I've just made a book trailer, and I've been planting it about the internet. I noticed that on Crimespace, it's only had two views, and those are both from me. It's done rather better elsewhere.

My question to authors and readers is, do you think book trailers help to sell a book? Have you ever bought a book because it had an irresistible trailer? And how do you promote the trailer so that it gets a chance to promote your book?

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It's the same thing that distinguishes a good book from a bad book. It's all in the eye of the beholder.
Agree. I think we've all been "turned off" by covers, jacket copy and other factors that actually appealed to another consumer.
Yeah, I agree. As is beauty! :)

But it goes to the point Jon loomis made. Everyone will have their own cheese meter. And one man's cheese is another man's treasure, which means even the cheesiest trailer will please someone.
Well, I'd disagree there--I think there are actual, objective standards one can use to judge the quality of a book, and I'd argue further that they're probably not the same as the standards we'd use to judge a thirty second teaser video. I have a pretty good sense for the former, not so much for the latter. Obviously visual quality's important, but it's not necessarily that easy to come by. What else would you look for in a good trailer? What would you avoid?
But what is your point? I mean, what are we arguing? Quality? It means almost nothing. It's purely advertising. And advertising is advertising.

So if you see a totally mind-blowing amazing professional trailer but the idea/concept/genre is something you totally despise will it make you buy the book? I can't answer that question.

I've heard people say these things several times: I've never bought a book from a commercial. I've never bought a book from a radio spot. I've never bought a book from a billboard. I've never bought a book from a Tv inerview. I've never bought a book from a magazine ad.

But how do you get the word of mouth ball rolling? it has to be some form of advertsing that made some people buy the book that they then liked and told their friends, no?

Good is subjective.

Personally, visual quality is probably lowest on my list. You're trying to advertise a book not make a movie trailer. Unless you are a big time author then its possible you can shoot something on film with actors and make it cinematic and recoup the 10-15k investment.

But the question is really if you invest $10,000 in a trailer are you going to sell more books than if you didn't do the trailer. Again. An unanswerable question.

But if you put your time and effort in and create something that is somewhat respectable for minimal cost. Then i don't see any downside. Even if you only reach a couple hundred people. If lets say 6-7-8 buy the book and like it and tell their friends and maybe leave a review or two. is it worth it? I would say that's a big YES!

Let's use you and Lexi for example.

For scenario purposes, let's presume you don't like her tailer (and thus no interest in her book). But you watched it. At the very least for Lexi (provided she didn't spend a whole lot of money creating it) its a win for her because you are one more person who knows her book exists. And there is some benefit to that. For you the potential customer it a win for you too. In less than a minute (:53 seconds to be exact) you know that you don't like this book. And to give the other point-of-view, if you like it, you found something you liked in less than a minute.

I agree with Clay Morgan. With social media the way it is today that trailer might reach a few thousand people over the course of a few months. It might not be everyone cup of tea, but it might tickle the fancy of enough people that it generates some buzz.

Okay, off the soapbox. :)
One of the things writers struggle for in this business is respect. Professional respect of other writers, maybe (not a big deal to me), but definitely professional respect from agents, editors and reviewers, not to mention booksellers, etc.--the people who make the deals and sell the books and put money in your pocket. Now, to a large degree sales tend to determine the degree of respect to which you're entitled--but in my little corner of the publishing world it's also about how you present yourself. How much do you respect your own work? How well do you understand the place of that work in the publishing universe? To what degree do you behave as a professional, both as a writer and as a promoter of your own work? Is there a point at which those two functions might intersect in a negative or destructive way? I'd be very opposed to putting out a trailer for my books that didn't live up to the quality of the books themselves, which is something I take very seriously. It's not just a matter of reaching a few potential readers--it's a question of how best to represent myself and my work in the marketplace.
Well said.
I agree. Well said.
There is only one objective standard: sales. Everything else is subjective. I don't think we want to go down the road of sales = quality.
I would disagree again. There's good writing and bad writing, and both have specific characteristics that are easy to identify, from the micro, sentence-level up to the macro level of the novel as a whole. The fact that some people, or even lots of people, may see things differently doesn't mean much: there are people who don't accept the objective truth of evolution and global warming, too--that doesn't make the science of evolution or global warming any less objective.

Trailers aren't books, though, and I'm somewhat less clear about what makes a good one good and a bad one bad. Production value, voice-over, script, visuals--they all have to be good, but they only have to be good for thirty seconds or a minute. I'm pretty sure, though, that I couldn't make a good trailer, or even an okay trailer, on my budget--and I wouldn't be happy with a trailer that was just okay. So, no trailers for me, I don't think.
Hah! It's good to hear the truth sometimes. What makes a book good depends on a person's reading taste and experience. Someone who never reads anything but thrillers, or erotica, or hardboiled mysteries, may be able to speak to his own genre, but he cannot speak to books in general. Reviewers, by the fact that they have to read many books of all types, generally come closer to the truth than mere readers.
As for trailers, they are pure advertising. How good they are depends on how many copies of a book they sell. I have yet to see proof that they sell books.
Reviewers, by the fact that they have to read many books of all types...

This is an interesting point. In my city, Toronto, our two biggest newspapers, The Globe and Mail and the Star, each have one dedicated "mystery" reviewer who handles all the mystery, thriller, espionage, noir, cozies, hard-boiled - anything that falls under "crime."

And with each one reviewing so many crime books it's unlikely they have a chance to read much else.

Which is too bad, because I agree with the idea that a reviewer of all types of books stands a better chance of getting closer to the truth.


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