Everyone has an opinion about movie trailers. If the trailer is foisted on you without your consent at the beginning of a movie in a theater, and it’s a genre you hate, you probably don’t hold a high opinion of trailers. On the other hand, if you actively seek out movie trailers on sites like YouTube, you’re a fan. And then don’t get me started about movie trailers that show you the only interesting/funny/scary parts of a movie you hope will be interesting/funny/scary only to find out (after paying to see the movie) that those were the only interesting/funny/scary bits in the entire film!
With all of that in mind, I’m fairly certain that you are not quite as familiar with book trailers since they are a relatively new phenomenon. As you might have figured out, a book trailer is a short video clip that presents a small sample of a book in a similar format to that of a movie. As a reader, when I first heard about book trailers I thought that the concept was odd. After all, isn’t part of the attraction of reading its ability to trigger readers’ own internal imaginative processes to create their own internal visual interpretations of characters, places and environment? At least that’s how it works in fiction – non-fiction is another story.
A book trailer, then, although intended to entice us to read the book, seems to give the imaginative reader too much outside opinion of the visuals that a writer wants a reader to develop for him or herself. However, in my view, that depends on the visuals presented and on whether or not there is narration or only titles. In my mind, titles are more genuinely connected to a book (after all, we read a book, we don’t watch a book – that would be a movie. Sometimes we listen to an audio book, but then we still create our own images).
This leads me into my backstory for this week.
Next week we’ll talk about the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of book trailers to entice readers to buy and read books.