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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

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The Book Trailer: Friend or Foe?

It's a relatively new phenomenon... that may or may not be a good thing. The book trailer is a new way to promote books. It brings literature into a new art form and can bring a little part of the book to life. But there seems to be a right and a wrong way to do it.

Lord knows we've all seen about 15 book trailers for James Patterson's new book of the month and probably a smattering of strange, vague, and perhaps semi-erotic trailers for upcoming YA romances. And all of these trailers have something in common; they're really cheesy. Ok, not all of them. But with such a hit or miss track record it makes me wonder why do people make book trailers at all?
Mr. Book Trailer himself, James Patterson

As I said before, a book trailer is a way that brings a book into a new medium. And perhaps this is a way to bring awareness of up and coming books to those outside of the book world, you know, non-readers (cue scary music). Most people watch tv, and even more of most people peruse YouTube, but less than most people read and are up to date on when new books come out. So a book trailer could be just the thing to bridge the gap.

Take this book trailer for Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters for example:
I'm betting that this appealed more to non-readers than readers, especially die-hard Austen fans (we've met the Jane Austen society members, I can speak from experience.) So I'd say this was a time where a book trailer was a good idea.

However, this book trailer definitely cost a lot of money, and if you don't have a lot of money, you tend to fall into the cheesy category. And we also have to take into account that trailers for films are worked on by entertainment industry professionals, while book trailers aren't really taken that seriously yet and therefore aren't given the same attention or skill set.

Like this one for Polyxena
This one looks like it had a decent, indie budget, but the talent and script make it pretty darn cheesy. This made me want to stay far away from the book. This could be a great book, but I'll never read it because of a bad book trailer. And that's a pretty bad thing. I'm not judging it by it's cover, but I might as well be.

Luckily, not everyone sees these previews and great books with terrible trailers still get read. But overall, if it's a bad trailer I think it does more harm than good. 

What do you think of book trailers? Have you seen any really good or bad ones? Share them below!

1 comment:

  1. I'd rather not let someone else put the pictures in my head until I have read the book - either with a book trailer or a movie.