Some Write It Hot

February 7, 2011

Are Book Trailers Effective? by KevaD

Filed under: Writing life — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
Tags: , , , ,

Two years ago The Wall Street Journal asked that very question.

To no one’s surprise, the answer was a resounding ‘probably not’ – “There is scant evidence . . . that the average book trailer actually has much impact on book sales.”

Consider this; you watch a trailer on YouTube and are interested in the book. Can you click on the trailer to buy the book? No. Read the back cover blurb? No. Read an excerpt? No. Click a link to the author or publisher’s web sites and bookstore? No.

In fact, you have to note the title, author, and in many cases, the publisher, in order to locate where the book is available for purchase.

Not to mention… how did you find the trailer on YouTube to start with?

That’s right – you probably didn’t. Unless you linked to it from an author or publisher’s site that provided all the other information anyway. In which case, you no doubt clicked on the trailer for no reason other than to watch it – entertainment.

As yet, there is no credible method of tracking the impact of book trailers on the average consumer. However, publishers and authors are feeling the need to provide trailers to those very potential customers. Because, after all, many trailers are well-done and quite enjoyable to watch.

Which brings us back to the original question – does the trailer aid in your decision as to which book to buy?

That’s what I hope you’ll share with us today. Please leave a comment and tell us if book trailers weigh in your decision about buying a book.

Now I’ll answer one of my own questions. Can a book trailer impact which book you buy or read?

The answer is a resounding “Yes!” But not in the manner you’re thinking.

Book trailers are a marketing tool – another method of getting a product to consumers. Enter the marketing specialists, such as Circle of Seven Productions.

For a set fee, companies like will put an author’s trailer in front of 300+ booksellers and 5,000+ libraries – the primary purchasers of books.

That’s correct. Book trailers have added a whole new chapter to the concept of book catalogs.

Does the book trailer ensure the book is well-written or will sell well? Not any more than spiffy cover art can guarantee sales. But it can catch a bookseller or library purchasing agent’s eye. Catching the client’s attention is still the salesman’s proverbial foot in the door.

By the way, Circle of Seven noted on a blog that links to a site where your book is for sale can be implanted with your trailer: “You can indeed make a live link from YouTube. You need to put the http:// in front of the www. in the description area.”

I haven’t tried it. Nor am I promoting Circle of Seven. I needed information regarding trailer marketing, and I stumbled across Don’t know how effective or efficient they are at what they do.

So, tell us what you think about trailers. And while you’re deep in thought, here’s a trailer I made:

See what else KevaD is up to at his blog


  1. I’m not keen on book trailers myself. I much prefer the written word. Pictures never seem to match up to my imaginings of the characters or the setting.

    I’m not big on youtube so the only way I’d find a book trailer is through the author’s website. And let’s face it, if I’m already trolling for your backlist, you prolly don’t need a fancy book trailer to sell another book to me.

    Just my €0.02.

    Comment by Gillian Archer — February 7, 2011 @ 04:56 | Reply

  2. There are good trailers and not so good trailers. I think a bad trailer might even cost a writer in the end, but there is no way to denounce the benefits of exposure that a vessel like you tube provides. Great post KevaD as always. Trailers are worth the effort and then some in my humble, not so expert opinion that is.


    Comment by Cornelle — February 7, 2011 @ 06:59 | Reply

  3. Thank you both, Gillian and Cornelle, for commenting.
    It’s an interesting subject, and I’m really curious how readers feel about trailers.

    Comment by KevaD — February 7, 2011 @ 08:00 | Reply

  4. Thanks for a provocative article, David. I’ve only watched my friends’ trailers. While they can be lovely and entertaining, it seems counterproductive to market text with video. But then I’m not a marketing guru. 😀

    Comment by dangerouslysexy — February 7, 2011 @ 09:15 | Reply

  5. I can honestly say I have never watched a book trailer. I buy books on recommendation or by the blurb. I can’t see that a trailer will tell me anymore than the book cover can.

    Comment by Lillian Grant — February 7, 2011 @ 13:11 | Reply

  6. I can’t say I really watch them, it’s not something I think of to go look for and they aren’t shown where I buy the book so I’ve never really sought them out. I’ve been told they are a great marketing tool so I may jump on the bandwagon but I haven’t yet.

    Comment by Lauren Fraser — February 7, 2011 @ 15:46 | Reply

  7. As a new toy, I enjoyed creating the trailer posted here. But, it took six hours to make. I’m also one of those who decides to buy a book based on what’s inside, not by the wrapping.
    Still, I’m enjoying looking at trailers if one is handy, but I don’t go searching for them, either.

    Comment by KevaD — February 8, 2011 @ 08:33 | Reply

  8. I didn’t know book trailers existed until Tara Lain did one for her book Genetic Attraction. Though I now watch them simply because someone has spent a lot of time making one, they wouldn’t influence me on buying the book. I would rather read the blurb, but I have to admit I am influenced more by the book cover.

    Comment by Penny Brandon — February 8, 2011 @ 22:17 | Reply

    • Hi, Penny
      Totally agree on the cover. The cover’s job is to draw our attention to the book, to entice us to put the book in our hands. If the cover fails to do that, we tend to move on to one that does.
      Thank you very much for your comments.

      Comment by KevaD — February 9, 2011 @ 07:22 | Reply

  9. Interesting article. With my own (author-made) book trailer, I’ve worked out that it takes about a hundred views to get a book sale, so it is not nearly as effective as other forms of advertising or good reviews. Book trailers are a bit of a fashion statement really – but they are great fun to make – especially if you go for a movie-style trailer with live actors.

    Comment by Cody Young — May 18, 2011 @ 22:27 | Reply

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