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Customer Discussions > Humor forum


Can funny book trailers sell books?

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Showing 1-25 of 57 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 15, 2010 3:34:30 PM PDT
AmazonEncore says:
Can funny book trailers sell books? That's a question author Richard Hine is hoping to answer with the launch of his new book, Russell Wiley Is Out to Lunch, a witty satire about corporate life inside The Daily Business Chronicle, a newspaper that's on its last breath.

As the former Vice President of Marketing & Business Development for The Wall Street Journal, Hine knows where to throw punches at corporate catch-phrases and banalities that make you want to laugh and wince at the same time. To capture this humor, he crowdsourced the creation of book trailers in a contest that offered cash prizes to amateur and professional creatives for the best submissions.

Winning entries were judged this week and are now available for viewing on the book's detail page. Take a lookand let us know-does a humorous trailer make you want to read a book?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2010 2:02:04 PM PDT
Carla René says:
I've had this discussion previously last week with several other authors who just got done promoting their book trailer, and honestly? I don't think any other author out there truly believes that a trailer sways their decision as to whether to purchase a book or not, whether it's comedy or horror. It all comes down to that back cover blurb, the cover design, and the title. Still staples of good marketing.

Zen in the Art of Absurdity (Comedic short-stories and essays that will make you shove forks through your eyes)
Guns Don't Kill People...My Uncle Does (A Varied Collection of Short-Stories Geared for a Man)

Posted on Oct 23, 2010 6:47:02 AM PDT
I don't know how it will do for sales, but I'm thrilled at the response my book trailer has gotten in its first three days on YouTube. I've already had 137 views and the talk about it on FB seems to be getting a lot of interest. I think combining the trailer with effective use of social media will actually get you more chances to be noticed -- and that's all we can hope for we're not there to put the book in their hands and threaten to follow them home if they don't buy it. I'll keep you updated on whether it does anything for sales.

I also took a low budget approach... okay, free. I'm cheap. What can I say? So this was done with Powerpoint. Link is below.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2010 2:39:17 PM PDT
Carla René says:

There were parts of your book trailer in which you used text to answer one of your questions, but you didn't leave it on the screen long enough to read! This happened several times throughout, and I got frustrated and eventually stopped reading. The idea was original and cute, but give your readers extra time to at least read the punchlines you've set up for yourself. As a web-designer doing Flash and employing this type of tool for authors, I usually leave text on the screen for at least 5 seconds--if you're using something other than a sans serif font, or you're using big blocks of text (as you were), or your readers have older eyes, then you must give the text more time on the screen.

Guns Don't Kill People...My Uncle Does (A Varied Collection of Short-Stories Geared for a Man)
Zen in the Art of Absurdity (Comedic short-stories and essays that will make you shove forks through your eyes)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2010 2:45:12 PM PDT
Carla -- Yup, that was done on purpose. I added notes on FB to remind people that it is possible to pause YouTube videos. It's actually a evil ploy on my part to get them to watch it more than once. Later I might release a humorous slower version to give it a second chance at life.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2010 4:51:53 PM PDT
Carla René says:
Hmmmn. Wow. I see what you're going for, but don't be surprised if no one returns a second time. You have all of 3 seconds on a site to hook your reader and make them stay. This is the ADD generation, after all. ;) And your target audience will probably have children, and that spells, at least to me, barely time to bathe, let alone watch a book trailer a second time.

Sorry--speaking like a web-designer. There's a lot to be cognisant of.

Anyway, best of luck.

Guns Don't Kill People...My Uncle Does (A Varied Collection of Short-Stories Geared for a Man)
Zen in the Art of Absurdity (Comedic short-stories and essays that will make you shove forks through your eyes)

Posted on Oct 24, 2010 1:54:28 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 24, 2010 1:56:30 AM PDT
For a book trailer that has sold a ton of copies of a book check out this one:

It is for HELP! A Bear is Eating Me! by Mykle Hansen

Posted on Oct 26, 2010 1:35:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 26, 2010 1:48:21 PM PDT
OLD FOLKS AT HOME: Warehouse Them or Leave Them on the Ice Floe

Let him who is without royalties cast the first book (Book of Irving 7:11)
Don't sweat it. This means absolutely nothing.

I've written "The Old Folks at Home: Warehouse Them or Leave Them on the Ice Floe." As you can judge, I have a thing for titles as long as most Russian novels. The book is a satirical view of a fictitious retirement community. The barbs spare no one: the inmates (or residents as they prefer to call themselves) as well as the people who manage the place. But it's all in fun; as good-hearted as a piranha greeting a swimmer's bare leg.
People (actually my wife and a dyslectic brother-in-law) have compared my writing to that of humorists such as Carl Hiaasen, Christopher Buckley and Woody what's-his-name. The same people really prefer my books since they get them free.

My readership is not large. Tiny? Miniscule? However, on the flip side I'm saving the planet, at least the forests. I wonder if it would help to legally change my name to (first name) Best-Selling (last name) Author. Try visualizing the cover of the next book I write: "The Second Coming: The Viagra story" by Best-Selling Author.

My writing credentials are as solid as a ping-pong ball: a plagiarized fifth-grade composition, and some check-kiting. If you'll excuse a little chest-thumping, I've published eleven books. Rather than waste the space and my printer's toner on these pages, if you're willing to risk crashing your computer, they're detailed on my website, Just scroll down to "Published Books."

Like many writers, I do a lot of reading, mostly rejection letters. I did receive a nibble from one of the major houses, the publisher of "Toilet Plunger-ing For Dummies." I'd divulge the offer, but this website discourages scatological or obscene language.

Posted on Oct 28, 2010 3:51:43 AM PDT
Edwin Stark says:
Let's face it. a trailer is just an additional tool. May work for some... may not work at all for others.

A solid copy blurb and having the patience of a tortoise (and asking for some good reviews ast gunpoint) seem to do more the trick. Otherwise, we're all subject to the same rules that apply to famous people... Be there at the right moment to be noticed. Well, that was to add my two-cents worth. Hmmm... considering how my sales are going... can I have my two cents back? I'm saving for my life dream... to be able to pay bus fare.

Edwin Stark
Eco Station One

Posted on Nov 5, 2010 8:38:45 PM PDT
But what about a book infomercial/homage to the late-great Billy Mays? :)

John Pearson
Learn Me Good

Posted on Nov 5, 2010 8:59:07 PM PDT
AlanThrush says:
Here's the trailer to end all mf trailers:
beware it's bloody and obscene

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2010 2:06:59 PM PST
speaking of funny books, check this one out - Stupid In Montana As America

Posted on Mar 25, 2011 8:55:51 PM PDT
wutzthedeal says:
Mine may lack in light of a few of these, but hey, if they make me laugh (little does), they gotta have something! Two of my three books are humor.

A general author/book trailer of mine--comedy:
A couple I made with more of a "billboard" approach, having my name in the background--comedy:

(Semi-related: my more serious sci-fi alien trailer... comedy is mostly in alien's teeth)... :

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 2:31:13 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 26, 2011 7:33:23 AM PDT]

Posted on Apr 13, 2011 9:56:13 AM PDT
Jared Smith says:
Ouch, I guess I need a trailer :(

101 Stoner Jokes

Posted on Jun 20, 2011 11:50:02 PM PDT
Alex says:
Live Forever

This guy needs a trailer......

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2011 6:07:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2011 10:03:45 AM PDT
Definitely a constructive contribution to the marketing of any book when it sounds authentic and not spin.

Something that also satirizes corporate catch-phrases and banalities though via a different (queer, odd ?) approach is this parody of Don Quixote
Kindle Don Quincy de la Mangement: The Life and Adventures of the Most Strategic, Integrated and Aligned Servant of the Public

Paperback Don Quincy de la Mangement: The Most Strategic, Integrated and Aligned Servant of the Public

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2011 10:09:13 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 3, 2011 10:10:04 AM PDT
Paul Jury says:
I tried a different approach to this... a viral video that's a less about the book and more about trying to capture what works on the web. The resulting video, "50 State Stereotypes (in 2 minutes)" ( has done around 2,500,000 views on YouTube and elsewhere. The good news: a lot of web links, radio/newspaper mentions, a few TV appearances, etc. The bad news: not everybody who watches a YouTube video necessarily clicks over and buys a book, so I've sold markedly less than 2 million copies of States of Confusion:) But it did help sales, and created a lot of exposure for the book, which can't hurt.

Posted on Aug 3, 2011 10:12:48 AM PDT
Rev Otter says:
real world example:

i was on the fence about getting "Night of the Living Trekkies", and it was the faux-movie trailer that finally convinced me.

both were hilarious. :D

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2011 10:40:13 AM PDT
Richard Hine says:
Paul - I was one of your 2.5 million views -- great idea and great execution!

FYI -- the top 3 prizewinners in the video contest for my book can still be seen on the Amazon page: Russell Wiley Is Out to Lunch

All 30 entries are also viewable at:


Posted on Aug 9, 2011 7:29:48 PM PDT
Concerning book trailers:

There are those that claim success with Book Trailers. Do you have a book trailer? I've looked at hundreds and I have come to one conclusion: Until I can do it right, I'm not going to do it at all!!! Most of them are abysmal and a waste of time. Search "book trailer" on YouTube and see what I mean. I can't see how they would motivate anyone to look into the book.

They mostly follow the same format: soft music (or wild music) leading into a few stills of something vaguely related to the book topic, then more music, then more stills, then credits and a link to where to get the book. No thank you, it needs to be far better than that. I've written a script and need to find two bear costumes and then I will produce mine. I'm having difficulty finding decent bear costumes.

However, I did create a related video and put it on Youtube and thus far it has had 16,616 views! It isn't really a book trailer, but it is humorous and I get a plug in for the book at the end of the video. I can't say how many readers it has brought me, but with 18,616 viewers I'm certain I've interested more than a few readers. ( )

Dennis "K1" Blanchard
Author of: Three Hundred Zeroes

Posted on Aug 13, 2011 7:31:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 13, 2011 7:32:52 AM PDT
David Thorne says:
This did fairly well for me: < > The book made it onto the NYT Best seller list around the same time I promoted it with ads and tweets.

Posted on Sep 10, 2011 6:42:35 PM PDT
norm cowie says:
I don't look for book trailers at all, but I know some people are sold on them. So I just stumble though the world without trailers for my books.

author of Bonk & Hedz ... a caveman ... and woman ... story

Posted on Nov 3, 2011 10:06:24 AM PDT
The trailer-interview for my book generated interest from the We Are Wall Street Nudist community, since it was shot inside Bank of America without clothes. It did however receive complaints from a scrapbook decoupaging yahoo group, senior bottle cap collectors and the Church of Satan Book Club.

Encyclopaedia of Hell: An Invasion Manual for Demons Concerning the Planet Earth and the Human Race Which Infests It

In answer to the query for a new "dark comedy" to read, ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF HELL was used in a prison psychotherapy program to comfort inmates Bernie Madoff and Martha Stewart, instilling them with an appreciation of greed and self-absorbtion.

Interview of the Author by SNL performer Kevin Nealon:

Excerpt from article in Satanist Bimonthly: "Translated using Joseph Smith's original Seer Stone which the author rented from The Billy Barty Estate, he and his family was so repulsed by the translated text they attempted to shred it, but found that the pages were indestructable. After destroying five perfectly good Best Buy shredders, their son, a Navy Seal, blasted the manuscript with an Navy issue bazooka until the weapon broke. The pages were not even warm."

For more information:

Posted on Nov 3, 2011 11:51:41 AM PDT
I know the world is all photos and video now-- I mean, on Facebook there are photos of people holding up paper with text on it, since plain old text is just too dull. But the idea of trailers for books still seems like a disconnect to me.

Though I admit, I WOULD like to see someone do a "making of" film about the video trailer of their book.

I can hear the voice over narrator now: "In a world where words were once printed on bits of trees, one lone movie-maker/writer wrote the script for the voiceover for the making-of film for the block-buster trailer for the best-selling novel..."
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Discussion in:  Humor forum
Participants:  42
Total posts:  57
Initial post:  Oct 15, 2010
Latest post:  Mar 10, 2013

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