I spent most of Saturday working on a book trailer.
For the record, I have certain reservations about them. First, I think they can be misleading in a way. And by misleading, I mean to the average YouTube viewer who stumbles across your trailer and thinks WTF is this? Is it a movie? Ooooh, it’s a BOOK.
Then he clicks away, wishing it were a movie instead, because a movie gets him excited, but a book — eh, not so much. Books require work.
Second, for those who actually like to read books and are excited by a book trailer, I think the reading experience can be ruined if the trailer in question uses faces. Once you use a face in a trailer, you take the risk that the reader has a preconceived notion of what your characters look like. Since I generally like to leave that up to the reader, showing faces — for me, at least — is a no-no.
That said, here’s a trailer that I think is VERY WELL PRODUCED, shows faces, yet makes me want to go out and buy the book:
The above trailer works very well, in my estimation. It tells the premise in a dramatic way, is fast, constantly moving, and actually gets me excited about the book.
I have seen trailers out there that are long and boring and look like they were made by someone’s twelve-year-old stepson with the beginner’s version of Flash. And authors paid money to get them made.
And that’s another reservation I have about book trailers. Many of them are poorly produced and do not reflect well on the craft. Even bad movies tend to have good trailers, and I’d say there are lot more good books than movies, so why so many bad book trailers?
Now, the following is NOT a badly produced book trailer. And I have to say the book sounds like it could be a good one. But my problem with it is that it just gives WAY too much detail. Instead of getting straight to the point, it spends too much time explaining what the story is about:
Again, WELL produced, but do I really need to know all that going in? Why not simply tease me? Yes, the artwork is nice — and apparently comes straight from the books — but, again, less is more, folks.
Finally, here’s the trailer that I made for my own book. No, it’s not a masterpiece, but it’s what I think of more as a TEASER than a trailer. No faces. A quick idea of what the book is about, a few blurbs and I’m outta there:
Now, I have no objectivity here, so I can’t say whether this is a good trailer or bad. But my publisher’s marketing people like it enough to use it, so I’m happy about that.
But then comes the next question. What do you do with a trailer once it’s done? Put it up on YouTube and its clones in hopes that someone will stumble across it? Had I not gone looking specifically for trailers, I never would have known about the above examples or the books they promote.
Do you put it up on Amazon? That’s probably a good place for it, but again, the problem is HOW DO YOU GET PEOPLE TO WATCH IT? Once they get to your Amazon page, yes, they might watch the trailer and even be compelled to buy the book, but if they’ve already gone there, they obviously already know about your book.
So, unless you can come up with some super viral gimmick, I doubt that many people WILL watch it.
Of course, that didn’t stop me from making one. Because it’s the thing to do. And it COULD help. It hopefully won’t hurt.
Because, hey — what the hell do I know?
I just work here.