Do Book Trailers Work?
Book trailers are all the rage these days.
It makes sense, I guess. The publishing industry takes a nod from the movie industry and uses short, one-to-two minute videos as a marketing tool.
But does it really work?
With movies, you’ve got actual clips from the movie. The trailer truly is a sample of the film you’re going to see—of course, with a little hype and marketing thrown in.
But book trailers? To me, it feels like nothing but marketing hype. It’s not like they can really throw a few sample sentences out on the screen–that’s not going to work. So what you get is a lot of marketing. And that’s okay, but it doesn’t really make me want to pull up Amazon or run to my nearest bookstore.
I’ve seen very few book trailers, but the ones I’ve seen haven’t made me want to read the book any more or less. And is it really any more effective than traditional marketing techniques?
I certainly don’t criticize any authors or publishers who have created book trailers, but I’m curious about their results. That said, I’m not a marketing guy. Far from it. But these are questions I ask.
Perhaps the most memorable “book trailer” I’ve recently seen is for Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. It’s memorable because of its unmemorableness (yes, I made that word up). You might remember Franzen from my review of The Corrections and my freshly pressed post about his writing rules.
In the trailer, Franzen expresses his “profound discomfort at having to make videos like this.” An author proclaiming his dislike of book trailers in a book trailer video–is that the definition of irony?
With that type of intro, it’s no wonder this book trailer is tedious and awkward. It must have been in the contract.
Do you think book trailers are effective?