filipino friday: the book trailer

last week, guy gone geek hosted the filipino friday to discuss book blurbs. and i asked chachic if i could host filipino friday again this week to expand the discussions from last week to talk about another book-plugging tool: the book trailer.

book trailers are made to advertise a new book, or a new author. according to wikipedia, they started being made back in 2002, but only caught on when video-based social networking sites (like myspace and youtube) became more popular in 2005.

as a concept, book trailers are nothing new–but it’s only recently that i’m starting to see book trailers made for filipino books.

it started with, candy gourlay’s TALL STORY, which i figured was made because she was being published by a united kingdom-based company. but then, visprint came out with a book trailer for NAERMYTH. and another one for bob ong’s ANG MGA KAIBIGAN NI MAMA SUSAN. and i’m starting to wonder, is this something filipino publishers are exploring–or is it just visprint?

and then there’s this book trailer i found on youtube, which put me off from reading the book it was advertising. though i’m not sure if that was made by the publisher or the author. i’m hoping the latter, if only because that’s not a trailer a respectable publisher would produce. and i mean no offense to the author if he was the one who made it. but using music from an episode of GOSSIP GIRL to promote something that is bound to come off as something very much like GOSSIP GIRL is unfair for the author–and may actually be liable for copyright infringement–the music, not the actual novel.

so here are my questions:

what do you think of book trailers? do they succeed in promoting books–or do they only turn people away? what are the most effective book trailers you’ve seen? and which book trailers turned you off from the books they were advertising?

and lastly, what do you think is the future of book trailers, especially in the filipino publishing industry?

19 thoughts on “filipino friday: the book trailer

  1. Pingback: Filipino Friday 21 « Filipino Book Bloggers

  2. i honestly don’t look at book trailers. these trailers never really did convince me to get a book. i still prefer the good old fashioned browse through the blurb and the reviews and of course, books that i could directly borrow from my friends. if it’s worth buying by my friends then it’s worth a read =)

    • i don’t look at book trailers either. i actually usually find them after purchasing/reading the book. so i don’t know if one can convince me to buy a book. though, thinking of the trailers i have seen, i am happy that we are not that exposed to book trailers.

      it’s like they’re actually pushing for people not to buy the books.

      but i do like the trailer for bob ong’s “ang mga kaibigan ni mama susan.”

      • I must have seen only a handful of book trailers. I only become interested to bother watching one is if I really, really want the book and I can’t wait. If, say, Ilona Andrews produce one for Magic Slays, I’ll definitely watch the trailer over and over and over….

        As to book trailers becoming a hit here… Why not? But interesting books should be published first. There are less expensive but very effective ways to promote books.

      • From the book trailers you’ve seen, ArtSeblis–what can you say about their quality? Do you think they’re effective?

        As for the future of book trailers here in our country; let’s pretend that there is an interesting book to be released. it’s well-written–but the author isn’t well-known. do you think it can benefit from a book trailer?

        also, could book trailers ever find their way onto our television sets?

  3. I was acquainted with Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy by Monsters of Men, the final book, book trailer.(found here) It is an amazing trailer. I thought it was for a movie at first. I also liked the trailer for Charle’s Higson’s The Dead(found here), the sequel to his zombie book The Enemy. It has a unique concept. The trailer of Forends of Hand and Teeth is also a good one. I think it even won an award from a book-trailers award giving body.

    I think book trailers, if handled properly, are really effective marketing tools. If I got interested on a certain title, I would check out Amazon’s sampler and search youtube if there is a trailer. There are TONS of books being published these days, and the publishers need to do something so their book will stand out from those, one of which are book trailers.

    But hey, that trailer of Roles you shared is a crap. My jaw was on the floor while I was watching it out of disbelief that someone considers that “advertising”. I would never pick up a book that was advertised by something like that.

    • Oops, sorry. Forgot to link the trailer of Forest of Hand and Teeth. Here you go:

      One more… uk trailer of Michael Grant’s GONE because it will intrigue you. There’s the huge “WHY?” question stamped all throughout the trailer. The uk trailer(emphasis on the UK, the US trailers of it are low quality) for the sequels HUNGER( and LIES( are also cool. Viewing it on youtube makes me want to read the series all over again.

    • Oh that was Roles. I read that book. It IS very Gossip Girl like, and while it’s mildly interesting, the book needs to go through another round of editing. I read that book because of Blooey’s review.

      Okay wait watching the trailer first….

      And back. Okay that was blah.

    • Hmm. The “Monsters of Men” trailer was indeed well made. You get the feel of the novel, without anything about the novel being revealed. Which is the point, as it’s the last book and might actually spoil those reading the first two books.

      As for the trailer for “The Dead” the concept is sound, the execution was terrible. Still much, much, way much better than the one for “Roles” and “Naermyth.” Haha.

      With “Gone” though, I think I know why there’s a big “WHY?” when you watch the trailer. Because it asks you to imagine a world where everyone fifteen and above has disappeared. And then leaves it at that. Can the trailer be anymore of a tease? Haha.

      The concept does remind me a little of the “Left Behind” series of books though. I didn’t like the first book, didn’t bother continuing with the series. But who knows, I might like “Gone.”

      You’re the first one to say that book trailers actually help you in deciding to buy a book or not. And I agree that it does help a certain book stand out from the rest–but is it important? And do you think it’s worth it, in the end, for the publishers?

  4. Hm, I don’t really pay attention to book trailers, either, but that’s only because I’m too impatient to wait for book trailers to load, and sometimes I can’t be bothered to load them at home. So I guess you can call me apathetic to this, too, like in blurbs. ^^

    However, I like the idea that books have trailers. I think trailers would help other people who aren’t really big readers try out the other books because of their trailers. Some of the good trailers I remember watching are Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram, and Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen.

    And book trailers on TV — why not? I think that would be a cool idea. I mean, they already did some Mockingjay promo on radio before it came out, why not make them on TVs too? Of course, that would mean more expenses, so would that mean more expensive books too?

    • Haha. We’re like the worst nightmares of advertising people.

      That’s a good point: getting non-readers to try reading through book trailers. But what of the really bad trailers (case in point, “Roles”) which can drive people away from reading? And from the book trailers I’ve been seeing–a lot of them are really doing a bad job of promoting the books they’re supposed to sell.

      If a publisher believes in the book a lot, why not invest in a TV spot right? The trailer doesn’t have to be long–it just has to reach the right audience. 🙂

      Here’s a challenge for us: how would we make a book trailer for “Naermyth”? Because, I swear, the one Visprint has is really horrible.

      • Book trailers are sort of a new thing, in comparison to the more traditional means of marketing books. So, though there are great trailers (see an old HuffPost article of five good trailers here), I think it’s natural that there will be bad ones, both from here and abroad, because a lot of authors and publishers are still experimenting with it.

        The Roles trailer is bad, but I will give them a break. They did it around 2008, and they were one of the first ones to do a book trailer for a Filipino book. If the Bob Ong book trailer is better, then Visprint has improved in the making of the trailers.

        A few bad trailers means that those authors/publishers still have a lot to learn about making book trailers. But I wouldn’t say that they should stop making them. After all, book trailers are very inexpensive compared to TV spots. I honestly don’t think a TV spot is tenable for a book trailer here in the Phils. at the moment. They’re deadly expensive for a publisher. Radio spots might be better.

        In the last literary festival, there was one session on making book trailers. The target audience was authors and publishers. However, it was more of a DIY thing.

        Finally, I like looking at book trailers out of curiosity. On one occasion, I was influenced to buy the book bec of the trailer, namely Leviathan. There are also two other books I want to get because I first saw their book trailers: It’s a Book by Lane Smith and 13 Words by Lemony Snicket. They’re both children’s books and they’re both fantastic and funny trailers.:)

      • Visprint, I think, is responsible for both “Ang Mga Kaibigan…” and “Naermyth,” which is why I don’t understand why one is intriguing, while the other is… off-putting. I’m still not sure who is responsible for “Roles.” I’m holding on to the hope that Visprint had nothing to do with it.

        As for the amount of bad trailers there are online, I think there are more bad ones that good. I agree that this marketing tool is still sort of new–but shouldn’t it be continuously improving? Watching a live-action book trailer is like watching a bad b-movie.

        There’s redundancy in that comparison. Haha. Ehem. Sorry, I got derailed.

        Were you able to attend the talk on doing-your-own book trailers? I am curious as to how that talk turned out.

        [Lastly, I love both book trailers you shared. If all book trailers were like that, I’m sure we wouldn’t even be having this topic for Filipino Friday. Haha.]

      • Hey, Jason. Yep, I attended the talk on book trailers. It was just a basic talk on tools you can use to create your own book trailer. The speaker, Christopher Cheng, was coming from the perspective that the author is the best person to market his book. Hence, he was teaching authors how they can make book trailers on their own.

        The results don’t look very polished, but they weren’t bad for a DIY.

        I think this discussion about book trailers can be duplicated for a lot of the other marketing tools when they were in their infancy. Bad covers, bad blurbs, bad book design, etc. I think there are good and bad examples of each. If they’re bad, then the author/publisher will suffer for it. Or their sales will. If they’re good, then it may bring in more buyers.

        I think there has been some improvement, based on book trailers I’ve seen. Of course, I mostly see trailers from foreign books. The fact is, different book trailer producers are at different parts of the book-trailer-expertise continuum. And so we take the bad with the good. Like we shy away from books with bad covers unless something else convinces us that they’re worth reading.

        Oh, have you seen the book trailer for Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart? It’s live action and a little bit different, but I like it. They make fun of the author.

      • i don’t know why i can’t buy into the idea that since book trailers are relatively new, we have to give them leeway for not being very good.

        i’ve seen students projects that look more polished than some of the book trailers i’ve seen.

        maybe it’s because i’m very much steeped in media, and i’m having a higher-than-normal expectations of how a book should be marketed through trailers.

        or maybe it’s because we are exposed to really good ones (like the ones you shared) and yet we get so many bad ones in the mix of the book trailer bag.

        that aside, from the talk with christopher cheng; do you think the authors who attended will apply what they learned and actually do some DIY-trailers?

        [also, this latest trailer you’ve shared is hilarious. but what is the book about? shouldn’t that be, at least, one of the book trailer’s points?]

  5. Hmm I think I usually watch trailers AFTER I read the book. I don’t know why. Mostly, I like book trailers that don’t involve real people so it doesn’t confuse with my idea of the what the characters look like. I like the Tall Story trailer because it involves cartoon characters. Some other trailers that I liked were ones who just featured backgrounds and quotes. When I like book trailers, I usually add them to my reviews. But in general, I don’t think book trailers affect my book buying habits. I still go for reviews. I wonder if people buy books based on just trailers?

    • There’s a tendency for live-action book trailers to look like really bad b-movies. Haha. Having watched Harry Potter movies while waiting for the release of the books; having seen Lord of the Rings, Stardust, and so many other movies-based-on-books, I find that I don’t really have a problem with seeing real people play characters I fell in love with. I do, however, have a problem with people forcing their so-called acting skills upon us. Haha.

      That’s another point of discussion, by the way, you’re question on whether there are people who buy books based on just trailers. Why? And do these people buy more books, or less than regular readers? What affects their reading habits? And what exactly do they see in the book trailers that make them want to buy the book it’s advertising?

  6. Pingback: Filipino Friday: Rocket Round Table « Filipino Book Bloggers

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