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A good book trailer can raise the level of awareness for a novel or anthology in a big way. Providing it’s well-made, it leaves viewers feeling good about the author(s) and/or the work itself. People with no previous interest in either that writer (or even the book’s genre), not only watch it, but some of them go on to share it on their own blogs. 
Of course, it has to be good for that to happen, so the question for anyone thinking about making one has got to be: “What makes a book trailer stand out from the crowd?”
I have my own thoughts, which I’ll share during the week, but for now I’d love to know what you think. 


How do you feel about book trailers?

Can't get enough of them
If there’s one in front of me, I’ll watch it
Meh, trailers, shmailers. Who cares?
Never seen one

Have you ever sought out more information about a novel or anthology as a result of seeing a book trailer?


From the list below, please select anything which YOU feel is an important ingredient for a book trailer:

It should make me smile inside
It should scare me
It should make me sad
It should make me laugh
It should surprise me
It should have good background music
It should have a lot of description
It should only have very little description
It should leave me with unanswered questions
Something else, which I’ll say in the comments

If you’ve seen a good book trailer, or have one of your own, feel free to add a link to it in the comments section.  I’ll cut & paste it into the second part of ‘What’s your take on book trailers?’ when I post it during the week.  
In the meantime, have you ever seen a bland, or even a bad, book trailer? If so, what do you think was wrong with it?   As always, please don’t name names unless you liked it.

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( 80 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 9th, 2010 01:00 pm (UTC)
Above all else, a book trailer should have the same result as good back copy or a movie trailer: It should entice me to want to read the book.

I'd change the choices of did it make me scared, smile, etc to just "Did it make me feel?" Depending on the type of book, it should reflect the mood. A trailer for Stephen King should give me that delightful sensation of dread. A thriller should hook me with the mystery or open question. A comedy should make me laugh.

Have I bought a book from a trailer? Not yet. Well, I was planning on buying the Gathering Storm anyway, so the trailer didn't change anything. Come to think of it, I really haven't seen a good book trailer.

I storyboarded a trailer for my book years ago as a way of learning Flash. I think it could've worked had it been done by someone who really knew how to use Flash. :) I designed it with a movie trailer in mind, focusing on the mystery. For soundtrack I stole the "wailing woman song" from Gladiator. I wonder where that went...
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC)
RE: 'Did it make me feel?'

Good point

Soundtracks are tricky, I think, because of potential copyright problems, though I'm sure there's some kind of 'Buy-soundtrack-for-your-book-trailers.com' site out there.

Thanks for sharing :)
(no subject) - a_r_williams - Jan. 9th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jan. 9th, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 9th, 2010 01:17 pm (UTC)
It's gotta make me want more. I go back and forth about whether it should be an interesting thing apart from the book promoted or whether it should be faithful to the feel of the book.

My fave thus far is the trailer for Cat Valente's Palimpsest. (NSFW)

I liked
the trailer for Jesse Bullington's The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart because it made fun of a bad review and actually would have made me want to know more.
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:24 pm (UTC)
The Palimpsest one was well-made. I'm surprised there weren't any credits for the music. I see what you mean about the Brothers Grossbart trailer. Clever use of a bad review.

Thanks for the links :)
(no subject) - sandy_williams - Jan. 9th, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:32 pm (UTC)
'...no book trailer is going to take the place of a really well written book with intriguing plot and characters.'

Absolutely! I think the trailer's job is to get the viewer to want to read that metaphorical 'back-of-the-book' blurb, and possibly want to check out other work by that author.

I liked the music on your trailers. Thanks for sharing :)
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Jan. 9th, 2010 03:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jan. 9th, 2010 03:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 9th, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
I've attempted a few short story trailers myself and think when they're done well, they are an asset.
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:33 pm (UTC)
I think I remember you doing one last summer. It was for a short story, right?
(no subject) - catephoenix - Jan. 9th, 2010 02:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:03 pm (UTC)
I don't generally watch book trailers, unless it's for a friend. As with all YouTube/video blogs, etc., I don't tend to watch. I prefer to read articles, and I prefer to read book excerpts or reviews to trailers. I would think that most readers would feel the same; however, I'm sure I'm wrong. With the amount of video links I get (and rarely open), I know I'm wrong. A new generation? I must be old-school? But to know if I want to read a book, I need to read the words. Excerpts. In writing :)
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
All good points.

I guess the thinking behind the trailers is to make people aware that the words are there to be read, which makes sense, even though the trailer is in a different media.
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC)
As to your last question, the trailer should invoke kind of the overall feeling of the book. If it's funny and romantic, than the trailer should be funny and romantic. I wouldn't want a funny trailer for a series horror/thriller. It would be false advertising. But I don't watch book trailers... I read the back of the book and the blurbs by the authors on the cover. That has gotten me to pick up the books many times.
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:42 pm (UTC)
'...the trailer should invoke kind of the overall feeling of the book.'

I'm in two minds about that. I'm not saying I disagree, I just think that (to me) a good book contains a variety of emotions eg: I wouldn't mind if a trailer scared me and made me laugh, providing the book itself might evoke those emotions - if that makes sense.
(no subject) - mela_lyn - Jan. 9th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jan. 9th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
A book trailer needs to leave you wanting more, otherwise you'll just check out the trailer and that'll be that.
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:43 pm (UTC)
Good point.
(no subject) - sandrawickham - Jan. 9th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sandrawickham - Jan. 9th, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mtlawson - Jan. 9th, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mtlawson - Jan. 9th, 2010 10:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC)
I find book trailers to be a very perplexing form of advertising. I ... enjoy them as little mini movies, I guess, but they don't motivate me to buy the book. In fact, in one case of a highly pimped out book trailer, I think it rather demotivated me.

I think they kind of embarrass me?

They often have excellent music, though, and I enjoy that. ... I know I sound facetious, but that's genuinely my reaction to (and level of interest in) book trailers.
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
I know it seems like a minor point, but I don't think the idea is to make you want to buy the book (though I'm sure that's good if it happens), I think the idea is to make you remember the title and/or the author's name and hopefully make you want to know more.
(no subject) - asakiyume - Jan. 9th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:49 pm (UTC)
IMO, a book trailer should be short. No more than a minute, please. My attention span doesn't last very long.

I'm not a huge fan of book trailers, mainly because I don't see very many that I actually like. Some issues I have:

1. The pictures of characters in trailers don't appeal to me or don't match the image of the characters in my head.
2. The music is distracting or grates on my nerves. This is a personal preference thing. I like hard rock, alternative rock, and very little pop music. I despise elevator music, which a lot of people use in their trailers because they can find it copyright free.
3. When I have to read text, the trailers move either too fast or too slow. This is something that will very from person to person, but I can't stand reading a line and just sitting there, waiting for the next one to pop up.

That said, I like the idea of book trailers. I liked the idea enough to make my own: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wibAMTYyWhs But again, this one bothers me because I didn't have control over when the text changed.

I do love the site I used: www.animoto.com. They allow you to use real music. Artists submit songs, they go through a screening process, and then they're available for Animoto members to use. Good publicity for the artists.

Jan. 9th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC)
Lol, I just had a vision of a book trailer with the music from 'The Girl from Ipanema' playing in the background :)

Interesting trailer. I was expecting the last lines to read 'and why she must remain...' followed by 'undiscovered.'

I'll have to check out animoto.com too. Thanks for the links :)
(no subject) - mtlawson - Jan. 9th, 2010 10:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC)
I have never seen a book trailer, simply because of my internet connection (dialup). I've heard about them, and have been wondering if they were something writers should look into.

Jan. 9th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
dialup = :(

I think they're a powerful tool, if used well.
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:37 pm (UTC)
I think one of my favourite book trailers, so far, has been the one for Leonardo's Shadow I posted about in 2008 - http://faerie-writer.livejournal.com/103113.html. The author actually wrote a script and hired a film company and actors. And the video just totally made me want to read the book. :)
Jan. 9th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
That was good. Well made, though a little slow to get going.

The book sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing :)
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
I'm not a fan of book trailers. I like interviews or small clips where the author speaks about his/her book, but that's about it.
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
I agree that interviews with authors are a great promotional activity. Much better than trailers.
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jan. 9th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - maryjdal - Jan. 9th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jan. 9th, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)
I like them. I'm skeptical that they do anything for book sales, but I think they're fun and have the potential for bringing more attention tot eh book. I would like to do one when my book reissues in Feb, but people keep saying you can't use any unoriginal music because of copyright laws, so I'm not sure how it works. Anyone? Beuller?
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:48 pm (UTC)
I'd like to see a trailer for the Hoax.
(no subject) - ajjones - Jan. 9th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jan. 9th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ajjones - Jan. 9th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
I find them kind of neat, but I doubt their effectiveness as a promotion tool. I doubt I'd click on one if I wasn't already familiar of the book/author. I guess the only effect it might have (on me) is giving me that final push towards a sale. Thing with movie trailers is their thrown in our face. These involve a click and loading time (assuming your connection is as dreadfully slow as mine).
Jan. 9th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
A good connection is essential. I hate waiting :(
(no subject) - sandy_williams - Jan. 9th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jan. 9th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - justin_pilon - Jan. 10th, 2010 04:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC)
Book trailers don't interest me at all, really, good or bad. When it comes to picking books I rely on word-of-mouth for the most part.
Jan. 9th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
Fair enough. Thanks for the input :)
(no subject) - southernweirdo - Jan. 9th, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
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