What do you think of book trailers?

Have you ever bought a book because of its trailer? Do you even look at book trailers?

Obviously I have an ulterior motive for asking. My (malleable) position is they might be fun to make, but I question whether they sell anything, and the time might better be spent working on the next book, or a short story.

Any thoughts?


Carrie said...

Book trailers are usually poorly done and make me wish it'd been a movie instead of a book.

Plus, I have to actually sit still and watch it.

Just my tiny 2 cents. :)

Philangelus said...

I've never purchased a book because of a book trailer, and I can't see that changing in the future.

I usually buy a book because of word of mouth or because I've read an excerpt. So maybe make your book trailer consist of you reading a really cool passage or two, along with some good visuals (not the cheesy movie-type ones) and it might have a chance with me.

Danielle said...

I think they can be worthwhile things to build excitement with existing readers, who might then be more likely to recommend or even buy more copies of your book as presents. As something to draw new readers in, they can help build your books as a brand, so people might pick it up because they've heard of it as opposed to the ones they haven't heard of... The Star Wars horror novels had a traler contest that actually made me want to pick up the books.

And my friend made this one for his books recently that I think is quite fun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03lJ0tCa5bk

Matthew Delman said...

If you want to do a book trailer then I say go for it.

That said, I don't think it matters one way or the other when it comes to increasing sales of a particular book. It remains to be seen whether it changes or not though.

arlee bird said...

Where do you see these trailers besides youtube or authors websites? I don't think I've ever seen one on TV and those would probably only be feaible for the authors with the deepest pockets. I've heard radio promos for some books which have tempted me to buy the books, but that too probably gets very expensive--and does it produce enough results to make it worth the expenditure?

C. N. Nevets said...

I like book trailers simply because I have a peculiar fascination with trailers as an art form.

That said, I've never bought a book, chekced one out of a library, or even searched one on Amazon.com because of a trailer.

Here's a tip, though, for those of you planning to make book trailers. If it's five minutes long, it's no longer a trailer. It's a short film. And boring.

Amalia T. said...

I kind of laugh at them when I see them. Just because it's so ludicrous to me that they're advertising a book like it's a movie, BUT I'm sure that they must work on someone, otherwise marketing departments wouldn't be putting the money into them, right?

MK said...

I think book trailers are useless as it's like a mini-movie about the book, and movies are never (or rarely) better than the book itself. Also, reading allows the reader to picture in his/her own mind the settings and the characters, making the reading of the book unique to each person. IMO - no trailer.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I have never bought a book because of its trailer and I doubt I ever will. In fact, there have been books I've been interested in, but after watching the trailer (I think I've seen 5 total) I figured if that was the best trailer they could make, the book probably wasn't that high quality either.

I don't know if maybe it's different for some genres. Michelle Moran has a couple decent trailers for her Egyptian books, but hers walk the line of adult and young adult. I have a hunch young adults may be swayed by a decent trailer.

Valerie Geary said...

If you do a book trailer... I would recommend keeping it short... 30-60 seconds. If I start watching a trailer and I see it's more than 1.5 minutes... I get antsy.

CKHB said...

The only videos I've seen that tempted me to actually buy a book are ones that told me more about the author than the book itself.


Dennis Cass
Brad Meltzer
Lara Zielin

scaryazeri said...

Honestly? No and no...they dont work on me personally. But perhaps, they are like twitter- something that is just the thing to do in the modern world. and perhaps, one day I will change my mind and say they are great? who knows.

David J. West said...

I can't say I have ever bought a book because of a trailer-not even a little. BUT that has got to in part be what the trailers have done for me...nothing.

IF I saw a good (make that great) one that could change things.

And I am making one for my own novel with the prospect that maybe, just maybe, it might intrigue someone enough to check the book out when they see it on shelves or something. I see it as the goal of helping along name recognition, which always helps us newby's out.

Like others mentioned I am sure sure shorter is sweeter, a few I saw were well made, great art and music BUT told me the whole book because they were so long. Why would I go and buy it now?

So if you made one, I'd suggest it look good, be short and intrigue me to want to look into it more. Off the top of my head I can't say I have seen a trailer that teases as good as it should yet.

Loretta Ross said...

I've never seen a book trailer (I have dial up :( ). What are they like usually? I'll admit, I've wondered about doing one myself, but I'm nowhere near that far along.

From what people are saying on here, it seems to me that if you make it classy, keep it short and capture the essence of your book on it -- know what I mean? The feel of it? -- then doing one probably can't hurt anything and *might* help with sales/name recognition.

And if you have fun doing it, the time won't be wasted even if it never sells a single book. But I wouldn't spend more than you can reasonably afford on it in the hopes that it will make you famous overnight, either.

Gary Corby said...

This is intriguing.

Opinion seems more-or-less consistent, especially considering readers are normally a diverse bunch when it comes to viewpoints.

You have given me much to think upon. Thanks!

Anthony said...

I've grown to like book trailers. Courtney Summers did an excellent blog post on book trailers and how to do one, from a technical perspective. Since I found her book trailer for CRACKED UP TO BE all kinds of artistic hawt, I say she knows what she is talking about.

I say go for it. Book trailers are a first-generation new media attempt to broaden an audience base. If it goes viral, that's gold.

Gary Corby said...

Thanks Anthony! So from your comment, I guess you see current book trailers as equivalent to the early music videos?

Merry Monteleone said...

I showed my daughter Cindy Pon's book trailer for Silver Phoenix, and she watched it three times, she liked it so much. I got ahold of Cindy and arranged to buy a personalized signed copy for her, and it was her FAVORITE Christmas gift - she was actually hugging it :-)

I can't say a book trailer has ever swayed me one way or the other. But it definitely swayed my daughter, and that one was really well done. So my feeling is that it will become a good sales tool. Like ebooks and other technological advancements over the last ten years or so - heavy readers don't like to relinquish our comfortable habits. Used to be we'd buy those books because we found them in a brick and mortar store and read the first page. Now we read an excerpt on amazon.

Used to be books were word of mouth or found in the review section of your favorite newspaper. Well, if you've been watching your favorite newspapers, authors have to find other venues to help get their books out there.

That's my 2 cents. Hope it helps.

Bill Kirton said...

I've no idea whether they sell books but, unless they're really bad, they surely can't do any harm, and they're fun to make. I did one for The Darkness and it even won a prize for being the 'most intriguing' of the ones submitted. Two people did actually comment to say that they liked it enough to want to read the book. Whether they then shelled out real cash I have no idea.

I've no idea of your protocol here in allowing plugs but I put it in my blog for last March.

Anthony said...

"So from your comment, I guess you see current book trailers as equivalent to the early music videos?"

Mmmm... yes and no. I caution making old vs. new media comparisons. A trailer that would lead to YouTube (or from) to your blog to Amazon or B&N, is a bit more dependent on transitory memes and whims than early music videos.

It isn't exactly rolling the dice, but unless it's fun for you, it may be a lot of effort for not many impressions.

Oh, and I am not an advertiser, nor did I sleep in a Holiday Inn last night. I'm the weirdo who clicks on book links obsessively.

Janet seemed on the fence with book trailers awhile back. Interesting to hear if her impression changed.

Gary Corby said...

I remember watching Cindy's trailer when it came out and I think I looked at it 2 or 3 times too. It was the first I'd seen with quality images and quality music, perfectly in synch, plus intriguing text.

Do please plug away, Bill. The more plugs, the fewer leaks.

Anthony: yes, the return on investment question is significant, no matter how much fun it might be.