“With the days of amateur-looking trailers long in the past, readers, bloggers, and fans of the genre are expecting more than mere novelty. They want entertainment.” –Sam Wasson, consulting editor of SCBWI.
As many cycles as the publishing industry tends to go through (market up, market down, sheer joy, sheer panic) it seems those in the biz have been trying to come up with ways to compete against technological contenders in the entertainment business. Books have been fighting against movies, games and the internet for years now, so why the sudden hype? Is it just based upon these economic times? Or has it always been a fight, and we’re just more aware of it now more than ever?
Personally, our economic condition is no worry to me. Every industry has its ups and downs, every industry has its freak-outs. Books aren’t going to disappear. But lately I’ve been hearing more and more about things like e-books and the Kindle, and while I’m not totally against either of them, I can’t get passed the idea of not having an actual book to hold in my hands. And things like the Kindle haven’t taken off like I’m sure its creators expected it to (hello, $$$$!).
So enter the Book Trailer. I got my bi-monthly SCBWI bulletin last week, and the article written by Sam Wasson introduced the idea to me. I had no idea such a thing existed. Anyone else? Or should I be ashamed to be so aloof? I’m glad to see authors, and just the industry in general, take another approach in the competitive market that is the entertainment industry. Because really, books are a form of entertainment, and lately, kids have become a major audience in which we’re fighting for the attention of. And let’s face it, that generation is spoon-fed everything technology, especially the internet (as scary as that is for us parents).
What exactly is a book trailer? Well, I visited http://www.book-trailers.net, the website mentioned in SCBWI, and was a little surprised the last update was October of 2007. Why mention a site that isn’t even active? Interesting . . .
I must be honest, the trailer on the home page is . . . well, for lack of a better word, boring. The font is hard to read, the music makes me want to take a nap. Maybe my high expectations of seeing someone’s main character being chased down in live action with a guys voice-over dramatically reading what the book flap would say was too naïve. But I continued to search more anyway. I wasn’t very pleased with most of my findings. Again, I could just be over critical. I do come from a video production background and my husband is a producer, not to mention I edit my daughters annual video’s (on a professional editing suite mind you) so seeing some of these trailers makes me grimace. Is it pompous to say “I know these could be better” or worse yet, “I know I could do these better.”?
I continued looking though, hoping perhaps I’d find something decent. Thrillers . . . surely there would be a good one in thrillers?
I was somewhat relieved. While still not reaching my expectations completely (simply because I really hadn’t a clue as to what to expect in the first place) Paco Ahlgren’s Discipline had some promise. The music was perfect, and the graphics weren’t jumpy nor too much. Then, even better, was Edie Bloom’s "Comedy" The Immaculate Complexion. It had voice-over instead of words to read, which face it, we know we’re going to be reading words when we buy a book. But when you go in to view a “trailer” you immediately think voice-over. The graphics were okay, but the trailer itself was too long. Still, I’m thinking this publicity idea has promise. Even if it looks as if it hasn’t become a real trend yet.
I checked the other website mentioned in the article, http://www.watchthebook.com. It relieved me to see it was updated a few weeks ago. The second entry, The Role of a Lifetime by Jennifer Shirk was cute, but could have been cut down to half the time. Hm, maybe if it does catch on I should have a side business making book trailers. Mine would be bad ass. ;-)
For those who are published or on the road to publication, would you have a book trailer for your art? I probably would, simply due to the fact it's becoming a competitive world in the book publicity market when it comes to the internet. Blogs are every where, and this is just one more way to get the word out.