Book Trailers: A Link to Some Basics

I recently had the opportunity to attend a session for writers introducing the basics of book trailers. Richmond is home to a growing writing community and is also home to the James River Writers (JRW), a great organization that hosts an annual conference, writers’ workshops, master writing classes, and more. Every month, they also host The Writing Show. In May, the topic for the show was book trailers. As a volunteer with JRW, I agreed to attend and write the summary of the event for the website and I’m so glad I did.

A large audience of writers gathered to learn more about book trailers from a local company, Fraga Studios. Although the concept of book trailers is not new, like any form of marketing, it won’t be worth your time, energy, or money unless you know what you’re doing. Tom and Lew (of Fraga Studios) spent the first half of the evening explaining the different types of book trailers, what makes a successful book trailer, and guidelines for choosing what works best for you:

Types of Trailers (from least expensive to most expensive)

  • Author Trailer
  • Moving Photo Albums
  • Cinematic
  • Animated/Motion Graphics

(For a full summary of the types, pros and cons, what works and what doesn’t, as well as a link to the slideshow presentation, click HERE)

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.45.47 AMOn a large screen, they played several trailers they found effective as well as many they didn’t. Two they really liked were for the young adult book Wonder and for the memoir The Glass Castle. Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.46.15 AMAs a psychological suspense writer, I feel my stories would be a natural fit for a book trailer. I really like the idea of a trailer but recognize that to be successful, it needs to be seen. Obviously, we are becoming an increasingly visual nation/world. We watch TV, our tablets, our computers, our phones. As a reader, would a visual peek at a book you were considering buying be something you would be interested in? As I said, there is no question a good trailer can be effective, that is, if people see it. For me, that’s an important biggest question. I will admit that I don’t see many trailers when I scroll through Amazon for my next read. Why is that? Where it is on the page? Do we skim past them? Or are they not there due to the cost to produce? Certainly, some larger publishers might invest in trailers while many others will not. If you’re self-published, the expense (like all of the expenses associated with publishing) will fall solely on the author. All writers want to increase their sales and all writers will explore a variety of ways to do that. Book trailers may be one possibility. I will admit, I would love to have a trailer of the quality and caliber of Wonder. Who wouldn’t? But what’s the best way to get it seen if you do? How can you best use a trailer to bring a reader to your book? For me, that is the biggest question of all.

Has a book trailer ever influenced your purchase? Have you ever used book trailers? Would you?

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