Book trailers are a phenomenon that have fascinated me for some time. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise, as I am a writer and have a degree in film production. I think, in theory, book trailers can be an excellent method of promotion.
Theory and practice are two different things.
I’ve almost never seen a book trailer where my reaction scored higher than, “Well, I don’t NOT want to read the book now.” I can’t think of seeing one where it actually enticed me.
Part of why is so few book trailers (at least, of those that I’ve seen) use the medium effectively. The book trailer should do the same sort of job as the cover and blurb… but not the exact same job. Because the medium is not the same. It’s video, you need image and motion and sound. Some give me little more than words on the screen, words that I might as well read on the back of the book. That’s not a trailer, it’s just dictating my reading speed.
And, let’s face it, many book trailers (even ones for traditionally published books) are very amateurish. I once, on a panel, heard professionals advice would be writers to use stock images. This strikes me as completely off the mark. If you use stock images, then all you’ll accomplish is making your work look painfully generic. Same thing with the sound: sometimes I see nothing, or a selection that came from The Public Domain’s Greatest Hits. Does it FIT? Does it work? Eh, usually no.
Here’s one that’s not bad.
The sound design is crisp and professional. A nice voiceover of, I presume, text from the book read by someone who has a good dramatic voice. Music is well-crafted into the rest of the work. I like the shot of the moon with the clicking years. The shot of the eye goes on a bit too long. The naked body is a bit generic-stock looking, but the shifting words over it keeps it active. The shot of the guy in the suit, standing on a cliff edge while carrying a briefcase? Kind of pointless. That reads like someone plucked the word “stockbroker” out of the text without paying attention to the context. But the whole thing keeps moving and gets done in one minute and 11 seconds. That’s good.
Do you have a book trailer? Do you know someone who has a book trailer? Do you know of a book trailer that you think is really good? Send me a link. I’m going to start doing reviews. (And I have a film degree, and I had an A- average, so I’m right, like, 93% of the time.)