The other day, I received a two-line email from a friend: Book trailers. Love ‘em or hate ‘em?
I replied, “I find them so epically dumb that they escape adequate description.”
But when I brought it up with Canary the First, it turns out that I had plenty of words after all.
As close as I can tell, a book trailer is supposed to serve the same function as a movie trailer. They are nothing more than a hype generator–a way to get people excited about the prospect of the forthcoming publication. Often, they have the same verbiage as a back cover blurb or pitch–only this is far flashier than simply printing it out on paper.
Book trailers are a new-ish phenomenon in which one of three things happen:
1. A slide show of images with words stuck in while music plays dramatically in the background.
2. A whole bunch of images with exceptionally melodramatic narration over the top.
3. By some strange miracle, something interesting happens.
I find the nature of book trailers so utterly counter-intuitive. To me, it is the equivalent of going to a movie and instead of live-action trailers, there are placards full of text telling me how awesome the movie is going to be to watch. (“There will be gun fights, trust us!” it exclaims in Comic Sans.)
If this is an attempt to capture the attention of the internet generation, I think loads of people are going to be endlessly disappointed when it turns out that they actually have to read a book to find out what happens in the trailer’s story. Either that, or this entire enterprise is a last ditch attempt to stir up interest in a mediocre story. The way I see it, if a book is so bad that it needs a trailer, maybe the publishing house should be investing in some night-school writing courses for its authors instead.
In truth I am not sure what to make of them. I saw one really good one and then clicked to read a sample of the book…..and it was dire beyond belief.
Plus my own skills are such that I’d not have a clue how to put one together without either a) going insane b) getting done for copyright infringement or c) making such a hash of it that “literary fiction” becomes somewhat camp comedy or pastiche.
I shall wait and see, I think!
I didn’t think of that inevitability! What if it’s the best trailer ever for the most miserable book of all time?
I don’t see what a slide show of images, lame music and melodramatic voice overs have to do with book-reading at all. You hit the nail right on the head here.
We canaries have all kinda agree that the one for “Leviathan” (the third link) is pretty sweet though. But all the other ones I found were lamer than lame!
You’re right. They did the “Leviathan” one well. But, dammit, my girl-passing-for-a-boy schtick is getting old fast…
What was the first girl-as-boy story you’ve read? I think my first book was Tamora Pierce’s Alanna: The First Adventure in fifth grade.
I have to admit that I don’t think I’ve read any! Was just something I thought would be fun to write. Hopefully it hasn’t been done to death.
It has definitely been done to death. I’ve seen it a ton in historical fiction, especially of the YA type.
Mind you, what ideas in fiction haven’t been done a hundred times or more? Ultimately, I think, this is why is just comes down to characters that readers want to get to know. Everything else is just a tool for that.
I’ve seen a few of these and I have yet to see one that’s good. And for me, one of the things I like about reading is imagining what the characters look and sound like — so I don’t want that colored by video.
I agree. Once I see a character or hear a voice narrating the story, that image/sound is imprinted on my brain forever.
The concept is so bizarre to me that I have never watched one until today (following your links). I don’t think I was missing much.
It is truly bizarre. I didn’t realize how much such until I’d started hunting for links to this. Some are just so startlingly boring that I can’t image EVER buying the book it’s advertising.
I’m hoping the fad fades away to oblivion before I nail down my pitch enough to even be capable of making one. It just seems like *everyone* does them now.
Or maybe you’ll just make the first really awesome one!
I’m watching a ‘trailer’ right now, but it doesn’t fit the usual format. This is an interpretive dance video of live ballet. I suppose it is themed after all the winning stories in the contest. At any rate, it’s much different than others I’ve seen, including the length. It’s 168 minutes long!! Here’s the link if you want to watch it. There’s narrative at about 8.3 minutes. You have to click to watch “Writers of the Future Volume 27” if you want to see the one I’m talking about.
This type isn’t within the scope of an ordinary writer, but I thought it was interesting. http://www.writersofthefuture.com/