So, now that Forever Freed has a cover (!), I've been thinking a lot about marketing and promotion. The release date is months off at this point, but I figure it never hurts to plan ahead.
Among the many possible options for marketing books, it seems book trailers are becoming increasingly popular. My press has a specific page for the book trailers of its authors' books. You can find them on YouTube. Many authors have them embedded in their websites. People link them off Facebook. Book trailers are 1-2 minute-long videos that, like trailers for movies, preview the plot of a book.
I've spent a couple hours over the last week watching a variety of book trailers. In general, book trailers offer a series of changing static images with non-proprietary music and text captions, rather than voice, narrating the plot. The images of characters are usually stock models. Only occasionally have I seen the use of moving pictures or voiceovers in book trailers. The text narration usually gives about as much information for the book as a three-sentence pitch might. Then, at the end, the trailer includes publisher/purchasing information and the author's website.
Some book trailers are well done: the images are interesting, unique, change often enough to keep viewers' interest, and are even timed dramatically with the music. Some do a good job of using limited special effects to hook you in visually, and coordinate all of that with an effective plot summary. Others, though, feel amateurish. Now, let me say that, since I have no knowledge myself of how to make these, I don't mean to criticize the efforts others have made to learn this. But it makes me wonder about their usefulness. The ones that struck me as amateurish had some of these characteristics: images that changed so slowly that I got bored; funky special effects/animations that made me feel like I was watching a PowerPoint presentation where every slide came zooming in from the side or spinning in like a newspaper in an old-time movie; words that appeared one letter at a time that made me frustrated with the slow speed of the information; misspellings (yikes!); and cheesy music--and this is a tough criticism since an author can't just use that iconic theme song they had in mind the whole time they were writing to promote their book.
Despite all of this, I find myself leaning towards wanting to make one (or, rather, have one made...) for Forever Freed. I think it could be fun and it seems like, even to have one made, a pretty reasonably priced form of marketing (take a look at Goddess Fish Promotions: their packages seem very reasonable as do their a la carte fees: goddessfish.com) But, I still can't decide whether I think book trailers are actually useful. And this is where I need your help.
To the readers out there: do you watch book trailers? do you enjoy them? do they make you buy a book? or are they something you track down for a book you've already bought and really liked?
To the writers out there: do you have book trailers for your works? do you have any information on whether they shape sales or earn you new readers? are there other benefits you've found from using trailers? In short, are they a useful form of marketing?
Thanks for reading,