There’s a great article over at Inis Magazine that discusses the book trailer, its effectiveness and the producers’ ways of showing enough but not too much.
It got me thinking about my own book trailers. Since I come from a film background, I was, of course, excited about having a trailer for my book. Even before I had discussed the possibility with my publisher, Mercier Press, I had an idea of what the trailer should be. Dark, atmospheric, creepy were some of the adjectives that came to mind.
I had quite a bit of experience with trailers like this, having produced short viral promos for various theatrical productions over the past couple years. These plays often faced a similar problem that books do – until the production is staged, there is a lack of actual filmed footage. So I would take photographs and text and animate them to suit the piece. These trailers seemed to be quite successful in getting bums in the seats so I was certain that something similar would work for my book.
Around this time, my publishers suggested that I make two trailers. One would be a teaser that we’d launch a couple weeks before the book hit the bookshelves. The second would be the actual trailer. The aim with the second would be to produce something slightly longer that would hopefully go viral. In other words, something that people would share around.
Anyway, the two trailers are below. Have a look and decide for yourself how well they represent the books and my original ideas.
So far, the second trailer has got three times the hits of the first one. I’m thrilled with this; it means that it worked in terms of going viral. But have they worked as promos for the book itself?
To be honest, it’s hard to tell for certain. I’m sure it’s worked a certain amount and it most definitely has gotten the word of my book out. And, on a personal level, it’s helped promote me as a new writer.
I do believe that book promos are important. Websites and posters are great but the immediacy of watching a 30-60 second video really can’t be beat in my opinion. Take the following example.
Last week, I had the pleasure of reading to a class from Rathgar Junior School in Dubray Book Rathmines. Prior to the reading, the teacher informed me that she showed the class the Arthur Quinn website and that they loved the short intros to the characters. (I should explain. Originally, the website had text intros to the main characters. A couple of weeks before launching the site, I decided to make them video intros instead, with me speaking to camera about each character for a few seconds.) This teacher even projected the character videos on the classroom wall.
It turns out that the class were all so excited after watching the videos, that half of them went out and bought the book BEFORE the reading. According to the Dubray staff, this almost never happens. On the day of the reading, most of the remainder of the class bought books; again, a rare occurance.
So, do book trailers work as a promotional tool? Going by that anecdote, I’d say they do. Good trailers can be immediate; they can be exciting; they can get the blood flowing. And, of course, they’ll inevitably lead to that first question at any reading…
‘Are you going to make a film?’