Surely I'm not the only one here who thinks book trailers are awful. They make would could be a AAA novel seem like a tie-in for a made-for-TV movie. But I've recently discovered a better way to promote your story. I don't really have a name for it, maybe video book, so let me just describe it and then show it to you.

I was playing Lost Odyssey, a fantasy role playing video game. The main character, Kaim, is an immortal mercenary who is 1,000 years old. After an accident, he is unable to remember his past. As the story progresses, bits and pieces of Kaim's memory return.

His returning memories are presented via short stories written by Japanese novelist Kiyoshi Shigematsu. For example, in one scene Kaim sees a church bell and it triggers a memory. The memory is a short story that you (the player) actually read on screen. It consists of a periodically changing background image with the text displayed Powerpoint slideshow fashion, with sound effects at appropriate times. Might sound confusing so, I'll just show you one of the short stories.

In my opinion, this is a much better way to present a story than a book trailer. However, you might be thinking, that's great for a short story, but what about a novel?

While you could present an entire novel this way, I think it's best for suited for short stories. However, you could present your first chapter or a random excerpt in place of a book trailer.

This format could also be used to make online journals more interesting.

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Great suggestions about Goodreads, Sheila. Thanks.
The hard part is to find a way in a short span of time to tell what your book is about--enough to make a reader what to know more. That's the hard part. Movies are very visual and can do a lot to intrigue a viewer. But a book is different. You have to cram a lot in with an efficient yet effective message--PLUS have the pace if you're a thriller writer--that will make a reader want to look for the book. Not an easy task.
That is a good idea. I work in the book industry and have never seen a story presented in that fashion to draw viewers to want to read more of the book.

But I don't think book trailers are dead. They just have to be done better. More like video game trailers. A recent example is the trailer for Fablehaven.
John, I think that format has some powerful potential. It forces the viewer to read the words on the screen, not see 'Previews of Coming Attractions.'
As a reader it immersed me in the story. As a viewer it got my attention immediately. There are probably some real good ideas that could be spun off (read, stolen from) that video.


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