Book trailers are an indispensable tool for evangelizing books to the online world. We’ve created a list of 14 book trailers with millions of views with the hope of sharing one valuable insight with our writer friends: video is essential, period. Shame on writers with iPhones who haven’t made a little book movie or author interview for their story yet–look at these views!
Pete The Cat
Pete’s a cool cat who spends his school days singing “rockin’ in my school shoes,” and hanging with his furry pals on the bus. Parents of young children are always on the hunt for quality material to share with their kids and for educational ways to keep them entertained. Hence the high view count for genre-specific book trailers like Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes. This trailer culminates with a link to download the song “Rockin’ In My School Shoes” from the Harper Collins website, along with the release date for the book. Since Pete the Cat’s Youtube book trailer debut, he’s racked up over 4 million views and counting. Pete The Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin and illustrator James Dean (no, not that James Dean) will have your kids rockin’ to school with a brand new attitude toward reading.
From Bad to Cursed (Bad Girls Don’t Die, 2)
This book trailer features Zendaya (of Euphoria, Dancing With The Stars and Disney Channel fame) primping and preening before a mirror, her shallow, mean-girl thoughts conveyed in voiceover as she welcomes us to the Sunshine Club Sisterhood and offers a few “little words of advice.” The trailer takes a Dorian Grey-Esque turn as a mysterious black ooze spills out of her head, the more shallow and dark her narration becomes. “A Sunshine Club Girl doesn’t lie, cheat, or steal unless she really, really needs to.” The personification of her inner demons shows up as a black oozy-eyed, demonic doppelganger, who assures the viewer that this book is for fans of classics such as Twilight and anything else that fits right into the teenage sexy-scary milieu. Apparently, writing in this genre is a fail-safe way to get millions of views for a book trailer on Youtube. From Bad to Cursed by Katie Alender clocks in at just shy of 3 million.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
From the author of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies comes this hit book trailer for Seth Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. With a title like that, how could this trailer NOT rake in almost 3 million views? Here we see honest Abe, fireside journaling about the impending civil war when, suddenly, in walks a vampire, who is subsequently slain by the axe of Abe Lincoln. Just a day in the life of our sixteenth president, according to this TRUE re-telling of American history.
The Selection is the first book in a series of young adult romance novels by Kiera Cass. This trailer showcases thirty-five young and beautiful would-be princesses, lining up for the chance to be plucked out of serfdom and “swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels” by winning Prince Maxon’s heart. YA romance is another genre sure to rake in the views on Youtube, if the story is compelling enough, of course. The Selection clocks in at a million and a half.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Here at Film 14, we’re suckers for books made into movies. Surprise! Here comes another one. This adaptation was directed by Tim Burton and features Samuel L. Jackson and Judi Dench, among others. However, the book trailer was made years before the film and still managed to rack up over a million views without a star-studded cast. A bedtime story from an eastern European grandfather introduces us to the darkly whimsical world of Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an orphanage for kids with supernatural powers. This trailer communicates the tone of Miss Peregrine’s orphanage mostly by showing odd vintage photographs as the grandfather tells this “bedtime story.” A cinematic yet doable reference for those who want to make a book trailer capable of going viral.
Here’s another one from YA romance superstar Kiera Cass, the fifth and final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series. This well-shot book trailer looks like it was done for a reasonable budget and, like all of the other book trailers in Cass’ Selection series, has over a million views. The proof is in the pudding, people. Book trailers for YA romance and other genre novels are hot!
Boo – The Life of the World’s Cutest Dog
This trailer proves you don’t need a huge budget to create a successful book trailer that will rack up millions of views…you just need a really cute dog! Boo – A Day in the Life of the World’s Cutest Dog has almost 3 million views and looks like it was shot on your mom’s early 2000’s digital camera. However, the “story” of the trailer is cute and so is the dog, making it easy to spend 1:45 minutes with Boo while he hangs out with his editor and stumbles into a surprise party thrown by his friends.
The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman
Tim Ferriss is back in action with The 4-Hour Body and another million-plus viewed book trailer. This book claims to teach the reader how to stay underwater for 5 minutes, dead-lift 500 pounds and run 100 miles, thanks to “10 years of experiments” and “1 human guinea pig,” presumably the author himself. Timothy Ferris makes some extravagant claims, but his books are bestsellers for a reason! Like The 4-Hour Chef, this book trailer oozes masculinity and threatens to show us how to “Do The Impossible” while a buff white guy does a front flip over a seacliff wall as a hardcore song from Sevendust chugs along heavily. Sick, bro!
The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life
From the first shot of author Tim Ferriss stoking a survivalist campfire and showing off his hunting knife, we can tell the contents of this book are not what we might expect from a cookbook. The trailer promises this book will teach us not only to learn to cook but learn to DO ANYTHING, including memorizing a deck of cards in three seconds, perfecting three-pointers and golf swings, and oh yeah…cooking? Whether the book actually does all of this, we still have a compelling book trailer on our hands, if not a little confusion on top of that. But hey, I watched the book trailer to the very end just to see what would happen next, and again to make sure I saw what I thought I saw the first time around–and I’m not the only one. Over 1.5 million views later, The 4-Hour Chef is a #1 Best Seller on Amazon.
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
From author Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrator, Tom Lichtenheld comes a soothing nighttime lullaby about the lives of heavy-duty construction vehicles after they finish the job and are ready to turn off their engines. “All day long, they work on chores. When night time comes, they work on snores.” True to form, this children’s storybook trailer has multi-million views and that can’t be bad for sales. Also, this trailer is nothing flashy but clearly, it’s effective. Over 2 million views is no small accomplishment–Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site should serve as inspiration for any author who wants to make a trailer for a book. This one just goes to show a book trailer can be humble and still collect millions of views.
You Suck at Cooking
This hilarious book trailer gets the entire point across in 13 seconds! Inspired by the Youtube channel of the same name, You Suck at Cooking is culinary help for the hopeless chef. This trustworthy trailer gives us a glimpse into a cookbook that promises nothing more than to help the reader “suck slightly less” at cooking. Now there’s a promise we can bite, chew, and easily digest. At just under 2 million views, the You Suck at Cooking book trailer is a lighthearted masterpiece of brevity.
The Hunger Pains
Who knew that book parodies were a thing? This installment from the Harvard Lampoon The Hunger Pains is a spoof on The Hunger Games…and the trailer has over 2 million views! A few recognizable character actors lend this book trailer credibility and might be responsible for the high view count, but we don’t know for sure. The point is book trailers have the power to spread the word like an online wildfire.
Letters from an Astrophysicist
This is more of an interview than a trailer for a book, however, it certainly got me interested in reading Letters From an Astrophysicist. This “trailer” from Penguin Books UK opens with our personal astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson candidly prepared to answer some big questions such as “was the moon landing faked?” He goes on to talk about the nature of God, the future of artificial intelligence, and “exploring the mysteries of the universe.” With a view count almost as heavy as the book’s subject matter (over 3.7 million views), Letters from an Astrophysicist explores some of lifes’ biggest existential questions and sounds like a compelling read.
As Dead As It Gets
YA dark fantasy kills it once again with As Dead As It Gets, the third and final installment of Katie Alender’s Bad Girls Don’t Die trilogy. This trailer features Bella Thorne as a witchy Avril Lavinge look-a-like attending her own funeral and causing some supernatural mischief. With over 5 million views, this trailer is the most viewed on our list and yet another testament to the strength of the YA dark fantasy genre. 5 million views? Not bad for a trailer for a book!
If you enjoyed this piece, check out 6 Non-Fiction Book Trailers That Bring Memoirs To Life
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