Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Vidlit Replayed

A miracle of blogging is that when you write about someone, they frequently show up as if invoked from across the world.

I wrote some time back about "book trailers" (like film trailers, but for books) and mentioned the pioneers in the field, Circle of Seven Productions. You had some mixed feelings about this as a way to promote books. Now here's the CEO of the company, Sheila Clover English giving her take, and over turning some of my own preconceptions about their use:
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


Anonymous said...

I've always joked about booktrailers.
Didn't know there are already people out there doing it.
Comicbook/GraphicNovel trailers are pretty common now though.



Krishna said...

How ironic. Using the visual medium to promote the written one, especially when the former has in some way contributed towards the diminished allure of the latter.

Howz this for a crazy idea to get people to buy books? Make movies of them, but without the ending.A perversion of the Saturday Morning Serials concept in US Cinema in the '60s where each movie ended with a cliffhanger that was resolved in the next day's episode.But this time, closure must be obtained from the original (and written)source.

Imagine, Peter Jackson stopping his Rings Opus with the second movie which ends with the tagline: Does the Ring get destroyed? Does Sauron get his butt kicked? Will Gollum ever discover the joy of cooked food? Read the book!

Ted Mahsun said...

I'd have to agree that book trailers have to act as viral ads. These ads are more likely to connect with the current information-addicted generation (and futures ones I assume), people like me. The point here isn't just to get the people to buy the book but to also make them aware the book even exists! :D

Also, I think it's supremely cool Sheila Clover English emailed you! That's awesome!