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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.

From the editor…

With a new year come new opportunities to find out about or enhance work on your self-publishing project. One of the best ways of doing this is by attending events where you can met and discuss your own work with like-minded individuals. The spring sees both the 'Self-Publishing Conference' and the London Book Fair, both great events at which to broaden your knowledge of self-publishing.


Details of the 2018 Self-Publishing Conference are given on this website, which is again pleased to be one of the event's sponsors. We always receive great feedback from the event, which is why we are happy to support it once again.

In the next few months we will be altering the way that this magazine reaches readers, so watch this space!

Indie Pick


Held to Ransom – Book 3 in the Linmore Series by Jemima Brigges.

Joshua Norbery vowed never to marry for money, but is forced to accept the unthinkable; when he learns that a mortgage taken out on his family estate has been acquired by the bride’s father. The only way to regain it is to provide a son as heir to his father-in-law’s business empire.

Arthur Bradstone uses the threat of losing Linmore to ensure Joshua’s compliance, but no one seems to have told Joshua’s wife of the part that she is required to play.

Hardly has Joshua overcome the initial difficulties in his marriage, than shadows from his past threaten to tear it apart...

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