Why have a book trailer when you don’t yet have a book? Before I answer that, let’s start with what they are. Book trailers have taken off as a means to promote that new/upcoming release or generate an interest in a new series. For those who were hooked on HBO’s Game of Thrones, the teaser videos released before the next instalment left us squirming in anticipation.

Book trailers should do the same thing. It’s an interesting concept when you think of it: visual arts generating interest in the written word, where both are different disciplines. Or are they? Writing is storytelling, and its effectiveness depends on how the choice of words and how they are arranged on a page. Visual art is also about storytelling, though it engages a different part of our brain. Colours, shapes and form combine to tell a story and their arrangement is designed to trigger an emotional response in the viewer. No different than storytelling through words.

Through creating my book trailers, I have discovered the power of images in telling a story and how music can enhance the narrative. It’s also made me look at my own writing more carefully, to consider word choices in the same way as I do a visual image—does it communicate the story that I’m trying to tell? Sentence structure is very much like music; words spoken aloud have a melody and rhythm of their own.

So back to my question—why have a book trailer when you don’t yet have a book available for sale? Working with audio and visual tools helps you penetrate the heart of your story. You have one minute to tell your story using video, and to do so, you must condense your entire labour of love down to its most impactful elements. It helps you answer the question, what is the story about?

A year ago I took Rich Helms’ Book Trailer 101. The course started out as a one-day workshop before Rich expanded it to a five-week course, and now into print and podcast. With Book Trailer’s easy step-by-step guide, anyone can create an effective book trailer, even non-techy people. Working through the materials, you will create a log line and a tag line, then a crisp script. These are the building blocks of a successful elevator pitch.

Thanks to Book Trailer 101, I truly understood my story. It was no longer a collection of scenes, like a dense tangle of trees. I could now see the trail running through the forest, and I can market to that.

Book trailers can be your calling card, a way to draw attention to your work and showcase your creativity. Allow yours to rise above the crowd with Book Trailer 101.  

Cryssa Bazos
17th Century Enthusiast