Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book trailers - Virtual book covers?

This post came about in most circuitous manner! The idea was stimulated by a correspondence thread on the Self-Publishing Yahoo Group that led to a great article about Scott Sigler which made me update the ol' House L'Stok YouTube channel and make up a playlist of examples to help me crystalise my thoughts on them. These are my choices below, three top-line professional jobs, Scott Sigler's semi-pro and a first-time DIY job.... 

So what are they? I mean, obviously they are promotional pieces to entice the viewer to read the book they promote, but *how* do they do it? If we know this we can assess what is needed to make an effective book trailer.

Traditionally, promoting a book was the job of the book itself, its physical "packaging" if you will - the cover, the spine, back cover and dustcover flaps. These were where you would get the promotional blurb about the book, the author and the series or fanchise that it was a part of.  This sent me off on a tangent defining my thoughts on book covers and, since it is vital to the artistic direction of our books, I've posted the result on our deviantArt account, "On Book Covers"

What struck me the most was that, of the elements that I mentioned - cover, spine, back cover and dustcover flaps - only the front cover exists on an eBook! Now, you can do a lot with a cover, identify the fanchise, the genre and make a unique statement that can draw the reader, but there is a lot that you've dropped. What about all the material that was covered on the back cover? Often you'd get a continuation or wraparound graphic from the front, two or three paragraphs of promotional text and icons that would show the trademarks, copyright, age classification, prequel/sequel info... A relic of the hardcover, the inside back flap was the domain of information about the author, usually presided over by a cheesy photograph. All of this information was there in the reader's hands when they picked it up from the bookshelf. How is an eBook reader going to get that kind of in-depth information?

Could a video book trailer take their place?

[To be Continued]

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