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
Crabapples, Rob Watts
Dark Matter Heart, Nathan Wrann
Gardner, H. (1993). Mulitple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice. New York: Basic Books.