Book Trailers

Book trailers are short videos intended to market a novel in much the same way that movie trailers market a film. They seem to have been a short-lived fad, but the idea still intrigues me.

I find myself wondering what makes a good book trailer.  I’ve watched several, and they vary widely.  (One of my favorite was simply a reader with a great voice reading some of the choice bits of prose, with the visual being nothing more than a tastefully flashy motion graphic of the words being read.)  I feel like writing book trailer scripts.  Should it be a reenactment of the best parts of the novel?  What are the best parts?  How are the “best” parts selected for a movie trailer?

One serious drawback of book trailers is production quality.  In a movie trailer, one of the things being shown is the production quality of the film.  In a book trailer, this does not apply.  However, if the production value of the book trailer is low (and by “low”, I mean lower than Hollywood standards), then the trailer will actually detract from the book.

Another problem facing book trailers is costume and set design.  Most of my favorite novels are set in the future or in the past.  In either case, wardrobe and sets will not be easy to come by.  The effort and expense of creating costumes and sets is worthwhile when making a film, but if it’s only for a short trailer, then it’s certainly an uphill battle.

I guess if I want to be serious about this, then I need to understand more about the art behind making film trailers, and then I need to be able to reach a level of production quality that can more or less match Hollywood.