Oscars for Indie Author Book Video Trailers

Oscar Awards Academy AwardsAnd the Oscar goes to… *nervously opens envelope*

In a previous blog post, indie authors of all genres sent examples of book trailer videos for us to enjoy and learn from collectively. Among the analysis, these questions were presented (some authors even had answers):

  • How was it made?
  • What did it cost?
  • Has it sold books?
  • What advice can you give for making one?

We saw wonderful videos and some dreadful ones too, which seems par for the course in the indie author crowd. At the bottom of this post are YouTube tips that could have helped them all do better with results (SEO, views, book purchases, etc), but the Oscars have been chosen purely for cinematic reasons. (Props to a great author, Charlotte Abel, for suggesting this.)

Due to Academy rules, my all-time favorite book trailer video is exempt from voting. Instead here are 6 excellent videos, each winning a specific category.

Best RomanceWait For Me by Samantha Chase

Made by Animoto (Plus Plan, very affordable). Currently ranked #433 in paid Kindle store. Wow! The author says she’s “not sure it’s helping” but my feeling is the opposite–definitely worthwhile.


Most Views – Time-Lapse Photography by Ryan Chylinski

36,426 views and counting! Made entirely by the author. Selling books and worth it.


Best ThrillerThe Cancer Code by Andrew Findlay

Made from low-cost stock footage, rights-free music and has helped the Vimeo version rank on Google page 2 for the title’s keywords (a search term that attracts 74,000 searches a month) in just a few weeks. It all works, this stuff! (Yes, it does, Andrew. Well done.)


Best 4-Legged Friends genreJust One More Day by Geoff Bain

Pictures, text and music used in effective simplicity. Powerful result. Free to the author. Great promotional video.


Best CinematographyThe Publicist by Christina George

Received high marks for setting, live action, intrigue, music and overall effect.


Best Beyond Low BudgetToo Close by Elizabeth Krall

Extreme basics (only one image) accomplished in just 25 seconds! Made in less than two hours. Props for pushing boundaries on what we don’t like to think about but is entirely possible. Refreshingly disturbing, as one Amazon reviewer said.


Tips for how most of these videos could have been more effective on YouTube at converting viewers to book buyers:

  • better SEO in YouTube title with words like Book Trailer, Book Video to help YouTube’s search engine (world’s 2nd largest) link searchers to what they’re looking for. Unfortunately most authors don’t practice smart and simple SEO.
  • add hyperlinks in the description to the Amazon page or author’s website. This baffles me, but many authors do not include this even when those YouTube description hyperlinks become active.
  • higher view counts can be had with more promotion. Just because it’s on YouTube doesn’t mean people will see it. Authors must make the effort to direct traffic.

These small tips are displayed in this example video on YouTube.

Thoughts or comments? Do share.

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12 Responses to “Oscars for Indie Author Book Video Trailers”

  1. dm yates Says:

    How fun. I enjoyed viewing these. I am especially fond of the dog one. Very touching.

  2. susanpjames Says:

    As a former advertising executive involved in commercial production, I found these trailers a fascinating sample of low budget production values and book promotion. “The Publicist” and “Too Close” have clear messages, show what to expect, are short and to the point. Maybe enough for me to go to Amazon and find out more.

    Isn’t that the goal of a book trailer?

    • Jason Matthews Says:

      I agree, Susan. Even in the case of the lowest budget trailer, the video serves the purpose of getting a reader to check a sample on Amazon–then anything is possible, especially if the book is good.

  3. Liliana Says:

    I love The Publicist, sooo happy won a Oscar, great books!

  4. olga Says:

    Hi Loved Samantha’s book trailer. Olga

  5. J.P. Choquette Says:

    Love this idea! Very creative and of course, the suspense category winner caught my attention immediately. Nicely done trailer and very professional. Added a link from my site today!

  6. Blogs for self-publishers, August 4 – 10, 2013 — The Book Designer Says:

    […] Matthews on How to Make, Market, and Sell Ebooks Oscars for Indie Author Book Video Trailers “Indie authors of all genres sent examples of book trailer videos for us to enjoy and learn […]

  7. Indie Authors: Marketing Books With Videos Says:

    […] It’s hard to make a good book video trailer. It has to be short, snappy, and visually appealing. To get some ideas, check out How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks’ “Oscars for Indie Author Book Video Trailers.” […]

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