3 Rules for Creating an Effective Book Trailer

by  Tim Grahl
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Tim Ferriss, one of the greatest living self promoters, recently launched the book trailer for his upcoming new title, The 4-Hour Body. Creating these video trailers is becoming increasingly popular in the publishing world, unfortunately most of them are worthless at converting to sales of the book.

Tim Ferriss’ take is exceptional because it follows the three rules for creating a book trailer:

  1. Keep your audience in mind.  Tim Ferriss has a huge following in the younger, internet savvy demographics.  His next book will appeal, broadly, to the same audience and his trailer reflects this.  It features music by heavy metal band Sevendust, several young, hip athletes and very modern video editing.  It feels exactly right for the audience.
  2. Keep it short. This is a commercial, not a television episode or infomercial.  Tim kept his trailer to 59 seconds – long enough to get the point across but short enough to hold people’s attention.
  3. Sell the book. What you would think is an obvious point is often overlooked in book trailers.  Tim’s trailer makes several promises of the type of information that can only be found in the book.

    “Imagine if you could… hold your breath for 5 minutes, lift 500 pounds, run 100 miles, lose 100 pounds… do the impossible.”

    You then have to read the book to find out how.  It leaves you gasping for more. Don’t read an outtake of the book, interview the author or anything else that doesn’t spell out the promises that are only fulfilled by purchasing and reading the book.

Follow these three rules and you will have a book trailer that will actually sell your book.


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Tim GrahlTim Grahl is the founder and president of Out:think, a firm that helps authors build their platforms, connect with readers and sell more books.


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