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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

On the subject of book trailers

As the publishers continue to move along with everything from their end, leading up to the book launch, one of the next things they will be working on is the production of a book trailer for Mine to Avenge - a brief video clip of about one and a half minutes to try to capture the essence and plot of a novel of 488 pages. Just googling the term ‘book trailer’ shows that it is an emerging, popular way for authors, new and established, to promote their new books. The video clips are then loaded on to You Tube and other video channels.
If you do a search for book trailers already out there, just to see what others have done, it’s  interesting to note that some hardly score any hits at all, while others have gone viral. Some professionally made ones didn’t appeal to me at all while some home made ones done on the cheap were very appealing and catchy.
I have a few reservations about the process so it will be interesting to see how it turns out. I’m not keen on having a strong focus on people’s faces in the trailer because I have very strong opinions on what I think my characters look like, and readers use their own imagination to picture characters as they read. The same could also be said of locations and situations. And also, to cover the important elements of the plot and link them together correctly strikes me as being a challenge if you aren’t the author of the book.
I think that making a successful book trailer must involve a particular skill - the skill of getting inside the author’s head to extract the true essence of the story. I know that as an artist and calligrapher, I rarely accept commissions for the very reason that I can’t get inside the customer’s head to see exactly what it is they want. Commissions have caused me a lot of angst over the years for that very reason, with lots of trial and error, whereas producing something straight from my own head is easier.
With the production of a book trailer, at least the publisher has the option of reading it before making the trailer, and it would get them part way there in terms of how the trailer is produced, but the result is still only one subjective opinion. But publishers are obviously busy people making lots of trailers at the same time for all the other authors on their books who have also written novels of 488 pages.
For this very reason, my publisher asked if I could provide them with a one page plot summary of the story to work from. I sent them two pages. One page wasn’t sufficient to include all of the key plot elements, and if some of these were missing it would run the risk of the trailer not giving an accurate summary.
Anyway, the publishers have been excellent to work with so far, so I am very interested to see how the trailer turns out … though truthfully I’m a little bit anxious. Watch this space!

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