Book Trailers: Yay or Nay?

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Today I’m talking about book trailers! And as part of Calling All Critiques I’m also sharing the query letter from Dawn Allen’s Adult ThrillerThe Drought of Sam Dakota. If you have some time, stop by and leave your feedback!


I’ve been thinking of doing a book trailer for my upcoming novel but I’m conflicted about it.  I guess my main concern is this: are book trailers an effective marketing tool for books?

I think about the way I discover books. I may hear about a book through a friend, stumble upon it online (Amazon or Goodreads), but these days, I’m looking a lot at books by indie authors that I meet online. Even with ebooks, I do the same thing I would do at the library: read the blurb. If that catches my attention, I read the first paragraph or so. Generally, that’s how I make my decision about which books I’m going to buy. I don’t even necessarily read reviews because a lot of books I’ve read with great reviews have left me feeling cold.

I’ve seen some stellar book trailers, but in all honesty, none of them have persuaded me to actually buy a book. That’s why I hesitate when it comes to paying someone to create one for me. I’ve seen them range in price from $5 (yes, $5! And you know what they say: you get what you pay for) all the way to $1500 (yikes! $1500!). But I’ve been wondering: if there’s a tiny fraction of readers who are moved by book trailers then maybe I should go ahead and do one? But I have to be honest, guys. If I do decide to go the book trailer route, I’ll probably go ahead and do it myself because the thought of shelling out $400 for a book trailer just runs up my blood pressure.

So what about all of you? Readers: do book trailers play a part in your decision to buy a book? Do you even watch them? And to authors: do you find that book trailers have been an effective marketing tool?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Also, if you’re shopping around for a book trailer, here are a few book trailer companies I found online. They all seem reasonably priced and reputable. Prices range from $75 – $400. As always, check for reviews.

Erin Kelly Editing & Design 

Nifty Book Trailers

Forward Authority Design Services


23 thoughts on “Book Trailers: Yay or Nay?

  1. Hi Quanie,

    It’s most likely I won’t purchase a book just based on its trailer. However, a good one, with a fantastically timed piece of music, will add to my impression of the book. After reading a few reviews on the book, I might place it on my to-read shelf and get a copy eventually … if it sounds like my kind of read, of course. So I suppose a good trailer does help, but maybe not right away.

  2. Hi Quanie!

    Very interesting thoughts and insight on book trailers! I just wanted to add a free sight, Animoto, where you can create 30-minute videos with no steep learning curve. I haven’t tried it myself, but my author friend, Effrosyni Moschoudi, has for her two novels, and I think the result is more than decent. Check out her relevant blog post: Personally, I don’t think that book trailers lead to more sales, but I tend to think that using any medium available makes for a more comprehensive marketing strategy.
    MM Jaye recently posted..Calling All Critiques: Query Letter Entry #6My Profile

    • Hi MM Jaye!

      Thanks for stopping by. You know, I have heard of Animoto. I was thinking of tinkering with it for a book trailer of my own. I’ll post the results here if they aren’t too shameful, lol. And I definitely agree that even though book trailers may not lead to more sales, they are just one part of a marketing strategy. As Burnita says here in the comments: throw it against the wall, see what sticks.
      Quanie recently posted..Book Trailers: Yay or Nay?My Profile

  3. I hate to say it, since I know people spend a lot of time, energy, and money on the trailers, but I’m with you; they’ve never convinced me to buy a book. However, I DO think of them almost as treats for fans – it’s so fun to see a trailer for a book I love. I know it’s not accomplishing its purpose to get me to buy the book, but it IS making me a happy fan, so that’s something, right?
    Liz Blocker (@lizblocker) recently posted..Patience IS a VirtueMy Profile

  4. I’ve never done a book trailer and I’m not sure if I will. (I may change my mind though, so don’t me me to that. haha). As a reader, book trailers are actually new to me. Even now though, I’ve never seen one that made me want to buy a book I didn’t already know about or want. To be effective, it would have to be available in places other than your own social media and blog, to attract people who don’t know about your book.

    Good luck with you decision!
    Chrys Fey recently posted..Writing is HardMy Profile

  5. Quanie. Girl, I love you! We are in sync – again! I was in the same pickle. A book trailer was suggested and balked. A trailer? For a BOOK? But as I did research, I found a style that convinced me to check out a book.
    So now, I’m in the middle of making a book trailer. A fellow writer made her own and subscriptions to her website jumped by 17 new people in a couple of days. It’s building up interest for her launch in July.
    Being me, I had to do a sample, first. Something like this runs about $150.00:
    If you can’t find that price, come to talk to me. 😉

    • Ha! I love you too! LOL! And we are definitely in sync again. I think $150 is on the reasonable side. I’m going to try my hand at it and if it comes out a mess I’ll have to get in touch with you. The video I just saw looks very nice! I especially loved the narration.
      Quanie recently posted..Book Trailers: Yay or Nay?My Profile

  6. Book trailers can be very attractive… take Kelly Hashway’s trailer for The Monster Within which she shared with us today. I think they can be appealing, however, will I ever decide to use one for the release of one of my books? Maybe. Depends on whether or not I will be releasing a novel or children’s book next.. as well as on the cost.
    Like yourself, Quanie, I find books through other authors I’ve connected with here. If I like their blogs or style of writing, I’m more inclined to purchase and read their story. And if the blurb captivates me, then I’m usually sold. I like helping and supporting indie authors like myself so book trailers don’t really sell me my books. But then again, they might be what sells books to others.
    Gina Stoneheart recently posted..Liebster AwardMy Profile

  7. I think what bothers me most about trailers is not hearing the writer’s voice and looking at images found on the internet or stock images. You don’t want that. A book trailer can be you reading an excerpt and talking to your audience or even talking about what prompted you to write the story. If the book trailer is an ad, why do so many of them just have music and pictures? is dedicated to the book trailer and you never know who may see it there. I don’t think it would hurt to have music in the background though. Matter of fact, it enhances.
    totsymae1011 recently posted..My Illustrious Fascination with StupidityMy Profile

    • It’s interesting to hear your thoughts on this. I personally don’t mind the stock images and video. I hadn’t thought about an author using the trailer to read an excerpt or tell people what prompted them to write a story. That is definitely something to explore: whether or not readers are interested in the story behind the book as much as they might be in the book. I wonder. You have given me a blog topic for another day!
      Quanie recently posted..Book Trailers: Yay or Nay?My Profile

  8. I think a book trailer is another marketing tool that might help if it’s in the right places and certainly can’t hurt. However I don’t think I’d spend money on doing one unless you were a well established writer and had guarantees of having the trailer placed in places where it could make a real difference. One can make a very nice professional-looking trailer on one’s own without spending a dime. Even with no experience you can probably put together something pretty reasonable in an hour or so. I’d try that first before investing any money in a professional service–unless you have the money to spare, then go ahead and help the economy.

    The nice thing about having a trailer and putting it up in places like YouTube is that eventually it might end up as a part of a search result and be discovered inadvertently by a potential new customer. And you or others can tweet the YouTube link. The existence of a video can be a great visual tool. My suggestion keep it short–1 minute or less like a TV commercial.

    Did you see this one made for A to Z a couple years back?:

    My daughter made that on her home computer. The video is still there for posterity.

    Good luck and let me know if you put one together. I’ll embed it in one of my blog posts.

    Arlee Bird recently posted..Was the Popularity of Harry Potter Just a Passing Fad?My Profile

    • Arlee, you make some good points. I hadn’t even considered book trailer placement. I guess if you’re a newbie author and don’t have a budget to get it placed where it could make a difference, then it might be worth it to try making it yourself. I will definitely let you know if I end up making one (if it comes out okay, that is!). The trailer your daughter did for A-Z looks great!
      Quanie recently posted..Book Trailers: Yay or Nay?My Profile

  9. Hi Quanie,

    My trailer was done by a company called Circle of Seven Productions. They offer a Basic Book Teaser for $850. BUT, I was told in Nov. and Dec. it would only be $375 because business with the traditional publishers comes to a standstill during the holidays. So, whatever company you choose, perhaps a deal can be negotiated because of seasons, or whatever you dream up to get a discount. Check it out.

    As for whether it works or not. I don’t know. It’s just one more option for marketing. Motto: Throw it all against the wall, see what sticks.

    • Hi Burnita,

      I’ve heard of Circle of Seven but I thought their prices were pretty steep. It’s good to know that they have special deals like that! They did a great job with your trailer. And I think you’re absolutely right: throw it against the wall, see what sticks.
      Quanie recently posted..Book Trailers: Yay or Nay?My Profile

  10. I hear ya. Problem is, unless someone seeks you out to tell you (or you see a huge spike in sales after an ad), you don’t know what made someone buy your book.

    I had a trailer made for my debut, and it seemed to get a positive response, but I doubt it brought enough sales to pay for itself. I don’t plan to make one for the next book. I may make one for my dystopian, but I’ll have to think on it first.

    Fwiw, I did load my trailer for ‘Come Back’ onto my Amazon author page. Unfortunately, it’s so small there, you can barely even read the text. Not very effective…

    I think well-made trailers are a compelling marketing tool; the problem is getting them placed where readers can see them.
    Melissa Maygrove recently posted..Book Birthday Giveaway – Edge of Truth by Natasha Hanova is 1 year old!My Profile

    • Melissa, I saw your book trailer and really liked it. I guess you’re right: there’s no real way to measure its effectiveness. If you do one then maybe you just do it with the hope that it’ll reach those who are moved by such visual marketing tools, and the rest of the people who don’t care about that kind of stuff will buy your book based on the cover and blurb (we hope!).
      Quanie recently posted..Book Trailers: Yay or Nay?My Profile

  11. I’m a keen reader, I love movies and I love the way book trailers give me a brief feel for the book similar to the way movie trailers do. It actually gets me excited for the book if it’s something I’m into. I looked at all of those sites, most of their trailers are really tacky and similar. I love the ones that are different well thought out and aren’t just text and pictures lazily thrown together. I think nifty book trailers did the best job but it is the most expensive. Still if a website has an intriguing video I’m a lot more likely to stay and read more and buy the book(which I’ve done a lot in the past). Anyway I think it’s up to your budget, but I reckon if you’re going to get don’t get something that’s the same as everyone else.

    • Hi Jenny, that’s some really good insight and something that I will definitely keep in mind. It’s nice to know that book trailers do work for some readers (if they’re good, right?). I have seen some that don’t look too compelling but that won’t stop me from buying a book because for me it all comes down to the blurb and first page anyway. And I also think Nifty Book Trailers does great work. Their trailers seem to be outside of the norm.
      Quanie recently posted..Book Trailers: Yay or Nay?My Profile

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