Book Trailers: Boon or Bust?

I’ve been writing short stories since the age of five. At that age and into my early teens, I’d often dream of a commercial—a trailer, basically, but I didn’t know that word back then—for my tales; I could envision my characters as though they were real, talking to each other, saying their dialogue against cool music, and big letters with the title of my story and my name. I used to think, “why don’t people make these for books?”

Well, just like I had always thought “why don’t they just put a single song on a cassette?” in the late 1970s and then in the late 1980s it happened, book trailers burst on the scene a few years ago. I was thrilled that they finally existed, although some writers in some discussion groups in which I participate don’t necessarily feel the same way. There has been some debate about the value of book trailers—are they really necessary? Should I spend time on making one for my book? Should I spend money in hiring a company to make a trailer for me? Do they really sell books?

Frankly, I believe whether or not there’s a traceable point-of-purchase from your trailer to your book is irrelevant. A trailer provides content which supports your book. It takes less time to watch than a review takes to read, is easily accessible via mobile devices, and, more importantly, it’s visual, so it’s easy to remember. And while not many book trailers go crazy-viral, every book trailer has that potential.

I’m a visual person; when I read, I see what I’m reading as a “film” in my head (if that doesn’t happen, I put the book down and read no further). Therefore, a trailer is much more likely to entice me to make a purchase than a review—especially if that trailer’s unique or entertaining. Today’s audiences are so used to being bombarded with visual media 24/7—Youtube, Vimeo, Hulu, Netflix, DVRs, 24/7 Cable, watch everything instantly on your Kindle Fire, your laptop, your Ipad; in addition, the generations behind Generation X, the current and future book buyers, are primarily visual learners (Gardner, 1993)—so it just makes sense your book should have a footing there. After all, when you release a book trailer, what you’re really saying is, ‘hey, my book’s as entertaining as a movie or show! Come check it out!’

The value in a book trailer isn’t always tangible. But I know that sometimes a trailer has made a book look so exciting I had to have it—whether it was at that moment or down the road.

And isn’t that what you want?

Below, some book trailers I liked which grabbed me for one reason or another. I was going to provide a huge list of resources, but fiction writer Darcy Pattison has done such a comprehensive job of covering all aspects I’m going to let her do the work: http://www.darcypattison.com/marketing/book-trailers/

The Hour Before Dark, Douglas Clegg

Breaking Silence, Linda Castillo

http://vimeo.com/23451198

Crabapples, Rob Watts

Dark Matter Heart, Nathan Wrann

Gardner, H. (1993). Mulitple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice. New York: Basic Books.

Advertisements

About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in countless magazines and anthologies. She has received three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies, is a co-editor for Read Short Fiction, and co-hosts the Dark Discussions Podcast. Her work Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole is a collection of ghost stories set in Disney Parks; her horror novel, Bad Apple, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She’s also a member of the New England Horror Writers Association. More info: www.kristipetersenschoonover.com

Posted on May 7, 2012, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff, The Writing Life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wow, thank you for this -especially the link to Darcy’s site! I’m starting work on my own trailer next week so this was just in time (and by “working on my trailer” I mean meeting with one of the staff of our youth program who is young, and hip, and has skills. I’ll be taking more of an “advisory” role here 🙂 )

    • Cool, I’m so glad I was able to help! I know, I have to do one for Bad Apple, which is coming out in September. I haven’t made a decision on what I’m doing yet. I’ll definitely be checking out her site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: