I have recently become fascinated with book trailers, those visual, multi-media experiences meant to tease readers. They are “the back of the book” set to short film, animation, slideshow and music. They are growing in popularity. And I love them.
While many of us try to resist changes in the book world, let’s face it. The days of going to browse in a bookstore, picking up hard copies of books, reading the blurbs and deciding if we want to buy are becoming a thing of the past. While I fully support the independent book stores, we all know that online purchases and downloading digital versions of books is becoming increasingly popular. And the next generation of readers will not have the same ties to the “old school” way of buying that many of us do. So what do we, as authors, do? How do we get the information to our readers?
In steps the book trailer. The back of the book, delivered to your facebook page, your twitter feed, your blog, your website or your email. Short and sweet, with music, pictures and a link straight to the online site it can be purchased at. Brilliant. Love it.
Now that I’ve praised the idea, and I commend those that have forged ahead in this new expression, I must tell you my peeves about book trailers. These are not meant to slam anyone who has bravely stepped up and produced their own trailers, but more as suggestions. Here we go:
- The length varies. I’ve seen trailers as short as 30 seconds and as long as five minutes. 30 seconds doesn’t engage me. Five minutes doesn’t tease me. Those that run one to two minutes have been my favorites. And two minutes is stretching it.
- Slow down. I am a fast reader and yet I’ve seen trailers that flash the words so quickly I couldn’t make it through the sentence. The words are the tease. I need to see them.
- Fancy Font Tricks. Cute. But it’s difficult to read words that are exploding and twisting and jumping up and down. Let your visual do that. I want to be able to read the words.
- Choice of music. You may like “Baby Got Back”, but does that really fit when you are trying to promote a novel set in the 1600’s? A spy thriller? Grandma’s memoir? I found myself singing along to one the other day, and have no idea what the book was about.
- Presentation. Okay, I am not an expert, but I do know what bothers me. Flashing pictures so fast that I feel I may start seizing. A frightening visual when you are trying to promote a ‘feel good’ book. Half naked bodies that are in the trailer as eye candy only. Presentation is the author’s opportunity to express to the reader how they perceive their book. It can set the tone. How disappointing for someone to see a book trailer that is dedicated to men in kilts, only to buy the book and read about puppies?
I’ll say it again: I love book trailers, and I post them, tweet them and forward them frequently, because I want others to love them, too. So consider the message you really want to convey about your book. And please—tease me.
To Authors: Thank you to those that have chosen to lead the pack. If you post a link to your book trailer in the comments, I will gladly tweet it and post it on facebook.