Promote Your Book on YouTube?

An interesting post at Writer Unboxed about creating a promotional video for your book: Creating a book trailer.

Author Sophie Masson borrows the term "trailer" from the movie industry. I wanted to say "needlessly borrowed", but besides the budget there is an arguable distinction in the kind of video she's discussing versus your typical promotional video. Perhaps calling it a "trailer" is worthwhile for discussion purposes.

For non-fiction I can imagine lots of possibilities, but have doubts about how well a "trailer" style might work for fiction. Trying to capture the written word with a visual teaser seems contrary, somehow. And you're potentially robbing your future reader of the opportunity to create the characters and settings in their head, perhaps even turning them off. Masson gives some examples, none of which work for me.

Even if the creative outcome doesn't move me, Masson's underlying message does. Video production and distribution tools have moved into the realm of the common person. It's worth exploring these tools and seeing if there's a place for them in your promotional world. There's a tremendious potential upside.

So what do you think as both a reader and writer? Leave a comment and let us know.

Tip of the hat to Marina.


"Book Trailer" is actually a product name and that term is trademarked to Circle of Seven Productions. It's meant to identify live action trailers for books. According to Borders Group who was interviewed in RWR Magazine in Feb. of this year, these are the ones that readers seem to like best. Just an interesting aside there.

Book videos aren't really geared toward traditional readers. Traditional readers, many of them, like them, but they are not really the target audience. Traditional readers tend to want to read the back cover blurb, a review, etc. They are also the people who tend to want the shorter videos (the shorter, the better).

It is the occassional reader that book videos are aimed at and young people who are spending a lot of time finding their entertainment online. If nothing else, book video offers a venue that allows books to participate in new technology just like movies, tv, music and video games.

So many people concentrate on the video itself, but it is the distribution that will make that video effective. If you have a video just for your website it is a novelty. You need to make it work for you. It's a tool. It should be treated as such.

Book video can go on over 400 social sites. It can go to booksellers. BN takes them, Borders, Powells, etc. They can go on specialty sites like GoodReads, Watch the Book,, or BooksiRead. You can put your video on sites that allow live links so that people can impulse buy. The real question, in my opinion, should be, "What are you doing with your book video?"