Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book Trailers

Frankly, I'm a huge fan of book trailers. I know there are a lot of others out there who don't like the idea of making a trailer for a book/don't think the marketing will work. Based on the arguements I've seen, there are three things that keep coming up: this form of marketing won't appeal to book readers, you can't get a good taste of the writing through a trailer and it's making people think of books in movie format.

Honestly, I think marketing will always be forced to change with the society. Marketing has to appeal to the consumer. I still think that one of the best way to get a message across is through advertizing on TV, but coming up second is advertizing on the internet. A lot of teenagers in North America spent a great deal of time on the internet, on Facebook, on Youtube. Musicians are getting record deals off of Youtube and Myspace. Hollywood is paying to have their movie trailers featured on youtube. This is the direction that the world is going and marketing is following along like the good little dog it is.

There's nothing wrong with marketing a book. I'm sick of seeing would-be authors talk about how writing is an art form and an author shouldn't be concerned with making money. Yeah, writing is an art, but publishing is a business. If you talk to successful authors, (And I mean people who've published a few books, not Stephen King... although I'm sure he'd agree) then it's not about art. You're selling a product. You have to be able to deliver on deadlines and do your job even if you've got "writer's block." Authors are encouraged by agents and publishing houses to get out there, make a name for yourself. Nothing sells a book more than that name on the cover. People eat up Stephen King and James Patterson, no matter what they seem to write. Nothing will sell you better once you've established that solid foundation.

And just to clear this up now, authors are artists, but they should also be businessmen. And like businessmen, they have to enjoy what they're doing. Everyone should love their job. I think writers should more so because they may not make a big enough paycheck to satisfy that urge.

We're not all going to make Stephen King's paycheck. So? We've still got to market ourselves. We've still got to sell ourselves. One way is to get out to those stores and sign, sign, sign those books. Shake hands. Kiss babies. Whatever. Just market yourself. A good way to do that is to make a book trailer. Spend a few hours on movie maker. Take your time, make it look good. Then shove it up on youtube. Marketing isn't just about seeing one thing, but generating an interst. If someone keeps hearing an author's name, they're more likely to go to the bookstore to see what the big fuss is about. Keep a website, blog, and grab a camera and have some fun. Generate an interest out there.

Now, the idea that you can't tell a writer's ability from a book trailer is true. Sure, there may be quotes or passages, but that still doesn't say much. But let me ask you, can you tell a writer's ability from an interview? Or from Amazon? No. But together it generates that interest. It may make a reader pick up that book in a store and see if they like the writing. Like I said, marketing is not about one thing, it's about a lot of things.

And as for making people think of book in movie format, well, people have always thought as books as movies. How many times have you caught a friend who doesn't read much say, "Hey! This book would make such a good movie?" And personally, I'm a fan of seeing books adapted into films. It's a completely different setting and I like seeing the way directors interperate each text. Sometimes it's horrible, sometimes not. I do not believe in any sense that these book trailer will make books themselves seem less appealing than movies. On the contrary, I think this will make heavy movie-goers more likely to pick up a book.

But that's just my opinion. Honestly? Book publishers are trying it out as well, and that's a definite sign that publishers think they're worth the time and money. From a homemade trailer or go for something more professional they're fun and informative. I really can't see the harm in them.

Of course, book trailers are still developing, and they may change over time. But as they stand, I doubt they're going away anytime soon.



1 comment:

  1. Katie, I have to say.

    I love you.

    I've been to many writer online hangouts and one thing keeps floating to the top of conversation, I'm a writer first and everything comes second. Not that I don't understand that sentiment, times are changing and being a writer (see: entreprenuer) means that you're going to have sell and love you're work more than anyone else. People aren't just going to buy books because of a glowing review. They buy it because of the interest you generate from marketing. I hate to say that because it sounds a bit cynical and shill, but honestly it's the truth. There are a lot of good authors out there who are being ignored, because they either afraid or refuse to do the "leg work" of being available and making themselves interesting to readers. Or just thinking like a consumer, which is not a terrible thing.

    I LOVE movies and I LOVE move trailers, some of my favorite trailers belong to movies I don't even like, but the trailer worked. I saw the film despite it's quality. I'm not saying book trailers are to fool your readers, because that's who you want to be the most honest to, but they are helpful in visualizing interesting concepts from your stories and getting them involved beyond just reading words on a page.

    To them, making them "experience" the story is also what makes readers feel like they matter.

    Anyways, I love writers, but sometimes we need to get out of our own way.

    Thanks for this post Katie!