Thursday, June 22, 2006

VidLit?

Need an attention grabbing way to publicise your book? It seems that just as film trailers create interest in the latest movies, book trailers on the internet are the latest ploy in fiction marketing. According toElise Soukup in Newsweek :
Publishers and authors are increasingly commissioning trailers for books—some with dramatizations by actors that could easily be mistaken for movie trailers—that can be viewed on their Web sites and even aired on TV and in movie theaters.
The concept was initially pioneered in 2002 by Circle of Seven Productions (which cleverly trademarked the name "book trailers" so everyone else has to refer to them as "book videos").

The first mainstream publisher to have jumped on the bandwagon appears to be HarperCollins Canada. (Check out the video for Gautam Malkani's novel Londonstani and see if it tempts you to rush out and buy the book!)

The Book Standard recently announced the winners of a contest in which film students created videos for three new Bantam Dell titles. (I found the trailer for Stuart: A Life Backwards horrendously Pythonesque, though.)

Anyway, think the idea will catch on??

19 comments:

Ted Mahsun said...

Oh dear, after watching the trailers, I seem to have got a sudden urge to go out and buy Stuart and Thieves of Heaven.

This is such a cool concept! I'm surprised publishers haven't thought of this before! With the internet and the tendency for people to share memes, I believe these trailers have a tendency to really explode online... well, if the trailers are done right anyway.

But if this ever catches on... will self-publishers find themselves having to learn how to use Windows Movie Maker and iMovie as well? Hehehe...

bibliobibuli said...

how difficult/expensive do you think it would be to put together a decent book trailer? using that software??

Ted Mahsun said...

How expensive? I wouldn't know... but I can imagine the difficulty curve is quite a steep one.

Dean said...

Sexy. Overblown. Underconcieved.

This is fine and dandy but I don't think it'll make me any more or less likely to read the book. Of more import to me is what other bloggers say about a book. If I see an author's name scattered about the place I'm more likely to try to borrow a book of his/hers from the library. Then, if I like it enough, I'll actually invest the $25 it costs in this country (Australia) to buy a new paperback.

I went to the 'Londonstani' Web site and discovered this little gem:

"cross- cultural chirpsing techniques"

What on earth does that mean? Any ideas?

Fadzilah said...

Book trailers would give the big publishers a big advantage since small independent publishers are not likely to have the resources to publicize in this manner.

A book trailer is meant to build up a certain hype about the book, but in addition, it forces us to visualize the characters and events in the book, which can be risky. It's like the reverse of turning books into films which turn out to disappoint the readers. In this case, if the language of Gautam Malkani turns out not to be as vibrant as the trailer implies, readers might feel cheated as well.But at least we've bought the book, the publishers would say. Also, it makes the reading experience less rich, for our imagination is tempered by those images which we've seen.

The Great Swifty said...

Seems like a pretty cool gimmick to me. Haha. I might even considering doing something like this in the future.

The Great Swifty said...

Hell, I might even start accepting commissions from local writers to do something like this and upload it onto Youtube!

Sharanya said...

Sounds like a great idea! Of course, there's the potential for it to fail in the sense that it has to be executed so perfectly in order to really make a difference in terms of sales. Some books really don't translate well to screen, plus there's the challenge of having to cram in the essence of the book into a few minutes without losing anything of substance. And, as with films, if the trailer is TOO enticing, the book itself has that much more to live up to.

Dean said...

"plus there's the challenge of having to cram in the essence of the book into a few minutes without losing anything of substance"

you have got to be kidding...

Ron said...

I may be getting old but selling books this way is a turn-off for me. Any book sold like this would have to be VERY, VERY good to live up that type of hype.

Think how often movies are advertised and pushed and then you go and see them most of the time you are disappointed. Often it's the unknown, unadvertised film that proves better entertainment than the blockbusters.

The above often goes for books too. I find I rarely enjoy (and sometimes never finish) a book if I start it around the time it's winning awards and getting lots of publicity.

Then again, perhaps I am getting to be an old curmudgeon!

The Eternal Wanderer said...

Hi Sharon!

Off-topic but just want to let you know that I got my very clean hands on Nathalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones from MPH Mid Valley today! I'm reading it now and it's really cool - she knows her craft really well! I think it's like a new Writing Bible for me.

And I forgot about yesterday's writer's meet at MPH that you mentioned about to me the other day. Will there be one next week?

bibliobibuli said...

you all see pretty divided (ted and swifty for, ron and dean against, sharnaya and i interested but sceptical) ... i think book trailers could be a good way of creating interest in a book but they'd have to give the essence of it pretty quickly (a minute or so) and without spoilers which isn't so easy to do ...

if anyone wants a book trailer making contact swifty!!

fadzila - i think you're right about our reading experience being shaped by what we've seen. (i don't even like to read the blurb on the back of a book before i've read it!) and as you say, the book may not live up to the hype ..."londonstani" was much hyped but reviewers seem disappointed. (i would like to read it and make up my own mind)

dean - apparently "chirpsing" means chatting up ... and no, i didn't know that either ...

philip - glad you bought the goldberg - it is for sure one of the most inspiring books on writing and will give you plenty of encouragement ... we're meeting next week - i put a note on the e-group ...

Dean said...

Well, I've never heard it used here in Australia. There's no 'About' page on the Urban Dictionary Web site, but I assume from the URL that it's a U.S.-based enterprise.

Of course, although I live in an urban area and have all my life, I'm no spring chicken, so there you go...

bibliobibuli said...

dean - no it's british slang, apparently. here's a nice piece i just found about campus slang in the UK and if you scroll down, there's a glossary which includes chirpsing

(if you google the word - you get 1,600 results, so it is quite commonn now in uk parlance)

you aussies do some funny things to the language too though ... i added some new words to my vocab when i was there ("daggy" had me falling about)

Dean said...

Yeah, well, we try.

But 'dag' has had a resurgence. It's now not considered offensive to be called 'daggy'. "He's such a dag" has an affectionate ring to it, whereas twenty years ago it conveyed strong disapproval, suggesting the object of the remark was socially incompetent or unpleasant. Now it suggests that they are just silly, but in an endearing way. It's interesting how language changes.

The etymology, of course, would suggest insult, as a 'dag' is also the piece of unpleasant matter hanging off the back of a sheep. I wonder what they call this in New Zealand...

Glenda Larke said...

Dean, the word 'dag' was in the slang vocab in NZ when I was there in 1964 - and I'd never heard it used in Oz that way then, although I think it's always been used among farmers in the other context!

Now I'm wondering what a "Chatting up" style means...

Book trailers? Hmm. I'm in the sceptical group. A film trailer shows you what is in the film - actual clips; a book trailer is going to show you something from another media. It wouldn't entice me to buy. I think though it could go big, if they start using it on TV adverts.

Anonymous said...

Book Trailers are used by small press and aren't as expensive as you might think.

They are tools, like anything else in your promotional or marketing arsenal. If you use them correctly they can and do work. Since we've been making them since 2002 we have some stats and data on sales.

There are really two types of book trailers, if you're going that route.
1. Is a commercial. It is an ad, a little sexier than a print ad. It can be put on TV and spread around the internet. It is given to book clubs and booksellers.

2. Viral. These are the ones that are more exciting. They don't look like ads. They're kind of like music videos, which are ads to sell CDs. These are put online and people pass them around and take them to put on their own sites.

If you can have a book video that is both, you can utilize it in so many more places.

Print ads and traditional marketing tools reach out to established readers. A group that, sadly, is shrinking. The videos are really to expand a demographic. People have evolved into visual creaters and the book industry now has a way to gain their attention through that medium.

When I first came up with the concept of book trailers is wasn't just a marketing idea. My company joined the American Library Association and we now work with schools and libraries on a "Back to Books" program that is geared toward teaching young people that books are entertainment not limited to the size of a screen. We're trying to "hook" them early into realizing that books are as exciting as tv, movies, video games or music videos.

Unfortunately, our more philanthropic side was overlooked for an opportunity to make a big "splash" in the media and get some free online advertising through video. Of the dozens of publishing houses we worked with on this concept no one would give us the time of day until our clients started hitting NY Times and USA Today on a consistant basis.

Not only does this concept work, when done correctly, but it could be a wonderful opportunity to make books exciting to a group of younger people, or perhaps remind others who don't read anymore, that books are fun, sexy and exciting.

I hope one day that the industry will see the big picture. The one where we don't try to outsell the other publishing house or the other authors, but one where the industry can bring in new readers and compete against video games and tv instead of each other.

Thanks for letting me ramble.

Sheila Clover English
CEO, Circle of Seven Productions

bibliobibuli said...

thanks so much for rambling, sheila! i am posting this "frontpage" so that it will get noticed by my readers

Anonymous said...

Where's the link to VidLit?
www.vidlit.com