfiction book entitled A Lion Called Christian by Anthony Bourke and John Rendall that it was the sixth most wanted out-of-print book of 2008. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVNTdWbVBgc Enjoy!

About Arielle Ford:
Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books. To learn how to get started writing a book please visit: www.HowToWriteMyBook.com /www.HowToWriteMyBook.com>