Friday, 27 March 2009

Book trailers

Have you seen them floating around YouTube? Little one- or two-minute clips, designed to make your mouth water for a particular book: book trailers.

It seems logical, doesn't it? Like movies, novels are a form of story-telling. A good hint at the story should make people want to buy the book, right?

But how many people you know browse YouTube looking for books? Do you?

How many people buy books as a result of viewing a trailer? Do you?

Is it worth the time and effort and financial outlay to create a book trailer? Will anybody see them who is not already a fan?

Please answer the poll at the top of the left-hand sidebar, and then tell me why I should or shouldn't make a book trailer when the time comes. Or if you've made one, tell me what you've learned.

11 comments:

Angie said...

I chose the "It's complicated" option, but actually it's not complicated -- there's just no option for it. [wry smile]

I ignore book trailers. I think they're ridiculous and pointless, and don't see how watching a movie could possible communicate to me whether or not I'd enjoy reading a book; they're two completely different media and types of experiences. (Which isn't complicated either, just wordy.)

Book trailers have no influence at all on my book buying. I've never bought a book because of a trailer, nor have I ever not bought a book because of a trailer. I think the concept is silly, so for me they have no effect either way.

Angie

ediFanoB said...

I don't browse YouTube for book trailers. But when I find a book trailer on a blog I watch it. Book trailers have a little influence on my book choice.

Janet said...

Angie, I should have thought of that. I usually only watch book trailers because I've followed a link from an author or an agent. So I already knew about it.

I did read one book because of a trailer and found the writing embarrassingly bad. Otherwise, they haven't influenced me much one way or the other. And I never go looking for them.

Which means I pretty well fall into Edi's camp.

Janna Qualman said...

I've seen maybe two or three, but only when the authors themselves have posted them on their own blogs, etc. They're kind of a neat addition to the marketing approaches, I suppose, but we've gotten by for years without them. I wonder if they'll become more and more common, or fade away soon?

Carradee said...

I chose "its complicated", because only one thing will make me decide to buy a book: having already read it.

The only exceptions come from when I already know I like everything else I've read from the author and/or it's <$2 at the used book store.

Book trailers, however, can confirm my inclination one way or another to read a book, or make me cringe and decide I may not want to put any effort into trying to read it.

Video and print are two different mediums, but a fair number of trailers ignore that. If the author only bothers to come up with a half-brained idea that really doesn't work as a video, I'm not sure I wanna read what the author bothered to put on the page, either.

Trailers that take the differences into account and bother to convert the idea, now, those I like. (I've noticed I prefer music videos that demonstrate the story told in the song, too, like Within Temptation's "Frozen".)

One book—Perfect Arrangements, I believe—I had already decided was probably not up my alley to read. The book trailer confirmed that for me.

Whereas Perfect Chemistry is not strictly up my alley, but the book trailer made me suspect that I'll like the book, so I'm keeping an eye out for it and will read it given the chance. If it doesn't turn up at my library sometime soon, I'll likely request it.

So a book trailer won't make me want to buy a book, but it will influence whether I want to read it. And that reading experience will determine if I wanna buy it or not.

-'Dee

kimmirich said...

I think it could make me decide on buying the book. And, indeed I have due to watching a book trailer. Sorta like if I want to see a movie. It's a nudge, one way or another.
Nice post.

Alexander Field said...

From a publishers perspective, they make some sense provided the trailers don't cost much. There are producers out there now selling book trailer production for $1000 or less. At this cost, the trailer can be loaded online in numerous places, they can be used at trade shows, on Amazon.com and other online retailer sites, and even on Facebook etc. Depending on the book, it could create another all-important 'impression' for your book.

Jessica Thomas said...

I think book trailers are okay if they are professional. I am not a fan of "cheese", and some of the homegrown trailers I've seen make me want to read the book less because of the cheese factor. I did see one trailer that was just words flashing on the screen, with some interesting music. I liked that one. I don't want images that are going to influence my imagination when I'm reading the book.

Janet said...

Some very interesting comments. On Jessica Faust's blog, one person mentioned that trailers can be posted on fans' blogs and become viral marketing, something I hadn't given adequate thought to.

I guess the perfect balance would be something simple and inexpensive, yet professional and attractive. But they really don't seem to be a critical element in book marketing at all.

These comments are really excellent and have given me a lot to think about.

Jena said...

I've never bought a book based only on a trailer, but sometimes it does get me to add it to my wishlist.

I do love this trailer though; I laughed and laughed...

Janet said...

I'm so glad you brought this one up, Jena! It is hilarious, and it's one of the few book trailers that I remember when I see it again. Perhaps trailers are particularly well-suited for humour.

 

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