Weekly Geeks 2010-23: The Tale of the Trailer

This week, Weekly Geeks are considering the newest trend in book marketing: the book trailer. Bernadette says:

In the last year or two a new entity has arisen in the publishing world: the book trailer. Apparently every self-respecting book has to have one these days so it seemed a good time to have a chat about them. Feel free to answer as many (or as few) of these questions as you like.
  • Do you watch book trailers?
  • If yes, do you actively seek them out or just watch the ones that get pushed to you in some way?
  • If you don’t watch them, why not?
  • Have you ever read a book based solely on seeing the trailer? What book was it and what did you like about the trailer?
  • Where do book trailers come on your list of things that influence you with regards to what books to read (friends’ recommendations, mainstream reviews, bloggers, bookstore promotions, the blurb….)?
  • Do you have a favourite book trailer that you’d like to share? What do you like about it?

Book trailers were also the subject of a recent New York Times article that suggested they’ve become essential components to book campaigns, and author Beth Kephart responded:

“Citing book trailer budgets of up to $15,000, I thought of my own budgets (no pennies, just my time, which I leave others to value), my own resources (the photographs I know how to take and the video I don’t), my own technology (iMovie, after I lost patience with Final Cut during one particularly hot, sweaty day), my own music choices (severely limited by lack of budget and lack of personal composing/performing/recording capabilities, though I do hum a mean “Twinkle, Twinkle”), my own microphone (which is attached to my unportable computer, which sits on my glass-topped desk in my glass-surround office), my own vision (and how sorely it compares to the final product), my own un-desire to sit in front of my little Apple camera and interview myself (what a monumental bore, I think, to interview myself), and my own aims (to tell someone out there what the book is about in 90 seconds or less).

Had I thought, for example, about how hard it would be to create a trailer for my upcoming historical novel, Dangerous Neighbors, I might have thought twice (I’m saying might have, only) before signing up for all the difficulties that simply writing the book entailed.  Because how, in fact, does a woman like me—lacking budget, lacking video talent—recreate the kaleidoscopic quality of that book?”

Personally, I almost never watch book trailers, and I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. But I really don’t have a lot of interest in online video to begin with – I don’t watch YouTube unless someone else shows me a clip, I’m not that interested in watching movies or TV shows online when they look so much better (and larger) on my television screen, and the last thing I want to do on this site is vlog, so I relate to Beth’s ambivalence about creating video for her books. In any case, I’m probably showing my age here, but I still see the computer primarily as a device for reading and writing – communicating via text and perhaps photos, but not so much audio/video.

Having said that, I did check out Beth Kephart’s Dangerous Neighbors trailer on YouTube. If I hadn’t already read about the book and made plans to read it, I’m not sure the trailer would have been the thing that put it on my radar, and I doubt I’d seek out any book’s trailer if some other form of publicity about it – blog post, news article, print review, Twitter talk – hadn’t gotten my attention to begin with.

Trailers and video promos for movies and TV shows pique my interest partly with content, and partly because they’re appropriate, expected media for such promotion – that is, they come from the same place. Books are still text, and I guess I just haven’t come around to seeing them marketed with non-text-based tools.

What’s your take on book trailers?

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