Librarians and Teachers Love Book Trailers – a Guest Post by Darcy Pattison

by Greg on February 15, 2011

I’m thrilled to have Darcy Pattison here talking about book trailers today. Besides writing the fantastic Fiction Notes blog and being an author herself, Darcy’s also written the Book Trailer Manual (which has a trailer here).

Librarians and Teachers Love Book Trailers

Alan Gratz,  author of several teen novels (Samurai Shortstop, Something Rotten, Something Wicked, The Brooklyn Nine, and Fantasy Baseball), said, “I asked a room full of librarians at the 2010 North Carolina School Library Media Association conference if book trailers matter, and was stunned to have the entire room yell, ‘Yes! WE love book trailers!’”

Naomi Bates, librarian at Northwest High School Library in Justin, TX recently surveyed 100 librarians about their usage of book trailers in their school libraries. The results are astounding.

This is the first question and the responses.

How effective are book trailers in presenting a book to students?

* Very effective – 66.3%
* Somewhat effective – 33.7%
* Not effective – 1%

That is 99% of librarians surveyed who think trailers are effective. Wow!

Conclusion? If you’re writing for the children/teen book market, a book trailer is a must.

Long-Term Promotion with Book Trailers

It’s also clear that we need to think of long-term strategies for book trailers. If you are hoping to make a splash on YouTube, your video only has a 3-week window; over half of the viewers for any given video come in the first three weeks. But as an ongoing “brochure” for your book, videos can continue to interest the “long-tail.” That is, they may only get a dozen hits a day instead of thousands, but a video can get that kind of hits for a long, long time.

Here are some ways to take advantage of the long-term benefits of a book trailer video:

Sig files. Yes, it’s important to list the video in your sig file, just like you should list your website. Use this sig file every time you post to a listserv, especially if it’s to a teacher or librarian listserv, because that’s one place they look to find something like this.

Links. Ask friends and colleagues to post links to your video on websites and on listservs. Any time you write a guest post or

Speaking engagements. Any time you speak, you can show the video. Remember, librarians think it’s 99% effective! Use this multimedia book cover to generate interest. Videos can be embedded in Powerpoint presentations. (Note: If you are trying to link to a video, you can’t download it, which means you must have a live internet connection for this to work.)

A second option is to put your video on a digital picture frame and have it looping.

Website and Author Central. Post the video to every relevant site online. Your website, your author page on Amazon (, your profile on social networking sites, etc.

Consider Multiple Videos. Finally, consider using multiple videos to promote your book. Because YouTube videos only have a 3-week half-life, you may want to release something new every 3 weeks. Ideas for a variety of trailers include a video showing a book signing, appealing to a different audience, highlighting different information, updated information on a great review, reactions of fans, or the author reading an excerpt.

Book trailers, as that multimedia book cover, are perfect for book launches. But when properly used, the benefit of a trailer can be a long term, online presence that is effective in encouraging someone to read your book.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie Davis February 15, 2011 at 5:34 am

This is GREAT info, Darcy! I’d love to have you on my podcast talking about book trailers and your book. (Ahem, Greg, been asking you too, so are we going to set a date or what?!)

ANYWAY, back to book trailers…I did do an episode with Digital Weavers and what Lisa Gottfried said about youtube and trailers was fascinating – ways to upload your video more than once, how to title them so they get more views, and stuff like that. Darcy, I’d really like to talk more about that kind of thing with you….and I love your info about librarians loving book trailers – who knew?! Thanks for the great post!


Loreen Leedy February 15, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Agreed, this is great info. I have a couple of trailers for my books, but clearly need to make more. Thanks!


Lee Wind February 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm

99% effective? Oh my gosh. I didn’t expect that. WOW.
Thanks Darcy and Greg!


Dawn Bonnevie February 15, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Still wondering why bookstores don’t run trailers on a touchscreen at child-height. Kids *expect* a multimedia experience.


Melaine Bryant February 15, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I made a book trailer for my YA series that I use at school visits. I play it before I even say anything. I have found it very effective–it really helps capture the kids’ interest right away, far more than just the map or cover shot I used to use did.

A couple of tips about using them for schools: My trailer is posted on my website, which I always use during my school visits, anyway. Virtually every school I’ve gone to has a way to connect a school laptop to the internet and project it onto a screen. It’s easier to use one of the school’s laptops than your own because then there are no connection issues with passwords, etc.

Also, many schools block You Tube. However, there is a site called School Tube (, which you can post to instead. To do so, you must be “sponsered” by a member teacher. You can find out more on the site.

Dawn–that’s a great idea!


Katie Davis February 16, 2011 at 4:44 am

Also, you guys should be posting on teachertube, which, though clunky and unattractive, is a great site for teachers, as the schools let them see it while there. My videos have had almost 20,000 views there, while on youtube seems like dribs and drabs after that!


Tina Coury February 16, 2011 at 10:14 am

Trailers are getting simpler to make everyday and authors should get comfortable with working with video. I believe book trailers will morf over the next few years into websodes of your book. If you invest your time into websodes be sure to have a Youtube Channel that is named for your book alone. My picture book, Hanging Off Jefferson’s Nose, is scheduled for release May 2012, but I am already writing websodes and experimenting with different visuals. This new medium is tailor made for nonfiction writers but like blogs, fiction writers can get creative too!


Darcy Pattison February 16, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Lee, yes, 99%. Amazing.

Dawn, I haven’t seen book trailers in a store yet, but I expect them any day. If anyone sees it, take a pic and send me!

Katie, 20,000 views! Wow! Teachertube and Schooltube are great options, but I also have a list of 43 places to upload videos. The more the better (see the website for that list).

Tina, I looked for the Hanging Off Jefferson’s Nose channel on YouTube. Must not be live, yet. What do you mean by websodes? Can you give a link to an example?

Thanks all for the feedback.


Kathy McCullough February 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm

This was a great post, and I got some excellent tips from the comments as well. I’m off to send the link to this post to other authors…


Alexis February 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Really helpful info — thanks! Darcy — you ought to clue PW in on the stats you’ve reported. Almost every publisher is ambivalent about the effectiveness of book trailers. Makes me wonder where they’re getting their info from!


Greg Pincus February 16, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Thanks, all, for the comments and for all the added ideas and thoughts.


Eileen February 17, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I love the classroom application of this as well. Book trailers are much more engaging for students than the old teacher ‘book talk’. It’s just a matter of finding the books and finding the trailers… so put them out there!


Loreen Leedy February 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Do preview flip-books on a web page count as a trailer? I just figured out how to make them (similar to Lookbooks, if anyone remembers that site.) I’ve made 2, have quite a few to go! : )


Loreen Leedy February 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I mean Lookybooks.


Caroline Starr Rose February 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Once again, Darcy, you’ve knocked my socks off.


Terry Lynn Johnson February 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm

This is great to know! I had one made, but aside from putting in on my website, wasn’t sure of any more applications. I’m off to check out the book trailer manual! Thank you!


Alissa Grosso February 22, 2011 at 5:02 pm

This was great news. It means the trouble I am going through to put together a book trailer, may actually be worth it.


Darcy Pattison February 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Caroline, you make me smile.
Alissa and Terry, booktrailers can be effective with teachers, librarians and students. Just remember that doesn’t mean lots of hits on YouTube. Your audience will likely be the adult gatekeepers to teen or children’s literature and you must find ways to get it to them. But yes, book trailers are only going to become more popular.



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