PJProductions Book Trailer TeamOur thanks to WWW book trailer team members PJ Productions for this guest post! At right, the PJ Productions team.

As we at PJ’s Productions are in the business of image-making (films, music videos, book trailers), it’s no secret that we personally prefer live action in visuals of any sort. Video is a visual medium, after all — why not use the elements to their fullest!

But a live-action book trailer is more of an investment. So why, exactly, should you do it?

The short answer: you’ll attract more readers.

Text and images will take you a certain distance in a book trailer, to be sure. Your potential reader will be exposed to the style of the book, the tone, the subject, and some of the plot elements.

But there are advantages to having some key scenes depicted in “moving pictures” form — with actors, in real settings, “performing” the scenes — in addition to text, graphics, voiceover, sound effects and score. Here are a few of the biggies:

  • Live action scenes “dramatize” the events of a book in ways that words can only summarize. Summary is great, but readers love books for the moments, not the overview.
  • Live action “hooks” the potential reader on a more emotional level because the characters appear as real people. Readers often feel as if they have shared time with characters. Live action introduces them to those possible relationships in a quick, impactful way.
  • Live action can cover more pages of the book, and thus tell your potential reader more about it.
  • Live action  gives a potential agent a means of “seeing” your book in visual form — just in case you’ve been thinking about selling your story for the big screen!

Words are powerful, but when you only have sixty seconds to make an impact, moving images are far more efficient.

After all,  what sells more products, a TV commercial or a billboard?  Have you ever cried while reading a billboard?


Visit samples of PJ Productions’ book trailers HERE. Visit our Book Trailer page for more info about customized book trailers by PJ and her team. Questions about our book trailer packages? Email info@writerswin.com or pj@pjsproductions.com.


7 thoughts on “Why Live Action in a Book Trailer?

  • April 27, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    We did live action book trailers for our novels Sellout and One Blood. They’ve won awards and have definitely attracted more readers, but the cost is pretty expensive. I’m not sure I would do it again.

  • April 25, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks for your post on this subject. I made the investment in a live-action book trailer (over $1500 in expenses, because we had many actors) for my novel, How Wendy Redbird Dancing Survived the Dark Ages of Nought. I was more than pleased. Beery Media did a wonderful job. I now have another piece of art to be proud of. If you’re a self-pub author like I am, you’re in this for the long haul, so though I haven’t seen financial reward since the trailer, I’m trusting that this piece of art will remain out there, garnering interest and faith from readers who don’t know me or my book but might be willing to buy thanks to the silver screen. So it’s definitely a hook–people who’ve seen it have not only complimented the work but also mentioned how closely the actors resemble characters in the book.


    • April 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      Thanks, Lyn – great input and great video, too! Write on… Shari

  • April 25, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Interesting blog and makes sense. What is the old saying, one picture is worth a thousand words?
    Wes Phelan

    • April 25, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      So they say… but then us writers do more with a thousand words than most, eh?!

  • April 25, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Just how much more expensive are live book trailers? ANY book trailer is usually more than most writers can afford. I’ve seen many “live” book trailers poorly done, so I’m not sure “live” is always best. And by the way, I’ve never cried during a TV commercial. However, if a writer has the extra money in the budget (yuk, yuk), and you feel confident you’re not giving your viewer that “Brady Bunch” feeling … then go for it.

    • April 25, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Agreed – and our pricing with PJ ranges from $565 up to $1545, dependent on length. I’ve seen “non-live” elsewhere for as little as $300. The need/desire for a trailer also definitely depends on your reading audience. Trailers are fabulous for a lot of genres (thriller, mystery, horror, YA, mainstream) but not necessarily for others (literary, chick lit). And they offer you of course other places (i.e. YouTube) to share your story. I myself don’t cry during most commercials either, but the animal ones (animal cruelty, animal shelters, animal adoption) get me every time 🙂 Thanks for weighing in, Pam! Write on, Shari

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