Do Book Trailers Sell Books?

Normally I would do a Thowback Thursday, but I think that series may be played out. Plus, today I’m flailing hard over the Avengers Age of Ultron trailer (JAMES SPADER’S VOICE YA’LL), which has inspired my topic today.

This will be short, as it’s not a topic I’m widely versed in. I’ve seen book trailers on occasion, usually put out for mass market and commercial fiction. I’ve seen a few of James Patterson’s and Stephen King’s book trailers grace my television screen, but most I’ve encountered have been online. Sherrilyn Kenyon’s book trailers are often ads shown before YouTube videos. Eoin Colfer used to upload book trailers for his Artemis Fowl series, which was especially strange as his target audience was 8-13 year olds.

I think they’re a cool concept. If I was an indie author, I would 100% do a book trailer, as I’d need all the marketing I can get. I’ve actually made a trailer for Paradisa but we’re not gonna talk about that. 

But I’m wondering about the depth of this practice for traditional publishers. Are they just a gimmick, or do they actually sell books? Just Googling that question got me mixed responses from those in the industry. You may be multiplying the awareness of your book, but are you actually reaching your intended audience? Like I said with Colfer – he may be uploading his trailers, but will it reach a 10-year-old YouTube surfer? I think Patterson has the right idea by airing his ads on television, as his target audience (probably middle-aged to older people) are more likely to watch TV than to browse social media/video sites.

Have you ever read a book because you were introduced to it via a trailer? How do you feel about them? Personally, a well-produced trailer may cause me to look up the book on Good Reads. A poorly produced trailer is one I skip. Much like movies!

13 thoughts on “Do Book Trailers Sell Books?

  1. Funny you should ask… ;)

    I think they are a fun way to conjure images in a readers mind and maybe peak their interest. I spent about five hours on mine and a good deal of fun doing it. So, even if no one else sees it, I enjoyed it. :)

  2. Although I do enjoy watching them, I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever purchased or read a book because of the trailer. With that being said, I’m not one that relies on reviews for book recommendations either.

    Trailers are quite popular- but not something I’ve attempted. Maybe I’ll get around to it one day.

    • Yeah, I’m a bit indifferent. A book with a captivating premise will draw my curiosity no matter how I hear of it – a book trailer may just give me the notice that it exists.

      I do rely on reviews a bit, but I can sniff out if the bad/good reviews are from like minded people or not. Or people who are too critical/too easy to please. I don’t take star rating at face value.

  3. I’ve not done a trailer, and at this point, I don’t intend to. With as much time marketing takes, I want to make sure I’m putting my efforts where there will be the most reward, and I’m not sure a book trailer is worth it. I rarely watch them (the only ones I’ve watched are those of blogging buds who’ve posted theirs online), and I’ve never been influenced to read a book because of one. It would be interesting to conduct a study to see how much they really pay off as a marketing tool (always using my left brain, I am…) But I could be wrong. Who knows. Maybe I’ll make one in the future.

  4. A book trailer has never influenced me to buy a book. In fact, I don’t care to watch most of them. It may be a way to bring attention to a book, but I think it would be best if it was via a TV commercial. And what Indie authors can afford that?

  5. I’ve never personally been inspired to buy a book from a trailer either but I think they’re cool. I suppose my marketing couldn’t hurt from it. I just wish I had a talent for it, and the time.

  6. As your other commenters have said, I too have never decided to buy a book following a book trailer, but the main reason is that in our every day life, they (the trailers) just don’t reach us… you have to go looking for them. Why don’t book retailers allow them to be posted beside the book’s blurb? That would make a difference. I’d definitely check it out before buying, after all, they do give us a great visual and emotional connection with a book and its characters. They could be an excellent selling tool.

    • That is a great idea, Ali, about having book trailers available to play at bookstores. The only problem is there are so many fewer physical bookstores now, and most don’t carry books by self-published authors (who seem to have the most book trailers).
      [Our Waldenbooks and B. Dalton bookstore closed several years ago in our area (western IL) and for a few years we didn’t have a physical bookstore closer than 1 1/2 hours drive away. Now we have an independent bookstore.]

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