YouTube, Your Book Trailer and You! by @nblackburn01


YouTube, Your Book Trailer and You!


M.J. Kelley (@themjkelley) asks about how to use YouTube in a book’s marketing plan.

Hold on! Isn’t YouTube only for videos, tutorials, and short movies?  Yes, this is why [share ]an author should invest in a book trailer for their book[/share].  If one writes young adult/teen fiction, it isn’t even up for discussion that the investment should be made. You should make the investment.

A recent poll found that more young adults recognized YouTube ‘wonder stars’ more than they recognized Hollywood stars. In a Variety article on the subject, they state, “YouTubers were judged to be more engaging, extraordinary and relatable than mainstream stars, who were rated as being smarter and more reliable.”

Think that this statistic is limited to teens only? Not so, says a poll conducted by eMarketer that found that Americans are spending more time on digital devices than any other outlet.

What is a book trailer and why should I have one?

[share ]Consider a book trailer a movie trailer for your book[/share]. A book trailer attracts readers who are more stimulated through visual/auditory methods to purchase your book.

Can I do it myself? How much should a video cost me?

I will give the same advice that I give people on not getting professional services on editing and cover design. You get what you pay for.  Those who make these trailers for a living have studied the psychology of buying. They know what prompts a certain purchasing sector to buy. Professionals will be careful to look at copyrighted material and have a greater library of material to select from than an average author.

In the research I have done on this subject, professional vendors range between $500 to $4000 dollars for a video with a median cost of about $1000.

What are some key tips to remember in production of the video?

  • All aspects of the video should be age appropriate to the genre you write in. This includes music, images, etc.
  • Vet your vendor. Don’t just select someone on cost and don’t select the first one you interview. Ask for references. Ask other authors who they have worked with.
  • We have short attention spans. Videos should be no shorter than 30 seconds and no longer than 90 seconds.
  • Include author website and links to purchase in the video.


How do I incorporate my video into my marketing plan?

Chris Robley with BookBaby wrote an excellent post on promoting one’s book with a book trailer. Included are:

  • Obviously, uploading your book on both YouTube and Vimeo. Like all social media outlets, the keywords, tags are key from your book sitting in obscurity to popping up in regular searches and trending. Make sure that your keywords fit your book. Maybe not so obvious, make sure your website is front and center, as well as the Amazon link to purchase the book. People don’t like to search. If they do, they tend not to purchase. Be sure to make it easy peasy for them to buy your book and feed into that impulse purchase.
  • Another obvious place, your own website! Maybe not so obvious, make sure that it is on your home page with the links of how to purchase the book.
  • LinkedIn. As a professional author, if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you should. Plus, it is another way to post your video, especially if the genre you write in is more geared towards adults.
  • Facebook: I know, another DUH! but where on Facebook?
    1. Your personal account
    2. Your business page
    3. Groups, where allowed and find them if you don’t know of any.
    4. Your street team. If appropriate, ask members to share on their social media pages.
  • Twitter
    1. Make it a regular on your Hootsuite or Buffer rotation.
    2. Ask friends/fellow authors to tweet it out as well. Play nice in that sandbox so that they want to help.
    3. Remember your hashtags!
  • Goodreads profile page and groups where permitted.
  • Amazon Author Page
  • On your Pinterest book’s board
  • Google+:
    1. About page
    2. Video page
    3. Posted once per month. Remember, hashtags matter!
  • Tumblr: Repeat for Google+
  • Check out sites, such as I Love Book Trailers, that allow for the posting of book trailers. Chris talks about several genre specific others in the referenced post.

The Dos and Don’ts:

  • DO post the video more than once in a venue, if it is allowed. DON’T post it so many times that it becomes spammy. It will backfire on you.
  • DON’T post the video onto another author’s social media sites without permission. Yes, I do speak from experience.
  • DO play nice in the sandbox. More authors will help you get the word out.
  • DO ask selected/known reviewers to post it with his/her review. Another reason to play nice in the sandbox. Most reviewers want to help out the authors worked with. Authors write to make money while reviewers do what we do for the sheer enjoyment of it.

Have you produced a book trailer for your novel(s)? What was your experience?

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  1. J. N. Race on December 15, 2014 at 2:43 am

    Book trailers are indeed a must-have item these days. Let’s face it. There are thousands upon thousands of new and established authors competing for the attention that many no longer have. Therefore, anything that you can do to stand out is worth the investment. I produced my book trailer for The Lost Remnant. I also indie-pubbed and handled all of the details myself. Do I have a background in design? Yes. Did that make it easy? No. Will I do it all myself again? Yes.
    Every author has to make their own decision regarding how involved they would like to be in the creation of their book baby and what that means to them personally. Money spent is NEVER an issue as long as one derives adequate value for their investment. No matter what road you may choose, just remember to ask yourself, “Is the final product worthy of a place on the shelf next to all the others?” Because that is what a book buyer is certainly going to be looking for. If you’re going DIY, at least consider consulting someone with experience who can possibly point you in the direction of some great resources and possibly save you many headaches in the long-run!

  2. M. J. Kelley on December 15, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Thanks for this answer to my question. I will definitely be looking into the book trailer idea. I’m also curious about vlogging and recording tips for writers on YouTube. Wondering if you’ve had any experience with this and if you think it would be an effective way to market a book or yourself as an author?

    • Kate Tilton on December 15, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      Hi MJ,

      Jumping in here. I have seen authors do vlogging (video blogging) in place of blogging. I found that as a reader I liked the vlogs better because seeing the author and hearing them made it seem more personal than text on a blog. So if video is something you a comfortable with it can certainly be an option. 🙂

  3. Allyn Lesley on December 15, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Yes, I have two book trailers for my debut releasing in Jan. 2015. One was made by my husband who has a creative eye. He’s designs all my graphics for my brand. Also, I won a book trailer by BookTrack. I cringed at the median cost listed in this post because that is very, very pricey. I’ve seen well made, free of copyright issues, book trailers that cost 1/10th of the median cost listed here. Plus, I think an author, if she or he have a creative eye, can totally make their own book trailer.

  4. Viga on December 16, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Interesting post, and I agree with most of it, as I believe book trailers can be very helpful to authors. Why do I say I agree with “most of it”? Well, sometimes, even a home-made book trailer that is longer than the suggested time limit of 60-90 seconds can work. For about $100, I created the 2.13 minute book trailer below, and to my great surprise and pleasure, it’s had over 11,000 views. Book sales are pretty good too. Granted, it might be the topic that has helped get that many views but I’m not complaining. Whatever works. Seeing that number of views has just encouraged to get going on another one for my followup book. And yes, I do have it posted on my website, facebook, twitter, tumblr and all the places suggested above. Good post!

  5. Kirsten Hintner on December 16, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Hi there

    I’ve read this post and as a new author I will be producing a video for my first children’s book. Producing films/videos/media/narration is what I do so if I can advise or help anyone just drop me a line. You can check ouyt my work on my website or Vimeo page and perhaps I can produce your book trailer at a very competitive rate. I work mainly for charities to try to help them communicate their message to the world. I love that I can help them.

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