Some Reasons Why I Have a Trailer For My New Book

Yes! I have a trailer for my newest release, The Doctor’s Lady.

I know, I know. There’s an intense debate among the industry as to whether trailers are really a worthwhile marketing device. I’ve seen as many posts for them as I have against them.

But, I couldn’t resist the pull to try a trailer at least once in my writing career. When I broached the subject with my publisher’s marketing department, of course they had their hesitancies too. In their experience, they’ve come to recognize that quality is important because every promotion is a reflection on the author. In other words, a well made trailer can help, but one that is poorly constructed has the potential to harm a book's promotion and author’s public image.

When I asked the head of marketing what went into making an effective trailer she said it should be short (1:30 maximum), it should engage the viewer emotionally, and it should leave the viewer hanging so that they want to go purchase the book to find out what happens.

Of course, my trailer isn’t in the same high budget category as some of the professionally produced trailers that are made for top sellers, but my publisher did use a professional designer, still photos from the cover model shoot, and they had the ability to do a video shoot with costumed actors.

Here are some of the benefits I hope to gain from having a trailer for my new book:

Videos involve more senses (sight AND sound) which help solidify the product in the consumer's mind. It doesn’t really matter what the product is—toothpaste, pizza, and yes, even books—the multi-sensory facet of videos (commercials) can help facilitate interest.

Video communication is growing in importance. Think about the increasing usage of videos through mediums such as YouTube, vlogs, Skype, etc. As more people begin to use videos, we as writers need to tap into that medium and not be left behind. PulsePoint Founder/Creative Director, Kelli Standish, listed some statistics in a 2008 post Book Videos & Online Trailers: Fad or Future? 

73% of U.S. Internet users viewed video online in February 2008.

Consumers are 47% more engaged in television commercials online than on television.

Over 70% of Internet users under the age of thirty actively visit video-sharing sites.

Trailers are one more way to generate book buzz in cyberland. The more times readers hear about our books, the more likely they’ll be to purchase it. Trailers can provide an additional avenue for increasing the chatter around the internet.

Online bookstores can utilize the trailers for their promotional efforts. My publisher will offer the trailer to most of their online bookstore distributors. This can help put a book into more of a spotlight position.

Authors can use the trailers on their author pages on various reader sites. Goodreads, Shelfari, Librarything, and even an author’s Amazon page have spots for putting in videos. Getting the trailer into as many places as possible will only increase the chances of the book’s exposure.

Trailers offer a quick, concise summary of the book in an emotionally enticing way. The sound of the music, the clear pictures, and the short blurb about the book can engage viewers’ emotions in a way that words alone often cannot do.

Kelli Standish of PulsePoint says this in her article, “Television viewers are migrating to the Internet for their entertainment. It means that more users than ever are sharing and watching online video. And it means that if you want to meet them when they arrive at your cyberdoor, a book video or trailer could be a solid addition to your book promotion arsenal.”

Like any marketing effort, however, promoting a trailer requires some work and savvy. Among all of the voices on the internet clamoring for attention, we can’t just throw a trailer onto our websites and expect people to flock to it. We have to look at creative ways we can draw interest to the trailer.

One way to promote a trailer is through a contest! Which is what I’m doing this week! Click here to check out the details and to enter! (And I'm giving away fantastic prizes!)

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with book trailers. Have you used one or considered the possibility? What do you think are the pros and cons of trailers?

P.S. Make sure you read the comments for more wisdom from Kelli Standish about book trailers!


  1. interesting post. personally, I avoided making trailers because I just didn't see the value of the time and energy and I'd never really seen any I liked. I assumed they were very hard to make...I prefer trailers with video ala movie trailers, but finding stock video footage seemed a pain.

    But like you, I HAD to give it a shot at least once. I'm glad i did. I recently gave it a shot for my novel Anomaly just to see if I could do it.

    You know what, I had fun. I want to do more and i want to make them better.

    Kudos to all those trailer makers.

    ps: mine is at:
    if you want to peek.

  2. Hi Thea! Yes, like you, I had some hesitancies! But I wanted to give it a try for at least one book. I'll be sure to report back on whether I thought it was helpful or not! :-) And all the very best to you with your trailer! I'll try to swing by and take a peek soon!

  3. Hi Jody,
    I love trailers. I watched yours and tweeted. I especially liked the very first image with the date and picture. Pulled me in.
    Realms made a trailer of my novel and I loved it. I wasn't expecting it, it was so nice of them to do it.

    Another way to use these videos is to show them at book signings at conferences if the conference does something like that. I'm hoping maybe ACFW will consider this but it may cost too much.

    I was at a conference this summer where there was an ongoing video running with everyone's book trailers. It was fun to watch during lunch, etc. The sound was turned off because it would have been too disruptive, but the visual edge is helpful in my opinion.

    Your contest is a great idea. Have fun with it.

  4. Jill,

    I love the idea of having the videos at conferences. I will have to pass that idea along to my publisher! And I think your publisher did a fantastic job with your trailer too!

  5. I can't wait to read your book, Jody!! Convenient marriages have always been among my favorite books to read. And the trailer is gorgeous! It made me want to read the book even more!

  6. Your trailer turned out really nice, Jody! I love that you were able to incorporate the actors from the photo shoot. It leaves a wonderful consistecy with the images. So many trailers I've seen use old photos, which are great at giving a historic feel to the video, but they don't match the book cover or character descriptions.

    At what point in the process did you talk to marketing about using a trailor? I'm guessing you had to dicuss it before the photo shoot right? I'll be very interested to hear your impressions about how you think this worked as a marketing tool.

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. I really wanted my trailer to be no more than 30 seconds and am pleased with what my designer was able to do.

    For me, I think a trailer will be especially helpful for school presentations -- it's a small, quick glimpse into the heart of my book.

  8. Thanks for the kind words, ladies!

    Caroline, what a fantastic plan for your book and showing to schools!

    Karen, I brought up a couple of my ideas to marketing early in the spring when they were putting together the plans for the book. But at that point they'd already had the photo shoot for the cover. If I'd brought up the idea of the trailer earlier, they could have done a little more (like they did with Mary Conneally's trailer) and perhaps taken some videos during the photo shoot. As it was, they had to hire a couple of actors and blur faces for the trailer. I'll definitely keep you posted on how it all goes! :-)

  9. I've thought about trailers. Do you know of any good resources specifically for creating nonfiction trailers?

  10. Laura,
    I don't know many resources for creating trailers. Kelli Standish's post (the link is in my post) has some great resources for trailers. Sorry I can't be of more help to you on this!

    One idea for nonfiction is to create a video of yourself talking about your book, sharing key points, as well as introducing readers to you as the author. I've seen some like this done really well for a couple of authors I know, and they perked my attention.

  11. Great post, Jody!

    Lots of things to consider with video, and I cannot agree more with your publisher regarding trailers. A bad video is worse than no video at all, without question.

    Besides the points you mentioned, there are several others that authors may want to consider.

    One is the concept of "Full Hands". If you've ever attended a writers conference or trade show, you know that everyone who attends is exposed to hundreds of faces, introductions, and elevator pitches. Its enough to turn your brain to mush!

    Savvy writers have learned that having something memorable they can hand out helps them stand out in people's memory.

    So when you pack for a writers conference or ICRS, its standard practice to pack well-designed business cards, appealing book marks, or perhaps little items like pens etc that coordinate with your book.

    Now. Imagine that your social network is like one of these conferences. Only fifty times as large.

    In this "conference", the secret to recognition is SHAREABLE content.

    Here are two important stats about the "conference" meeting in the room behind the door marked 'Facebook'.

    1.) Facebook users watch over 2 billion videos per month, more than the total number of videos watched per month on YouTube.

    2.) Facebook users share 30 billion pieces of content (links, notes, photos, etc.)per month.

    So the question authors must ask themselves is: What am I taking to this conference? Am I taking items that make it easy for these conference attendees to share my message?

    Video is imminently shareable, which is why trailers are a smart investment.

    A second thing authors may want to consider is the "Engagement Object" concept. Search engines such as Google are driven by over 200 algorithm variables. These variables help the search engines determine how important your web site is, based on the content it contains.

    What authors don't realize is that web video is one of the "engagement objects" Google uses to determine site value.

    Here's a quote from Bruce Clay, who runs one of the foremost search engine optimization firms in the world:
    "I think, that a year from now, we are going to be sitting here saying – 'if you don’t have video, if you don’t have engagement objects on your website, you are just not going to rank. It will make you last among equals if you don’t have it.'"

    There are at least fifty other reasons why a trailer or video is worthwhile for authors, but I don't have space here to share them all:)

    One other thing I'll mention: I am constantly amazed by how many authors forget to provide their book video embed code to bloggers hosting them during a blog tour.

    If you (or your publishing house) have invested the money to create a trailer, for heavens sake, USE it! Treat it like a business card and distribute it everywhere you can.

    As a last note, here are several great video links for those interested in trailer distribution:

    TubeMogul Allows you to upload your video to multiple video sites at the same time.

    TurnHere Is a video production company with a network of filmmakers all over the country. They do great author interview type trailers.

    Cheering you on,

  12. The thing about your trailer that intrigues me is the ending when she walks away from him. It's incredibly emotional and leaves the viewer wanting to know what brings them back together.

    Shameful self-promotion: I've started a new feature on my blog, running book trailers on Tuesdays. Lena Nelson Dooley's ran last week and Diana Brandmeyer's trailer for We're Not Blended; We're Pureed runs tomorrow.

    As usual, you've given us helpful information, Jodi.

  13. Awww, love your trailer, Jody. It makes me want to read the book (and I've already read it!)

  14. Kelli, Thank you SO much for adding more thoughts to the discussion. You have such great wisdom and I appreciate being under your tutelage! :-)

    Sandra, If you ever need another trailer to run on your blog, please let me know! :-)

  15. I don't usually watch trailers. I think they're kind of silly. But there are people who are visual, so a trailer is a great advert for that kind of person. Oh, yes, I did go ahead and watch yours. The part that DID catch my attention was the date. I'm much more willing to read an early 19th C novel than a later one, so that was a good fact to lead with.

  16. Hi Jody, Love the trailer. You and your publishing co. did good:) It really hits a poignant, intriguing emotional note. I can see this one getting tagged/passed along. Hope it goes viral!

  17. Somehow, I missed this post! I love the trailer. It's beautiful and heartfelt. I can't wait to get my hands on that book.

  18. I don't usually view a trailer unless I'm already considering buying the book and happen to come across its trailer, so I can't say I'd be influenced by one. But I think yours is very appealing, particular how it begins. I may be a slow reader, as I found the smaller text moved a little too fast for comfort and I had to replay a couple of sections. Still, I was interested enough to do so. I loved the music and the mood that's created. I intend to read this book anyway, but the trailer reinforces the desire to get my hands on it. :)

  19. Jody, I had never given book trailers much thought (I didn't know published authors used them!) Yours looks very professional and it made me curious about your book!

    That's funny that you wrote about this today. I just interviewed an agent who mentioned book trailers as a good promotion tool for writers. In fact, I was surprised with all the online opportunities she mentioned.

    Check it out if you get a chance!

  20. Jody, I love this trailer for all the reasons everyone else mentioned but what caught my attention first was the way the train seems to emerge from the distance. It immediately made me think, "How cool!"

    I also love the moment at the end where she turns away and then pauses.

    Bethany House really scored with this one!

  21. Just watched your trailer, Jody, and I think it's awesome! I've seen many trailers I haven't cared for, but yours is simple, effective, and definitely makes me want to read your book!

  22. Thank you Suzannah and everyone! Appreciate your kind words about the trailer! :-)

  23. If you are looking for a reputable contextual advertising company, I recommend that you have a look at Chitika.


© All the articles in this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without prior written consent from the author. You may quote without permission if you give proper credit and links. Thank you!