Book Trailer Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by me, Anastasia. It’s very simple to play along: find a particularly awesome book trailer, embed it in a post, then proceed to coo all over it. Or, y’know, talk about whatever you want to talk about. Why did this book trailer catch your eye? Why do you want to share it with people? Did it make you want to read the book? Why was it effective (or not)?
Instead of a video, I bring you a spiel! Big shout out to Carolyn, my buddy in trailer-trawling and the one who got me to get off my butt and write this thing. Thanks, C!
We now interrupt our regularly programed schedule…
It’s been a little over a month since I started Book Trailer Tuesday, and I just realized I never said why I wanted to do a meme about book trailers. I also wanted a sort of “why book trailers are a good thing” post, like a redux of the audiobooks post except maybe less well-written.
I myself never liked book trailers until I ran into the Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters trailer. Now there was something I could sink my teeth into! Something that actually was entertaining and useful! And something that wasn’t the boring old text-on-top-of-stock-photos thing! This was an exciting discovery, lemme tell ya.
Then I got to thinking. Are there more awesome trailers like SSSM? Why haven’t I found out about them? Where are they hiding? And then I ran into some issues:
a) book trailers aren’t getting any credit for being a good thing.
b) book people don’t pay any attention to book trailers on book blogs. Off of book blogs– maybe they’re getting more attention? I found the SSSM trailer through, what was it, BoingBoing? Why aren’t book people watching or talking about book trailers?
c) something must be wrong with most of the book trailers out there if book people aren’t watching them– and if nobody else is watching them, either.
So I created Book Trailer Tuesday to fix at least one of those problems (the talking/watching part, I mean). And I also wanted to try working on the third thing: what makes a trailer effective? Or just good? What would make a trailer so good that both book people and non-book people would watch it? And how can trailers improve?
Let’s talk about that some more
My biggest problem with most book trailers is how boring they are. I’m sorry, but I don’t find words stuck on top of stock photos with royalty-free music playing in the background a very effective promotion for a book. It’s boring, and I don’t think it’d make anyone want to read a book except maybe friends of the author. (Maybe this is just me; does anyone enjoy watching those types of videos?)
A book trailer needs to be at least three things for it to be effective in promoting a book. It needs to be entertaining. It needs to be made well, with more thought than cut and paste put into it. And it needs to cross the boundary between bookish people and non-bookish people.
Basically, a book trailer needs to trick people into thinking it’s anything but a book trailer. (See: SSSM trailer.)
Book people are already naturally inclined to read things about books, which is why there’s so many book bloggers. We’re not fully sold on the video-book connection yet, but I think as those videos improve so will our appreciation and interest in them. But what about non-book people? What do they get out of a book trailer?
Which is my next thing: that book trailers mostly aren’t for book people, but rather they’re for people who spend a lot of time of YouTube and will watch whatever looks interesting. They’re for people who are interested in new media, and viral marketing, and who like wacky stuff like sea monster eating Edwardian dudes. It’s that crossover thing that’s important, and the lack of it is what keeps book trailers down in the proverbial mud, I think. How many trailers have audience crossover potential? Maybe five that I’ve found so far?
Wait, where was I?
Okay, so: book trailers are mostly boring, but there’s some really good ones that’ll appeal to both bookish and non-bookish people if only they get enough exposure in blogs like mine (and, well, BoingBoing). Now, how effective are book trailers in getting people to actually read the books they’re promoting? No idea. How many bookish people went out and got Sense and Sensibilities and Sea Monsters after seeing the trailer? (I totally did, yo.) And how many non-bookish people?
I have in no way been doing any research on that aspect of a trailer, and really this whole post is just me going off at the mouth. Maybe I’m totally wrong about bookish/non-bookish people. Maybe I’m just a weirdo who like viral videos too much and wants every single video promo to be one, whether it be for books or for milk. I’m also really entrenched in my bookish life, and I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a non-bookish person. (Do non-bookish people even read books? Do they go into book stores and, remembering a trailer they saw, decide to buy a book?)
So either a) this whole post is crap or b) it’s THE COMPLETE AND TOTAL TRUTH and now I am your overlord. Pick an option that best suits your needs, please, then take two pills and call me in the morning.