When I first heard of these, I thought, Cool! A great way to constructively maximize those skills I learned in my film classes in college! (Finally.) I researched some book trailers online and I was disappointed that so many of them were quite bland. Or shall I say, literary. It may seem obvious that a video promo for a book wouldn’t come off too visual or movie-like, but to me, the opportunity to highlight the strengths of the storytelling utilizing audio and video was exciting. Plus, believing I had some skills in this area (am trying not to overreach here), maybe the story in my head could bring the words to life to the degree that people may actually want to read them. Or more importantly, seek them out.
I read the rules for book trailers, suggesting that showing visuals of characters was primarily a no-no, being that it detracted from a reader’s imagination of what those characters looked like. Protect the reader’s imagination.
While I understand the point, I entirely disagree. My objective was to gain interest in the project, not protect everyone from exposure to the material, or any version of it other than the book they’ll never see, hear about, or read. So that in the unlikely event they discover it on their own, they have no idea what it is. That being said, a good trailer should be a tease, not Cliffsnotes.
Think of music videos. Book reviews. And gasp! Movie trailers. While it can be argued that exposure to these might change someone’s experience with the final material, not everyone seeks the exposure to these, and those that do so do with the purpose to determine if the material is worth their time and energy.
Which, in the end, is what a promo of any kind is supposed to be. Right?
My favorite book trailer that I’ve seen so far, that protects the imagination: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.