What key elements make an effective book trailer? | Plus a sneak peek of the new book trailer by 30 Day Books

I say it all the time but it’s worth repeating!

Book marketing efforts need to be productive not just active.

Many authors unfortunately confuse the two, spending hours on social media without seeing any results, blogging to an empty audience, and making book trailers that never get watched.

Definition for book trailer:

A book trailer is a video advertisement for a book which employs techniques similar to those of movie trailers. They are circulated on…

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_trailer

 

Activity is not the same as productivity, and it’s important to make sure the time put into your marketing is working in your favor. We kept this in mind when we started the planning for Kathy Lynn Harris’s book trailer. We didn’t want to put hours into making a video for the sake of it.

 

Our aim was that viewers of the book trailer would say YES to the following questions after watching the trailer:

 

- Did it grab your attention?
- Do you want to share it with someone?
- Do you want to watch it again?
- Most importantly, are you going to check out the book now?

 

 We hope we pulled it off! Here it is…

Here’s a recap of the key elements we tried to keep in mind when putting it together. You might want to think about some of these points when making your effective book trailer.

 

*Note, this is NOT a post about how to make a book trailer. If you want a great article detailing all that fun stuff, check out the delightful Joanna Penn’s article, Book Trailers: 11 Steps to Making Your Own.*

 

- Length: Short and sweet are the keywords here. 60 seconds is perfect, 3 minutes is the absolute max. Aim for impact and intrigue.

 

- Energy: The Internet gives an otherwise patient and calm person a much-reduced attention span. Bearing this in mind, we tried to keep the energy high throughout and details to a minimum. 

 

- Rights: Check you have the rights to images, music and anything else you use.

 

- Keeping the character images vague: This might be a matter of personal preference, but I certainly like to imagine how characters look and sound without being shown prior to opening a book. This goes for book covers too. We purposefully didn’t give the main character Bailey a face so as not to spoil that experience for readers. 

 

- Music: always good for setting the mood, be sure that it matches the tone of the book.

 

- Don’t include any spoilers!

 

- Tone: Make sure the trailer fits the tone of the book. Don’t make a humorous trailer for a dark thriller and vice versa.

 

- Make it entertaining! Whether that’s through humor, suspense, surprise, or whatever means, it needs to be watchable. This is advertising a form of entertainment after all.

 

What else would you add? And I am *nervously* curious as to your answers about Kathy’s book trailer! Please do leave a comment :)

 



Laura Pepper Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books: a book studio. She has worked with a variety of authors to successfully promote their books, including many Amazon best-sellers. Laura is the author of wedding non-fiction guides and book marketing guides 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book and Fire Up Amazon!

Laura also runs Ladies Who Critique, a critique-partner finding site. When she's not working at the studio, you can find her walking her dog, "yoga-ing" or at a coffee shop in Seattle.