The Anatomy of a Book Trailer – Part 1

Before the advent of the ebook, a book trailer might have been the only way to take enough books along on your summer vacation. However, we now have all manner of portable devices that can not only put dozens of books inside your pocket, but can give you animated versions of the book blurb.

YouTube has been named the world’s second largest search engine. Authors and publishers are always looking for ways to get their books noticed, and the book trailer is just one more way to generate interest.

Think of a trailer as an online book jacket.

A trailer has three basic elements: images, words and music. These must be used to evoke an emotion and create a message in as short a time as possible. You have only a few seconds to capture the viewer’s attention.

Begin with the feeling you want to convey. Stopwatch

  • Humor
  • Suspense
  • Curiosity
  • Fear
  • Anticipation
  • Sadness
  • Joy
  • Anger
  • Peace

Trailers serve many different purposes. The most common one is to gain the attention of a new reader who knows nothing about the book. Attention spans are short. Aim for a 30 to 90 second range for maximum effect.

Every author should have an “elevator pitch” ready for his or her novel. An elevator pitch is what you can say to a casual stranger who asks about your book. It has to be a hook that will grab the listener’s attention before the elevator doors open and the opportunity is lost.

Start with a good cover image, the feeling you want to express, and a hook using as few words as possible.

The following trailer was made to generate interest before the launch of a new crime novel set in Maine.

Next time: The Storyboard