Monday, September 17, 2012

Effective book trailers, plus free volcano

Volcano first. I found this video today, via Historical Fiction Daily. As a PSA it's pretty effective. I'm changing my mind about maybe going to stay at the base of Mt. Rainier for a couple of days...

Another of their videos got me thinking: a rare, (reasonably) effective book trailer. Yes, it starts with the standard 'eerie' music, which I find instantly off-putting, but I like the author's (relatively) conversational description, and the professional narration from the novel (at least I assume that's what it is).

I'd love to hear what you think of this, and what you might do differently (if you're a writer), or, from a reader's perspective, would like to see authors do differently. Specifically:

  • What elements of a book trailer give you a favourable impression of a book and/or author?
  • What motivates you to actually consider buying the book?
Feel free to include links to effective book trailers. Corollary question: how do you reach the decision to buy a book? These days I tend to download a sample and test drive a few thousand words (longer excerpts are more effective in this way for me) before putting down actual money. This is why I rarely indulge in digital pre-orders: I can't sample the text. So, hint to publishers: make ebook excerpts available during the pre-order period.



  1. I have a vivid imagination and had a grandmother obsessed with Pompeii, and an ex equally obsessed. So I'm going to skip the volcano video.

    Regarding the book trailer: I think the author actually broke it up a bit too much for me. And I also think it's twice as long as it needs to be.

    1. How long do you think a book trailer needs to be?

    2. Well, in this particular case I would have made it a minute to 75 seconds. I think (and talking as a reader and book-buyer, but not an expert on any of this by any means) writers need to take a page from the movies and do book trailers that act as teasers. And, you know, tease.

    3. There's a fair amount of evidence that the longer the movie trailer and the more it divulges, the more likely viewers are to actually go see the film. Teasers are effective for creating buzz several months to a year before the film debuts. But meaty trailers are what bring the punters in.

      Given what I know of readers' habits (and my own) regarding sample chapters, I tend to think book and film world aren't too disimilar.

      So have any book trailers (or teasers) ever persuaded you to buy a book?

    4. This is fascinating to me. You are obviously far more knowledgeable about this than I. I'm going to have to learn more about it.

      As far as my own buying habits, I'm probably, perhaps sadly, primarily influenced by buzz, however it's created. If I hear about a book or someone tells me they like it, or someone tweets about it, I'll often look into it. I also read book reviewing blogs and will look into something that someone's talked about that sounds interesting to me. So a trailer might be part of how I look in to it, true.

      The last book I bought (earlier this week), I bought because I read the person's blog. The book before that, I bought because it was written by a fantasy writer that I buy everything she writes in that particular world.

      Sorry. This is a long answer. The short of it is, though, yes. A trailer has persuaded me to buy a book. But not alone. It's been a supportive influence, I would say.