Thursday, February 2, 2012

Book Trailers & Other Self-Promotional Videos

Someone sent me a link to their book trailer via twitter last night.  Or at least I thought it was a book trailer while I was watching it.  The images seemed totally disjointed from the text scrolling across the screen, and the music, while evocative, was also unconnected to the text and images.  It turns out the trailer I was watching was an advertisement for a self-help writing program.  Interesting idea, poorly executed in my opinion.

Off the Record:  If you're going to put a self-promotional video online, make sure the message is clear!

I think the message is clear in the self-promotional video I produced last week to raise funds via  You can see it here:

I posted a comment about this on my linked In writer's group.  Someone responded:
"One of the issues I've had is trying to find cheap background music that will fit the theme - I think I've got one now off of Incompetech, but it took a lot of searching. I also just created my first totally original animated .gif! Fun! But I am worried about it coming out just a bunch of images and what makes a trailer good & what makes it suck?"

My answer:  
The trailer has to make sense, the way a movie trailer does. It gives you a taste of the storyline, without revealing too much. A good book trailer hits on the central conflict of the actual book. The book trailer must be compelling in its own right. The music should fit the tone of the book and, in my opinion, the protagonist's character. 

Here are a couple of great examples.  The first is for a memoir; the second is for a YA fiction book.


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