A Book Trailer’s Greatest Limitation

Book trailers didn’t exist in my world until last October, when my editor had suggested I consider doing one. She knew of my background in filmmaking and–even more relevant–my visual outlook of the world. Colorful, distinguishable characters navigate through the plot-driven narrative of the manuscript through action, and she thought a book trailer could very well illustrate the strengths of the story behind the writing. (While description and internal conflict thrive in detail in The Silent Partner, as one of my sisters said, I don’t “go on for three pages about the color of the grass”.)

A lot is at risk for the new, unproven author. Bookstores are closing, publishers are running shorter production runs, and literary agents are taking on less new clients. Self-publishing is on the rise, for good or bad. Publish on Demand is gaining traction (and is, upon consideration, a business model I wonder wasn’t practiced by publishing houses decades ago). The Internet continues to provide writers many more outlets, which means publishing gatekeepers can’t keep unpublishable voices from screaming from the mountaintops. It’s the ambitious writer who pursues the validation of the literary industry with work that has the capacity to engage the public personally and is marketable. It makes sense that a well-produced book trailer could illustrate possible commercial viability, though it may say more about the filmmaker than the writer. (Many well-produced theatrical movie trailers have promoted disappointing films, am I right?)

Through all of the preparation I’ve been doing for the trailer for The Silent Partner, I’ve still been revising the manuscript itself to its best potential. If there are extensions of a book–such as produced work like a book trailer–they are merely the grand entrance to the party. The conversation–or the voice of the work–has to sustain the energy of such an entrance . . . or the crowd will turn their heads to the next voice they hear, interesting or not.

So “final” revisions of the manuscript continue. I write, therefore I re-write.



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