Since I have begun my inquiry into making a book trailer for BLIND SPOT, I thought I’d talk about them a bit. First of all, if you are like my husband, you may not even be aware that there is such a thing — don’t be embarrassed. It’s something relatively new to the book promotional industry. I started seeing them pop up more and more around 2009, but authors and publishers were probably using them long before that.
A book trailer is like a movie trailer. It introduces the plot and some characters in an interesting, intriguing way. Book trailers are then run on an author’s site and/or YouTube channel, the publisher’s site, on review forums like Goodreads, on entertainment industry sites as ads — I’ve even seen them run in hotel elevators during large book events. For a visual world, the book trailer is a great way to quickly incite the interest of a teen reader.
Trailers usually run no more than two minutes. Anything longer is just too much. A trailer is meant to tease the viewer, not give them the entire beginning, middle, and end! Most trailers use stock photos, text, and background music put together in a slideshow format. This approach suits books well because it views much like a book would play-out in a reader’s mind. It is also a realtively simple and inexpensive approach, and can be easily put together by the author himself using a program like Windows Movie Maker.
Another approach is to shoot some live action video and mix it with the stock photography and use an actor to do a voiceover instead of using text. Another more expensive but increasingly popular approach, however, is actually creating the trailer as a live action video using real people to play the characters. The first trailer I saw like this was Jeff Sampson’s trailer for Vesper.
This blew me away. I loved the idea, the concept. But then I thought about how, as a reader, I like to imagine the characters myself. I wondered if a live action trailer would somehow taint that for readers by supplying the visual image for them?
I still don’t know the answer to that question, and it has been one that I have struggled with as I have begun to plan my own trailer. What do you think? As a reader, do you mind having pre-conceived images of a character before you begin reading? Have you ever watched a movie before you read the book and been able to think of the characters as people other than the actors who played them in the movie? Or does it even make a difference to you? I’d love the input!
While you ponder that, let me share some truly awesome trailers for upcoming books: