Video book trailers do not sell books. Sample chapters, good reviews and word-of-mouth sell books.
Video trailers provide a visual way to draw attention to the fact the work exists. Beyond that, it doesn't say much about the experience of reading. If you bought my Cleansing Eden crime novel from Amazon, you wouldn't be watching a video.
So are they worth the effort? They are if you...
1) Like to make video book trailers.
2) Create something buzzworthy.
3) You already have a massive audience and want a different way to get the word out.
I fall into 1). Choosing pictures, music and copy is interesting to me. Did it sell the Cleansing Eden novel? I don't think so. But I had fun doing it. As with much of creative writing, this is the litmus test. If I enjoy it, I'm going to do it.
Mmmmmmmm . . . . maybe they do. I don't know about a one-to-one ratio of seeing book, buying book. But take Youtube for instance . . .someone sees a rather interesting book trailer (like mine . . .or yours,Ben) they become curious. They don't necessarily run out and buy something of yours. But they do check you out. And, if the interest remains high, they buy.
So I wouldn't automatically nix book trailers. Maybe just lower one'd expectations.
I don't think people head to YouTube to find books to read. They'll ask their friends, maybe through Goodreads. As CrimeSpacer Dana King just wrote on facebook about this thread, "books are in your mind." I agree. A video interpretation might actually hurt the reading experience.
But I wouldn't knock someone for doing it. Can't hurt if you enjoy making them. Or if you have a big ol' fanbase.
Of course, anyone out there can prove me wrong by watching the video, then clicking the link to buy the novel from Amazon. Please, don't let me stop you!
Pretty sneaky, there Benjamin.
I always admire that in a man.
Just remembering my ABCs: Always Be Closing.
Trailers can be fun to watch, but I don't think people who read a lot troll You Tube for book ideas; they go there to be entertained by videos. Nothing wrong with that. I do it about once a week. I just don't think people get it in their minds, " I need a good book to read. I wonder what's on You Tube?"
People looking for books go to Good Reads, or other places that are for and about books, written by people whose taste we trust.
I don't think the idea is people trolling YouTube for book trailers. I think they go there to see a trailer somebody has promoted. Or click on it from another similar trailer they are watching. Isn't that the idea?
I look at the first statement in this thread I keep thinking there are a lot of general statements there that probably aren't true for that very reason. It's hard to say that trailers definitely don't lead to sales. And just as hard to say that chapters and other things definitely do.
I think the jury is out on this. It may not help sales, but does not having one hurt sales? I've decided to continue with trailers for the time being. But Ben's concerns are something to monitor.
Ben, I was going to upload my trailer but can't figure out how to do it.
First, I like your trailer.
I think one of the advantages of a trailer or other video (I have pondered creating a video of one or two of my short stories), is that you can gain a lot of traction in search results if:
1. You host it on Youtube (Google wants video on page 1 search results and gives preference to Youtube).
2. You set your keywords, tags, etc. correctly (which can be challenging depending on your audience).
On the subject of keywords, that's a tough one. Where do you even start when SEO services show low searches for the basics, like "crime fiction books" and "read crime fiction." I bought the domain crimefictionbook.com only because of SEO, and I don't think it made a huge difference.
Great domain to own, I'd say.
The people I talk with about SEO pretty much agree that there is very little you can do to help your search engine ratings for a fiction book in any meaningful way.
People who charge money for SEO consultations seem to agree that it's absolutely worthwhile and necessary--but I have yet to see any of them offer any proof.
A better strategy I've heard of is to target SEO related to things associated with the book. So if your crime novel is about hypnosis in some way, you'd target hypnosis.