Using a Book Trailer to promote your novel

This post is the fifty-seventh post in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Last week, I wrote about buying an advertisement to sell your book. Another method of advertising is to create a book trailer for your novel.

A book trailer is a short commercial used to whet the audience’s appetite. It should capture the tone and message of your book. And most importantly, it should make the viewer want to go out and buy your book.

Now depending on who you ask, book trailers are either a great marketing tool or a complete waste of time and money. On one hand, videos generate a lot of online traffic. Reports show 78% of people watch online videos each week. Studies also show people recall six times more information from video than text. But there are no stats to prove that book trailers sell books.

I first wrote about book trailers back in 2012 when I created one for my book Summoned. Back then, many trailers were simply a collection of still shots set to music. For someone on a tight budget such as myself, this was an easy option. The total out-of-pocket expense for my trailer – including paying for the music – was $25. (You can check out my post here.)

Nowadays, those with a bigger budget are going all out – hiring actors and voiceover artists. But few of us Indie Authors can afford that type of expense. I know I certainly can’t afford a CGI team to create a dragon for my trailers.

If you don’t have a big budget, you might be able to find some aspiring film directors at the local college who might take on your project. Or you have to do what you can afford – hiring someone to create a trailer or doing it yourself as I did back in 2012. (You can see my trailer here.) I will say that even going the still photo route is hard for authors of fantasy and science fiction as it is hard to find appropriate stock photos and footage.

Another option would be to film yourself talking about your book and telling the world who you are. This is a good choice for non-fiction writers.

No matter which way you decide to go – high tech or simple, do-it-yourself or professional – here are some tips.


Good trailers are short – typically under two minutes.

Call to Action

The reason many book trailers don’t work is because they don’t compel the reader into action. They are not supposed to be a retelling of your story but should grab the viewer’s attention and excite or intrigue them, so they rush to buy your book. A well-made book trailer should end with an image of the book, title, author, and availability.


A good trailer does nothing if not seen by potential readers. This is one of the biggest problems with book trailers. It must reach the correct viewers. You can post it on YouTube, Facebook, your own website,, or and others. But just because your trailer is being viewed, there is no guarantee that those viewers are members of your target market. There is no guarantee those viewers are even readers.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

#37 – Publishing Options for your book

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

#39 – Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

#40 – Investing in an eye-catching book cover

#41 – Writing an awesome book blurb

#42 – Deciding on Front Matter for your novel

#43 – Deciding on Back Matter for your novel

#44 – Formatting your eBook for publication

#45 – Pricing your e-book

#46 – Selecting Categories and Keywords to improve your Novel’s visibility

#47 – Book Promotions: Cover Reveal and Pre-Orders

#48 – Publishing your novel with Amazon and KDP Select

#49 – Publishing your e-book with Smashwords or Draft2Digital

#50 – Marketing your E-book

#51 – Finding your Book’s Target Market

#52 – The importance of Book Reviews and how to get them

#53 – Is it worth it to offer your book for free?

#54 – My results from offering my novels for free

#55 – Amzon’s Kindle Countdown Deals explained and my results

#56 – Selling your book through book ads

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