Thursday, June 14, 2007

THIS is a trailer

There is a new trend for publishers both large and small to produce a video trailer for a new book. I have seen a lot of them now and they are all, without fail, rubbish. They range between third rate powerpoint presentations and clumsy interviews. The hope is that these go on youtube and a kind of viral marketing leads to increased visits on their websites. The only reason I click through is to see if the publisher is as incompetent as their hopeless video.

So beware, if you're not as visually literate as the audience you're peddling to and you're not prepared to spend hollywood money on a professional production be very careful. And remember, the people who are telling you your video is great were going to buy the book anyway.


  1. Bridling though I am at your comment that all trailers are crap ( not good enough for you, eh?) THAT is INDEED a trailer and I CAN'T WAIT to see it!

  2. Do I live on another planet or what?

    Can you explain exactly why these trailers are a good idea? Anyone who wastes, sorry spends, that much time staring at a computer screen is going to read how many books exactly?

    Not counting Lord of the Rings BTW...

    Trailers for books.


    PS I can see it was fun making your trailer and it is funny but did it increse sales of the book? If so, how do you know?

  3. Ah, but you're assuming that the world is straightforward. We made that video and put it on our website. Amazon saw it, liked it and put it on their Thrillers category home page for a month. We sold lots of books, so some readers must have liked it. Plus the author was delighted and insisted that his US publishers sold us the rights to his next two books -result. Plus we got (another) article in The Bookseller about it, which helped our overall image as being a player in the indie publishing market, which encourages other authors, agents and retailers to contact us.

    So yes, worth the price of a length of inner tube, lots of fake blood, a tin of white paint to tidy the room up afterwards and some beer to thank people who gave up their weekend. Total cost: £149. Total benefit: £1700 *additional* sales, plus difficult to quantify longer term benefits.

    Trailers for books: not so crap after all? And since when was staring at a screen incompatible with spending time reading?

  4. Nice one Emma. Trailers for books - I'm definitely convinced, at least for *some* publishers who are a little more plugged into the zeitgeist than others.

    There is a whole generation of people growing up who regularly sit in front of their PC / mobile laughing themselves silly at the "Laughing Baby" or "OK GO" or a.n.other stupid YouTube video, and some of these people do indeed buy books.

    They might not *read* them of course, but that's a whole other discussion...

    One day soon Emma, once we get past the nutter events schedule we've got lined up in July, I will be in touch about having more of your books in the shop (promise)!

  5. OOFF...ARGH...OUCH...KAPOW...

    That's the sound of Emma kickboxing the crap out of me!

    Read post above.

  6. My trailer is absolutely horrible but that's at least partly my fault. Having never been interviewed before, I had no idea that my instinct is to look up when I'm thinking of an answer to a question. Therefore the majority of the interview appears to be addressed to the ceiling. I also don't think I can blame Random House for the stupid things that I said. Having not seen the rough footage, I have no idea how sympathetically it has been cut, though.

    Oh and I spend all day at my computer, and when I'm bored I do sometimes play on YouTube. The reason I spend all day at my computer is that I'm a novelist and I'm writing. So I'm not sure I buy into your looking at screen = not reading assumption. Many many people who read, in fact, spend most of their days bored in front of screens at work and some of them may well watch book trailers. Of couse, if the book trailers are rubbish, that's not going to help anyone. But there's no reason why a trailer has to be rubbish, just because it's for a book.

  7. Ooof. Another blow to the plucky independent bookseller. He's on the canvas, can he make it back up for a riposte!

    Marie's point is possibly stronger than Emma's - we have a lot of people who come into the shop who definitely spend a significant part of their week in front of computers, and come to the bookshop because it is in real world.

    However, the nefarious nature of marketing and PR is such that there are many signals that have been dropped into their subconsciousness throughout the week, and if they've seen a (bad) interview on YouTube, they'll at least pick it up in the shop (and you can't, as a publisher, ask for much more than that...)