Book trailers are swiftly becoming an essential part of the publishing process.

Authors on a budget have tried creating book trailers on their own. Unfortunately, many of them don’t know where to begin. We’ve all seen cheesy trailers full of clip art, warbling voice overs, and bad animation. They make us snicker, cringe, and vow never to buy the final product.

The quality is going up as authors are becoming tech-savvy. Yet, the process can be disheartening for writers who want to jump on the book trailer bandwagon without being pushed off the shelf by their fans.

Authors who don’t want to create cheesy videos go to the ultimate low-budget level. They star in the video themselves. The results can be hilarious or disastrous. Here are two examples.

Don’t Complain

Score: 2

Could you relate to Jonathan Frazen? He expresses his discomfort with the fact that he has to create a book trailer. He thinks that the world of reading is the much needed quiet alternative to the busy world. He has a view that many authors share. But book trailers aren’t the place to express your manifesto. It’s where you promote your work.

Frazen isn’t comfortable. At all. As a result, the viewer isn’t comfortable either.

Authors, you set the tone for the viewer. Try these tips for your next book trailer –

  • Practice being in front of the camera. The first take will be horrible. So will the third. Just keep practicing.
  • Don’t drone in a monotone. Use voice inflections, as if you were in an actual conversation.
  • Bring a high energy level with you. You should be closer to Tigger than Eeyore.
  • Smile. Don’t glare at the camera. Be inviting.
  • Do something to make you relax. Some people dance, other people tell jokes. Find what works for you.

What were some of the things you liked or disliked about this video? Let me know by leaving a comment.

Use Humor

Score: 6

This husband and wife team obsess over their Amazon Ranking. But by focusing on Amazon, they aren’t seeing the bigger picture.  Authors, don’t bow down to Amazon! Mentioning low sales number is a terrible marketing technique. It’s like screaming, “Hey, nobody likes me!” You should focus on how popular you are.

The authors do make it funny. Instead of lamenting, they make a joke of themselves. Humor is a great element that you should try to include in your video.

Another thing they do right is mention the titles multiple times. That’s a trick that authors should keep in mind while giving radio interviews. But they never hint at what the books are about. That’s a problem. Tease your readers. Give them just enough to make them want to purchase

Here are some of the other positive elements in their video –

  • Multiple shots. Viewers are used to shots changing every 4 -5 seconds. Anything much longer than that starts to feel uncomfortable.
  • Acted out a story. Authors know that in their writing, they need to show, not tell. The same goes for videos.
  • Used B-Reel. B-Reel clips are the “action shots” that are interspersed. They help propel the story.


Neither one of these are blockbusters. They aren’t high budget. They are just authors trying to sell their books. What do you think about book trailers? Which ones have you watched? Which ones would you watch again? Let me know by leaving it in the comment section.

If you still need book marketing help, contact Author Media for a free consultation.




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