Thursday, July 17, 2008

Book Trailers: Authors' Views

In my previous post, Book Trailers, I wrote, "What I wonder most about book videos is whether they have a positive impact on book sales. I would love to see hard data, if there is any."

Though I have yet to see any sales figures, I did hear back from some of the authors whose trailers I cited. On Bastille Day, I had lunch at a French (mais bien sûr!) restaurant with client Doreen Orion. In a comment to the above post, after praising my French accent (for which she gets my undying gratitude), Doreen wrote:
I wish I could tell you if my videos have helped QUEEN OF THE ROAD, but they've been released at the same time as my fabulo website (which you've commented on quite a bit, Merci), as well as some of the wonderful reviews the book has gotten. I can tell you that as I'm doing my radio tour this summer, I always mention my website, saying, "it has wonderful pictures of our trip, reviews, an excerpt as well as videos, including of the nudist RV park. Now, don't crash my site, people." And, I have noticed Amazon sales as well as webstats going up after each interview. How much is specifically due to the video, I have no idea, but even if it's only indirectly, i.e., it drives people to my website who then like what they see (PULEASE! I DON'T mean naked, middle-aged me) and then buy the book, I'm not complainin'.
Sherry Thomas, another client, emailed me that coincidentally today she downloaded a trailer for her second novel, DELICIOUS. A techno-head, Sherry makes the trailers herself, though "frankly I can't tell you what a book trailer does. I think I just like to make them--once I figured out how to use Windows Movie Maker. It's a lot of fun."

On the down side, Sherry notes that when her agent, Kristin Nelson, posted the trailer for PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS on her blog, PubRants, one commenter wrote that "the trailer made her definitely not want to read the book." In which case it probably wasn't her kind of book anyway, says I.

On the up side, a Dear Author post in March, My First Sale by Sherry Thomas: Love in the Ruins of Home Improvement, received a slew of positive comments. Julie Leto of Plot Monkeys wrote:
Please consider this an example of a book trailer selling a book. I’m going out today. I cannot resist a book if the author has this kind of sense of humor! Besides, I love Victorian books.
Sherry wrote that Leto " also later contacted me and told me she enjoyed the book very much, and if I would like to guest blog at her place when it's time for my upcoming release."

In my previous post I wrote about the viral hit Book Launch 2.0 by Dennis Cass (HEAD CASE: How I Almost Lost My Mind Trying to Understand My Brain). Doreen Orion echoed my observations:
I had the same thought about Cass' video: It was hysterical, but didn't give any info about the book. I also wonder if people outside the industry "got" it. I sent it to a few civilian friends and they didn't see what was so funny, until I explained the joke. So, I wonder, too, if it really helped sales.
In my post I'd added parenthetically, "One of these days, I'll contact Cass & ask what effect the video had." Well, yesterday was one of those days, and this morning I received the below message from him:
Great post and thanks for the mention. My vid definitely increased sales and was very beneficial in other ways. If you'd like for me to elaborate (for your blog or just for your own curiosity) I'd be happy to, but there's a lot to say and saying it would require writing it, which would require work.
Far be it from me to make anyone do extra work, especially if it involves writing. So per his invitation, I phoned Cass to follow up. I'll post our interview soon.

1 comment:

Katie Alender said...

From the book trailers I've seen, they work much like anything else--a good one helps, a bad one hurts! People who see them get a sense of the author's aesthetic and taste level and make judgments from there.

My personal pet peeve is when there's a card with text on it and the text is badly laid out. It makes me think the author has no rhythm, although it's probably the fault of the producers of the video. You know, like:


I'm a stickler for correctly placed line breaks. And I must say, you see this kind of mistake in tons and tons of book trailers.