“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Book Trailers – Yea Or Nay?

Two very handsome book trailers came our way this week, folks, the first courtesy of honorary Irish crime writer Tony Black, whose PAYING FOR IT hits a shelf near you on July 17. Roll it there, Collette …


Then we stumbled across a trailer for the American edition of Tana French’s IN THE WOODS, which is ever-so-suitably spooky. Collette? In your own time, ma’am …


What we’re wondering, though, especially since we’re thinking of generating a book trailer of our own to mark the US publication of our humble offering THE BIG O, is whether book trailers are doing what it says on their celluloid tins. Yes, they’re all zeitgeisty and whatnot in terms of viral marketing, but does anyone really watch them? Has any book trailer blown YOU away? We were very taken with John McFetridge’s trailer for EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS IS NOWHERE, certainly …


… but has anyone ever rushed out to buy a book on the basis of its trailer? Are book trailers delivering where it matters? Or are they the mini-cinematic equivalent of bookmarks? Talk to us, people …

8 comments:

Dana King said...

I've looked at a few book trailers I've seen here, and on Crimespace. Some are good, some aren't, some are just dumb. I haven't ever bought a book because of one. Maybe it's just because I'm old (52), but I still pick my books the old-fashioned ways: author recognition, "if you like Chandler, you'll like (author's name here), and good word of mouth from people whose opinions I trust.

I also see great irony in print media using the entertainment delivery method that is supposedly killing us (video) to promote our work. not saying it's a bad idea, or it can't work; it's just ironic.

It also seems more logical to imagine people reading to find something to watch than it does to think of people watching to find something to read. Probably my age again.

Bob said...

The problem with book trailers is - where do you see 'em? Movie trailers get high visibility on TV and cinemas but if I hadn't seen these trailers on your site, I'd never have known they existed unless I searched for them, which defeats the purpose I expect!

Declan Burke said...

I don't think it's an age thing, Dana. Books aren't as intrinsically ageist as music or movies, say ... although if you're making the point that younger generations are more likely to be au fait with milieu from which book trailers spring, then you're making a good point, I think. What I'm also interested in - and Bob takes up this point - is whether book trailers possess any penetration, and whether that penetration hits the kind of targets it's supposed to ... Having to go looking for something designed to promote a product does defeat the purpose. Are book trailers more useful then as secondary marketing tools, to visually expand on a synopsis or blurb the potential reader has already discovered? Or is it the case that the standard model of book trailer - stills, music, synopsis and quotes - needs to change? Cheers, Dec

John McFetridge said...

With so little money seemingly available for promo these days, I'd say spend as little as possible on video.

Thanks for including mine. I wandered around town taking pictures and grabbed a few from free online sites and then just pasted them together on my computer. A buddy wrote the music.

I had plans to make more, but I'm not sure anymore. There'd have to be some real value-add....

Keith Rawson said...

It doesn't do much for me. I understand you need to promote the book, but most readers have already heard about the book via retailers, retailer websites, author websites and blogs, magazine articles, etc.,I think they're cool because the trailer is another extension of the writer's imagination. But for the most part I skip 'em when I run across them.

Declan Burke said...

Hmmm ... thumbs down all round, then? Anyone out there with positive stories about how book trailers helped them? Cheers, Dec

crimeficreader said...

Alas dear fellow readers, I believe many of the book trailers require more creativity to be applied to catch the attention – albeit this would likely cost more to produce. The format is often ‘same old’ with pictures interspersed with a screen of narrative. When the narrative is mainly blurb, you get to know little about the novel.

But creativity can also be taken too far. I’ve seen some pretty expensive-looking ones on bookseller.com, where we’ve had a troupe of actors and a range of scenes played out and they look like trailers for movies or TV series. For me, therein lies the problem. The characters in the novel have already been given faces, bodies, voices, specific settings for scenes in the novel and part of the reader’s application of imagination has been lost. The magic of creating the vision in your own mind, as you read, has been taken away.

That said - and now we move on to something positive - I do like trailers that have what I would call vague imagery and a decent voiceover, preferably with the voiceover not from the POV one of the characters. You get a synopsis of the novel, which allows you to make a choice based on your own preferences.

As for marketing penetration, current trailers are well dispersed. They crop up for a limited period of time on places like bookseller.com, appear on author websites, can be found on YouTube and other similar sites. A central depository would be an excellent idea, where readers know they can find the latest.

COS Productions said...

As far as where to see them try this-
www.youtube.com/booktrailers

There's a good one playing in the main player there right now. Murder mystery, so that should be interesting.

They play on social networks, but also libraries and bookstores, reader's groups and here in the US they play on television, in movie theaters and even on flat screen tvs on buses in major cities. All in all, over 11 million people see them.

Not all trailers get that kind of distribution, but the COS trailers do. www.cosproductions.com

This was a topic of discussion in several workshops and panels at Book Expo America this weekend. The stats support that the trailers work.

I do see more and more interest in them by the public, but the majority are 35 and younger.

Sheila