Book Trailers; do they work?

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Elessar

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Greetings and Merry Met,

I've been doing some research on book trailers as a promotional tool and have even crafted a couple to see what kind of interest could be generated.

One of the things I've noticed with several different trailers is that its almost a book in mini, basically the entire plot line is summed up in the two minute trailer leaving almost no reason to read or purchase the book. Example: "See spot, see spot run, spot runs into a wall and develops brain cancer." Unless your big on dog cancer survivors something like this doesn't generate much interest as it explains too much of the plot line.

From what I've found it seems the best trailers are ones which give a teaser to the book, much like a movie trailer. A brief synopsis is good, such as "See spot, see spot run...where does he run? The answer will surprise you." (okay corny, but hopefully it gets the point across) :) Basically, the best tack seems to be giving a hint and taste, without explaining too much. Books require a degree of imagination to read and most readers don't like having characters that are already fleshed out in someone else's mind.

A couple of sites, especially for the DIYers are:

http://www.squidoo.com/booktrailers

and

http://www.booktrailersforreaders.com/How+to+make+a+book+trailer

These sites also have links and just typing in "Book Trailers how to" in the search bar will bring up all kinds of data. Granted, this is all just basic info and as my trailers have only been out for a month, I don't have a wide enough field of data to extrapolate on. Is there anyone else out there who's had experience with trailers or ideas and tips?
 

Penang

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I don't know if they work, but I had a lot of fun putting mine together. I have it posted on my websites, facebook, blog, and my pages on Smashwords and Goodreads.

I figure it can't hurt to give people a feel for my book. I think a good book trailer helps the reader get a feel for the tone of your book.

Songbird Book Trailer
 

8thSamurai

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I think I posted two trailers that made me interested in the book or series. There are TONS of them out now.

The thing is, if the trailer sucks, it actually turns me off regarding the book, and most DIY trailers suck.

So either do a mind boggling job, or don't do it. I'd honestly rather see a blog. If I'm looking for a writer, I want to read their writing, not watch their home videos.
 

Anne Lyle

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I agree that the ones that are too wordy and try to put the story across just put me off. A few striking images and some appropriate music, a tagline (like in the movies) and the necessary title/date/publisher details at the end - that's all you need, IMHO.

And yes, a bad trailer is worse than none at all. I'm thinking of having a go, but if I do, I won't release it unless I think it's good enough.
 

KimJo

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I make my own book trailers because I enjoy doing so. I don't know if they make a difference in sales, but I do know that one of my YA publishers has posted my YA trailers on their site as well as other places around the interwebz, and a couple of my romance trailers have been picked up by other authors and posted in various places. It's publicity and is getting my name out there, even if the trailers don't directly increase sales of the specific books.
 

jdm

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I posted a thread asking if people thought trailers ever influenced them to buy a book and almost to a person, everyone said no. The reasons were: poor quality trailers, seldom run across them, and they don't go looking for them because there is no one central location to find them on.
 

deana

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Like KimJo, I recently made my own book trailers and it was fun! I enjoyed it. Are they any good? I have no idea, but it was fun making them!

I think book trailers bring a sort of professionalism to your work. It even adds more appeal (or take it away) if not done correctly. That's what I find when viewing book trailers.

If it's more than 2 minutes, I think that's too long and gives away too much of the book. When I first made a trailer, it was over 2 minutes and I told too much. A friend of mine said, "Dang, I don't have to read the book now, I already know what it's about." So, I had to shorten it and think more like "movie trailer". Give a sense of what it is, but leave it open to want your audience to want to read the book.

I posted mine on my website, Facebook, and AuthorPage on Amazon. I didn't know it could be added on Smashwords (I need to do that!) and ...hmmm...I need to think about adding it to my blog site.

For me, it gives the readers something to look at besides just text :)

Good ideas!
 

johnnysannie

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THere's a lot of buzz about book trailers. One of my publishers just gave authors the option to link our trailers to the product descriptions on their site which is cool. I get a lot of comments on mine (which I make myself, btw)...done right, I think they can be effective.

Here's my latest:

http://youtu.be/Nin7z4F2yEI

In the few days Love Never Fails has been out, it's outselling my previous titles for whatever that's worth.
 

DreamWeaver

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I posted a thread asking if people thought trailers ever influenced them to buy a book and almost to a person, everyone said no. The reasons were: poor quality trailers, seldom run across them, and they don't go looking for them because there is no one central location to find them on.
I'll add the reason I ignore book trailers: I can read much faster than video/audio generally goes. Given a choice between a text to read or an equivalent video/audio to watch/listen, I'll chose the text every time.* So for me, the written blurb works best.

It's not just book trailers. I don't like to watch video news clips on the computer, either. I'd rather read the story. In fact, if a news story on the web is only available as video, I'll normally skip it.

Then there was the time I read a book that featured web content. After the first three chapters I started skipping the videos on the web, as they slowed me down so much. Not that I'm speed reading or anything--it's just that reading can be done at one's own speed, a speed I am used to and comfortable with. With video/audio content, one is stuck at the presentation speed. For me that speed is much slower than reading. Bottom line: I'd rather read.

Doesn't mean everyone feels that way. The above is my personal opinion, and a single data point. YMMV.

*This excepts most major motion pictures and live stage plays. I never claimed to be totally consistent :D.
 
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Further to DreamWeaver's post, it seems too much like mixing of media to me. Using a video to promote reading material? Meh.

I've never bought a book because of a trailer and I've hardly ever bothered watching any all the way through. I read much faster than the trailers move and I get bored waiting for the next line of text to appear.

Just give me the fucking blurb and I'll decide whether or not I'm interested.
 

frimble3

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I'll add the reason I ignore book trailers: I can read much faster than video/audio generally goes. Given a choice between a text to read or an equivalent video/audio to watch/listen, I'll chose the text every time.* So for me, the written blurb works best.

It's not just book trailers. I don't like to watch video news clips on the computer, either. I'd rather read the story. In fact, if a news story on the web is only available as video, I'll normally skip it.

Then there was the time I read a book that featured web content. After the first three chapters I started skipping the videos on the web, as they slowed me down so much. Not that I'm speed reading or anything--it's just that reading can be done at one's own speed, a speed I am used to and comfortable with. With video/audio content, one is stuck at the presentation speed. For me that speed is much slower than reading. Bottom line: I'd rather read.

Doesn't mean everyone feels that way. The above is my personal opinion, and a single data point. YMMV.

*This excepts most major motion pictures and live stage plays. I never claimed to be totally consistent :D.
QFT. And, how the trailers uses pictures and music (and the occasional line of text) gives me few clues as to how the writer writes. I'd rather read a sample.
 

Anne Lyle

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It's not just book trailers. I don't like to watch video news clips on the computer, either. I'd rather read the story. In fact, if a news story on the web is only available as video, I'll normally skip it.

Same here - unless the video is essential to understanding the story, I much prefer text. Though I do like the little videos that accompany BBC science stories!

I've never bought a book because of a trailer and I've hardly ever bothered watching any all the way through. I read much faster than the trailers move and I get bored waiting for the next line of text to appear.

That's why I think the ones that try to blurb the story on-screen don't work. The problem is that text is much easier and cheaper to do than a voiceover.

Compare and contrast
 

foreverstamp

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waste of money and time, if you ask me. 99% of the trailers I've seen have actually made me not want to read the book. cheesy music. cheesy graphics. cheesy take-what's-written-on-back-and-regurgitate-it-line-by-line-during-trailer.
 

BenPanced

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I'm not convinced they're an effective promotional tool. Like scarletpeaches, I'd rather read the cover blurb or a section while at the bookstore.

And to be honest? I don't look for commercials online unless it's a classic ad I remember from my childhood.
 

AlishaS

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I hate book trailers with too many words, most of the time you don't get a chance to read them, before the next set comes up.
I also agree sometimes they give too much away. I don't want the whole plot summned up, I just want a teaser, and a hook at the end.

I think they can work given the right exposure. I bought a book a few months ago, because for a good three or four months before the book came out I seen the trailer about a million times. It was on at least 3 times ever few commercial breaks while I was watching my even block of shows.
Of course when the book came out, I had to buy it and see what all the fuss was about. I practically had the trailer memorized so why not right? Of course the book was medicore, but the trailer did it's job. I bought the book.
 

MartinD

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When book trailers were a fresh idea, I used to give them a look.

Now there's a flood of the things and very few good ones. Unless a friend recommends a trailer -- something which has never happened -- I avoid them.
 

Elessar

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Adding to what I said earlier, I think the best advice for authors wanting video trailers is do it yourself, or have a friend help. Paying $1,000 or more for a trailer that looks just like everyone else's and probably stinks just as bad is throwing money down the proverbial rat hole.

As for whether or not trailers are an effective medium for generating interest in one's book, I can't say. However, I do plan to make other video trailers for my work, more than anything because I enjoy cinematography just as much as writing. And getting the chance to direct, even a two minute trailer for my book is like rediscovering the story all over again.
 

thothguard51

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I don't go looking for them, and of those I have found, none have impressed me enough to consider buying the book. If anything a poor video trailer is a turn off for me, so I will never know if the book was good.
 

MountainMoon22

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Thank you for this thread. I am in the process of constructing my author site and making a book trailer. My thought was to embed the trailer into a section of my website and bring my laptop and run it on the table at conferences. I liked the trailer for Shiver, I want something that would make you go to the web site to find out more.
 
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WriteKnight

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Speaking as a filmmaker - someone who cuts video for a living - Most of them suck.

There are gifted amateurs at everything I suppose. Lots of people design their own book covers for example. Perhaps they are trained in graphics and marketing - perhaps they have an inherent innate skill.

Just like writing.

Some people can write a perfect short story without any training or practice. But there aren't many of them out there.

For those interested in 'speeding up' videos online - here's a link you might find interesting.

http://www.enounce.com/speed-up-video?idev_id=8108
 

John_W

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I agree with WriteKnight. I can't remember ever watching a book trailer I actually thought was good quality. Entering the video trailer world puts one in competition with movies, television and videogames, all three of which have set pretty high bars for quality and have an easier time transferring their art to video trailers in the first place.

The closest I can come to a good book trailer was a commercial James Patterson ran this year for 10th Anniversary. He appeared on screen himself, held up the book, claimed it was his best work in a while and invited you to read the first thirty chapters for free on Facebook. It had direct engagement, showed me the work, and invited me to sample the content without risk.

Now, it's not a genre I'm interested in so I didn't take him up on the offer. But that approach would be much better for me on a Fantasy or Horror novel than actors, fight choreography, animation or music. All those traits aren't at all indicative of the actual product. The truth is that I wouldn't even see a movie based on that Lincoln: Vanpire Hunter trailer; it's distinctly sub-substandard compared to the industries that more frequently use trailers. Why, then, would I read a book related to that trailer, when that sub-standard work isn't even a reliable indicator for the product? At best I'd be gambling on getting lucky and finding the prose to be better than the filming. The truly bad trailers leave me feeling truly bad for writers who may be perfectly talented with prose, but I don't know it because of underproduction, overproduction, or simply poor copy being read.
 

GradyHendrix

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Is it possible to put together a poll: Book Trailers Turn You On? Book Trailers Turn You Off?

My ulterior motive is that I'm thinking of spending some money on one, and I'd love to put it to the internet hive mind test. It rarely steers me wrong!
 

brimfire

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I just put together a book trailer yesterday. Not sure if I'll use it because, as many of you've said, most book trailers aren't very good. Plus, I've never bought a book based on a book trailer.

So why did I make one?

I just finished the book, PREMIUM PROMOTIONAL TIPS FOR WRITERS by Jo-Anne Vandermeulen. I've read quite a few promo/networking type books on my Kindle lately, and this one has by far been the most useful. One of the things she points out is that Youtube is one of the biggest social networks out there, and that it might be a good idea to have a presence there. I figured it couldn't hurt.

Still not sure if I'll use mine. I need to get a few more objective opinions.
 
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