The topic’s probably been covered before, but I’d love to hear opinions on what people think of book videos. Do they influence your decision to read books? More or less than reviews? Where do you run across them?

I’ve been seeing more, and they seem to fall into one of three camps or styles: the author interview (which I find incredibly dull); the relatively low-production slide show sometimes with music and video clips inserted (some of which are quite good, I think); and the high-gloss movie-trailer type which only publishers seem to have the budgets for, usually used for thrillers.

I asked my local independent bookseller and his staff what they thought of them a few months ago, and they said they’d never heard of them. After I said I was thinking of making one, the store owner said he’d love to link to it on his website if I added a link on my site ( to the bookstore (which I’m happy to do—it’s a terrific store).

Mike Sherer
ISLAND LIFE, coming March 19

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Anything at all that you can do to promote your book is a good thing. It's a very tough business and you never know what's going to strike someone's fancy or not. For a lot of potential readers and booksellers, a video or slide presentation or something similar helps to attract their interest, or give them a better idea of what the book's about. I did a relatively primitive, low-budget, Powerpoint slideshow with music for the "book trailer" for my new book and it did seem to get a lot of people's attention. It also helped me put together a more entertaining presentation to give at bookstores, so it wasn't just me standing there reading and answering questions. I might upgrade to an actual video for the next book.
I don't look at them. If I'm at work, I can't have the sound on and I have to be furtive about viewing them. And if I'm at home, I've got other things to do with my time.

I know that some people swear by them, but I doubt I'll ever get into it. Of course, I once said I'd never get into MySpace and I'm approaching 200 'friends' there, so never say never ...
i had a trailer made for one of my books. i don't think many people were interested in watching it. i think you need a captive audience for book trailers to really work. people don't easily choose to watch what is basically an ad. i keep expecting to hear that book trailers have come and gone. in fact, i thought they had! :D

i could really see them working in bookstores, but i don't think bookstores would embrace them.
I don't think the book trailer has found the right combo yet - there's certainly a huge YouTube market always looking for new content. The problem is that most book trailers tend to rely too much on blurbs, text, etc. and give almost no idea about what the book is really about (what's the damn story?!). Video is a medium that uses both visual and audio to get an idea across and...most book trailers don't do that yet.

I think the best one I've seen is a German trailer for Steve Mosby's 50/50 KILLER. That trailer rocked - good production values, music, and a narrative thread I could follow even if the audio and text was in German!
Author interview - depends a lot on the author and interviewer and the questions
Slide show - generally I don't find them at all interesting and some of them look cringingly amateur and that actually puts me off the book (shallow person that I am).
Movie trailer types - some are pretty good if done well - I love Christa Faust's, Michael Connelly's are always good. Angie I'd love to see the Steve Mosby one, having just read the book.

Anything too long is a turn off
Here's the web addy for Steve's trailer:

And I completely agree about the length. Hate to say it, but short and sweet works best - I like stuff that's around one minute in length.

I like author interviews, but not for book trailers. The exception would be one that I saw of Ian Rankin for EXIT MUSIC. That made sense and was kind of fun. But he's ginormously well known and so was his book, which isn't the case for most of the folks putting out book trailers.
ooh, that is a good one. very nice!
I'd like to see more short videos for books. I'm not interested in author interviews but i'd like to see some of the settings and get a feel for the book. Of course, we'd end up pretty quickly in a, "don't judge a book by its trailer," just like its cover situation. We've already seen a few of the same images - and same type of images - on the covers of books, I can see where a lot of trailers would look the same.

Still, I'd like to see some more of Thailand for the John Burkett books, stuff like that.

I made a trailer for my book because there seems to be this lingering idea that there's no crime in Toronto and I wanted to show it as a little noir. And it was fun to get pictures of grow ops....
I'm glad you put up the link to your trailer later in the thread, John. I was just getting ready to put it up myself - it was another one that I thought worked pretty well!
Despite saying I don't care generally for the slide show type I really like both John's and the Steve Mosby one (thanks for the link Angie - I DO understand German and the words are excellent too). Both these look professional, the pictures are excellent, the clips are short (I have a short attention span and don't want to sit through 5 minutes of book trailer - as Angie says, a minute is perfect - it gives more than enough time to tell me if I would enjoy the book), and they don't linger too long on one image. Plus the text really gives you an intriguing glimpse of what the book is about rather than just blurbs or a regurgitation of the back cover. Both John's and Steve's would tempt me to buy the book. The music fits too.
Wow, there's a lot more back and forth on this topic than I imagined. I'd love to get feedback on the video I just posted to my site --
how many views would make you feel a trailer was successful? i think it would be pushing to say mine has been viewed 2500 times. i'd hoped for a lot more than that. like maybe 2500 in a single day. :D :D :D
for a short time there was a book trailer blog where you could submit your trailer and it was featured and discussed, but that closed after about 6 months. i do recall submitting mine, and never hearing anything from them. maybe they just got tired of it very quickly, or maybe they were bombarded with awful vids.

i do wonder if writers are the main ones watching the trailers just to see what everybody else is doing. that's basically why i watch them. i wonder about the percentage of actual reader/viewers.

if anyone is interested, mine can be viewed on my crimespace page. scroll past the slide show to the youtube box.


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