The Art of the Book Trailer


by ARHuelsenbeck

Do book trailers sell books?

Six years ago, a friend posted this video on Facebook:

Of course, I was familiar with movie trailers, but I’d never heard of a book trailer before. So I looked this up:

Compelling, right? I immediately ordered the book, which did not disappoint. Quirky. A page-turner.

The trailer is so incredibly well done, though, isn’t it? It proves how well the book could translate to the big screen. Indeed, it did become a movie.

I bought this book based on this trailer (and I just ordered book 2):


Here’s an interesting approach:

Only words. No pre-conceived images. This may be the only truly ethical way to present a book, without spoiling any of the reader’s experience. And it still is compelling and makes me want to buy the book.

Or maybe instead of just words or the cinematic approach, the trailer could be done in drawings. This would work very well for a children’s book.

I haven’t read anything by Anne Tyler in more than a decade. Seeing this video reminded me I need to catch up. However…

…it seems to be a trailer for people who buy Anne Tyler’s books out of habit. There is nothing that tells me anything about this book, other than it’s by Anne Tyler, who’s written other books I like. Hmmm. I’m just not in a hurry to buy this one.

Book trailers are especially well-suited to promote fiction. But what about non-fiction?

The music in the above trailer demanded my attention. The images convince me I must read this book. I could have done without the bird gutting, though.


The next trailer reminds me of the shows my husband watches on the American Heroes Channel.

Fortunately, it totally works for this memoir of the World War II era.

Or how about this:

I know, right?! Powerful. The author sharing his life-changing epiphany and his motivation for writing the book in such a dramatic way (what a storyteller!) entices me to pick up the book.

What if you don’t have the cinematic resources of the previous authors. Can you make your own book trailer?

I’ve been reading excerpts of End of the Road on the author’s blog, but when Karen Michelle Nutt put up her book trailer, that’s when I ordered the book.

It turns out she made it herself. Not bad! Karen says, “I used Photoshop and Bigstock photos to make it and loaded it to Kizoa movie maker. It’s free, but they do offer upgrades for a charge too.” We can do this, peeps.

You know, in my quest to find some really good trailers for this article, I watched dozens that did absolutely nothing for me. They had no entertainment value, or they looked like they were put together by amateurs. Some just quoted testimonials about the book or the author, without telling me enough about the content to make me want to buy the book.

Another listed the main points of the book, which convinced me I didn’t need to buy it–I already knew what the author was going to say. I think Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is my favorite. It has the right blend of creepy-ness and polish, so appropriate for the book.

Do you have a favorite book trailer? Have you made a trailer for a book? Or is there a trailer for a book you’ve written? Please share a link and/or tell us about your trailer experience in the comment section below.




Former elementary general music teacher ARHuelsenbeck blogs about the arts and the creative process at ARHtistic License. She is currently writing a YA mystical fantasy and a Bible study guide, with mystery and MG drafts simmering on the back burner.

23 thoughts on “The Art of the Book Trailer

  1. I’m with speedyreader; I’ve never seen a book trailer before, but I love the idea! I can easily see how these trailers are another valuable way to promote my fiction and generate buzz before I start publication. Thanks for sharing! I’m watching them as we speak.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is great! Especially when marketing people are incredibly visual and respond best to short, interesting videos. I think having a great book trailer would help entice people to buy the book. Wish I would have thought of this for my first! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I made two book trailers based on my experience putting together powerpoints for my presentations.The structure is very similar and can be done easily (if not quickly). Of course, I am still a novice, but here I’ve created two. One for the book that is currently out and one for the book that will be released in November 2018.
    Gianna the Treasure Hunter:
    The Broken Branches:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, yeah, I think there’s a learning curve involved if you’re making your own. But you can pay a professional to do one. Most of the trailers in the article were professionally done.


  4. Reblogged this on Stephen Geez Blog and commented:
    Book-trailer production is a specialty of ours (Geez and Weeks) of Fresh Ink Group. (See samples at With budgets of a few hundred dollars or less, most homemade trailers are going to look amateurish. Work with what you have, and remember to focus on what you think makes people want to learn more about your book. Thanks, A Writer’s Path.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Book-trailer production is a specialty of ours ( of Fresh Ink Group. With budgets of a few hundred dollars or less, most homemade trailers are going to look amateurish. Work with what you have, and remember to focus on what you think makes people want to learn more about your book. Thanks, A Writer’s Path.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I personally never glance at the book videos. It’s interesting to read how many of you actually have bought a book because the video intrigued you.

    Great post. Tweeted.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.