How to Make the Best Book Trailers?

A good video about your book can go viral and help it reach new readers, but a bad one might do the opposite. Here are some important things to think about and steps to take to make and share a book trailer that sells your book.

Think about these facts: Every day, more than 22 billion people watch videos. Compared to photos or text, it boosts the organic reach of social media posts by more than 100%. It shows up near the top of the first page of Google searches, is liked by people of all ages, and makes people feel something right away.

(Book Trailer Fundamentals: Things to Consider Prior to Creating Your Own)

It is not surprising that publishers and authors are increasingly utilizing video to reach a rapidly expanding audience. A terrible video can damage a reader’s expectation of a book before they’ve ever opened the first page. To assist you avoid this trap, here are some crucial considerations and methods for producing and distributing an effective book trailer:

What’s all the fuss about video?

As I’ve already said, there are a lot of reasons why video should be an author’s most important tool for promoting their book. Video gets the most online traffic and engagement. 78% of people watch online video every week. Studies show that people remember 6 times more information from video than from text, and our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text. What else can I say? People are built to watch videos. So why not use that to your advantage?

How can a video about your book help you?

The dream is for your book promo video to go viral and sell millions of copies, but let’s talk about what you can actually do: It helps you build trust in your writing platform and your body of work. A professional book video shows that you care about your work and can tell a good story in different ways. A great video can also get the attention of top influencers and media who might not look at a synopsis or pitch but will watch a 90-second video. Video also expands your exposure to video-driven sites. And finally, what better way could there be to show Hollywood that your book would make a great movie?

Video Formats

Even though book trailers are probably the most common type of book video, you don’t have to watch them. Many non-fiction authors like to do an author video that shows them as an expert or thought leader. Author videos also work well in a video series, a webinar, a book tube channel, or another video-driven sales tool where the book is more of an extension of the author’s expertise. While book trailers focus on the setting and plot of the book, author videos try to show the author’s personality and connect with the audience on a more personal level. Videos can also be live-action, animated, or just a bunch of pictures set to music. Budgets are varying from $0 – $10,000. There is no set formula, so think outside the box!

Bad Book Videos

All of us have seen bad trailers. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that most videos out there that promote books aren’t very good. So, I don’t need to make you watch them, and it’s also rude to point out other people’s mistakes. Still, the following trailer won the Moby Award for “Worst Book Trailer” in 2011 and has been talked about so much online that it has almost become a cult classic.

There are also the following problems:

·       Poorly written

·       Bad sound, poor picture

·       Low value of making

·       “Show, don’t tell” should be changed to “Tell, don’t show.”

·       Doesn’t show the tone or type of the book.

·       Keeps going way too long

Good Book Promo Videos

Good videos (see examples below) share the following characteristics:

·       Excellent writing

·       Professional performance

·       High production value (as opposed to a large budget: As Cigarettes for the Dog demonstrates, all you need is a paper clip, an empty Coca-Cola bottle, a piece of paper, your cell phone, and a sense of comedy.

·       Teases the spectator without revealing excessively

·       Adheres to the “show, don’t tell” tenet

·       Clearly introduces the book’s concept or perspective.

·       Leaves you craving more information

In conclusion, a good video uses video as a visual, cinematic tool, a way to turn the story of the book into moving images that make the audience feel something. Bad videos are “too literal” in the sense that they don’t have a big idea, a sense of tone, or a creative plan for how to use video to its fullest potential. Instead, they try to cut and paste the book onto video, which makes the experience boring and either unintentionally funny or just plain painful to watch. The key is to keep people guessing and to show emotion without giving away too much. At the end of the day, the fun and point of reading a book is to let the reader’s imagination run wild and make up his or her own version of the story’s world and characters.

How to Make a Movie?

No matter how much money you have or how big your video is, it should follow these steps to be done right:

Come up with an idea for the video.

What is it about your book that makes it interesting, important, or timely? There might be a strange setting or character. What’s at stake? What kind of music is it? What’s the main fight or feeling? Who’s your audience? Is there a surprise or twist that goes against what the reader expects and makes them want to know more?

Make plans for how the video will look.

Will it be a video about the book or about the author? Live-action, animation, documentary style, found footage, or a collage of pictures set to music?

Make the play.

Your script will be your creative plan and will also tell you how much you can spend. Keep it short. A 90- to 180-second video is the best length. Write down what happens and what is said. What do we see and what do we hear? Don’t forget to include a call to action at the end of the video, such as your website or social media channels, as well as information on how to buy.

Plan for it.

You might spend money on videography, equipment, editing, sound design, stock images, video and music, a voice-over artist, a producer, locations, etc. If you want a book video production service to take care of everything, make sure to check them out first because many of these “turnkey” services don’t do a good job.


This phase refers mostly to a live-action on-location shoot and includes hiring a videographer, talent, crew, etc. However, the purpose of this phase is to ensure that everyone is aware of their responsibilities prior to production.


Your responsibility is to ensure that your vision/script is carried out, but if you’ve hired the proper people, you should also be receptive to creative input.


This includes the editing process and beta screenings with trusted individuals until you are satisfied with the output and release the video for distribution.

Depending on the extent of your video, there are a great deal of details involved in the production step. Visit book writing usa & book writing group for further resources and to obtain a production handout.


Now that your viral film is complete, here’s how to share it with the world:

  • Upload it as the primary distribution channel to YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Website: Embed it prominently via YouTube or Vimeo on the homepage.
  • Social media: Pin it to the top of your profiles, run video-specific advertisements, and send it to your followers and a list of targeted influencers to help spread the word and obtain endorsements.
  • Mailing list: Send a newsletter with the YouTube/Vimeo embed to your mailing list and request that they view, comment, and share.
  • Websites with literary and news content: Literary websites such as Shelf Awareness, Booklist, Rumpus, Electric Literature, and Publishers Weekly, as well as mainstream news-driven websites such as Huff Post, Daily Beast, Slate, the Hollywood Reporter, the New York Daily News, and USA Today, all promote video because it increases user engagement. Many of them offer book trailers or author videos in a dedicated area (e.g., “Book Trailer of the Day” on Shelf Awareness) or in conjunction with book review coverage and author interviews.
  • Put a link to your video in your email signature.
  • Use it in your media outreach and follow-ups: As I noted previously, a successful video can help open doors with top media or influencers who may not have the time or inclination to read a full pitch or book. A video is also an excellent way to follow up with media contacts who have not responded.
  • Using your video to establish the tone and break the ice at events: Beginning your book talk with a video engages the audience and transforms your event into a multi-media experience.
  • Send your author video to speaking agents and television networks so they may see how you appear and perform on camera: TV producers will always request a video sample to ensure that the author will appear “excellent” and confident on camera.
  • Submit to Hollywood contacts to exhibit cinematic potential: Daily, book scouts from big studios, agencies, and production firms trawl the Internet in search of new books to option for film adaptations. Provide assistance by emailing them your video.