As a writer and a movie buff, I should be excited about the option of making a “book trailer,” a movie-style promo for a book.
Confession: I just don’t get it. Most of them seem like cheap movie trailers that go really slow. Though I believe vigorously in the cross-pollination of pop culture genres, mixing the visual/aural of movies with the wordy-word-word of books causes a clash of cultures. You got a movie trailer on my book! You got a book on my movie trailer!
However, the social media gatekeepers swear by multi-media, so what do I know?
Here’s one that I watched all the way through:
Hot, shirtless guys. Just like with movie trailers, showing some nubile flesh probably doesn’t hurt.
- It moves fast and doesn’t have long pauses.
- There’s no reading of title cards involved, which always makes the pace too slow for me because I read fast.
(Of course, this is a professionally-produced trailer and I understand most authors can’t afford to pay an announcer. I’m just sayin’.)
- The music doesn’t put me off. It’s generic and energetic without being intrusive. Every writer needs to choose music that reflects the tone and genre of their book. But book trailers that use classical music make me feel like I’m falling asleep covered in dust. Country music means it’s not a book that will speak to my soul. If you’re going to go Chicks With Guitars, try Melissa Etheridge-style chicks and avoid that sappy stuff like they play on some TV shows. (Grey’s Anatomy, I’m looking at you.)
Check out one of my favorite movie trailers of all time: Iron Man
Assuming you can’t get Robert Downey Jr. or AC/DC, what can you do?
Feed the story question in in bits and pieces, broken up by fast-paced clips that show the character and the tone.
The Oblivion Society by Marcus Alexander Hart
Moves along nicely and the comic book art works well for the subject and the attitude. The music sounds like a Quentin Tarantino trailer, always a great thing if you can get it. I might skip the overlong reviews and just do a line or two. Otherwise, if I were looking for a book that reminded me of an indie/mumblecore/Kevin Smith-ish film, I would go for this.
What do you think? Writers, have you found book trailers effective for marketing? Readers, do book trailers work for you more than say, a good review? Do you still prefer to read the book jacket blurb, even on an e-book that doesn’t have a jacket?