So What’s the deal with Book Trailers?

Kris Tualla.jpg


Book trailers, for those who don’t know, are the equivalent of movie trailers. They are visual teasers which are intended to entice readers to buy your book, just as movie trailers entice you to go see a particular movie. Book trailers are uploaded to YouTube and usually linked to author’s websites.

There are several professional companies who create book trailers. I’ve looked at their pricing structures and have seen $700 to “beginning at” $2,000. While the end result can be amazing, an author has to sell a bucket-load of books to justify that kind of expenditure.

For, example: if a book sells for $9.99, and the author receives $.85 in royalties (after their agent’s 15% take), we are talking about 1,000 additional sales to generate $850 for the trailer. Will that happen?

No one knows. The affect of book trailers on sales is unproved and unprovable. So should the idea be tossed? No, not at all. Book trailers are fun tools to encourage readers to look at your books. But should you spend a thousand dollars to have one made?

No, not at all.

Many authors make their own trailers. Some are really fun, like this one by Maggie Stiefvater. (It’s too long – the cards should have been switched faster. But it’s very clever!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwM6uoQAh50

On the other hand, here is an example of a very beautiful trailer with a very poorly done script. I have absolutely no idea what this book is about. It’s beautiful – and a complete waste of time and money. (The commenters obviously agreed.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBJhEBBm6Ms

So what’s an author to do?

Learn to make your own! Book trailers can easily be made with PowerPoint, stock photos and music, and a conversion program. Or maybe you are like Maggie Stiefvater, and want to do a simple video. Maybe you are a whiz at MovieMaker and want to go that route, instead.

I teach Book Trailer classes through SavvyAuthors.com (my next scheduled class with them is in March) using PowerPoint and converting it to video. I am also doing a low-key private class through a Yahoo group which begins on Monday, January 10th and ends when everyone is finished. Registration is $10. Email me at ktualla@cox.net if you are interested.

What makes a good trailer? The script. And oddly enough, this is the part most authors suck at! They get all artsy-fartsy and forget the goal: pitch your book. You have 75 seconds of a viewer’s attention to explain your setting, your characters’ goals, motivations, and the book’s conflicts. This isn’t an in depth explanation. It’s a tease.

When it come to self-promotion, none of us can afford to ignore any avenue. We need to explore them all and see which ones work for us. And – if you are writing “outside the box” like I am – these tools can all be helpful. As long as they are affordable.

Here is my trailer for A Matter of Principle, the third book in my historical romance trilogy (4 STARS from RT!) which has just been released: http://www.youtube.com/user/ktualla#p/a/u/2/07xkfaTPXbA

Are you enticed? I hope so!

Norway is the new Scotland!

So. Is it time you found a new “outside of the box” hero? Please allow me to help.

For every 10 people who comment here, I will give away one free e-copy of A Woman of Choice – the beginning of the trilogy. And, yes. Commenter #11 warrants 2 copies! Comment #21? I’ll give away three.


3 Covers.jpg

In February at the end of my blog tour, I’ll give away one SIGNED PAPERBACK SET of the trilogy. Here’s how you can get in on that deal:

1. Go to http://www.kristualla.com/ and find the “Secret Word” on my home page.

2. Send an email to ktualla@cox.net with “Signed Trilogy Giveaway” in the subject line. Put the secret word in the body.

3. Comment on any blog at any time in the tour to activate your entry. Each day’s blog location is listed at http://kristualla.wordpress.com/blog-tour-dates-locations/

A Woman of Choice, A Prince of Norway, and A Matter of Principle are all available at http://www.goodnightpublishing.com/ A Woman of Choice – Missouri Territory, 1819

A woman is viciously betrayed and abandoned by her unfaithful husband. She is rescued by a widower uninterested in love. In desperation, she becomes engaged to his best friend. One woman, three very different men. Life is about choices.

A Prince of Norway – Christiania, Norway, 1820

American-born Nicolas Hansen has been asked to candidate for his great-grandfather’s throne. His new wife Sydney isn’t about to let him go to Norway and face that possibility alone. The moment they arrive at Akershus Castle, the political intrigue and maneuvering begin. Can Sydney trust anyone? Will Nicolas resist the seduction of power? Or will he claim the throne for himself? Most importantly: will their young marriage survive the malicious mischief of the ambitious royal family?

A Matter of Principle – St. Louis, State of Missouri, 1821

Nicolas Hansen has returned from Norway determined to change the world. But when he runs for State Legislator in the brand-new state of Missouri, the enemies he made over the past two years aren’t about to step quietly aside. Sydney has made enemies of her own, both by marrying Nicolas and by practicing midwifery. When a newspaper reporter makes it his goal to destroy them, Nicolas must rethink his path once again. But this time, it’s a matter of principle.

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Denise Alicea
the authorDenise Alicea
This blog was created by Denise in September 2008 to blog about writing, book reviews, and technology. Slowly, but surely this blog expanded to what it has become now, a central for book reviews of all kinds interviews, contests, and of course promotional venue for authors, etc


  • Kris, Your book trailer class was fantastic! I would
    definitely recommend it. You provided many valuable tools
    throughout the class & showed what makes a good vs bad
    trailer. Melissa

  • Ok you’ve convinced me–Norway is indeed the new Scotland.

    Great primer on book trailers, and your class sounds like a good investment. I must say I agree with your observations on the trailer examples you provided–especially the 75 seconds part. I keep telling myself that I should make one for my Regency Romance A Very Merry Chase…but to be honest–I’d rather be writing and fully expect that it would take about ten years or so to sell enough copies to pay someone else to do it for me. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing,

  • Agreed, Kris’ book trailer class at Savvy Authors was great! Kris, you are multi-talented! 🙂

  • I’ve never seen a book trailer before today, but they are an interesting marketing concept and I think they would be useful. Yours definately hook the viewer. How cool would it be if they were linked to the online bookstores! Kris, you are very generous to share your ideas and experiences with emerging authors.

    • No more shaken not sterrid in Bond movies, starting with SKYFALL. Have seen pretty much all of them, liked every single one although Colin I don’t believe makes the Best Bond even though he does an admirable job. LOVERianbowRaySharing is scaring and caring is sharing; living is giving and giving is livingStill BELIEVING in MIRACLES (Fiona and me) and in the KINDNESS of STRANGERS

  • I just wanted to drop by and say thanks for the shout out and also that the video of mine you featured was actually not my book trailer — it’s just a fun video that I made because of a silly conversation that I had with one of my friends. I DID create my own book trailers which have generated tens of thousands of hits. They’re here:


    I think the absolute most important feature about a book trailer is the ability for it to go viral — the most beautiful book trailer in the world is dreadfully inefficient if no one sends a link of it to someone else.

  • Maggie! OMG! Sorry aboput the misnomer – your cut-paper stop motion stuff is AMAZING. And SO much work!

    I use the other as an example in class of another way a trailer can be made. You ROCK at this!

    Kris 🙂

  • Thanks, Kris — I completely agree that the Kraken one is another way for a trailer to be made (there was also a really successful one about someone who wrote words on the top of their stove and fridge and things like this, it had very little to do with the book but a lot to do with going viral). I really think it’s important to think outside the box when it comes to barraging the world with more vids . . . they’ve got plenty.

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