Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book Trailers: I just can't decide!

Tip of the Day: If you haven't had the pleasure of watching Lara Zielin's Editing Letter music video, check it out now!

I keep struggling with whether or not book trailers are worth it. If you're savvy with moviemaker software and you're going to do it yourself and it's no biggie then sure, ok give it a chance. Every little bit helps. Or if you're a bestseller (or on your way to being a bestseller--like your publisher is throwing big giant piles of cash at promotion for your book) then ok, I can see putting some money behind a book trailer. Theory being that people may already be hearing the buzz on your book and want to find out more. Like the booktrailer for Hush, Hush that Em pointed out on Tuesday. Awesome book trailer, gets right to the drama, cool graphics, good music, and under a minute. But it had to cost a fortune. I looked at the price sheet for the company that made that video and to get moving graphics like she had put it easily in the $2000 range. Wise investment? For her I can see it. She's a NYT bestseller. The video has had over 42,000 hits. That's amazing! BUT, do I think that people stumbled upon her video and THEN went looking for the book? Nope. I think people heard the buzz either before the book came out or once it came out (and this book had loads of great buzz!), maybe even read it already, and THEN looked for the video. Of course, this is just what I think. Do you agree or disagree?

For me? I almost never look at booktrailers. I will look at my friend's booktrailers once I see them post on their blog that they are up but that's about it. And I was going to buy their book anyway so does that even count? Do teens really search youtube looking for booktrailers and then go buy the books? I'd LOVE to know this. I really think it's the buzz that comes first. And if you don't have the heavy promotion behind you creating a buzz then I think your trailer has to be super super creative & clever to create the buzz. Take Simone Elkeles's Perfect Chemistry. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was talking about her trailer when it came out. And it's super cute. I would totally go get the book after seeing this. It's not straight up GO BUY MY BOOK NOW as much as it is entertaining and fun. And take Lara Zielin. She is freaking hysterical! But her youtube videos aren't really booktrailers. They are more super funny entertaining videos that subtly show her book. Like this one. And, to take a look at another super creative book trailer, look at Jessica Brody's trailer for her book Karma Club coming out in April. It plays like a mini-movie and has already received loads of hits since it came out a week or so ago.

And let me throw out another question to our readers, what ages are book trailers really for anyway? Loads of YA authors make them so I assume that means the target audience is 12 and up. But are they popular with adult fiction too? I haven't heard of adults looking at booktrailers before making a purchase. And what about middle grade? I have a middle grade novel coming out in August and it targets ages 11-14. Would kids that age watch book trailers? (p.s.-- just got my ARCs! Peek at them on my blog.).

Kristina, Miss See Me on the Shelves


TerryLynnJohnson said...

I tend to like videos. I usually watch all of them on the Verla Kay boards when someone announces their new trailer - but those of mostly for YA. I'm not sure about MG. I'm still debating that one for my own MG coming soon. Looking forward to seeing how others respond on that one.
But trailers such as for Silver Pheonix, The Iron King, Girl in the Arena, are all videos that had me off to buy the books.

C.K. said...

I don't think it's important to have a book trailer (although like Terry Lynn I do have a look at them when someone links to them on Verla's).

Definitely spending lots on one doesn't make sense unless you're really raking in the $ because I don't believe that trailers sell books. I agree with you that in the case of Hush, Hush (and probably tons of other hit books with trailers) people were already interested before they saw the trailer. In my opinion it's a case of preaching to the converted.

Having said that, I have made trailers for all my books so far, but just for my own fun (the same reason that I obsessively work on my webpage). Not sure I'll continue to do so though.

Kate Fall said...

It seems like all the kids I know ages 13 to 15 are on Facebook obsessively. Some of them even have iTouches now where they could watch trailers from their portable gadgets. Under 13, they don't have the tech access. Over 15, they don't have the time to play on the 'net so much and it's gotten stale.

For most MG, I don't think it will get to them, but for tween books, it might be worth the time.

Cynthia Leitich Smith said...

I was tremendously fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a teen filmmaker, Shayne Leighton, on my trailers. See the trailer for Eternal.

She's wonderfully talented and basically did it for the experience, though I was happy to interview her for my blog and read her latest script in return. For both of us, it fell heavily in the category of "fun activity."

I don't really think of my trailers as primarily sales tools so much as bonus materials. If they inspire someone to pick up the book, great! But really, my goal is just to add interest and offer a viral option for my readers/event planners who want to add a tie-in to their own online presence.

Teresa said...

Kids LOVE trailers! I am a librarian, and if there's a trailer for a book, it will get read. The problem is getting the trailers TO the kids...

I have a loop of almost 70 trailers running in my 6-12 library and the books for which there are trailers FLY off the shelves and most of them have a waiting list. These are not expensive, professional trailers--they were created by educators and students.

I have created a file sharing page for people to share their trailers--all of them are licensed under a general attribution Creative Commons license which means they can be downloaded or embedded and shared as long as credit is cited. (A really COOL note: the most downloaded trailer is for a CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS book and it was created by an eleven year old!) The site has only been up for a little more than a week, and there have already been almost 3,000 downloads.

If you would like to see the site, please visit:

There is also a fan page on Facebook:

Each time a new trailer is posted, it is announced on the FB page as well as in a tweet at:

Kate Fall said...

OK, Teresa, I have to go see that CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS trailer now. :)