book trailer style guide

As you can tell from browsing our library, there are many different types of book trailers. Some look like cinematic masterpieces. Others look like children’s animated feature films. While all book trailers have certain things in common (see the five requirements that make a video a book trailer), the styles of book trailers themselves can vary widely.

I’ve created this Book Trailer Style Guide to explore the different varieties of book trailers.

Cinematic Book Trailers

These are the book trailers that look like movie trailers. They’re super easy to spot. One of my favorite examples is the Serafina and the Black Cloak book trailer.

Serafina and the Black Cloak
The “Serafina and the Black Cloak Book Trailer” features stunning costumes and cinematography.

A Cinematic book trailer doesn’t have to have multiple characters or an elaborate set. Sometimes an effective cinematic book trailer can employ only one actor and a simple prop. The very popular Red Queen book trailer is a great example of this.

YA Book Trailer for "Red Queen"
The popular “Red Queen Book Trailer” is a very effective cinematic book trailer that uses only one actor, a simple set, and an important prop that ties in the visual of the book’s cover art.

Dynamic Graphic Book Trailers

You don’t need any on-screen actors with costumes to have a book trailer. Sometimes a voice-over can do an amazing job of conveying a character without showing their face.

When a book trailer focuses on a primary graphic in place of actors or rendered characters, we call those book trailers “Dynamic Graphic”.

A great example The Glass Spare book trailer. It is a CG rendering that brings the book’s cover to life with a voice over of an actress portraying the main character! The growing crystals are ominous as the main character’s plight is tied to the fact that any living thing she touches turns to gems! It’s a modern twist on the midas touch. Check out The Glass Spare book trailer.

In this case, the graphic is the castle with the crystals

The Dividing Eden book trailer is another great example. Again, this book trailer strongly reinforces the book’s cover art. This may be a marketing choice as having a reader immediately recognize your book by it’s cover after seeing your book trailer may be incentive for them to actually pick up the book. There are two voice actors in this book trailer that portray the siblings fighting over the throne.

There are two voice actors in the Dividing Eden book trailer. The book trailer focuses on the graphic of the throne.

Sometimes there doesn’t even have to be an actor doing a voiceover in a dynamic graphic book trailer… or even a single graphic. The book trailer for Renegades uses on-screen dynamic text in lieu of a voiceover. It focuses on a futuristic city-scape for the graphic, which again matches the book’s cover art.

The “Renegades” book trailer doesn’t have a voice actor but rather uses on-screen text. It’s graphic is the city.

Animated Book Trailers

Animated book trailers have either hand-drawn or CG characters that represent the characters in novels. Here are two great examples:

The Dragon Rider book trailer has third person narration and features beautiful animations of the dragons, main characters, and villain. Through the animation, it gives an introduction to the colorful world, characters, and backstory.

Dragon Rider Book Trailer
The beautifully animated “Dragon Rider” book trailer.

The School for Good and Evil is also a great example of an animated book trailer. It is nearly entirely CG, though it may employ the use of an occasional graphic that appears to be hand-drawn. A brilliant piece of marketing, it integrates testimonial reviews from other authors right into the style of the animation flawlessly. Fast paced and riveting to the very end.

School for Good and Evil Book Trailer
The School for Good and Evil book trailer is fast paced and riveting to the very end!

Illustrated Book Trailers

Illustrated book trailers are specifically for books where the illustrations are a core part of the actual book itself. Children’s picture books and graphic novels would fall into this category.

It’s perfectly logical for children’s picture book trailers to rely heavily on showcasing the actual illustrations from the book. There are a lot of beautiful examples on Bestseller Trailers of Illustrated Book Trailers, but I wanted to highlight this one specifically: the “Ellie in Concert” book trailer employs lovely techniques that add depth and life to the characters and scenery as it brings you deeper and deeper into the world of the animals.

Book trailer for "Ellia in Concert"
Illustrated Book Trailers feature actual illustrations or adaptions of illustrations from the picture book or graphic novel. The example above is from the Ellie in Concert book trailer.

The Baby Sitters Club: Graphix book trailer is an example of a middle grade graphic novel that has an illustrated book trailer.

Author Trailers

We don’t have any Author Trailers on the site yet, but that’s on the horizon! An author trailer is a video that introduces an author to her/his audience. They will often talk about their influences, writing processes, previous works, and inspiration for their novels. These trailers aren’t to promote a specific book, but rather the author themselves and their greater body of work.

author trailers aren't to promote a specific book, but rather the author themselves and their greater body of work.
Author trailers aren’t to promote a specific book, but rather the author themselves and their greater body of work.

Future Styles

In the future, we may identify more varieties of book trailers than just the styles listed above and that will likely be explored in a future article. As I mentioned in previous entries: book trailers are an art form that is constantly evolving!

Do You Have a Book Trailer?

If you have a book trailer (or author trailer) you would like to submit for inclusion in our library, please fill out this form.

For more book trailer tips and tricks, visit our book trailer guide here.

Recommended Article

Did you like this post? You might also like our article on the “10 Book Videos That Are NOT Book Trailers

10 book videos that are not book trailers
10 Book Videos You Need That Are NOT Book Trailers

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What style is your book trailer?
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