on book trailers

courtneybooks, media, young adult lit

I really like book trailers, and by like, I mean love. I heart them. Apparently some people DON’T heart book trailers, which I find fascinating, because it’s not like they attach themselves to your internet and render it useless until you’ve watched them through at least once. At least the ones I’ve watched haven’t (maybe I’ve just been lucky, though). I was going to write this whole paragraph about how hating on book trailers is like hating on LOLcats (what is the point?!), but then I was like never mind. Life is too short.

I hope book trailers will be an enduring trend. I think they’re exciting. I think they’re exciting because, by nature, I’m a visual person and–as a consumer–I like the way book trailers sell to me. I also think of them as exciting because book trailers can be daring and gorgeous and inspiring and provoking WHILE still selling you something. It all depends on the execution. So I think I am saying they can be art! Yes, I believe I am. Am I giving book trailers too much credit? WHO KNOWS.

Maybe it would help to know that I think the Sony Bravia ads are stunning and that this Liberty Mutual ad gets me every single time. I’m not going to begrudge them their brilliance (or what I feel is brilliance–art is subjective, yo) just because they’re trying to get me to buy a television and life insurance respectively. I get something out of them (ie I enjoyed them) and I appreciate how they’ve done what they’re trying to do. I feel the same about a good book trailer.

Anyway, here are some of my favourite book trailers and why. If you are an author interested in making a book trailer for your book, or someone who would like to get into the business of making book trailers, everything I say about them is something you should TAKE TO HEART, as we all know I am the final word on EVERYTHING.


Shift by Jennifer Bradbury

Created by m2 Productions (who has done trailers for several authors, including all of the members of the Class of 2k8), the trailer for Shift moves along at a really nice clip, with a good wind up and a good wind down. The music and visuals underscore the premise well. There’s a lot of text, but the pacing keeps it from FEELING like a lot of text, which is important. Lots of people complain about the length of book trailers, citing that, at best, they should be under a minute. Not so, my people! Pacing is the key.

Airhead by Meg Cabot

I’m such a Meg Cabot fangirl. The woman can do no wrong in my eyes. If you insult her in my presence, I will THROW DOWN. But just to be clear: my unabashed adoration of Meg Cabot plays no part in my love of the trailer for her novel, Airhead (okay, maybe just a little). I think the Airhead trailer is a good example of an effective interplay between voice-over and text and boy, do I sound like a Pretentious Art [censored!], but there you have it.

Total Constant Order by Crissa Jean Chappell

I think Crissa Jean Chappell’s trailer is a good example of a trailer being artistic. It’s also worth noting it’s been done in the main character’s voice. You’re being told a story while being told about the story. That’s a good device.

I Know It’s Over by C.K. Kelly Martin

The first time I saw C.K.’s trailer for I Know It’s Over, I immediately though it would appeal to Thomas Newman fans. Also, I am a Thomas Newman fan and it appealed to me. The music kind of reminds me of the stuff he composed in 1999 (ooh, listen to me), which is neat. C.K. also uses the voice of her main character for her book trailer, to great effect, but what I like most about it is the beat. Having sound in a trailer and using it are two different things; something to consider. The pause at 0:25 makes it for me.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson
Just because a publisher makes a book trailer doesn’t mean it’s going to be a success, but the trailer for The Adoration of Jenna Fox definitely is. I think this is another good example of pacing. It’s 2:02. That’s like, theatrical trailer long, but it doesn’t feel like it (that it’s live action definitely helps).

Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster

And then there are book trailers like Jen Lancaster’s, which I absolutely love. Such a Pretty Fat is not a YA book (which I’ve chosen to stick to for examples because that’s my genre, yo), but it’s a fantastic trailer and here’s why: Jen’s trailer is 100% about entertaining you, the viewer. Yeah, it’s about the book too, but the execution is all about the person watching it. It wants to make you laugh. When a book trailer gives me the let me entertain you vibe (which in a way, all of the book trailers I’ve showcased have), it immediately makes me want to pick up the book. So I think what we have here is a fantastic sell.

I kind of want to talk about how easy it is to make book trailers and how to make book trailers cost-effectively and questioning the point of NOT making a book trailer but this entry is probably long enough as it is and it’s 4:33 in the morning and I’m pretty tired! Maybe there should be a part two? I don’t know.

In closing here is my argument on the Pro Book Trailer side, even though I am pretty sure I’m not having a debate with anyone: I JUST LOVE BOOK TRAILERS SO MUCH YOU GUYS. LIKE, I THINK THE POTENTIAL FOR GREATNESS HERE IS HUGE.

Also, I truly believe that every time an author releases a book trailer, an angel gets its wings.

(Which is partly why I am looking forward to the eventual release of mine!)

© courtney summers 2006 - 2017