Saturday, January 17, 2009

Book Trailers... Yea or Nay?

Lisa McMann, author of the New York Times bestselling novel WAKE, gave a nice shout-out on her blog today to A.S. King, author of the much-anticipated book, THE DUST OF 100 DOGS. McMann encouraged her readers to buy King's new book--most likely due to the fact that she wrote a blurb for it--and included the trailer for it on the blog. Naturally, I checked it out, and I found it quite intriguing. I'm sure I'll add it to my ever-growing list of books to be read this year.

This brings up some interesting questions: How successful are book trailers in promoting new and established authors? Do you think they're more helpful for the newbies who are trying to launch a book for the first time, or the veterans who have already built a name for themselves? As a reader, how does the quality of the trailer affect your decision to buy a book?

I feel shallow for saying this, but I'm influenced by the quality of a book trailer even above its content. This trailer I saw for WAKE is what peaked my interest in Lisa McMann in the first place:

If the trailer isn't edited well or looks like a cheap knockoff of The Blair Witch Project, I stop watching, regardless of whether or not the story seems good. At the same time, if I've already heard good things about a particular book, seeing a lousy trailer won't keep me from buying it. It doesn't have the same power with me that a movie trailer does. It just gives me that extra push to buy a book that I'm already leaning toward anyway.

For anyone interested in reading more about the process of creating a book trailer, award-winning romance author Brenda Coulter has a wonderful post on her blog that outlines it in great detail. It's an old post since the blog hasn't been updated in a while, but much of the advice still applies. I'm fascinated by this stuff myself, especially since Coulter makes it all sound very doable. If you've bought a computer in the past five years, you probably have all the software you need to make a basic book trailer yourself.

I'd love to hear some opinions about this topic. As writers, we're expected to market ourselves now more than ever. The good news is that we have a mountain of resources at our disposal to do just that, if only we'll take advantage of them.


  1. This goes right to where I am now. With a trailer we're working on, but with a small budget. With images and emotions I have about the book and those that others will and then those that the publishers think are best for promoting the book.

    As for me and how trailers affect me - I honestly didn't even know about trailers and books until recently! Shows you how "in the loop" I've been *laugh*

  2. I've never been big on book trailers. I normally don't watch them. I'm a skimmer, and I'd rather just read a quick paragraph that tells me what it's about.

    This one is cool, though. Love the mood and music!

  3. I love them, but honestly, other than friends who've published books, I've only watched a handful. I wonder if you can "rent space" for trailers on others' ebooks? :)

  4. Kathryn, how exciting! I've never known anyone who was in the process of working on a book trailer before. Good luck with that! I didn't know about them until recently, either. That's the whole reason I did the post. It's been on my mind a lot lately.

  5. Spy, that's so true. Some trailers are okay but others come off looking a little silly. In the end, you can't beat a great blurb! I am curious about the concept, though, so I wanted to see what my fellow writers thought about it. Thanks for sharing your opinion!

  6. Angie, I've never heard of "renting space" for trailers before. That's an interesting concept. I'll look into it and let you know what I find out! As always, thanks for your comments!