A book trailer is a short-form video (usually about one minute) that introduces a soon-to-be-published book to a potential audience. A book trailer is most often for a novel, but it could also be for a collection of short stories, a book of poetry, essays, creative non-fiction … even a how-to book! The video is an encapsulated way to share the book’s theme, vibe, publication date, and info on how to purchase it.
So, if you’re publishing a book DO YOU NEED A TRAILER VIDEO? Nope. I’m not a fan of hard sells or hard-and-fast rules. I’m not telling you about these types of videos because I want you to feel pressured to make one or hire someone to make one. And I don’t want you to feel like your artwork needs yet more marketing to find its place in the world.
But I do want you to know it’s a possibility. And if it’s something that sparks interest — look into it! The cameras in our phones are so good that you could film and edit your own trailer. Simple is fine. Straightforward is perfect. Read a passage or a poem from your book while showing a collage of images that relate to the book’s themes. Add text and you’re done!
There are also professionals (me among them) who create book trailers for clients, so that’s an option, too. The most important thing, though, is that PROMOTING YOUR PROJECT FEELS JOYFUL.
I mean that sincerely. When my novel was published seven years ago, I found the process to be stressful, confusing, isolating and not at all fun. In retrospect, I regret that I wasn’t able to enjoy those months of promotion and book tour. I had a story to tell and a handful of platforms from which to share it. What an opportunity! But instead I was riddles with worry that I was doing it wrong.
I’d love to look back on that experience with pride over the connection I made and happiness about the journey I took. Next time I’ll do it differently. But now, my artists friends with books soon to make their debuts, is YOUR time. So have fun with it. Share it in a way that feels authentic and inspired. Take lots of photos. Give yourself lots of back pats and sweet treats or whatever it is that reminds you of what a rockstar you are.