A book is for quiet time. A book stimulates the imagination to create its own visuals. Wouldn’t that imaginative process be spoiled if you watched a book trailer? Have we come to a point where we need a visual aid to sell a book? What does that say about books? Is the book as a medium is cheapened by video, as it implies the book alone is inadequate? These questions were raised in “The Awkward Art of Book Trailers” in The New Yorker a few years back.
Yet, if visuals cheapen a book, why do authors and publishers care so much about the cover? Why not wrap all books in brown paper bags? Obviously, visuals do matter!
“The Awkward Art of Book Trailers” suggests that the most intriguing trailers, “do not attempt to convey, in a few minutes of film, the content or quality of the books they’re promoting, because how could they?” In other words, writer Rachel Arons suggests there’s no way a book trailer can capture a book’s essence in a couple of minutes.
However, as writers we have to convey our story in a few sentences in a synopsis, and in the description on the back of the book. So it stands to reason we could do the same thing in a 60 second video, right?
People love short videos. They take only a minute or two, they’re easy to share, and that makes them easy to talk about. They can help a reader who’s unfamiliar with an author’s work, and hopefully entice them to buy. This is particularly useful if you think you might want to read a book, but the description doesn’t give you enough information.
I’m having a great time putting together a book trailer for In the Context of Love on iMovie. Doing so has me thinking about the elements of my story that really matter. I’m no filmmaker, but I see it as creating something to enhance the story. I hope it will help show someone what might be in store for them in my novel. Stay tuned … I’ll be posting it here, on YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram and anywhere else I can throw it and make it stick!
Update: See the finished book trailer for In the Context of Love here.