Book Trailers: Yay or Nay?
With a new release coming for one of my alter egos, Kit Marlowe, I revamped an old book trailer and put it up on Facebook before sharing with my publisher. Admittedly, I enjoy making book trailers because it reminds me of the fun I had making movies. In idle moments, I wonder if I was foolish to turn down the full scholarship for filmmaking (I never wonder that about turning down the full scholarship for engineering at General Motors Institute), though clearly it’s the words and storytelling that appealed to me.
I never would have looked as cool as Ida Lupino anyway.
Promotion always seems like a dubious endeavour; does any of it help anyway? There’s few chances to be assured of a direct effect. Mostly you just hope that there’s some kind of cumulative effect.
Book trailers are an odd outgrowth of social media interactions. Everybody swiftly shares the latest movie trailer for a hotly anticipated film, so (the thinking seems to go) surely a book trailer could have the same effect. Does it?
One of my pals mentioned that he hated trailers, in fact hated any kind of image about what might be in the story. I stuck my virtual tongue out at him first, then asked, ‘What about covers?’
We’ve all been told ‘not to judge a book by its cover’ but the fact is our industry is built around the concept that people are going to do exactly that. In short that means our covers have to do a job of selling a story in an instant without giving too much away. The most beautiful cover may not be the most effective because it doesn’t tell us enough about what’s inside. This particular book, The Mangrove Legacy, is a little trickier than usual because it’s both gothic and humorous, two things that don’t normally go together intentionally.
The cover took a lot of work to achieve that balance (I think I can see some of the hair Kem pulled out of her head!). There’s a little more room in a trailer to do that – even when it’s less than a minute long. But is it worth doing for anything but the fun of making a wee movie?
Do you like book trailers? Do you watch book trailers? Do they ever make you decide to buy a book?