By Gayle Carline
Author of Humorous Mysteries and Mysterious Humor
I'm sort of re-cycling a post I did on my own little blog a while ago, not because I'm lazy, but because I'm in the middle of writing my newest mystery and my characters are pretty anxious to get this party started. I've got to kill someone in about a chapter and a half, so you see I'm pressed for time.
I want to talk about book trailers. I keep puzzling over them, noodling if you will, because in theory, I think they should be part of a book's basic pitch to the masses, one of the things we include with a media release. In practice, most of them end up in the YouTube Black Hole, where no one can find them and no one is looking for them.
Kind of like playing tag with your mean cousin.
Actually, I should refer to them as "book videos." Believe it or not, the term "book trailers" is a registered trademark and its owner can take you to task (or to court) for using it. Hand to God, it's true. See here, under the question "What is a book trailer?"
I know some authors eschew them. They rightly point to the fact that most book videos get lost in space and tell you it's time/money wasted. Well, except for James Patterson who gets his videos on prime time TV (usually during Castle), and he's got more money than God, so seriously, why is he bothering to advertise at all?
But I remember the day that MTV went live and changed the music landscape (I remember the first video, too). Now musicians had to either photograph well or hire clever folks to build music videos that didn't include pictures of them. I haven't watched MTV in quite a while, but every time I look up a song or band on the internet, it looks like videos are still being made.
Now I'm looking at the changing face of the book. It seems to me that ebooks, if they haven't started already, will soon be including links to places and people that are mentioned in them, or videos of events, etc. The reader is not only using their imagination as we take them on our fictional journey; they can be immersed completely in our world. I can envision everything from soundtracks when I read, to the ability to create my own idea of the main character and role play as the story goes.
And no, I'm not a gamer. I'm just a reformed engineer.
What I think this means is that we haven't been pushing the book video envelope far enough. It's not enough to throw your vid on your website and YouTube and hope for the best. That and five bucks will get you a latte. We need an outlet for ALL book videos to get air time in front of readers.
Some of my ideas are:
- A Book Video Channel. On TV and the internet, like MTV in its early days. Maybe split up some of the book videos with author interviews, book signing events, readers' picks, book reviews, etc. It could sell advertising space to the people who support writers, like computer makers and sellers, bookstores, Amazon... and James Patterson.
- A weekly/monthly feature of book videos on other programs that feature book reviews.
- Access to videos by bookstores (either brick and mortar or online) that allows them to display them on a monitor in the store or in a corner of their website.
Got any other ideas? Let your imagination run wild. Mine is.
In the meantime, here are my videos for my three mysteries. Yes, I made them myself. No, I'm no Martin Scorsese. I'm just a gal with a weird sense of humor and a son who has a killer voice and writes music.
HIT OR MISSUS
THE HOT MESS
For bonus points, and a free e-copy of my latest, The Hot Mess, what was the first music video shown on MTV? (Shame on you if you Googled it!)