Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Book Trailers

What I'm reading: Your Saving Grace, by JL Wilson

Lately, every time I check one of my on-line groups, I'm seeing "Check out my book trailer". I'm still on the wrong side of the fence with these, I think, but with their increasing popularity, maybe I'm wrong (won't be the first -- or the last-- time). But to me, it seems strange to judge a written medium with a visual one.

Also, people seem enthralled with all the bells and whistles they can use, so they throw them all in there. Fancy dissolves, sparkling, bouncing text, backgrounds that obscure what you're trying to read. Why? If there are words on the screen, isn't the purpose to be able to READ them?

My take: When I want to read a book by an author I know and trust, I pick it up without the need of a 'sell'. I belong to the Mystery Guild, and they send a monthly catalog. I look at the blurbs. In the library or book store, I pick up a book and read the back cover copy, then read a page or two. If I'm shopping on line and have never read (or sometimes even heard of) the author, I go to the blurb, then read an excerpt.

I can't see that a 'movie clip' about a book is going to give me what I need to decide to buy. What I'm looking for is good writing. How does a movie clip let me judge that?

Then, there's length. Some of these go on for 5 minutes. I can usually tell within 30 seconds of reading an excerpt if I want to read the book. Why should I spend five minutes "reading" at someone else's speed? That reminds me of those old filmstrips in school. (Showing my age again--I'll bet most of the readers here have no clue what I'm talking about--think of it as an early precursor to PowerPoint.) I would always be done reading whatever was on the screen long before the little 'ding' said move on. If I click over to a YouTube clip and the time shows more than a minute, I'm gone.

Another pet peeve -- websites that open trailers as soon as you click to the site. If I'm browsing, odds are I'll have my iTunes going. Getting a jolt of someone's trailer music is an immediate turnoff. If you want to attract me as a potential reader, you'll do better to have an optional 'click here for trailer' button. Then again, Nora Roberts is advertising her books on television.

Maybe this is one more thing that makes me feel old. (Here's my idea of a clip worth my time -- and it's NOT a book trailer, just something another "old" friend sent).

Do you go out of your way to check out trailers? Have you ever bought a book based on seeing a trailer? Did it live up to expectations?


Katie Reus said...

I seriously dislike trailers. And your dislike has nothing to do w/ age b/c imho, they are a waste of time. I usually comment when I see this topic come up on loops and I think Romancing the Blog actually had a long post about this not to long ago and believe me, you're not alone.

I like books why? Because I like to READ. The only thing that makes me pick up a book is the back blurb. If I'm on the fence and there's an excerpt, it usually pushes me over that fence one way or the other. If anything, trailers annoy me b/c they slow down page loads.

Terry Odell said...

Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone here. I think the best a trailer would do for me would be to send me to check out the book. But it seems like it's adding an extra step, and time is precious.

Maryann Miller said...

I don't use a book trailer as an indicator of the book. The only ones I have watched have been those of Online writer friends whom I like well enough to take the time to watch.

Like you, I would rather read an excerpt and some thoughtful reviews in deciding to purchase a book.

Maryann Miller said...

Whoops, I meant to say "as an indicator of an interest in buying a particular book."

My bad. :-)

Terry Odell said...

No worries, Maryann. Either way, we seem to agree.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

I don't bother looking at book trailers myself, and I'd certainly be annoyed if I went to an author's site and it didn't have a "click here for trailer" option rather than playing automatically. From a promotional viewpoint, they're nothing special anymore, and it's doubtful they'd entice a reader to buy your book. That said, I do feel it's another way to get your name out there, but only if you can do it inexpensively.

Terry Odell said...

I guess name recognition is a major factor. Although you still have to entice people to wherever your trailer is, and why not just have the blurb and excerpt right there instead of adding another step?

COS Productions said...

I'm always intrigued when I read about book trailers. In my experience most of the people who don't like them are authors or traditional readers.
Book trailers are not made for authors or traditional readers. They are made for people who spend a lot of time online looking at video. They are made for a young generation who love YouTube. They are made for people who have evolved into visual creatures.

Even schools are using book trailers now because they've seen that using technology with reading encourages young people to read. Libraries are having contests for young people to make trailers. It's very exciting to see young people treat books as though they are just as entertaining as the next video game.

I don't know if people just don't realize that book trailers have gone beyond the industry or not. But they encourage people to read who may not have considered a book to take on that vacation trip, long drive, plane ride, etc.

If trailers bring more people around to reading, why is that so many in this industry dislike them? You may dislike them personally, but as an author I would hope that anything that encourages anyone to read would be something to celebrate. But that's just my opinion.

Book trailers have a huge following. Millions of people watch them. And until YouTube goes out of business, book trailers will continue to be around.

Steve Jobs said no one reads anymore. He was talking about the Kindle, but his commentary caused a collective gasp from the publishing industry. People don't make a big deal out of books like they do video games. How do books compete with that? Through a visual medium because that's where we'll capture the attention of young people. And, hopefully, grow new readers for the future.

I love book trailers! But then again I would. ;-)