Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Book Trailers: Are They Worth It?

Maybe if they're free: Book trailers—similar to movie trailers—have become de rigueur in some quarters, mainly in the quarters of those in the business of making them. The argument is that you need this medium in an age where attention spans are getting shorter. I buy part of the argument. Attention spans are getting shorter. I'm a reader, and I can't watch a book trailer for more than a minute. I can hardly wait out the fifteen second ad that precedes the minute-long video I might be willing to look at. As it turns out, many experts suggest a minute as the upper limit for a book trailer. Some even suggest thirty seconds, but I'm seeing many trailers that are two or three minutes. You must be kidding. If a book trailer is that tiresome, think about the book. The trouble with trailers—and why do they call them "trailers" if they precede the movie or book—is that they take time and they crawl. If I'm looking for information, plain words—I can read 700 words a minute—are better. If you let me hyperlink, I can absorb an encyclopedia by the time the average trailer is done.

On the other hand, book trailers are a thing. If you google "book trailers," you'll get a list of websites where you can post your book trailer. Many of the websites— is an exception—seem to be devoted exclusively to book trailers. I'm not sure how this works. I have trouble imagining that people go to websites expecting to browse book trailers. I can imagine having a book trailer on my website or sending people a link to the trailer and inviting people to view it. 

In any case, I'm not at a point where I'll pay someone to create a book trailer for me. On the other hand, it appears to be relatively easy to create one myself using free tools like Microsoft Movie Maker combined with Apache OpenOffice Presentation (a free competitor to Microsoft Powerpoint). Such a book trailer would be simple: a combination of text, images, and music. A good writer should be able to put together a decent trailer. I can see that once I get past the learning curve, I'll  spend most of my time searching for images and music, especially ones I can use at little or no cost. I figure: If I can make my book trailer for nothing, it could be worth every cent I put into it. I'll give it a try.—The Publishing Pro, LLC

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