When I made my first book trailer back in 2009, before the January, 2010, release of LEAVING GEE'S BEND, book trailers felt fresh and wondrous and new. The kidlit world was exploding on the internet through blog tours and group marketing efforts, and it seemed everyone had a book trailer, or wanted a book trailer. I decided to involve students and historic photographs in mine -- here's how it turned out:
When my second novel DON'T FEED THE BOY was released in 2012, I really wanted to do something interview-style, and since the book was set at a zoo, I thought, well, okay, I'll shoot my book trailer at the zoo! Cool, right? We shot a long version and a short version. I offer the long version here (it's true what they say about long one not getting as many views!):
But does anyone actually watch book trailers? Are they watching them now? More importantly to those of us authors who are time and budget challenged: are they worth it? (Read: do they sell books?)
I don't have any hard numbers to support my general feeling that the Age of the Book Trailer is largely in the past. There are still a whole lot of book trailers -- but in the same way that there are a whole lot of author blogs.
Now, to stand out, for your book to stand out, you've got to do something really crazy on your trailer. An interview or simple images with sountrack is not enough. You need something hilarious or really high quality. Something viral.
All this pressure makes me want to hide in a hole and never make another book trailer ever. Even though I'm rather fond of the book trailers I did create, and I am so grateful to the teachers and librarians who have used my trailers to introduce me and my work to kids, particularly before a school visit!
As I look forward to the September release of my next book, I don't think my marketing plans include a trailer. At least not at this time! If I come up with a great idea, maybe. We'll see. And you know? That's the thing about book trailers: they're FUN. And maybe that's a more important purpose for them than selling books? I like to think of them (and all my online content) is this: it's there for the people who want it.