Book Trailers – Useful? Or a Waste of Time?

One of the newer marketing tools for books are trailers. These are short videos, sort of like movie trailers. The idea behind them is to intrigue readers, to entice them into reading the book.  Now I’m pretty proud of the trailer that Penguin designed for The Beggar’s Opera (see below), but book trailers themselves seem to be a bit controversial.

Some people think that book trailers are a waste of money and that you can’t use video to sell books. Others argue that when it comes to young readers in particular, book trailers are exactly what’s needed.

Personally, I think an effective book trailer can drawn people in that you might not otherwise reach. As this columnist in the Baltimore Sun notes, if you send out an email blast to a thousand people of your synopsis, damn few of them will read it. But a good number will look at a book trailer. And if they like it, they’ll share.

I see a lot of Internet sites and blogs where the authors are proud of the fact that they made their book trailers themselves at little cost. A lot of the time, it looks like it.

My view, for what it’s worth is that a professional book trailer, like a professional website, can be an effective marketing tool. Crappy ones may get attention, too, but not necessarily the type you want.

My book trailer has had about 800 combined hits between Vimeo and Youtube since it was posted just over a month ago. Some of those are friends of course, but most are people I don’t know, and potential readers. For an unknown Canadian author, a debut novel, and a book that isn’t out until February, I think that’s pretty good.

(The book jacket will have a QR code on it that will take anyone scanning it with a smartphone to this trailer, which I think is genius.)

What do you think?

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