A Rant About Book Trailers

My plan today was to find some great examples of horror book trailers and share them as some inspiration for other indie publishers out there. That isn’t going to happen. You see, I couldn’t find any horror book trailers that actually worked.

Book trailers are one of those things that I either love or hate. They never seem to fall anywhere in between. As a concept, I love them. Unlike most authors I know, I thoroughly enjoy marketing. What I enjoy even more is creative marketing. And book trailers, as an idea, fall into that category.

The problem is execution. Very few book trailers are done well, especially indie book trailers.

Throwing a bunch of stock images, stock music, and text together is not enough to create an effective trailer. If it doesn’t make people want to read the book, it isn’t worth creating.  And most book trailers I’ve seen are so terrible that they’re excruciating to sit through on their own. I’d never touch the books associated with them because if an author cares so little about their book that they’d release utter crap to promote it, it makes me wonder if they treated their book with the same disdain during the writing and editing process.

Maybe I’m just difficult to please. I have a background in marketing and PR, so I like to see those things done well. Most authors don’t do those things well (and they’re happy to point out that they’d rather be writing anyway).

So to me, crappy book trailers are insulting. They say you don’t care enough about your book to do it well. You don’t care enough of about your readers to do it well. And basically, you’re just chasing a fad because you see everyone else doing it. Don’t.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t consider a book trailer for your next horror novel. But know what works and know what doesn’t. And hire someone with experience in creating book trailers if you’re not qualified and able to do it yourself. An effective book trailer should be something better than a glorified Powerpoint presentation with your book cover and some overly dramatic background music. If that’s all you’ve seen, don’t model your own after them. You’ll just make a bigger mess of things.

Do you have a favorite book trailer that you think other horror writers would benefit from seeing? Have you seen one so dreadful that all authors should see it just so they know what not to do? (I have a bit of a heart today, so I’m not going to name and shame any authors in particular.) Either way, share the link in the comments and tell us what you love, or hate, about it. Please prove me wrong and show me that horror book trailers can be something other than awful.

Leave a Comment