Book Trailers: Should You Make One?

We’d already planned to show you some of our authors’ book trailers this week, when Elizabeth Bluemle talked about them over on PW Shelftalker last week. To be honest, while I’m always happy when an author or illustrator creates a book trailer, I’m wasn’t sure what people were doing with them. Other than the occasional truly viral video — like the one my friend Colleen Venable made for Roaring Brook a few years ago — I often wondered if it was a waste of time and money? So thanks, Elizabeth! I now know that teachers, librarians, and booksellers do use book trailers as part of their book talks and other interactions with kids and parents.  Cool.

That said, I think this means that an author should NOT just take photos of the internal spreads and do their own voice overs while their nephew records them in the basement — or the equivalent. These need to be professional pieces that professionals (librarians, teachers and booksellers) can use in their jobs.

A few of the largest publishers have begun doing their own video production and if your book will be an enhanced eBook, a book trailer will be easily handled by the publisher. But right now, today, most book trailers are produced by the author or illustrator of the book. As eBooks become more prevalent in the children’s picture book world, this will change, but for now, some simple rules:

  • Why does the child want to read this book? Make sure the trailer provides an answer.
  • Don’t give away the whole book.
  • Keep your publisher informed and have their approval of the final piece
  • Give on screen credit to author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Include a website link to the publisher (so people can find the book)
  • Don’t forget to include the full title (and ISBN) – there’s usually room on the final screen shot.

So thanks to our authors and illustrators out there creating their own trailers. Please do give me a call and I’d love to help brainstorm. While you’re thinking about it, take a look at some of ours. They can be found in the Resources section of the Albert Whitman website, but here are a few from two of our authors always make book trailers for their books.

Ann Malaspina has trailers for both Finding Lincoln

and Phillis Sings Out Freedom

And Jacqueline Jules has trailers for Duck For Turkey Day

as well as for both the first book in the Zapato Power Series 

and a brand new one that promotes the entire Zapato Power Series now that Book 3 this Spring

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Book Trailers: Should You Make One?