How we use video to sell books

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With thousands of titles being published every year, books need more than a great cover to help them stand out. Using video as part of a complete promotional campaign can be extremely effective, reinforcing the artwork that has been invested in and further conveys the mood and feel of a book. If a picture tells 1000 words, a video tells a whole story. 


Social media plays a huge part in the promotion of books (especially books targeted at a younger demographic), video content shared on sites such as Twitter and Instagram an incredibly effective tool. It’s unsurprising considering 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. (


Here is what we have found about using video as an effective medium in the publishing industry.


Bitter Sixteen

Nearly one year ago, we were in contact with Salt Publishing who wished to create a book trailer for Bitter Sixteen by Stephen Mohamed.


We read the book before we started – we wanted to make sure we had a clear understanding of the style, voice and tone. We then discussed with Stephen and the guys at Salt our ideas. We needed to make sure we created something that was visually interesting, gave a teasing glimpse of the story, and matched the current branding of the book.


We are always very careful to not give any spoilers away, working on the same principles as a film trailer – drawing the audience in with hooks and intrigue, without giving away plot twists or story. We also make sure not to show characters in detail, so as to not taint the reader’s imagined character, a huge draw of reading over watching.


In this book, the inciting incident within this story is the moment when the main character turns 16, the stroke of midnight being a huge turning point. We wanted to juxtapose this dramatic event with the mundane worries of his life up until that very moment.



Kong Jnr

Shortly after Bitter sixteen, we spoke to artist Andrew Hammond about his upcoming graphic novel Kong Jnr. It tells the story of King Kong’s son trying to make it in the big city. Living on the edge of society, Kong struggles to fit in, his presence so unwanted, his own therapist tries to jump out of a window during a session, ending in an all too familiar image of a huge ape leaning out of a building holding a tiny human, only this time in order to save him.


Working from existing artwork and narratives, it was really good fun to bring to life the work of a graphic novelist. Pulling on the strong, stylised look of the images, we kept to the comic book themes with dynamic movement. With a voice over, animation and camera moves added the story really comes to life as a video.




London Book Fair

Last April, we then travelled to London to exhibit at the London Book Fair. With our two trailers in hand, we set off to explore the world of publishing. On day one, Tash attended the Digital Minds Conference, delving deeper into how publishers are currently using digital marketing. She found that the industry is right on the brink of taking a leap of faith into the digital world, a world they have been disconnected from for some time.


For the next three days we met hundreds of people from all different areas of the industry – publishers, authors, agents, illustrators and designers, publicists, printers and more. We learnt a lot and got right into the heart of how books are commissioned, written, published and promoted.



Since the Book Fair we have kept busy, first working on the horror Hex, written by Thomas Olde HeuveltRather than a full trailer, we were asked to create an animated book cover for use on Twitter and Instagram. A short animated gif is a much smaller file size than video and allows it to be posted directly into a tweet for people to like and share.


The story is a horror, about a witch with  sewn up eyes and mouth who wanders the town with a terrible curse. Playing on subtle movement and ghostly fades and mist to create an animation suitably creepy for this book.

hex animated book cover


Finders Keepers

We were then lucky enough to be let loose on Finders Keepers, that latest of Stephen King’s work. Working with the already eerie cover work, we created a looping flame to catch people’s eye when scrolling through Instagram and Twitter.


Again, working on the belief that subtlety can be more powerful to build tension and draw people in, using this slight movement to simply set this image apart from others.

finders keepers animated book cover


Generation Next

We then completed a series of Gifs for Oli White, a popular YouTube star. His new novel needed to be announced, along with a promotion for a certain number of signed copies. Using bold colours, quirky images and characterful movement was the perfect combination to appeal to his target audience of millennials.


The announcement Twitter Gif has been Retweeted over 1,100 times and has racked up 4,600 likes.


old white animated book cover


Butcher’s Hook

Most recently, we are involved in creating a trailer for Janet Ellis and The Butcher’s Hook. Set in Georgian London, this tale of a young woman’s determination, whatever the costs needed tension building without giving away the book’s twists.


Here is the animated book cover, the trailer is yet to come, so keep an eye out!

butcher's hook animated book cover


Book Fair Again

This year we will be returning to the Book Fair again, another year older and another year wiser. We have learnt exactly how video can increase sales and aid promotion of books, by helping them stand out and creating a buzz around them through video. Using film trailer teaser techniques, striking cover artwork, and the right style of movement, we believe that video marketing is a great future for book publishing.



To see more recent work check out our book trailers and animated book covers page.