Guest Post: Do Book Trailers Sell Books? by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Do Book Trailers Sell Books? by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

There’s been a lot of discussion about book trailers on this blog and elsewhere on the ‘Net, and the question is: Do book trailers sell books? As an author who has no access to knowing where book buyers come from or whether they bought because of a trailer, I am very interested in the answer to this question. 

Personally, some trailers have led to me buying a book. I bought Mothering Mother by Carol D. O’Dell based on her book trailer and info. The info drew me in, the trailer sold me. I’ve seen awesome trailers and some that are just not that well done. 

Derek Armstrong and Kam Wai Yu, of Persona Corp fame and now Kunati Books, were the original creators of the book trailer. That was years ago. Technology has changed and trailers have become more complex, more attractive to readers and far more acceptable. 

Book trailers vary in style. Some are text only with dramatic music. Those can definitely be appealing, since nothing else distracts the viewer. Other trailers are live video—and showcase actors. Unfortunately, many look like amateur videos and the acting can be…well, let’s say, uninspired. 

Recently I watched Dean Koontz’s Odd Passenger “webisodes” (or Internet movie chapters) on YouTube. It is basically four short book trailers that, combined, tell a creepy story. The acting won’t win any Academy Awards; however, it’s solid enough and the camera shots are professional enough that I was hooked. Reel me in, Odd! I’ve ordered the latest Odd book because of these webisodes. 

So now, I’ll be brave and share with you the book trailer that Kunati Books made for my latest novel…Whale Song. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment and tell me what you think. Does this video intrigue you, tease you, leave you wanting more? Does it make you want to order Whale Song? Have you ever bought a book because of the book trailer? Enquiring minds (mine!) wanna know. 


Buy Whale Song on

 ~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song, The River, and Divine Intervention 

8 Responses

  1. Hi Cheryl, thanks for the guest post! I just watched the Odd Passenger webisodes– they were so cool! #2 was especially creepy. Loved it!

  2. I felt that the trailer was too long and drawn out for my tastes. I liked the hints of the Pacific NW (I haven’t checked out a review or write up to know if that hunch is correct) with the American Indian art of whales. It left me feeling confused about what is going on in the book. I did like the music.
    I’ll check out the links provided to learn more about the book though.

  3. You lost me at the opening of the trailer.. The music was nice, but to me, the trailer did not tell me enough about the book to make me want to go out and buy it. The computer generated pics of the whales was a bit much for me and the inserted text bouncing back and forth was distracting.


  4. I already have decided to try this book (but have yet to – I will!) and this trailer didn’t do anything to persuade me otherwise. The very last scene seemed out of place or else appropriately haunting. Guess I ‘ll have to read to find out.

  5. I don’t think I’m the target audience for Whale Song. The trailer was on the long side.

    I think book trailers are currently at the same place movie trailers were in the 1930’s. They have a way to go still.

  6. Hi all:

    Thank you very much for the feedback on the book trailer for Whale Song. Most of you commented on the length, and I have to agree that it is a bit too long.

    I personally liked the music…and like some of you, I felt the text was a bit bouncy–I would have liked to see a gradual fade in/out.

    Overall, the text does represent the story…and yes, you’ll just have to read Whale Song to figure that part out. 🙂

    Thanks again for all your comments. Hopefully my publisher will read them too and get a better sense of what people want to see. They can only get better.

    Cheryl Kaye Tardif

  7. I am not sure book trailers have ever been the sole reason I have decided to purchase and read a book, but I do enjoy watching the better made ones. I tend to favor the ones with live action as opposed to slide shows. Probably the result of modern movie/tv culture. Unfortunately, those types are probably extremely costly and, therefore not very feasible.

    I agree with most of the comments made already–the bouncing text was a bit annoying. I didn’t have a problem with the length, however. I thought the trailer was informative and I plan to dig a little deeper to see if this is a book I would enjoy reading. It sounds like it just from the trailer!

  8. Thanks for your comments, Literary Feline. It’s very interesting to me how some people favor live action while others like simple text, some graphics and music. And yes, the live action trailers are very costly, and the cheaper made ones really show it.

    Thanks for the positive comments on the Whale Song book trailer. The text really is true to the story and the graphics do showcase the native angle, ocean theme and the light suspense found in the book. I hope you’ll consider reading it. It’s a very beautiful, emotional and inspiring story–and I’d say that even if I wasn’t the author. 🙂


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