Book Trailers (what am I doing?)

Book trailers seem to be a pretty popular trend. I’m not really sure why. The whole point of a book is to read, not watch. I browsed through a few on Youtube yesterday — most of them for Romance and Young Adult novels — and a good majority of them featured pictures of models or actors. One even had clips from a TV show. How many people actually watch these trailers?

I have a beef with this. One of the fun parts of reading a book is getting to imagine what the characters and settings look like. Book trailers that feature pictures and video clips of real people take away from the joy of using your imagination. For my previous Meet the Character posts, I included links instead of embedding the image in the post, offering people the choice to look or not. I had a very clear image in my mind of what my characters looked like before I found actors who best resembled them. I get that some people like knowing exactly what a character looks like beforehand, but not everyone does. Besides, you shouldn’t need to rely on pictures to portray your characters; your description in your novel should be able to do all the work.

Here are my thoughts and tips on book trailers, should you choose to make one for your book:

  1. Don’t include images of someone’s face. Perhaps someone looking away, with their face blurred, or the back of their head — you get the gist. Just not the entire face. Not all readers want to be shown exactly what your character looks like.
  2. Brevity is key. Keep it short and sweet. One minute, at the longest, should suffice. There were a few I saw on Youtube that were between 3-4 minutes long. I never made it past the 1:20 mark on any of them.
  3. Don’t spill the beans. What I mean: don’t divulge your entire plot. A book trailer should tantalize your readers and make them want to read it, like your back cover blurb.

For fun, I put one together for Waiting for You. I used iMovies, but to be honest, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing when it comes to making videos.

Waiting for You book trailer from Allison Williford on Vimeo.

What are your thoughts on book trailers? Any tips for authors who are thinking about making one?

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2 thoughts on “Book Trailers (what am I doing?)

  1. I thought your trailer, although brief, was quite moving. My trailers were made with professional actors and multiple scenes, which is an expensive proposition, but also quite fun. It gives you at least the illusion that your books can be made into movies.

    Like

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