I don’t suppose any of my readers will find themselves at the BookExpo America in New York starting today. It’s the book industry’s trade fair (also called the ‘leading event in North American publishing’) where books of all kinds that will be on bookshelves for the next year are spruiked to buyers of all kinds.
I’m going to be there, in a virtual and highly annoying manner. The book trailer for The Raven’s Heart is going to play on a loop for four days at the stand of the US book distributor, as a leadup to it coming out in the USA (as well as Canada and the UK) this September.
I can’t resist trying to do the maths on that. Four days, at – what, 10 hours a day, say – that’s 40 hours. By my calculation, my 1.5 minute trailer will run…
Well, I have been bad at maths since about one minute after high school. Sorry to Mrs Houghton who once thought I showed some mathematical promise. At any rate, the thing will run about 40 times an hour. Imagine it. The first two times through will be quite exciting. The 40th time will be nauseating. And at that point there will still be 39 hours of ‘loop’ to go. My apologies in advance to that distributor, who will probably want to hunt down every copy of The Raven’s Heart and hang, draw and quarter the lot. I’m quite glad I’m living a long way away.
It did get me thinking about book trailers. Lots of authors and publishers are now using trailers – like those you see for movies but usually without the glitz – to promote books. There are some truly awful ones around (as it’s tempting to do it yourself no matter how little skill you have), but there are also some that are fabulous. It’s easier to produce a fabulous one if you have a budget and a production house, but even a simple idea can work well. I’ve chosen a few favourites to show you and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Would any of them make you buy the book?
The trailer for Kathryn Regina’s poetry book “I am in the air right now” won the Moby Award for Best Low Budget/Indie Book Trailer. (Yes, there are actually awards for book trailers) It’s a gorgeous, simple animation that accompanies one of her poems.
This trailer for a kid’s book called ‘It’s a book’ is a delightful conversation between one character with an ereader and one with – wait for it – an actual book. Show it to the little ones before they forget the feeling of paper.
A work of art in itself, this trailer for the book “Going West” is an exquisite stop motion animation created by cutting the pages of a book to create the scenes. Unbelievable what can be done with a scalpel and some paper. The voice over is masterful (and sounds familiar – who is it I wonder?). It was commissioned by the NZ Book Council as part of a campaign to get people to read more books. It’s certainly helped to get people to watch more videos on Youtube, as there’s been well over a million views. I’ve linked to the Vimeo version that doesn’t have the crappy advertising at the start.
If this one doesn’t pique your curiosity, nothing will. Another scalpel project, Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Tree of Codes was created by physically cutting out sections of one of his favourite books (The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz) to make a new story.
If all the glamour is getting too much, check out ‘Book Launch 2.0’ for a simple idea well executed. Author talks to publicist (?) on phone about promoting re-release of old book. Anyone over 40 – author or not – will particularly appreciate this.
If you have better broadband than me and haven’t spent the past 20 minutes waiting for that spinning circle of doom to let you watch these trailers a few more seconds at a time, feel free to finish with a quick view of The Raven’s Heart trailer by clicking on the link below. You’ll only need another 80 seconds (or five minutes if your broadband is as slow as mine). The Raven’s Heart
If you’re passing by BookExpo America, please drop by, find the poor person staffing that stall and buy them a coffee on me.