regarding the book trailer

I’ve had a few emails, so let me say briefly:

Book trailers are a fairly new approach to advertising forthcoming novels. There are a lot of them out there, all you have to do is search on Google Video or YouTube. The quality is pretty uneven. Some of the best ones are (as is to be expected) the professional book trailers done by, or paid for by, publishers.

A couple I like a lot:

Bennett’s Portrait of an Unknown Woman

Malkani’s Londonstani

I’m not so enthusiastic about the trailer for Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, but that’s just my taste.

Generally I prefer book trailers that are collage-like with music/audio backgrounds. The ones I’ve seen that are live action with dialog … well, let’s just say that they don’t work for me. At all.

Brenda Coulter has a post about how she created her trailer for A Season of Forgiveness. If I have time I’ll put together a summary of how I did mine. Brenda works in the world of Windows and I’m on a Mac, so my approach was different.

If you look at book trailers on YouTube, you’ll see that some of them aren’t too fussy about where they get their images and/or music and audio. Most do take copyright seriously (as we are, after all, authors and make our living from royalties), but a few don’t. I bought the rights to some of the royalty-free images I used, but most of them were made available for use under the Creative Commons license. Ditto for the music. Full credits at the end of the Tied to the Tracks trailer, in case anybody is interested.

In a comment, Anne reminded me about Cory Doctorow‘s work on behalf of Creative Commons and the principles behind it. Cory releases the full texts of his novels in electronic format on the day the hard copy is released for sale in bookstores. Sometime I’ll have to find out how he and his publisher worked out the details of this.

Finally, a note: if you have time to go over to YouTube to have a look at the Tied to the Tracks trailer, please do. And while you are there, if you’d care to rate the trailer, that would be kind of you. The trolls are already out and active, in force.

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16 Replies to “regarding the book trailer”

  1. The duality of the internet is fascinating. Anonymity, yet the ability to zero in closely on subjects and people – public figures or private people. The intensity of emotions I can feel, generated by cold glowing words and the knowledge that a person is on the other end of those words. That’s the thing I stumble over in my evolving primate brain. The immediacy, but the largeness of the concept of an internet community.

    In a logical or even an exploratory discussion of a topic, I don’t think there’s room for hostility. When I run across it, it surprises me the way it would in real life. That said, I know it shocks me to read things I’ve posted, say, a year later. I wonder what possessed me to have written from that pompous place in my head where I am alone and in complete control.
    I’ve learned to love the preview button.

  2. I assume by linking to us that you want me to comment? This post was in direct response to the comments by authors (Sara Donati in particular) about what they expect from readers and reviewers.

    I really haven’t seen readers go after authors in a way that wasn’t invited. PC Cast and MJD invited vitriol by cursing out the readers. Further, any opinion a reader has is a valid opinion for that reader regardless of how well or poorly written. These are no different than statements made offline about a book from one reader to another in a bookstore or in a neighborhood backyard. The only difference is now the author is privy to what conversations are taking place between readers.

  3. I linked to the SB post and its comments (in which your remarks appeared) in order to provide context. Of course your comments are welcome.

    Reading over my short contribution to the discussion, I’m unclear on which post of mine (as Sara Donati) you’re referring to when you say that I commented on what I expect from readers and reviewers. I wasn’t at the center of the discussion. I did point out that I own the copyright on my novels and characters.

    I think you and I will have to agree to disagree about the nature of the ‘invitation’ as you put it. You interpreted PC Cast’s note differently than I did, and that’s fine. You say: “Further, any opinion a reader has is a valid opinion for that reader regardless of how well or poorly written” — I agree with this statement, and don’t believe I said anything to the contrary, anywhere.

    What I did say was that the tone of the discussion became personal and hostile. And I do see this happening in other discussions.

  4. Ah, I had no idea you and she were the same person. I felt that PC Cast set the tone when she was quoted as cursing the readers. The quotes by Ms. Cast seemed very angry and part of her anger was directed, wrongly imo, to the readers who purchased the ARCs. MJD escalated the situation by continuing to curse the readers who were posting, one reader in particular.

    You stated that one of the things that frustrated you was that a reviewer had no accountability.

    Third: What really pisses me off about this is that the reviewer has no accountability. They can read the ARC or not, write a review or not, publish it anonymously and do a hatchet job if they so please—and to top it all off, they sell the damn thing BEFORE it’s published. This really is adding insult to injury.

    I just didn’t get why the reviewer owes accountability to the author if they receive an ARC. That is what I referred to with the comment about “outraged entitlement.”

    As to the hostility of discussions, I just see that as inevitable at times. It happens on the internet in tech chat rooms, in mystery book loops, in tv show loops, celebrity loops, etc. Why would romance be any different?

  5. Let me add one more comment and that is I have come to the conclusion that the false intimacy fostered by the internet between readers and authors does more harm than the hositility.

  6. Jane, thank you for those clarifications. I’m going to pull your comments up into a post to respond.

  7. Nice!!!!! I like how you melded the photos together, the music. All under CC. Cory Doctorow would be proud.

  8. Lanna Lee — no need to apologize. I’m guessing you’re not alone.

    But it is a fairly effective and inexpensive way to get the word out there.

  9. Hey I was expecting “amaturish”, was pleasantly surprised, very slick :)I know, I know, I should have known better, great job, made me want to read it again.

  10. Wow, this is great, um, if ever you need someone to do another one or others for you let me know. I’d love to do one or many!

  11. Hey Rosina, like Lanna Lee, I am not sure if I like the idea of book trailers, but I actually liked yours. No dialog is good. And fairly few pictures of people, which is good. I prefer leaving those things to the imagination when I read a book. But you know what, that picture of Rivera? It’s exactly how I imagined her. Good job! Maybe I’ll check out other trailers now.

  12. Hi Rosina

    I quite liked it. I liked all the photos and the music was good but I felt it was too long. About a minute too long. I got lost about half-way through it and realised I had not taken something in properly. I know I could have gone back and started again but for the sake of feedback, that was how it was for me.

    I quite like the concept if it is done by the author and captures their sentiments re mood and the look of places and characters. I wouldn’t like the concept if it was done by a publishing house who didn’t get it right. You know how you sometimes read a book and the characters on the cover don’t look anything like the description of the characters inside. That bugs me.

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