Are Book Trailers a Good Idea?

rainbowSomeone asked me for advice on how to get people to see his book trailer and then called me negative when I explained how difficult it would be. I admit I’m burned out when it comes to promotion. I’ve spent the past five years researching book promotion in all its many facets, tried hundreds of different things, and I still don’t know how to turn a sleepy seller into a best seller, though I know a lot about what doesn’t work, or at least what doesn’t work for me. Other people do the same sorts of things I’ve been doing and find a pot of gold at the end of the promotion rainbow, but I’m still searching for the rainbow.

Book promotion is a lot like the house that Jack built. You have a book you want to sell, so you create a video trailer to promote it. Then you have to promote the video that promotes the book you want to sell. Then, you join Facebook to get more viewers for your video, so now you have to promote your FB page that promotes the video that promotes the book you want to sell. And on and on and on.

Some people can just throw a book out there and make a fortune on Amazon, but the rest of us have to promote. Have to find a way to get people interested in us and then in our books. As I said in What Works When It Comes to Book Promotion?, the first authors to blog or use the various social networking sites to promote their books found a strong readership, but now all of those means of promotion are so common that they are simply an expected part of being an author.

It’s the same with book trailers. The first people who created book trailers to promote their books did well, but now video promos are just an expected part of being an author. Even if the video is great, the problem is getting people to see the video.

Sometimes people will stumble across a book trailer when they are surfing Utube, but it’s not as if people by the thousands will be searching for his book trailer. I wanted to hear Madonna’s “Playground” the other day, so I used the search function to find it since I knew what I wanted to listen to, but what if I didn’t know there was a song out there I’d like to hear? How do I find it?

The problem is, you have to promote the book trailer as assiduously as you promote the book. If I knew how to get people to see his trailers, I’d be good enough at promotion that I’d be selling millions of books.

Still, book trailers are a good idea, and the better they are made, the better they will do. I don’t want to discourage him from making his video because . . . who knows? His might catch people’s attention and go viral. At the very least, it will give him something other than the book itself to promote.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

8 Responses to “Are Book Trailers a Good Idea?”

  1. Carol Wuenschell Says:

    You description of the insidious expansion of the promotion black hole – how you have to promote your promotions was so on target. I can’t figure out how people ever make it work.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      That black hole sure came as a shock! I thought that if you put yourself out there, that people will find your blog or book trailer or whatever, and in so doing, they would discover your book and hopefully buy it. It works for some people, just not me.

      Sometimes I think I should start over. Pretend I haven’t been doing anything, but I’d have no idea where to start.

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    It may be difficutl promoting your work, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try!

  3. mickeyhoffman Says:

    I seldom will spend time watching a book trailer because I’m just not interested in them. If I know the author, I’ll watch one. Otherwise, not.

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