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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On Video Trailers

The latest rage in the last couple of years has been video trailers for books. The jury is still out on their value as a marketing tool. I suppose that if they are well produced, it becomes part of a larger plan and they can be used to announce a launch or to build anticipation.

Do they add sales? Probably not because they are likely to be seen by people who were going to purchase the title. I mean that I don't believe a book trailer will convince a reader to purchase a book. I am not sure that there is any research on it one way or the other.

My problem generally is that book trailers don't exactly work in the same way movie trailers do. You can offer some images, but people should be let to make those connections on their own, use their imaginations and make of the story whatever works for them. (Instead of forcing an image in their heads.)

My friend Barbara sent me a book regarding Movie Maker, and I happened to have had the app on my laptop from a few years back. I made the video above mostly to amuse myself. 

To test it, I showed it to my mother, who read the story years ago, reluctantly because she lived it, but I did not tell hr what she was watching. A few seconds into it, she was hollering (it took years to laugh about it).

Whether this video serves a purpose other than amuse me remains to be seen, but if you have not read it, I suggest you give it a shot. Why? Because death, dysfunction and dim sum will take a whole new meaning for you after you do.

UPDATE: The day after I posted this, the Center for Publishing at NYU posted a piece about an industry discussion regarding video in publishing.

While the discussion was not exclusively about video trailers, it touched on videos to increase the draw to content and was a huge proponent of the educational factor to enhance the experience. Samantha Cohen, of Simon & Schuster, did make the point that video in fiction “just doesn’t work because it interferes with the reader’s own version of an imaginary world.”

The book publishers are excited about the possibilities of enhanced ebooks although no business model exists for it and there are several challenges involved in video production for books. At least they acknowledged that technological progress has arrived. Beyond the trailer, what awaits us is truly interactive reading experiences that are rich and dynamic. Sounds like fun!

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