Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Poll results on book trailers

There were 20 votes and this is the breakdown:

<0 They made me decide not to buy. 9 (45%)
1 and I regret it. 1 (5%)
1 and it was great. 4 (20%)
2 or more. I look for them. 1 (5%)
2 or more. It just happens. 0 (0%)
It's complicated. 5 (25%)

Now, this isn't a large enough sample to be scientific in any way at all, BUT did you notice that almost half the voters said that book trailers had prevented them from buying? This seems to tally pretty well with informal discussions I've seen elsewhere.

Elsewhere like on Alexander Field's blog (nice redesign, by the way), or on Jessica Faust's blog, and a couple of other places I don't remember.

What I am taking away from all this is that book trailers are risky, like book covers. They can alienate readers more easily than they can draw them in. Unlike book covers, trailers are not an essential part of the process. I personally am not going to attempt one unless I've got a killer idea that could go viral.

I do thing that a book trailer is probably wise to use a lot of words. After all, anyone allergic to reading text is not going to buy the book anyway. And many readers resent having a visual interpretation imposed on them. One of the reasons they enjoy reading is the freedom to imagine characters and settings on their own. How often have you been disappointed by the casting in the movie version of a favourite book? You see the danger.

However, if you hit the sweet spot, and manage to produce a really catchy trailer that people are scrambling to link to, you've got a winner.

As for me, I read one book because of a trailer. The trailer was better.

Anybody have trailer stories to share? Ones you loved? Ones you hated? The one you keep running in your head for the book you're writing?


May Vanderbilt said...

Very interesting! I've never made a trailer for any of my books, so now I feel a little better.

Janet said...

LOL, May. I know how you feel. It seems like a peer pressure it's now going to be easier to resist.

Alexander Field said...

Wow, I guess the verdict is bad for book trailers. Oh well!

Janet said...

Alex, maybe not entirely bad, but I'd put up a "proceed with caution" sign. An uninspired one probably does more harm than good. So I wouldn't be rushing out to make one as a matter of course. A really good one could probably drive sales.


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