The Art of the Book Trailer

The Art of the Book Trailer

Four years ago, a friend posted this video on Facebook (nod to Sara Jo):

Of course, I was familiar with movie trailers, but I’d never heard of a book trailer before. So I looked this up:

Compelling, right? I immediately ordered the book, which did not disappoint. Quirky. A page turner.

The trailer is so incredibly well done, though, isn’t it? It proves how well the book could translate to the big screen. The good news is there will be a movie next year.

The bad news is I like the house in the book trailer better than I like the house in the movie trailer. The book trailer house is the one I saw as I read the book. Although there is always that not-like-I-imagined-it disconnect whenever you see the movie of a book you enjoyed, all of us who saw that book trailer are going to be disappointed by the movie house.

I thought I’d check out some other book trailers to see how they handled that problem. Here’s an interesting approach:

Only words. No pre-conceived images. This may be the only truly ethical way to present a book, without spoiling any of the reader’s experience. And it still is compelling and makes me want to buy the book.

Or maybe instead of just words or the cinematic approach, the trailer could be done in drawings. This would work very well for a children’s book.

I haven’t read anything by Anne Tyler in more than a decade. Seeing this video reminded me I need to catch up. However…

…it seems to be a trailer for people who buy Anne Tyler’s books out of habit. There is nothing that tells me anything about this book, other than it’s by Anne Tyler, who’s written other books I like. Hmmm. I’m just not in a hurry to buy this one.

Book trailers are especially well-suited to promote fiction. But what about non-fiction?

The music in the above trailer demanded my attention. The images convince me I must read this book. I could have done without the bird gutting, though.

The next trailer reminds me of the shows my husband watches on the American Heroes Channel.

Fortunately, it totally works for this memoir of the World War II era.

Or how about this:

I know, right?! Powerful. The author sharing his life-changing epiphany and his motivation for writing the book in such a dramatic way (what a storyteller!) entices me to pick up the book.

You know, in my quest to find some really good trailers for this article, I watched dozens that did absolutely nothing for me. They had no entertainment value, or they looked like they were put together by amateurs. Some just quoted testimonials about the book or the author, without telling me enough about the content to make me want to buy the book. Another listed the main points of the book, which convinced me I didn’t need to buy it–I already knew what the author was going to say. I think Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is my favorite. It has the right blend of creepy-ness and polish, so appropriate for the book.

Do you have a favorite book trailer? Have you made a trailer for a book? Or is there a trailer for a book you’ve written? Please share a link and/or tell us about your trailer experience in the comment section below.

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