My computer crashed early this year. Besides an incredibly touchy mouse pad, I thought I had finally gotten things back on track. A few weeks ago, I realized I had lost yet another object: the trailers to my novels. I know many authors who create their own videos, but I am not technologically savvy so had paid decent money to Trailer to the Stars for their renditions. Unfortunately, two years ago, before trailers even crossed my mind, I set up automatic backup restrictions by deselected music and video files. They take up too much memory and I didn’t really need it. This realization at their absence cut at me, reminding me how much of a dork my decision making abilities can reflect.
I emailed the woman who did my videos and, by the grace of God, she still had them. As always, the universe is very ironic. In one of my discussion groups this week, authors posed the value of having book trailers. Some didn’t see the importance behind the project. Trailers seem to work very well for the movies. They drive ticket sales and hype up a short-term following at the release. Why not for books? For some reason, this doesn’t seem to work as a strictly marketing tool. For instance, my trailers have been online for about a year and have only accumulated a couple hundred views. In this way, I would agree with the discussion online.
Where I see the value comes in other areas. Book signings is the first area. I remember signing at Borders…let’s all give a moment of silence for the departure of that store…and found people walking past me without ever acknowledging me, even when I’d smile at them. If I said “Hi,” that resulted in a quick response before their footsteps quickened their departure. In many ways, I felt like a cardboard cutout. Shortly after, I went to a multi-author signing. One man had a computer set up and his trailer played on a loop. Watching the result amazed me. People began passing until the computer screen slowly lassoed them and pulled them over to his table. When I played my videos at signings, I found the same result. For someone who is uncomfortable shouting across the aisle of a mall (the way I watched another author work), videos are a passive way to help draw attention. I saw a small increase in sales as a result.
The second way I’ve seen trailers used in on book sites such as Goodreads. It seems more and more, I am distracted by a moving add on the side of my update feed. I would love to see the numbers on whether these increase book sales, but the fact it attracts attention leads me to think that maybe it could. For me, I love my trailers and was happy to get them back. But they don’t work for everyone. I think it just depends on the author and how they work a crowd.