Book Trailer Advice

How to Use a Book Trailer to Market Your Book

By July 21, 2020July 22nd, 2020No Comments

You’ve decided to create a book trailer for your book—congrats! But now comes the most important question: how are you going to use it? If you’re going to spend money creating a book trailer, you want that trailer to do as much work for you as possible, right? But a book trailer can’t sell books if no one ever sees it.

So how do you make sure your trailer is seen by as many potential readers (and buyers) as possible? Here are a few strategies we recommend.

Step 1: Upload Your Book Trailer to YouTube

Before you do anything else with your brand-new video file, you want to upload it to YouTube. Not only will this give you more freedom to embed the video link elsewhere, but YouTube is highly searchable. Most readers searching for book trailers will search Google or YouTube first (and lucky for you, YouTube is owned by Google). For the specifics on how to upload a video to YouTube, click here. The main things you absolutely must include when uploading your video are:

  • the book’s title
  • the author’s name
  • the book’s selling copy
  • links to stores where readers can buy the book (make sure you include all formats like paperback and ebook!)
  • a link to your website

For a great example, check out how the title and video description were formatted on this book trailer for The Heir by Kiera Cass.

If you want to go a step further, you can also upload your book trailer to Vimeo. For instructions on how to upload to Vimeo, click here.

Step 2: Embed the Book Trailer on Your Website

Next you want to make sure people visiting your website will also see your book trailer. You can feature the book trailer on your homepage, start a new page on your website just for book trailers, or add the trailer to the page of your website that is dedicated to your book. If you know how to edit your own site, you can either upload the trailer file directly, or drive more YouTube video views by embedding your YouTube video on your site. You can obtain your YouTube video’s embed code by following these instructions.

Step 3: Add the Book Trailer to Your Amazon Product Page

If you have full control of your book’s Amazon product page, then you can upload the trailer yourself. If your publisher created your book’s Amazon product page, however, you will need to share the video file with your publisher so they are able to upload the video to the Amazon product page. Once the video is on your book’s product page it is just one more tool to convince readers to purchase your book.

Step 4: Share the Book Trailer on Your Social Media Accounts

One thing to keep in mind is that every social media platform has different video specifications. A longer trailer that works great on YouTube might be too long for a Twitter audience, while a short teaser trailer that works great as in an Instagram feed post might not be long enough to share on IGTV. It’s always a good idea to talk about the different video formats you’ll want with your book trailer producer so that you’ll have all the video sizes and lengths you need right at the start without having to go back for additional rounds of edits. Think about which of your social media platforms have the largest following and start by creating videos tailor-made for those platforms.

While most authors know to share their book trailer on social media, many authors seem to think that you share the post once and you’re done—but that isn’t true! The great thing about social media is it gives you a platform to share timely content (like a new book release) as well as evergreen content. So, for example, if your book first goes on sale in the summer, you can promote your book trailer first in the spring (to drive pre-orders), again in the summer (once the book is on sale), and again in the fall (just in time for holiday gift-buying). Has it been a year since your book first published? Share the book trailer again to celebrate! Is the paperback now available? Share the book trailer! Is it your main character’s birthday? Share the book trailer! Try to strike a balance so you’re reminding people about your book trailer without overwhelming them with hundreds of posts about it.

Step 5: Advertise Your Book Trailer

Perhaps the most overlooked step is ADVERTISING! This is especially important if you don’t have a large following on social media. Google Ads and YouTube Ads are some of the best if you’re trying to promote your book trailer since they can drive video views directly on YouTube (which is why it’s crucial to make sure the video description includes links to where readers can buy your book). If you have access to your book’s product page on Amazon you may also be able to run Amazon ads (though this depends on what type of book product you’re selling). Instagram is also on the rise for video if your book trailer meets the format specifications to run Instagram Ads. You can also advertise on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest—basically any social media platform. While you could spend as little as $1 on some social media ad platforms, the main rule with advertising is you have to spend money to make money—the more you can spend on advertising (and perhaps hiring an advertising pro if you don’t feel confident running ads on your own), the more book sales you have a chance of making. The best ad platform varies depending on what audience you’re trying to reach, so make sure you do your research beforehand.

Similar to sharing your book trailer several different times across your social media accounts, consider running several smaller advertising campaigns using your book trailer rather than one giant campaign. If you spread the ads throughout the year, you can time them to holidays related to your book (ex: Halloween for horror novels, International Cookie Day for a dessert cookbook, etc.) and also target key gift-buying holidays (ex: Christmas, Hanukkah, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.). Not only will this guarantee more eyes on your book trailer, but you’ll have a greater chance of enticing readers to buy your book when they might already be in a shopping mood.

Step 6: Share the Book Trailer with Your Newsletter Subscribers

If you have an email newsletter set up, you’ll want to share the new book trailer with your subscribers. You can either embed a link to the YouTube video directly in your email, or you can drive your audience to a landing page on your website with the trailer and information about the book (especially links to where they can buy your book!). If you don’t have a newsletter set up yet, but you want one, you can use the trailer as an incentive. Invite your social media followers to subscribe to your email list for an early sneak peek at the trailer before you share it on social media.

Step 7: Show the Book Trailer at Author Events and Presentations

If you regularly speak at author events or give presentations about your book, then it’s a great idea to incorporate your book trailer as part of your presentation. For one thing, showing a book trailer gives you a brief moment where you don’t need to be talking in front of everyone. It’s also an entertaining and engaging way to grab your audience’s attention and perhaps make them more interested in your book. Of course you’ll want to make sure you test out playing the video beforehand, and confer with the event space to make sure they have equipment compatible with yours in order to display the video. Pro tip: have the video file saved on a flashdrive or on your laptop rather than playing it from YouTube. You don’t want to rely on a potentially spotty WiFi connection when you’re standing in front of a crowd.

Step 8: Share the Book Trailer with Teachers & Librarians

One audience that is often overlooked is teachers and librarians. They are especially important if you’re writing books for children or teens, since many teachers and librarians use book trailers as a way to get kids interested in reading a particular book. This goes for authors of books for adults, too. A librarian who sees a book trailer is more likely to purchase a copy of that book for their library collection and to recommend it to their patrons.

Step 9: Keep Sharing!

There are still many more ways you can share the book trailer, like asking your friends to share it on their social media profiles, pitching the book and its trailer to book bloggers to see if they’ll feature it, as well as many other advertising platforms not listed in this blog post. Always remember that the book trailer is one of your greatest tools in marketing your book—as long as people see it.

What other ways can you think of for sharing your book trailer? Share your ideas in the comments!

If you enjoyed this post, check out How Much Do Book Trailers Really Cost?

Megan Barlog loves great stories, be they books, movies, TV shows, or anything in between! She has studied both creative writing and screenwriting, and worked for both a library and a major NYC publisher. When she’s not writing a novel or screenplay, she’s probably out for a run or binge-watching something on Netflix.

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