Tuesday, June 12, 2007

And What About Book Trailers? Do They Sell Books?

When I first heard about book trailers a couple of years ago, I got quite excited because what reader wouldn't be excited about seeing a book trailer? I've even thought, briefly--very briefly--about finding out how I could have one done for one of my books. Then I read Mitali Perkins' blog post about working on a trailer for her new book, First Daughter.

I started thinking that maybe I should give this a shot. After all, I've got a computer guy, and except for trying to figure out whether I should get a new hard drive or limp along with the one I have, what's he got to do? Surely, he'd love to make a book trailer. He's a computer guy.

But then I started wondering--What do you do with these things once you've got them? Who sees them? Do they make a difference to anyone? I've seen a few really long trailers, and, having the attention span of a gnat, I couldn't sit all the way through them. I certainly don't want to do that to any viewers. That can't be good.

My favorite...moving?...visual for a book is from Kenneth Oppel's Airborn site. It's short and intense. Is it a book trailer? Or, as Computer Guy believes, just a bit of business at a website? What's the difference?

Of course, I saw that piece for the first time after I'd read, and liked, the book. I don't know if it would have encouraged me to read the book if I'd gone to the site first.

So, to make a long story short, I'm now mulling over whether or not creating a book trailer would be a good use of my (and my computer guy's) time. Discuss among yourselves and comment if you have any thoughts on the subject.


tanita✿davis said...

I'm even having trouble with the idea of doing a webpage for my novel. I've had three really great people OFFER to help me, and I can't pull myself together to take them up on it yet.

I'm just kind of ..."it's a book. Why does it need a technological link?" On the other hand, I enjoyed the Airborne thing (AND the book!). Maybe a trailer would work really well for an adventure? But for a novel about a girl who wants to be a restaurant chef...? Maybe not.

Gail Gauthier said...

As a reader, I like author websites. I'll stumble upon a book, like it, and then look the author up to read something about her and find out what else she's written. I'm not as crazy about sites specifically created for one book. I want to go to one site and get it all.

I don't like lots of bells and whistles. I don't like some of the websites for some big name authors because they're so cluttered up with junk material that they're slow to load and I have trouble finding the nitty-gritty "classic" material that I'm interested in--author bio, other books, reviews, maybe links to articles, essays, short stories.

So I think a website for you and your book is a good idea.

I'm also wondering if trailers don't work better for an adventure, something that can create a thrill in just a few seconds.

mbpbooks said...

Have you seen Jackie Davies trailer for Lemonade War? Something like that would be great for your book. Mine was just for fun to show how an amateur shouldn't procrastinate by playing around with techno toys she doesn't know how to use.

Gail Gauthier said...

I have seen The Lemonade War trailer and did think it was well done.

Here's another question--When you're talking trailers for kids' books, who is the audience? Kids or adult buyers?

Actually, if you were procratinating with the trailer, it was a good use of time. I usually spend my procrastinating time reading news articles about Anna Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton.

mbpbooks said...

If you don't think it will be fun to make, and you're even dreading it, don't do it just because other authors are.

I love that kind of stuff (trailers) even though I'm not good at it. It's like blogging -- I blog because I am, not because of the hits I get or lack thereof. Same with a trailer. Once I've uploaded it on to youtube, put it on my site and blog, I move on. You can't measure the outcome of promotional efforts, but you can measure exactly how much you enjoy or despise each one. If it sends shudders down your spine and into the nether regions, don't do it even if authors a-y are spending time and bucks on it.

Gail Gauthier said...

"You can't measure the outcome of promotional efforts" So very, very true.

tanita✿davis said...

Oh, the Lemonade War thing is really cool! I do take your point, though, G., about finding everything about the author and their other books, etc., on one site - that is, unless you have a Teacher's Guide or a game or something and want your site to be a resource to MG classrooms.

I DO love tinkering with techno/web stuff! Still, I guess there's a part of me wildly paranoid about "using my time wisely" (which I never got good marks for at school) and doing my best to market things within my comfort zone. Still, good point, M. The outcome is only measure-able by my enjoyment...

Gail Gauthier said...

"Still, I guess there's a part of me wildly paranoid about "using my time wisely""

Today I read two articles about The Diana Chronicles. Really, I could have spent the time working on a book trailer and never showed it to anyone, and it would have been a better use of my time.

Timothy Fish said...

I don't know if my book trailers will sell a lot of books, but for me it is not that great of risk. I enjoy doing that type of thing, so even if they don't sell books, they are a nice diversion. I created a trailer for Searching for Mom. The images are the cover of the book, which I own, and the music is free, if I give proper credit, so it did not cost me much. I used Sony Vegas 7.0, which cost me a few hundred dollars, but I bought for use with video and DVDs, so the book trailer stuff is just an added benefit.