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Book Trailer tips for indies

Book Trailer tips for indies

Jasmin Elliott, a member of Matador’s marketing team, explains the key things to think about when creating a book trailer – and why you might want to consider producing one to promote your books and your author brand.

Why Produce a Book Trailer?

With hundreds of books being released every day, it’s important to think carefully about your marketing strategy in order to help your book stand out. A book trailer is a great way of promoting your book that’s fun and a little different. Just like a film trailer, a book trailer aims to give the viewer the gist of your book and leave them wanting more. You’ll want to try and grab their attention in the first few seconds, so think about what your book’s unique selling points are, and make the most of them.

In a ‘video first’ world, book trailers are very versatile, and can be used to help promote your book in a variety of different ways. The most popular way they are used is on social media and video hosting sites such as Youtube, which makes it easy for people to share it instantly. They are also a great way of drawing people in – research (ComScore, Inc.) has shown that visitors to author websites will stay around two minutes longer on those that use video than on those that do not.

Book trailers can (and do) contain anything and everything – the only limit to what you choose to include is your imagination. If you want a simple, classic trailer, you may like to use your book’s cover and plainer backgrounds. Depending on the cover itself, you use you may be able to create all the shots you need just by altering the camera shots. Alternatively, you may like to create something bolder, with lots of graphics, special effects and live actors. Both approaches can be effective.

How do you do it?

It’s important to consider the length of your book trailer. Ideally it should be no longer than one to two minutes long – any more, and it will become increasingly difficult for you to keep your audience engaged.

research has shown that visitors to author websites will stay around two minutes longer on those that use video than on those that do not.

You’ll probably also want to use music to accompany your trailer. Luckily, there is a whole host of royalty free music out there that artists are happy for you to use commercially, normally in return for attribution credit. However, if you’d like to use a particular song that isn’t in the public domain, you’ll need to buy the rights. The price of these can vary wildly, but generally the rule is the more popular the song, the more expensive the rights, so you may want to avoid the Top Forty or anything really well known.

Finally, you’ll need to summarise your book’s plot and pick out the most captivating aspects to include in your trailer. Viewers will struggle to read more than short snippets of text in the average shot, so try and keep these as brief as possible. It’s also important to remember that people read at different speeds, so when in doubt, be generous with the amount of time text is on show – there’s nothing worse than rushing to read and missing something crucial! If you really can’t bear to leave too much out, you may like to use a voiceover instead.

Book trailers can be tricky when first starting out, but with a little trial and error, and possibly some expert guidance, you’ll be able to create something that will show off your book in its best light.

About The Author

Various staff work on the Self-Publishing Magazine, contributing articles and features.

Video Update!

From the editor…

As of the end of May, my time as the editor of the Self-Publishing Magazine is coming to an end. Thank you all for getting in touch over the last year. I’ve loved hearing from so many of you and it’s been fantastic to be able to share such high quality submissions from indie authors and other industry professionals.

I’m very excited to announce my replacement, Jasmin Elliott. She has a sound background in book marketing (having worked with both local and national media, marketing Matador books for over three years). As well as this, she has already contributed articles for the site and devised some of our editorial concepts, including our first ever ‘Author Life’ feature, which proved very popular.


Jasmin has so many exciting ideas lined up for the site in the coming months; we wish her all the very best with this. Keep checking in to see all of the changes, and join us on social media to wish her luck!

Wishing you luck with your self-publishing projects.


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