Writers Boon Blog


  • How to Use Book Trailers to Drive Sales

    Francis Yim


    Francis is a 16 years video storytelling veteran who has helped multinational companies like Starwood Asia Pacific and Visa Asia Pacific find the right voice to promote their organisational culture, and educate their staff, clients, and buyers. He is now using this experience to help many businesses use the power of videos online to bring their brand, product and message to their audience.

    Sacrilegious…. A video to sell a book! That’s preposterous…Wait!

    Reasons to make a trailer for a book:

    • Videos can boost you and your book’s online presence. If you are reading this blog on your computer, tablet or phone, you are one of the billion online citizens who probably do an online search to find ideas, inspiration, reviews, specifications, locations, etc. Most of your audience go online to search for stuff, and as it turns out YouTube is the second most used search engine after Google, and Google tend to rank things with videos about it, higher. Facebook does the same thing. It looks more favorably on products, brands and people who have videos. 
    • James Patterson is one of the pioneers of using videos to promote his books since 2009, and whether you agree if his books are good or not, they do sell.
    • A common argument against having a trailer about a book is that it defeats the purpose of a book. You want readers to imagine in their minds what the world, the objects, or people look like. A book trailer ruins it by giving a fixed, pre-conceived interpretation of the word. The fact is this, if a 60 to 90 seconds trailer can ruin the audience’s personal perception and interpretation of a book, there is a good chance that the book needs to examine its depth and richness.
    • Statistics also confirm the effectiveness of book trailers. Readers are 64% more likely to purchase your book if they see a book trailer (Source: ComScore). Authors who use book trailer video in email campaigns can experience Open Rates [increases] from 19% to 300%! (Source: Forrester Research)

    However, I do not want to set unrealistic expectations of what a book trailer can do for a book. Just like any other video online, some work, some don’t. No one can guarantee the video’s success online.

    3 things authors should consider to improve the chances of a book trailer to drive sales:

    • The book trailer needs to be part of a conscientious decision and a planned part of a book publicity campaign. Videos are very good at drawing the horse to the water, and sometimes the horse will drink. But if combined with other campaign elements, it will increase the chances of the horse dipping its head into the trough and lapping up your deal.

    Tip #1: Try something as simple as providing a signed copy of the book when purchasing after watching the video.

    Tip #2: Search for trailer contests and participate.

    Tip #3: Add your book trailer to your email signature.

    • Distribute your video in more than one place.

    Tip #1: YouTube, Vimeo are great ideas, but using video distribution services such as would ensure your video gets seen in multiple places.

    Tip #2: Dedicated websites such as or are a great choice.

    Tip #3: Share your book trailer on all social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn.

    Tip #4: Add your book trailer directly to your Amazon and Goodreads author profile.

    • The video needs to be compelling. It is your pitch to the world. It needs to be good – both in content and production value. You can try to make one yourself, but just as I can write a blog, doesn’t mean that I can write a novel well; an author may be good at writing beautiful novels, but it doesn’t mean that the author can create a video or even the script for the video well.

    So, what makes a bad book trailer?

    • Poor editing could make a video trailer way too long and boring.
    • Poor music selection or even worse, copyrighted music won’t help.
    • Furthermore, just as most of us hate movie trailers that give away the plot, book trailers should only tease the plot, and give a good reason for a person to spend their money on the book to find out what the fuss is all about. Ultimately that’s what a trailer is supposed to do, tease the potential reader to be interested enough to watch the movie, tune in on television, or in this case, buy the book. So, the script should be short (no longer than 90 seconds) and sweet.

    We all need help. Many times, getting the right professional help will go a long way.

    Tip of the Day:

    If you're a writer who would like a book trailer, but you'd like to minimize the costs, please take a look at Writers Boon discounted marketplace. You will find amazing videographers who worked with authors from the Big 5 Publishing houses willing to offer 15% to 30% discount on their regular fees.