Is there anything James Franco isn’t in? (or a musing on book trailers)

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but apparently writing isn’t what it takes to be a writer.  You need platforms.  You  need a facebook and a twitter and a blog and you have to pretend to like people now.  Which is unfortunate because half the reason I love writing is I don’t have to talk to anyone else all damn day if I don’t want to.  You can be a recluse and no one will fault you for it.  But not any more.  You  need a following before you publish (You all are my following by the way, small though it may be, and I love you for it).  Writers are part of the celebrity culture, especially considering half the books published are written by “celebrities” who I know next to nothing about.  I haven’t had cable for a long time now.  I missed the reality TV bus.  Covers of magazines confuse me. (Wait, is her legal name J-wow?)  One nice thing to come out of these blurring lines though are book trailers. 

For those of you who don’t waste your mind away watching pointless internet video after pointless internet video, a book trailer is exacty what it sounds like: an ad for a book.  Though they’ve been around for almost ten years (if Wikipedia is to be trusted), I never really noticed them until a few years ago.  It makes sense as a natural progression of the increasingly digital world, but it never occurred to me until I saw the first one and thought, “Duh.”

Turns out this is a cost that many publishers aren’t interested in covering unless the book is a sure thing at which point do we really need a trailer?  Author Myrlin A. Hermes guest blogged about how to make your own trailer to combat that very issue.  Could be nice for a few of you who are self-published (which I’d definitely help you with).

A few trailers that have stuck in my brain…

A hilarious author-centric video that has nothing to do with the book (but has lots of cameos, including James Franco):

A FANTASTIC clip in general which won the “What are we doing to our children” Moby award:

An arty, Young Adult trailer with good music and a nice level of tease:

Feel free to share other book trailers with you find in the comments.  I’m slightly obsessed at the moment.

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6 thoughts on “Is there anything James Franco isn’t in? (or a musing on book trailers)

  1. Ooh thanks for sharing these. I’ve been really interested in this concept for a while now. It seems the publishing industry is all about marketing these days, less about quality. Have you noticed book advertisements on billboards in subways and on the sides of the public bus? This seems a recent phenomenon to me, or else I just started paying attention because it’s on my mind consistently.
    This is the favorite trailer that I’ve seen thusfar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8rj2otXNfM
    It really captures the essence of the book, the writing style, and the characters. I’m impressed!

    • I have noticed that. Commercials too. They hardly ever peak my interest and not because there isn’t potential, they’re just kind of boring. Perhaps they’re just meant to capture the attention of readers who already like that author to let them know another book is on its way? I don’t know. Not a well utilized method none-the-less.

      That trailer is frightening! Especially with the innocent tinkley music and art. I love it.

  2. I think James Patterson who writes Alex Cross mystery novels was one of the first. If I remember correctly he was in advertising and decided to write books. He came up with a TV trailer idea and when the publisher was reluctant, he paid for it himself. The results were incredibly good. He also started the most disturbing trend of hiring others to “co-author” novels on a continuing basis. He actually has two or three people on staff. They consult with him and write a book with some unknown contribution by him. Both their names go on the book, with his prominently displayed and it sells on his reputation. I’ve gotten to the point where I avoid the “co-written” book because they fail to meet my expectations as a “Patterson” novel and the practice pisses me off (not that I’d turn down a job writing with/for him). The publisher now as 2 or 3 editors assigned solely to Patterson. I think last year, or the year before, his contract with the publisher called for an advance of $18 million.

  3. Pingback: Words (and links) on the Week… | Sociable Ink

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