Whether you’re a traditionally or self-published author receiving your print books or advance reader copies (ARCs) for the first time, you have a unique author branding opportunity: to post a book unboxing video! These videos are a fun way to build buzz and personally connect with readers and others in the book community — and it’s a joy to watch authors hold their book for the first time!
In this post, we aimed to provide an array of examples, from heartwarming reaction videos to authors who took an outside-the-box approach (pun 100% intended). As you can see, these don’t have to be super polished; in fact, the videos with those unexpected, candid moments were often so entertaining because of those moments. And if you’re camera shy, no worries — we’ve included a few unboxing examples where the author remained off-screen!
If you’d prefer not to film an unboxing video, there are plenty of other ways to build early buzz for a book. But for those interested in filming an unboxing video, we hope these examples provide inspiration, whether you’re a debut author or Elton John.
We’re not kidding. Elton John posted an unboxing video. You’re welcome for this.
What does it feel like to see your book for the first time? 📖 Watch the moment Elton got the finished copy of his official autobiography, which is out in just three weeks! #EltonJohnBook
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) September 24, 2019
Claribel’s creative unboxing video of Ghost Squad is heartwarming and hilarious, and we love how she featured others involved in her publishing journey, including her literary agent and supportive author friends.
Holding my book for the first time.
Finally, after so many years of hard work, of tears, of disappointments…I did it, pals.
*We* did it 💙😼👻💀 pic.twitter.com/036HWw9vQ6
— claribel a. ortega – hiatus (@Claribel_Ortega) August 7, 2019
2. Ryan La Sala
Ryan’s personality and fun sense of humor shine through in this video, and we love how his unboxing of Reverie was as magical as the book itself.
Just received advanced copies for my FIRST EVER book in the mail! 😭😭
And it was obviously a VERY SURREAL, EMOTIONAL moment, which I tried to film 🤪 You only get to hold your first book for the first time once, right? 🥳
— Ryan La Sala (@Ryality) May 28, 2019
3. Sara Faring
This stop-motion video of The Tenth Girl was such a unique way to create an unboxing video without actually filming or providing any narration. And it’s so on-brand for a thriller author.
✨ Surprise #1 ARCs of my debut Argentine gothic psychological thriller THE TENTH GIRL are HERE‼️(perfect for fans of twisted family legend & haunted cliff mansions)
🗡️ Surprise #2 No one was harmed w/ the Argentine steak knife used to open the box (gracias, primos!)
📚 links V pic.twitter.com/uaYNw71E0h
— Sara Faring (@sarafaring) March 28, 2019
Prerna recruited the help of her family to create this adorable and creative unboxing video of If You Only Knew!
Hey guys, I HAVE ARCS!!!
I made this video with my kids as a result. It’s ridiculous and hilarious. Shout out to my 13yo for editing it! Enjoy! pic.twitter.com/WTclr9k5zK
— Prerna (Prayer-na) Pickett 🎄⛄🦌 (@prernapickett) August 22, 2019
Shannon’s funny video (featuring her shirtless husband delivering an envelope with her ARCs of Mary Underwater) effectively snagged fellow authors’ attention, helping boost the visibility of her author brand within the publishing community.
May I present my arc unboxing.
— ❄ Shannon Doleski ❄ (@ShannonDoleski) November 13, 2019
Feeling camera shy? You can still have an unboxing video! Here’s a great example of one where the author doesn’t appear on camera. We also love how the video style is relevant to the book’s title, I Miss You When I Blink — blink and you’ll miss it!
Is this how unboxing works?
(Came home to a box of ARCs!) pic.twitter.com/EuwMWYk9V2
— Mary Laura Philpott (@MaryLauraPh) August 28, 2018
7. Natasha Ngan
Here’s another short unboxing video that’s great inspiration for those of us who are camera shy. Natasha narrates the reveal of a finished copy of Girls of Paper and Fire (and you can hear her excited reaction!) but she’s not on screen.
THEY’RE HERE!!! Finished copies of GIRLS! After four years working on this book omg they’re beautiful 😭💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕 pic.twitter.com/0QCa5WyTj0
— Natasha Ngan (@girlinthelens) October 18, 2018
8. Randy Ribay
We love this video of Randy revealing a finished copy of Patron Saints of Nothing. Unlike Natasha, he’s on camera… but doesn’t say a word!
One of the most amazing and terrifying moments as an author is holding the finished copy of your book for the first time. I’m so proud of #PatronSaintsOfNothing, and I’m so grateful for all of those who helped shape this story along the way. June 18, y’all. #TeamKokila #Beoples pic.twitter.com/6USSee8QBC
— Randy Ribay (@randyribay) May 12, 2019
Sophie literally jumps out of a box with a finished copy of Surprise Me. So we guess you could call this an author unboxing, too. 😂 It’s short and sweet, and fun for fans to see — and it was great fodder for her publisher Random House’s Twitter profile!
SURPRISE!!! Finished copies of @KinsellaSophie’s amazing new book have just arrived at our office and we can’t contain our excitement! SURPRISE ME is on sale February 13th in the US & CAN and February 8th in the UK! #SophieKinsella pic.twitter.com/J9iNcHxMAR
— Random House (@randomhouse) January 19, 2018
10. Danielle Davis
It’s real exciting to show off your book for the first time — so exciting that sometimes, you just have to dance! Although Danielle technically isn’t unboxing the book on camera, we love her fun personality here as she shows off her ARC of Zinnia and the Bees for the first time.
— Danielle Davis (@writesinLA) March 28, 2017
11. Vanessa Lillie
Did your unboxing video not go as you expected? Post it anyway! Sometimes life’s candid moments are the best ones to share. (I literally laughed out loud when I watched Vanessa’s unboxing of Little Voices ARCs, startling a fellow BookBubber.)
LITTLE VOICES arcs are here! Perhaps I shouldn’t have opened them with my cranky four year old? 😂 thanks so much #thomasandmercer @jtribble & Victoria Sanders! ❤️ beautiful cover by @shasti – coming your way October 1st 🎉 pic.twitter.com/DFF81fqXgq
— vanessalillie (@vanessalillie) April 29, 2019
12. Lauren Blakely
Lauren unboxed the paperback of her self-published book Unbreak My Heart, and we love her enthusiastic and dramatic tone in this video — and that she read a couple of lines from the book!
Guess what the #UPS guy brought me this #Primeday!
Yep, Unbreak My Heart in #paperback.
You can preorder your copy today – https://t.co/LjiHRqYpOY#UnbreakMyHeart #romance #standalone #comingsoon pic.twitter.com/bznxYBDer0
— Lauren Blakely (@LaurenBlakely3) July 17, 2018
13. June Hur
We think it’s adorable how June bashfully wanted the video to end once she took out one copy of her debut, The Silence of Bones (“stop it!”), but whoever was filming kept on recording, encouraging her to look at all the other copies still in the box.
ARCs HAVE ARRIVED
After so many years of writing and querying and failing and dreaming, I finally got to hold a physical copy of my book.
— June Hur (preorder my book, THE SILENCE OF BONES) (@WriterJuneHur) July 25, 2019
14. Hafsah Faizal
Whoever’s filming: “I can’t believe you got dressed up just for this.”
We adore Hafsah’s unboxing of We Hunt the Flame, an emotional video where she gets to hold her words in a bookish format for the first time!
GUYS. WE HUNT THE FLAME ARCs are here!! I finally get to hold my words in my hands 😭✨ pic.twitter.com/VrU40zsJAR
— Hafsah Faizal (@hafsahfaizal) October 19, 2018
As you can see, traditionally published authors more commonly post unboxing videos than indie authors. But this could be a fantastic branding opportunity for self-published authors to connect with their readers as well! If you’re an indie author with paperbacks available, show them off. You could also hold a tablet or ereader to show off your ebook, or plug in some headphones and show off your audiobook. No matter your book’s format, an unboxing is a great way to connect with readers and show your excitement and pride in the project you just completed.
Which author unboxing videos would you add to the list? Link to them in the comments below!
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