Friday, March 23, 2012

Coolest Book Trailers Ever

by Michelle Gagnon

So I have a few releases coming out in the next year, and I've been debating whether or not it's worth doing a book trailer for them. I've done one in the past (and one was done without my even knowing about it, for a college project, which was kind of cool). But I wonder whether or not it's really worth it. Do people watch trailers? And if they do, does it convince them to buy the book?

Here are a few truly great trailers that made me reconsider making one:

My friend Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, did this hilarious one for his latest YA release, WHY WE BROKE UP...

I also love this one for a book I recently read, Veronica Roth's DIVERGENT, even though it's a bit more standard (and considerably less funny):

And finally, one from Cassandra Clare's CITY OF BONES (which has actually been greenlit to be a film, although that doesn't mean there are any guarantees...)

The truth is, rarely does an author get the chance to produce a Hollywood film-style trailer complete with all the bells and whistles. So do you err on the side of doing something a little different, a la Daniel Handler? Or do you try to hit your main plot points to give readers a sense of the storyline?

More importantly...what are the best book trailers you've ever seen?


Carol Tanzman said...

Earlier, I was at a Teen YA Lit event here in L.A. and the question of trailers was raised. Split decision: one writer felt it was a waste a time (and $); another thought it helped. (however she got her LA friends to make it so she saved a ton of $). So, while many are cool, do they sell books? Everyone wants to know...

Jordan Dane said...

The first one was funny. It didnt make me curious about the book though. Divergent was probably produced by the publisher by Harper Studios. It felt like a Hunger Games thing with the fiery emblem. It focused on an intriguing question though. The toughest thing about trailers is how to intrigue people enough for them to want to know more, and you need to do it in 30 seconds.

The Cassandra Clare trailer was way too long, the font was hard to read, too much wording, & a bad representation of the book. Poor music. Totally lost my interest & I couldnt finish watching it. But I loved the books.

There's no evidence trailers sell books. Assume that & you won't be disappointed. I still make them occasionally for key books. The ones I made myself got more hits than the ones I paid for. My freebies aren't as good as my professionally made ones, but they are too expensive to do for every book.

Your PR peeps can request your trailer be posted online where your book is sold (amazon, b&n, target, etc) but these retailers request no promo at the end, even the author's website.

If it's in your budget, I'd consider doing one for your first YA. (I did one for IN THE ARMS OF STONE ANGELS. It got posted on B&N.) Make it about the essence of the whole series or about the main character so you can keep using it, but I wouldnt spend a lot on it. See if your house will help.

Michelle said...

I agree with your analysis, Jordan. Tough to say whether or not they translate into sales.

Paula Millhouse said...

I agree with Jordan about the Cassandra Clare trailer - liked the books, but not the trailer (What's up with that font?)

And it's too long.

I did one for my first novel Careful What You Wish For...

It was fun to produce, but in retrospect, it's too long, too many words, and it took way too much time to produce. In addition to all those complaints, I have no way to track how it affected sales.

I don't know, Michelle - seems like a great idea, but is it worthy of the time/money it takes to create?

Has anyone here found a way to Quantify what a Trailer means with respect to return on sales?


Dan Haring said...

I think Jordan's assessment is pretty accurate. Honestly I've never been swayed one way or the other by a trailer. I agree that they can be a waste of time and money if done poorly. But of course that means I had to try to do my own. Luckily I have the software needed to make it look somewhat decent production-wise and a few friends who were willing to work for free. Hopefully someone will see it and maybe take a look at the book. If not, I don't think it's going to hurt the book at all. If you want to check it out:

Beth W said...

In our movie-minded world, I think trailers help promote the book. However, the things I react to (positively) with regard to a book trailer are different than movie trailers.

The best one I've seen EVER is Starters:
And did inspire me to purchase the book

To me, a book trailer should be brief, not give away the plot (asking a loaded question, telling me everything about the characters, etc), hinge on the primary conflict of the story, tell me when the book is being released, and not have too many special effects.

Ilsa said...

Really interesting post. I go back and forth on book trailers because I'm not sure who's actually looking at them. A trailer has never influenced me to buy a book. Holding the real article and leafing through it--having the chance to bop around and read various passages--convinces me.
But, for me, the first draw is the cover.
OTOH, as Beth pointed out, maybe we're talking how people express their LOVE for a book after they've read it. That's certainly been my experience with ASHES. People like what they read and want to share that in a recognizable shorthand, eye-candy soundbite.
Still . . . I'm not sold they work as a draw, except on occasion.

Anita Grace Howard said...

Heehee. That Lemony Snicket one is awesome! He's every bit as charming and comical as I hoped he would be. :) Great post, Michelle. I love book trailers! In fact, I used to do a weekly trailer post every Thursday on my blog.