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Book trailers: What works? What doesn't?
Marshall R Maresca
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 2:53 PM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 56

Book trailers are a phenomenon that have fascinated me for some time.  This shouldn't be much of a surprise, as I am a writer and have a degree in film production.  I think, in theory, book trailers can be an excellent method of promotion.

Theory and practice are two different things. 

I've almost never seen a book trailer where my reaction scored higher than, "Well, I don't NOT want to read the book now."  I can't think of seeing one where it actually enticed me.

Part of why is so few book trailers (at least, of those that I've seen) use the medium effectively.  The book trailer should do the same sort of job as the cover and blurb... but not the exact same job.  Because the medium is not the same.  It's video, you need image and motion and sound.  Some give me little more than words on the screen, words that I might as well read on the back of the book.  That's not a trailer, it's just dictating my reading speed.

I just posted in my blog about this, with an extra enticement.  I'm going to start reviewing book trailers.  Send yours to me, and I'll break it down.

Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 3:12 AM
Joined: 3/10/2011
Posts: 6

Ooh, this is a great topic! I'll be following your blog for more insight on this... I don't yet have a book trailer, but I hope I can snag some pointers from these reviews!

Marshall R Maresca
Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 10:45 PM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 56

Thanks! I think there is an astounding amount of bad advice regarding book trailers out there, and people should strive to raise the bar.
Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 10:55 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245

I'm not sold that they work at all. I can't tell you the last time I watched a book trailer. I think the last time was when my friend's trailer came out and I watched it to see, but I already knew I'd buy a copy of the book so it wasn't really a factor in my buying decision.
Marshall R Maresca
Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 11:17 PM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 56

My argument is that they mostly don't work because they aren't well made at all. Because, yeah, I've never seen one that made me interested. But I like the IDEA of them. I want them to work, you know?
Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2011 1:28 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245

I don't watch them not because they're done poorly but because I don't get the point. To compare them to the purpose of movie trailers is moot. The media are different and so the purpose must be different. With a movie, you only have the trailer and word of mouth (and IMDB) to generate interest in the piece.

With books, you have word of mouth, Amazon, B&N, Indiebound, etcetera, to generate buzz, get the word out, etcetera.

Frankly, I think my money would be better spent (assuming I have the choice) when it comes to it on creating the best website I can and other aspects of publicity/marketing that I think are more effective or more appropriate to the medium.
Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2011 12:50 PM
Joined: 3/11/2011
Posts: 157

I'm with Steph on this. I have a friend who is a professional videographer and does book trailers. She's offered to do one for me, actors and all. I'll take her up on it for an upcoming release.

But in general, I don't see a lot of authors selling with book trailers. Even professionally done ones because they aren't what readers look for when making decisions on books. Blurbs, sample chapters, reviews, mentions on big genre-specific review sites, etc., can all boost book sales for a fraction of the cost of a professional book trailer.

Now, I have seen trailers work as part of a media presentation at a conference. But in general the noise was such that you only saw the visual. However, it was a romance conference and the trailer had some hot man candy.
Posted: Sunday, July 3, 2011 8:06 PM
Joined: 5/4/2011
Posts: 11

I have watched a few and so far, I have not been impressed. Maybe if they were higher quality I would feel different.

My concern would be that the reader would remember the trailer while reading and use the book trailer's idea of what the characters look and act like. This might be okay in some instances, but I would rather have the reader decide in their mind how the characters look. Regardless of the description, every person is going to have a different view.

This can be seen with all the youtube videos out about what actors could play certain roles in popular books. I remember one person said Tom Cruise should play a character, and then the next video picked some skinny unattractive guy with gray hair. I say leave it to the reader.

Knowing my luck, book trailers will be the next big thing hehe.
Sinnie Ellis
Posted: Sunday, August 7, 2011 1:53 AM
Joined: 4/3/2011
Posts: 67

I have made two book trailers, but I have no idea if they affected sales because I can't give my work away these days.

I'm starting to thinking all this work is a waste of time. I love making trailers though and it's fun.

I choose pictures and music based on what the books made me feel when I wrote them.

Good luck.
Posted: Saturday, December 21, 2013 9:08 PM
Joined: 11/15/2013
Posts: 10

My book trailer looks more like some sort of teaser trailer to be honest, give a little bit of info but mostly allowing the reader to visualize what they think the characters look like, here's the link:

--edited by GEWthegermanic on 12/21/2013, 9:09 PM--

Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2014 4:43 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

Member Alys Arden released a truly AWESOME book trailer for her book THE CASQUETTE GIRLS, workshopped on Book Country and then self-pubbed last Halloween.


Check out the trailer!

Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Friday, February 27, 2015 12:13 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

Just came across another good example of a book trailer, this one for the YA Dystopia THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey.