Do book trailers help if you’re not a well-known author?

Amongst the overwhelming, almost suffocating amount of reading material there is out there on the subject of promoting your own book, I’ve stumbled once again across the common book trailer.

I didn’t have a book trailer for Burqalicious – The Dubai Diaries, but that’s mostly because no one ever told me I should have one. Certainly no one offered to make me one and I’m kind of thinking a homemade book trailer might have been more damaging to my work at that point than it would’ve been constructive. After all, I’m a writer. I am not Steven Spielberg. I also wasn’t entirely sober the whole time I was in Dubai, so my out-on-the-scene footage would’ve been all been wonky.

It’s too soon to start any form of marketing for Balilicious – The Bali Diaries as it’s not coming out till December… or is it?

Should I make my own book trailer now? I could get some decent footage here in Bali, circle it online, get tongues wagging (maybe), but should I even risk potential scorn for my terrible camerawork and editing before anyone’s even read the book? It’s difficult to know what to do. Hmm…

Fiction is different to non-fiction I think. I’ve recently completed a novel I’ve been co-writing with another author and we’re in talks about what to do with it. Should we self-publish and market it ourselves? And if we did, would we really be any good at spreading the word? When it came to making our own book trailer at least, we could always buy footage that had already been edited well and therefore skip any risk of having to cut and paste badly lit snippets of ourselves acting over-dramatically in random locations.

But would anyone believe a book trailer that was made by an author him/herself anyway? Would any sort of book trailer actually make you want to buy a book, well-edited, professionally produced or not? I know that interviews with authors about their books have enticed me to buy them, but as for watching a mini-movie based on a book’s characters, I’m not so sure.

I like Bryce Courtenay’s book trailer for Fortune Cookie. It’s only 17 seconds long but it manages to look classy, well conceived and mysterious. I doubt the lovely Bryce made it himself but because he is a well known author, his fans are likely to watch whatever he creates and buy the book whatever. What about if no one knows who you are?

Short of shop assistants asking at the counter as they bag them up, I guess there’s no real way of keeping track of whether people ever buy books because of book trailers or not.

I’m wondering, when all is said and done; whether your book is self-published online for the masses to download at $2.99, or stacked onto shelves in the public eye for $30 a pop, are book trailers ever worth the effort?

What if an unknown author made a series of book trailers that were kind of rough around the edges and just said to hell with worrying, and stuck them out there anyway, just to see?


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