Writing Books/Book trailer


Dear Bobbie,

Creating a trailer to promote a book online seems to becoming more popular. Iím currently exploring a possible business venture in this field and would value your knowldge and opion.

-   Who generally pays for the creating on a Book Trailer and promoting it on the various sites? Is it the publishing house or the author?
-   What is the ROI? Has anyone done the research?
-   I find most trailers on you-tube or dedicated trailer sites, yet not on the on-line stores (amazon, B%26N, bordersÖ) or e-book libraries. Any idea why this is the case?
-   With e-book and online book sales increasing this media is likely to grow. What is your personal opinion Ė does it really help sell a book or increase interest of non-readers in reading?

Thank you for taking the time to consider my questions.

All the best,

I can only give you my opinion, not based on many facts I can locate, but you asked for my opinion, and here it is:

A book trailer on the Internet is no different than a Web page; something has to drive traffic to it, or it dozes out in cyber space wasting bytes. For that reason, probably, most trailers appear on YouTube, where people watch funny, shocking, or educational videos and where every video producer hopes his or her baby will go viral.

I canít speak for why online stores arenít using trailers; I have no knowledge of what sort of thinking goes on in those places.

All the trailers Iíve seen were produced and paid for by the author, and none of them have enticed me to buy a book. Have any enticed you? Nevertheless, some must work, or they wouldnít be popular.

Who pays for the trailer? I would think it depends on the size and budget of the publisher, but Iím sure the biggest buyers are self-publishers seeking an avenue to promote their book or books.

As for the return on investment, Iíd bet money on the fact that producers of trailers average a better return than buyers of trailers do, because the income from one book is rarely much, whereas producers of many videos could earn a good living, I imagine. Your biggest market would probably be people who self-publish, even though statistics show that self-published books sell an average of only one hundred copies, which is a shame. A few, rare, self-published books do break away from the crowd and sell more. Even so, self-published authors will probably be your target market.

Will trailers cause nonreaders to buy a book and read it? Let me ask you this: If you hate sushi, what could make you eat it? Nothing. Itís my opinion that nonreaders stay nonreaders, and people who donít like sushi continue to avoid it.

I hope you've been to my Web site and subscribed to my free newsletter for writers. If not, go to www.zebraeditor.com.

I wish you success in your endeavors.

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Bobbie Christmas


Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.


Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

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