The short answer is no. Of course you don't need one. Outside of possibly a website, there is no automatic must-have promotion tool for authors. People who work in advertising (including me) know that every form of it is a crapshoot - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. There are few - if any - reliable methods of predicting what's going to help the sales of any product, whether it's books or fresh-squeezed lemonade or $100,000 hybrid automobiles.
However . . . do you want one? That's a better question. Book trailers are definitely cool, when they're done well. As with any promotion method, you can find massive debates over their effectiveness. The one proven rule in advertising is this: multiple exposure works. The more often a potential buyer sees your product (in this case, your book, or your name as a brand), the better the chances of a purchase. And since book trailers are a form of viral marketing (which means they can easily be passed on to multiple people), they are effective in reaching the goal of multiple exposure.
Recently, I've become quite interested in making book trailers. Okay, I confess: I'm a tad obsessed. In addition to the trailer for my novel Broken Angel that I posted here a few weeks ago, I've made two more...
Here's one for the wonderful novel Tremolo by our own Aaron Paul Lazar (you mean you haven't read it yet?! Get it now! :-)
And this is a shorter "teaser" trailer for a novel called Soul Haven by somebody named Sonja Baines (who the heck is she, anyway?)
Now, please allow me to demonstrate my amazing psychic powers by answering all of your questions. ;-)
-Yes, I made both of these. I've developed a habit of carrying my camera around, taking opportunity shots and staging impromptu "shoots" (wait'll you see the "movie" my son and nephews made this past weekend. LOL)
-The music comes from the rich variety of free, royalty-free sources across the WWW - there's a lot of it out there, and I'm still collecting and sorting.
-Of course I included all the proper attributions. :-)
-You have two choices when it comes to getting a trailer for your novel. You can make it yourself (an explanation for which requires a whole separate post - which I'll be writing next Tuesday), or you can hire someone to make one for you.
-Surprisingly, there aren't too many companies out there into book trailer production. There's the Big Kahuna of Book Trailers - Circle of Seven Productions - which offers a range of book trailer services and charges between $300 and $2500 depending on the type of trailer you want. They're pretty good... check out this video for an example of their high-end productions.
Then there's these guys: Red Lotus Productions. *cough* This is some brand new upstart company, just launched by a crazy, slightly obsessed author who thinks making book trailers is fun, and believes it possible to make them effective promotional tools. *cough (me) cough* Seem to have something stuck in my throat, here. Sorry about that.
That's all for now. Next week: how to make your own book trailer, and a look at my latest endeavor (yeah, I know you're sick of my trailers now) - Broken Angel: Street Edition. *G*
P.S. GET OUT AND VOTE!!!