Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Incredible trailers

Last week, author Anna Staniszewski blogged about book trailers. On Monday she posted about different types of trailers, Wednesday how she went about making her own trailer, and on Friday she premiered the trailer for her novel MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE (it looks great, check it out!).

Book trailers are a funny business. Done right, I think they help spur interest, spread the word about a good book, and give fans something to enjoy. But I think they're incredibly difficult to do well.

We're all so familiar with big-budget movie trailers, with Hollywood actors, special effects, and professional editing. So book trailers tend to suffer in comparison, often feeling poorly edited, uninspiring, and overly long.

But instead of just being a curmudgeon, complaining about book trailers, Anna's posts got me thinking about the book trailers I do like and why.

Like Anna's trailer, I believe the best book trailers don't try to compete with movies. Instead they focus on what a book does best: exciting words.

The trailer for CRASHED by Robin Wasserman is so short and simple. But it doesn't need complicated visuals or editing to pack a punch:

Similarly, I love Lucy Christopher's STOLEN. I believe this one was professionally produced, but it isn't the images that steal the show, it's the words:

Likewise, a holler out to another author friend, Paula Rawsthorne's THE TRUTH ABOUT CELIA FROST has a chilling trailer, not because of the professional editing (though it does look good!), but because of the story it presents:

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson is one of my favorite books and trailers. The video is much more complicated than the others here, but I don't love it because of the actors (they're totally hokey), but because of the music and again the beautiful words:

Interestingly, as I was putting this post together I discovered that a lot of the UK publishing houses fund professional videos for their big authors. That definitely makes it easier to have a high quality trailer! Would be interesting to know if the publishers have found it worth the investment. Because I know a lot of American authors would love to have such an opportunity!


  1. Anna's video is great! I love the quotes - in fact that seems to be a common element for me as far as what I like in book trailers.

    I just love the Crashed video - so dramatic. As I'm reading the book now, I "hear" that voice sometimes in certain passages.

    I agree about "The Sky Is Everywhere" - I liked the excerpted quotes but think it could have been equally or even more effective without the couple (maybe just the girl and the quotes, or even just the quotes).

    The URL on the Stolen video cracks me up! Big oops there on the part of the production company....

  2. These trailers are lovely and the post is really interesting, thanks.
    I'd love your opinion on my own trailer. I funded it myself when my publisher said there was no longer room in the budget ... profesional ones are in the thousands, but a friend put it together for me and another friend did the music.
    It is interesting actually that in these budget pressed times, book trailers, which can cost in the thousands of pounds, are becoming more and more popular.
    If you have the time to take a look at the trailer for Angel's Fury and let me know what you think, it can be viewed on YouTube

  3. My publisher made my trailer for me, and I was so happy with it. If I had to make my own trailer, I wouldn't have had any idea how to do it. My publisher even let me give my input about the trailer, so the final version is actually very different than the original since it was a collaborative effort. It was definitely a fun process. (Here's the link to my trailer:

  4. Anne,thanks so much for sharing my trailer! And I'm glad my obsessive blogging about trailers inspired you. :-) I love the ones you included. I think you're right that a few well-chosen words (along with the music and some interesting images) can really grab you. The ones that try to be like movie trailers often give too much away.

  5. Elisabeth: Hah! Yes, I noticed that on the STOLEN video, too! How embarrassing. I swear, I looked for an updated one, but couldn't find it!

    How incredible that you're still thinking about Wasserman's trailer as you read the book. A great sign that she created something memorable!

    Bryony: Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your trailer! How lucky you are to have friends who could help you put together such a professional-looking trailer. Would be interesting to hear if you think it's been helping get the word out about Angel's Fury.

  6. Kelly: Oh, so happy you've shared your trailer, too! So exciting to experience all of my friends' books in a different medium! Sounds like creating the trailer was a great experience for you, too. Very neat.

    Anna: You're welcome! And I think it was an inspired idea to blog about the process of creating your own trailer--so I just had to ride off that! =) I guess trailers are much like anything... the simplest ones are usually the best, but trying to create something beautiful yet simple is sooo hard!

  7. Thanks Anne.
    To be honest I'm not sure it's really been helping get the word out that much - I think I've probably had a couple of hundred views though so better than nothing. I do know it is being used as marketing material by the publicity department and it is useful in school visits etc. to show the kids.
    When I approached Rob he asked me why I thought I needed a trailer and my response was that it wasn't so much that I thought I needed a trailer, as that I thought I needed to not, not have one (if you see what I mean)!
    I having a trailer implies that the publisher is willing to put money into the book, and they therefore think it's going to do well - that you're a big name, worth getting behind. I was worried about what the lack of a trailer would say. I wonder what everyone else thinks?

  8. I like the more simple ones. Ones that focus on the premise of the story rather than the flashing lights and special effects.

    I think they're more effective.

    These are good ones. Thanks for posting them. :)

  9. Bryony: Interesting, I can definitely see where you were coming from in deciding to get one made. And I do imagine it's great for school visits to have that visual. I am curious what others think, is a trailer a must-have for a book in today's market?

    Karen: Yeah, that's what I think, too. Even the best trailer can't compete special effects-wise with movie trailers, so why try? Glad you enjoyed the post!

  10. Anne,
    I'm not good at watching book trailers. It doesn't cross my mind unless I see a link on twitter that catches my eye. I'll have to check out your links though. . . seems like I'm missing something here.

  11. Bridgette: I think there's a lot of people who don't watch trailers. I don't usually seek them out. Will be interesting to hear if you've been converted, or still aren't that into them!


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