book trailers

Book trailers for Marketing your book – Are they a necessity or an Add-on?

You can walk into any library today (online or the real deal) and the sheer number of books available can overwhelm even the most avid reader. There are a staggering number of books under each genre and each of them have something more appealing than the other. As a reader, the internet age is a truly glorious time for book lovers. As an author too, this is indeed a period with several new windows of opportunities. But with the wide range of books available today, authors face a pretty big marketing challenge. How can they stand out? How do they get readers to buy a copy of their latest book and dive into it?

Authors today are quite marketing savvy and use several media to market their book. One upcoming and popular option is releasing a book trailer along with the book launch. A book trailer is exactly what it sounds like, a brief video snippet that speaks about the book and is created to pique the interest of the reader.

Somebook trailers are simple videos containing photographs accompanied by music while others go for a more professionally made video with animation, video bits, voice over etc.

So what is a book trailer all about? Is it worth the investment? Is it a necessity today or is it just a fancy add-on that is not really adding any value to the book?Here we weigh the pros and cons of a book trailer.


Today, making book trailers before a book launch has become a popular trend among various publishing house especially by self-publishing companies.

The book trailer trend started with the authors creating catchy presentations for the store owners, with an intention of getting them to stock their books.What started out as a power point presentation graduated into audio-visuals created using tools like Prezi or PowToon. With the advancement of new software and technology, this trend slowly gave way to slick video bits that we know today as, book trailers.

So here are a few reasons why book trailers may be a great option to promote your book:

  1. We love videos of any kind!

The popularity of videos cannot be compared to any other form of content marketing. According to Forresters Research, if a picture is worth a 1000 words then a video is worth around 1.8 million of them! We are a very visual species and are naturally attracted to moving visuals. Research suggests that by 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic making it clear that videos are the future of content marketing. Still not convinced? Look at the following stats.

Readers are 64% more likely to purchase your book if they see a book trailer that effectively promote your book (Source: ComScore)

Visitors to your author website stay an average of 2 minutes longer than on author sites that do not use quality video. (Source: ComScore)

Authors who use book trailer video in email campaigns can experience Open Rates [increases] from 19% to 300%! (Source: Forrester Research)

While these numbers maybe be significantly lower in India at present, our phenomenal internet reach is confirmation of the fact that the impact of videos and good book trailers is India is going to be huge.

  1. Videos are easy to share

How many times have you received a barrage of links shared by friends and family urging you to watch a particular video? Too many to count, right?

That’s the great part about videos, they are just so easy to share! Making quality book trailers is a one time work but once it’s done, the trailer remains online forever talking about your book.

It has been observed that 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others. (Source: Invodo). However, posting your book trailer just on YouTube or Facebook isn’t enough. To get the best out of book trailers, you need to focus on its distribution as well.

Ensure that your trailer is shown online and offline at places that readers regularly frequent. You can even run ads on popular book review websites and start spreading the word.

Researchers also feel that with the growing popularity of eBooks and the Kindle, people would start searching for book trailers soon and expect good books to have good trailers accompanying them.

  1. It helps readers trust you

If you are a relatively new author, readers not recognizing your name can be a big hurdle on the book sales front. Use a book trailer effectively to help them know you better.

Book trailers need not just be about the book. It even be about you and your journey! If you have an interesting background or a life story that inspired the book, use the book trailer to communicate it effectively and create a bond with the readers. People often buy books for its authors and because they relate to them.

So don’t be shy and bare it all!


As we discussed earlier, this article is meant to help you weigh your decision of choosing a book trailer or not. So here are a few reasons why book trailers may NOT be a great option for you:

  1. No book trailer is better than a bad book trailer

This has to be the single biggest reason to skip this marketing strategy. Most of the encouraging stats above about book trailers boosting your book sales focus on a very important part of good quality book trailer.

The internet is flooded with shabby and sloppy video montages with a corny voice over. The consumer today is spoilt for choice with videos of high quality production value. They do not have the patience to sit through a shaky video with a very DIY look. A poorly made book trailer can mar your book’s reputation and repulse the reader rather than attract them towards it.

To help you understand, we have listed few great book trailers at the end of the article, that complemented the book rather than putting off readers.

  1. A good book trailer is expensive and time consuming

Book trailers are a bit of a hype and is not yet a universally accepted marketing technique to promote books. But most often the thing that discourages authors from making a book trailer is the money and the time that goes into it. This is especially true for authors who choose to self-publish. With a limited budget, a book trailer may not be the best investment for your money.

You may yield better results by using the budget for more effective techniques like sending free copies of your books to book influencers, running ads for book sales etc.

Just like a movie trailer, a book trailer also requires a solid script, writing, storyboard and quality technology and equipment to implement this.

Plus, there is always one question that plagues you, will people buy a book just because the trailer looks good? Maybe yes, maybe no. But you need to evaluate whether you are willing to take that risk.

  1. It’s hard to measure the ROI

An ROI (Return on Investment) is very crucial to an author and the publishing house to understand the return on all the marketing investment and efforts that were made.

It is very hard to measure the ROI of a book trailer. It definitely helps in spreading the word and creating a buzz. But whether it can help boost your book sales is still a highly debated topic. So if you are someone who is unwilling to accept the fact that money invested in a book trailer may or may not give you a return, we suggest skipping this plan altogether!

So what’s the verdict?

On the whole, book trailers and its necessity and impact is still very debatable.  It is seen as a necessity by few who want to be prepared for a completely digital world and as a luxury by many others.

But one thing is for sure, if you are going to do a book trailer, then make sure that it is of top notch quality with a lot of thought and effort. A half-baked attempt at a trailer may backfire badly on you as a brand and on your book.

As promised, here’s a list of some fabulous book trailers!

  1. One more thing by B.J Novak


This book trailer has taken an old, retro yet comical route to grab the viewer’s attention which is an interesting attempt deviating from the usual routine of repeating what is inside the book. The trailer is in French with subtitles and the central role is played by the author himself. It has raked up more than 400K views on YouTube.

  1. The Epic reads by Patrick Ness


This book trailer is a very creative attempt with an artistic approach which starts with a list of his own collection successful books. Then the trailer takes about his new book “Epic Reads”. This trailer is simple, pocket friendly yet effective because of the high resolution video and artwork.A perfect combination of fantasy and realism is conveyed in the message.

  1. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken 


The trailer for this young adult fantasy adventure shows the characters Etta and Nicholas (who have done a pretty good job). The trailer starts with a ticking clock which tells us that the story has something to do with time. The screenplay slowly moves into Etta playing violin which portrays the character well as a violin prodigy as written in the book. Overall the book trailer has clarity and potential to induce curiosity among the readers.

  1. The Sialkot saga By Ashwin Sanghi


This trailer is a perfect show of how a book trailer can be made without any actors and still can be gripping using just high-quality graphics. It induces excitement among the viewers to read the book but the video is very lengthy for the fact that it exceeds a usual average of 1 min and 20 secs. However it is one of the best attempts by an author in India where book trailers still remains an unexplored area.

Do you have any thoughts to share? Let us know in the comments!

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Naveen Valsakumar is one of the founders of Notion Press. He started Notion Press in 2012 as a premium self-publishing platform for Indian writers to create and publish beautiful books.

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