Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Book Trailers, what next?

Okay, who hasn't thought, 'Gee, I'd love a glossy book trailer for my new book!'?

See the Troy Patterson article here. Everyone is doing it, even Stephen King, with varying success. When every second book has a book trailer and the only people who come to look at your book trailer are your mum and friends, unless you're Stephen King, you have to wonder what having a book trailer achieves.

This is where I have to confess here that I have a book trailer. Yes, I gave in and asked my wonderful husband to make one for the Lost Shimmaron series. You can see it here. I can't listen to it. We used my voice and I have a slight lisp. Of course every second word began or ended with an 'S'.






Actually I've been dabbling with book trailers for a while now.
Back when the last book of my T'En Trilogy came out, my husband made a book trailer for it. This was in 2002 and my publisher didn't know what to do with the trailer.
video

There's even an award for book trailers here, the New Covey Trailer Awards, where you can waste far too much time viewing other people's book trailers.

And, right now, my long suffering husband is working on a book trailer for my new fantasy series, King Rolen's Kin. So I am going to come clean, I am a book trailer addict.

Be honest, would a good book trailer intrigue enough to go out and buy a book?

18 comments:

WangZheng259 said...

Maybe. For me, there are major two issues involved, in addition to the others.

One, could a book trailer convince me to track down and read a book? Answer: I've decided to read books based on other sets of incomplete data, so I can't see why not. I do not know that I watch internet videos that much. Prior to reading this, the only book trailer I knew of was for a story that I had already been sold on.

Second is the matter of how much money I have for books, and how many I am buying. A hundred books a year is a world different from spending freeze conditions.

One sticking point might be how well a trailer might represent a book, and whether the things that make for an attractive trailer would map well to said book.

First, I would have to come across the video trailer, and decide to spend the budget to watch it. (This is more of time and computing resources than money.) If I like it, I would probably look up the writer and the book, which might take less time than the video, before proceeding.

I spent years deciding not to read Ringo's A Hymmn Before Battle in bookstores and libraries. Eventually, I read it and discovered that I really enjoyed the series.

matapam said...

A trailer.

For a book.

The mind boggles.

As a way to attract the computer literate younger generation, it's a good idea.

And you have an _excellent_ storyteller's voice.

C Kelsey said...

I kind of like the idea of trailers. I've been known to buy a book based on adverts and trailers I've seen on TV or YouTube. There's still that trailer for Darkship Thieves that I really want to see. Right Kate? Sarah? Come on! It'd be funnier than all get-out!

Brendan said...

First off, I thought the voice-over wasn't that bad.

That being said I am a bit unsure of the Book Trailer since to some extent it takes away part of the creative process of reading which is my joy. People, places, voices and images are given to us and it becomes too easy to use those in place of the creations that our imagination would previously been required to produce.

Anonymous said...

I would love it. I've only seen a couple, so the link you posted will be appreciated.

I'm a movie trailer addict. I'm one of those that must NOT miss the trailers before the movie or the movie had better rock to make up for it.

Of course, a bad one would probably not entice me to read the book which could be a great book with a crappy trailer, so there is that danger. Suffice to say, I'm cool with the idea.

Linda Davis

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

WangZhen259,

It doesn't cost you anything to watch a book trailer. They are up on u-tube and authors have them on their web pages and blogs, too.

I get your point about the trailer possibly not being a true representation of the book. In the cases where my partner and I have made trailers, they do represent the books.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Matapam,

Thanks, but I still cringe when I hear my voice. I could never have been an actress. You know, Doris Day never went to see her movies. She couldn't stand the thought of watching herself on screen.

I come from a graphic art background, so a book trailer seems a natural progression to me.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kelsey,

So you're one of the new breed of book buyers who are book trailer literate!

OK, when the trailer for my next book nears completion, I'll put it up on the MGC blog and get feedback from you guys. Is that OK?

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Brendan,

Reading a book is such an intimate experience. I don't think a trailer can come close to it.

While I'm writing I gather visuals and create a virtual 'Resonance Board', which can include music. So, for me, the book trailer is a natural progression from that.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Linda,

I'm a big movie goer and collector of DVDs of series. I find movie trailers and reviews often miss the point. It's as if the people putting the trailer together thought, will we emphasise the love story or the fights and explosions. I know, males under 25 form the biggest movie going group. We'll make it all about the explosions. Then, when the guys drag their long suffering girlfriends along, they discover there's a love story as well. And don't get me started on the reviews for 'Fight Club', the reviewers all saw it as a movie about male violence. It was so much more!

I'm hoping my book trail for King Rolen's Kin will capture the essence of the book. It's a rollicking fantasy adventure, the sort of thing you pick up to read on a rainy Saturday afternoon when you've had a bad week and you just want to be swept away.

If everyone's OK with the idea, I'll get you guys to give me feedback on it.

C Kelsey said...

Rowena,

I'll be waiting (impatiently) for this next trailer since you have now promised to show it to us. :)

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Great Kelsey.

We'll have to have it finished by July next year when the first book comes out.

Kate said...

Ack! Rowena! You've uncovered my inner old-fogeyness. This is a terrifying thing - Kates and old-fogeyness aren't supposed to be in the same universe, much less the same room.

Seriously, I'm so narrative-oriented I'd find a book trailer irritating. Trailer for visual stuff done visually, sure. Trailer for book done visually, nope. Either read the thing to me, or preferably give me a free sample of 3-4 chapters or so.

If it works for others, well and good. Me... It's more likely to convince me to avoid the book if it gets foisted on me.

Amanda Green said...

Rowena, I've got mixed feeling about trailers. I think if they are done right, they might be a good marketing tool. But, like any marketing tool, they have to be seen by the buying public and that's the rub. How do you get it to the right market subset? Moreover, most authors don't have the money to get them on TV and how many readers actually go to youtube for such things.

That said, I've seen some good ones on author blogs. Still, I don't, as a reader, buy a book based on the trailer. Guess I'm jaded that way. I sort of figure that a book trailer is like a movie trailer. We've already seen all the good parts.

But then, maybe I'm like Kate and this is just bringing out my old-fogeness ;-p

Chris McMahon said...

Me finding the time to look at one is a little dicey. If I did, then I suppose it would depend. If the trailer consisted of advertising hype and glossy film, then I don't think it would have more impact than a cardboard cut-out at the bookshop - i.e. I would ignore it.

If however, there is actually a reading from the book that hooked me, that would be a different matter. The only problem there is that I may be put off by the voice.

Mike said...

Not exactly on topic, but... one of the points that is often raised about e-books is that it is difficult to browse the virtual shelves, check out the covers, look at the blurbs on the back, and read a little bit. The growing standard of posting at least a part of the book helps some, but I didn't think we really had a replacement for cover art. However, your post just shows that I'm out of date -- book trailers seem to be that, jazzed up a bit (I think I'm glad that bookstores don't have animated covers). Which makes me think that in some relatively near future, I may go to the virtual bookstore, slip down to the science fiction and fantasy section, and browse the book trailers. Something catches my eye like that Rowena Daniells name, so I click and read a little sample... pretty soon, I toss it in the shopping cart.

I do wonder whether book trailers will be an animated sample of the book, related but independent (perhaps showing a hint of the setting or the situation or the characters, but not just a sample of the book in video format?), or just an artistic video to catch your interest (A real football quarterback read this book, during the big game -- you should too!)? Do you do one trailer, or different ones for different market segments? I could see any of these becoming something of a standard, with everyone rushing to make their's like the big sellers. Something like the cover art trends that I've seen over the years, or perhaps the music videos that I mostly haven't seen?

Hum. Is there a "thumbnail" display of book trailers to let readers quickly browse a bunch, in the same way that we can browse a bookstore shelf now? That's probably going to be needed.

As you can tell, I haven't actually been exposed to book trailers. But they sound like a really good idea for web-based accessibility and findability, especially for e-books. Marketing in virtual space is still being developed, and book trailers seem to fit into that new space nicely. Gives the social networks something to watch and talk about, provides a bit of visual eye candy, and can be pretty easily evolved to match changes in your marketing (And the latest news! Blitz of the Zombies has been nominated for a Hugo! Yeah!).

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Amanda and Kate, (You Old Fogies!)

This is all about 'Resonance'. When I write I gather images and read about times and places, even listen to music, so that I collect a 'feeling' about the book.

A good book trailer doesn't tell the story, but it should create a feeling that resonates with the viewer, using a series of images, music/sounds and words. It should leave the viewer wanting more.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Mike,

you raise some good questions there about target audience. And I like the idea of being able to flick through book trailers to get an idea about the books.

My reply to Amanda and Kate encapsulates what I think makes a good book trailer.