Matt Koumalats: The 5 Dos and 5 Don’ts for Creating Your Book Trailer

 Thank you so much for this opportunity to blog with you today. I am the Executive Producer for Reader Hook Productions and you can find us at . I want to talk a little about an option for promotion that appears to becoming more and more popular with writers… and that’s video.

The world of entertainment is exploding. Authors today must compete with movies, television and music that is now, thanks to devices like the i-phone, just as portable as a paperback. The number of books is also on the rise. Many authors are choosing the convenience of self publishing, and this has sent the number of books available to the public through the roof.

Creating a movie-like trailer for your novel can bring you new fans, push up your sales, and it can be fun. Putting together a promotion video can seem like a daunting task, but there are a few big mistakes that beginners make that if avoided can make the process a whole lot easier.

Lets start with 5 steps that will get you off on the right foot.

1.) Do Work and Re-work the script. A video is only as good as its script. Tap into your own skill as a writer to create a quick description of your book that will grab the viewer.

2.) Do Find the Right Look. Spend some time finding the right look for your video. Try for pictures or video that will fit both the time period and theme of you book. Here is one we did that I think has a good look:


3.) Do Pick Good Music. The right music can make an average video good, but the wrong music can ruin a great one.

4.) Do Ask for Help. Find someone with some video editing experience and ask for their help putting together your video. It could be the kid down the street or a professional video production house,. The point is the right advice could really add some energy to your video. Don’t be afraid to ask, but remember that you get what you pay for

 5.) Do Have Fun. Look at the video creation process as another way to enjoy your writing. If you take the time to craft the right look and feel for your video, you will be much happier with the final product. Plus friends and fans will enjoy a video more when they know it has been made with love.

Now the 5 things to watch out for…

1.) Don’t Make it Too Long. Even the best videos can be killed by length. Short and sweet is the way to go. Try to hook the viewer quick, hit them hard and leave them wanting more. A good length to try and stick to is around one to two minutes.

2.) Don’t Underestimate a Good Voice. The right narrator can add life and pace to your video.

3.) Don’t Assume Anything. It is important to remember that the viewer will most likely know little to nothing about your book, so highlight the big themes of your story. Keep the script simple, and in the end your video will be more interesting.

4.) Don’t keep it to yourself. If you want the world to read your book, let the world see your video. There are several websites where you can post video for free. YouTube is the biggest but not the only one out there. It can also be a good idea to burn your video onto DVDs and pass them out to friends and fans. Here is a video Reader Hook did that is front and center on the client’s website:

5.) Don’t Forget the Details. Nothing is worse than a great video that leaves the viewer saying “Now what?”.

Remember to include the details of where and when the viewer can get your book. You may also want to include your own website or the website of your publisher near the end of the video. Here is one example of one we just did with lots of detail:


The bottom line is whether you do it yourself or with a little help, producing a video can be fun if you let it, and it can be a great way to pull in new fans.

Check out some of the latest videos from Reader Hook Productions at . Please shoot us an email if you have any questions, or you are ready to get started on your video.

Gook luck!

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22 thoughts on “Matt Koumalats: The 5 Dos and 5 Don’ts for Creating Your Book Trailer”

  1. well, now i feel like i have to read “twisted creek”…i believe i’ll still pass on “oil people” lol
    very good tips! though i’m not a writer, as a reader they all make sense!

  2. Great blog. Thanks for sharing all these tips. Really enjoyed the videos you posted. Recently I saw a presenter show her video trailer to a group, and she had used parts of actual movies, some recent, without any credits. My gut tells me this is illegal. Am I correct?

  3. Good advice. Have been watching a lot of videos lately. As a reader, they do make a little bit of a difference. The book blurb and reviews are still most important. However, a good video will make me more likely to find out more about the book. Some have been awful and I’ve had no interest in going any further. I can think of a few where I have read reviews, etc. before seeing the video and the video really didn’t do a good job of representing the book.
    Having said all that, I can think of several videos that are truly lovely and I’ve gone back just to watch them. And yes, I wanted the books.

  4. Hi Matt,

    Welcome! It’s thrilling to have you blog with us. You do amazing work. I’ve loved all your trailers. The one you did for Natalie is really good. It shows your range of unique talents. You can take any subject and make it stand out. My favorite I think of all your blogs is the one you did for us for GIVE ME A COWBOY. Bet that’s no surprise. LOL It was fun picking out the voice we wanted to use.

    If anyone is thinking of having a book trailer made, Matt is your guy. Go for it!

  5. Margaret, I loved the video you did for your new book. It was really cute and got the message across in the bargain. Your grandkids are such pros. Bet they can’t wait to do another one. Maybe you can hire them out. LOL

  6. Tabitha, you definitely need to read TWISTED CREEK. That’s one of Jodi’s best works. I thoroughly enjoyed it. In my opinion you can’t go wrong with a Jodi Thomas book. I’ve loved them all. She’s awesome.

  7. Carol Ann, I too think that would be wrong to use actual movie clips without giving them credit. To me it would be plagiarizing. But maybe Matt will air in on the subject to answer our question. I’d like to know also.

  8. Welcome to the Junction, Matt. Like Patricia, I’ve seen both some very inviting trailers and some barfy ones. So when it’s time, (I have three releases coming out this year) I’ll definitely give Reader Hook a holler. Thanks for spending time today telling us the in’s and out’s. Best wishes always.

  9. Hi Matt, Thanks for such an informative blog. I’ve never done a trailer, but they’re certainly the way to go these days. One thing is for sure. I don’t have the skill for it. I’d need a pro like yourself! Thanks for visiting with us today 🙂

  10. Welcome Matt,what a interesting post,a lot of good ideas for sure, welcome an glad you came by,thanks

  11. Great post, Matt. Thanks for sharing with us.

    I have a question for you. What is the conventional wisdom for how far ahead of a book’s release that the story trailer should go live? Say a book’s release date is June 1st. When should the trailer begin showing up on YouTube and the author’s web site, etc.?


  12. Thanks, Matt, for all the great advice. I have to second Linda…Matt is a great producer and does our trailers. Yes, he’s responsible for the one for “Give Me a Texan” that ends with a big honkin’ kiss! We love it. The part of the process that we’re involved in with Matt is neat too. Looking at what we like and don’t like. But, the voices are what is really amazing. Getting just the right one for the right project is so crucial. Thanks for keeping us up on a very important promo tool.

  13. Great blog, Matt. And thanks Linda, I agree, Matt did a wonderful trailer for Oil People. After studying tons of book trailers I decided spending a little money with someone who knew what they were doing would serve me better in the long run. Obviously, this isn’t a romance but I appreciate Matt for sharing the trailer with P&P crowd. The voice talent is a DJ who went to high school with my husband. Always enjoy this blog – you gals do a great job!

  14. The trailers are really neat and make us feel like we are right there I have to get twisted creek now I would have never known about it before and I haven’t read one of Jodi Thomas books before so now I have someone to look for.

    The oil reminding of when I worked at Sinclair Oil we had to watch some movies and 1 started like the one on here. lol

  15. Carol Ann Erhardt,
    The answer to your question is yes, it is illegal to use movie clips in your video unless you have the permission of the movie production company. Not a good idea at all.

  16. Robin Lee Hatcher,
    Good question! The great part about having your own video is that you can control the marketing of your book. Even though the book is 6 or 9 or 24 months out, you can go ahead and create the video and have it building an audience on YouTube and your website. Then when the release date nears you can ramp up the marketing by submitting the video to your Facebook friends and putting it out to blogs and bookstores.

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