I was reading Kaitlin’s post about book trailers and thought I’d pitch in my own opinion, even though it’s a bit off-topic. In her post, she made a list of pros and cons about book trailers, trying to decide whether they were “cool or hokey.”
A book trailer is a promotional tool for authors or publishers to get people excited and talking about the book. As Kaitlin asks in her post, are they cool or hokey?
Here’s my vote: the well-done ones are cool.
Essentially all the book trailers I’ve seen – not trailers for books-into-movies, which are a totally different category altogether – have been for young adult novels. And, quite honestly, I’ve loved most of them. Book trailers for YA work always look and feel different from adult books – plus, their very nature makes them more accessible to their audiences.
Most people who read young adults are (gasp!) actual teenagers, and most actual teenagers use the internet. So do most of the slightly-post-teenage college set, who frequently read young adult work as well. Book trailers work well for these audiences in particular because they could stumble across the video at any time.
Trailers do an excellent job engaging audiences in a way other forms of media can’t. Try, for example, this 30-second trailer for the re-release of the Artemis Fowl series:
The trailer uses an animated style and the narrations to emulate the style of the book. For example, the character designs match that of the new re-release it’s promoting. The narrative, which serves as a summary of the story, captures the same narrative style of the books. The trailer follows a good rule of thumb for book trailers: what you see is what you get.
Many publishers and authors use book trailers to promote new titles. My personal favorite book trailer is for Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby. You can find the trailer on her website. The animated style and the music do a great job setting the tone of the book, and as a reader I found it very engaging.
In the end, book trailers can only engage audiences if they are done well and match the style and tone of the book. If the style and tone don’t match, then the author, publisher, or PR professional has wasted their time and energy to produce something sub-par and irrelevant.