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The Purpose of Book Trailers

You can’t just make a cool video and expect it to get people interested in the book.

Movie trailers have one purpose: to get you interested in seeing that movie. And not just interested, emotionally interested. You want the audience to be excited to see that movie. The challenge is daunting enough—showing just enough of the right bits of the movie to get audiences interested in seeing the movie.

In theory, the same goes for book trailers.

Easier said than done.

Book trailers have the additional challenge of employing the experience of watching a video to get people interested in the experience of reading a book.

You can’t just make a cool video and expect it to get people interested in the book. In fact, some book trailers are so dynamic and exciting, they succeed in making me want to see that adaptation of the book, but not read the book itself. It feels like most of the book trailers others tout as “great” are really just kind of cool little short films that tell me nothing about the experience of reading the book itself.

Promos have been around as long as there’s been television.

They’re more of a brand-building tool than a call to action.

Book Love Space promo #

Sword of the Taka Samurai book series promo #

Here’s a promo I created for Katherine M. Lawrence’s series (for which I’m also series editor and publisher via Toot Sweet Ink).

Cold Blood book trailer #

Recently I created an actual book trailer. This one is very short and conceived in a square aspect ratio—ideal for sharing on various social platforms. Square videos are more mobile friendly than landscape orientation, and yet more flexible than portrait orientation.

At least that’s the case this week.

I think this video aligns with the goal of a book trailer—to get potential readers interested in the book. Using simple kinetic typography with a little bit of music is perhaps the most straightforward way to convey just a little taste of the reading experience—the setting, the atmosphere, the mood, the characters.

Is this trailer successful? Does it make you at all interested in reading the book? You tell me.