Book trailers are an odd thing, at least to me. Some of them rival movie trailers in production value, while some…don’t. Basically, a book trailer is marketing for people who don’t read. This is the part which confuses me, since we are talking about a book. Or perhaps I’m just not understanding the whole concept.
Sara Wilson Etienne had a very nice post recently on the making of a book trailer for Harbinger. In this case, the author says that she was lucky to live in Los Angeles and have professional, skilled friends who work in the movie and game industry, and everyone generously donated time and resources to make the trailer.
In her post she says “When I watch this trailer, what is clear to me is this: it has a life and momentum of its own. People jumped in with both feet and made it theirs. The Harbinger trailer may have started off as my vision, but it became everyone’s. A fantastic conglomeration of long days and pizza and generosity and so much talent.” My lack of understanding of the value of book trailers aside, it would have been a lovely experience to be part of all of this.
In 3 Vital Keys to a Book Trailer, Ezra Barany says “A good book trailer triggers an emotional response – The viewer gets the promise of an experience, one they know they will have when they read the book.” Again, I suppose this is true, but I think if words cannot convey the same thing, then the viewer is going to be unlikely to appreciate the book.
I would also worry about visualising characters and settings for your readers, rather than letting them imagine everything themselves – your mental image of a loved character might be quite different from mine, but once I have seen an actor portray that character, my vision is supplanted. That is the beauty of reading, after all – the book as mirror, which reflects the reader’s imagination. It is a less passive experience than watching a film or TV, and the reader has a creative/imaginative role in the partnership.
Despite my lack of understanding for the whys of book trailers, I would love to try my hand at actually making one. The artist side of me goes squee at the though of doing one, which is what led to looking at the trailers in this post. After the jump are the trailers that I most enjoyed.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ramson Riggs
I loved this one. Well-acted, well-shot, and eerie. Perfect.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Another book that I am very much looking forward to, but this trailer doesn’t work as well for me. Mainly text effects and images, could have been much more magical.
WILDWOOD by Colin Meloy
I loved this, perfect animation by (I assume, but I could be wrong) the illustrator of the book.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Animation, and a perfect song to accompany it. Very, very nicely done.
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
And finally, another very lovely cinematic trailer (I’m assuming this is something paid for by her publisher, very high production value). But again, I think it works less well for me personally because it takes away my ability to visualise characters.