Friday, 1 May 2009

Coffee Morning Trailers

Good Morning!

A selection of teas available -- The Pu'er is particularly good -- and fresh coffee in the pot. Do try the gluten-free chocolate brownies - a friend makes them and they are exquisite.

I'm about to embark on a short, whistle-stop tour of blogs to promote 'An Ungodly Child'. Something that has been mentioned to me are podcasts and book trailers. Every book trailer I've seen, it seems to me, is very, very similar -- music, stills fading into each other with text (usually the novel's hook) spliced in between. Does anyone else find these a bit samey? How about live action ones?

Personally, I use a glove puppet, but generally I only get a half-dozen views. Does anyone else have success with something different?

What would you want to see in a book trailer? How about podcasts?


liz fenwick said...

I agree without about the similar feeling with them all - your puppets were a good change. I can't say that a trailer would sell me on a book - even the big budget ones I have seen on tv somewhere.

Podcast are interesting beasts. I listen to them for learning - but not sure a promo one who entice me.

Looking forward to hearing everyone's views on this though. I am probably alone in my views.

I'll have a black coffee please. Right now trying to battle my way back into the wip.

Caroline said...

The thing that has worked the best for me has been the blog widgets. The Black Boxes one was viral. Within the first month the given stats were:

"nearly 9000 blogs entered (actually more but we've removed a few that were really rude)
6500 different choices (obv 9000 have been entered but we remove massive duplicates)

The widget has been displayed 350,000 times, and at least 250,000 blogs have been visited through it."

I was so impressed, but it didn't seem to have any direct relation to sales figures. I guess the key about all the online marketing is the raising of awareness and author brand. You're looking to connect with readers, but many are growing tired of the repetition. I feel that, as writers, we have to keep searching for original ways to reach our authors.

JJ Beattie said...

Morning all, goodness how odd to be on Novel Racers' time zone... well, the majority anyway!

I completely agree about the book trailers and wonder if I'd buy after seeing one. Usually, I'm a committed buyer before seeing them, and have a look out of interest.

I love podcasts - I listen to lots and often make a note to buy something I've listened to being reviewed (I get all the free book related stuff through itunes.)However, I'm not sure that a book podcast that wants only to sell would do it for me. A particularly good reading of the opening of the book would, but would I start to listen if I knew it was produced solely to sell? That's the issue... getting me to listen.

Debs said...

I've just arrived back home having received a panic call from son, asking me to sit through rush hour traffic to drop off a memory stick with his ICT A2 work on it, so am a bit more switched off than usual, and that's saying something.

I don't really listen to podcasts, and am not sure if I've ever bought a book after watching a trailer, though I could have once or twice.

I agree that being able to read the opening of a book would entice me to buy it if I liked it, although maybe having it read in a trailer would be just as good.

Off to make a strong coffee now.

Flowerpot said...

I agree with DEbs - I dont really listen to podcasts but a trailer of the beginning might entice me. Tricky one that.

Mrs Boob Pencil said...

I'm afraid my answer to what I'd like to see won't be very helpful... I want to see something original, unusual, eye-catching, memorable... and it'd be great if it made me smile or laugh. But as for detail... I want to be surprised, so if I could tell you exactly what I wanted it wouldn't be surprising! Sorry.

As for podcasts... I just don't listen to them. I don't have the spare time, I get fidgety without visual feedback and although I do listen to radio a lot, I listen to it in a different room to where my computer is, and I'm not technically savvy / rich enough to bridge that gap.

Eek, this wasn't a very helpful comment. Sorry!

Kate.Kingsley said...

I used to listen to podcasts on my walk to work ~ usually the Guardian books podcast ~ and an interesting author interview woud prompt me to check out the book.

But as for trailers, I always find it a bit odd seeing a televised ad for a book. It just doesn't seem to 'fit', somehow. Books just aren't dynamic in a way that can be projected externally, I find. The dynamism is personal & intimate, and thats something thats hard to convey viaually, for me at least.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Interesting answers, and cormed what i already knew, really. Caroline - your Black Boxes widget was amazing. I wish I could get something similar.

What did interest me yesterday was Orange Mobile sending me an excerpt of one of the books up for this year's Orange prize. Most interesting, it was.

CC Devine said...

I don't listen to podcasts much and also agree with Kate in that televised trailers for books seem strange and is not the best way to entice me to buy the book.

To be honest I find reviews helpful (a tad old-fashioned me!) and regularly go into bookshops so am far more likely to buy a book because of it's prominence in the store and the cover art and blurb. Advertising is advertising but nothing can replace picking up the book and leafing through it to see if the style of writing appeals.

I do like reading excerpts so the Orange text idea could be good but I tend to tick 'no' to communications from service providers like that so would be unlikely to get such texts.

Mrs Boob Pencil said...

PS I love the idea of a glove puppet!

And did you ever see the one where the woman was writing things out - I think on a white board - in a kitchen? That was brilliant, although I can't remember what the book was, beyond it being a book of short stories by a woman, so, um...

Graeme K Talboys said...

This is a key issue with new models of publishing emerging - how to get your book noticed without a huge marketing budget (which, judging by the above comments and my own feelings, rarely works anyway). The thing I find most compelling is seeing the cover along with something like an interview that avoids all the usual questions or an extract (which is basically the equivalent of browsing in a bookshop).

ChrisH said...

Being utterly shallow, a good cover is what initially attracts me to a book (Love the cover of 'An Ungodly Child'. Reviews, yes, but only if the writer is someone I perceive to be on the same wavelength as me. I wouldn't watch a trailer or listen to a podcast.

Clare Sudbery said...

Does anyone else feel utterly exhausted at even the thought of having to worry about all this stuff? Almost makes me glad I don't have a book to sell!

Captain Black said...

I'll have a fresh coffee, thanks. Guess I'll have to make my own Marmite on toast...

What a good question! I've never been very into marketing and promotion, so I'd probably be crap at it. Something along the lines of not being able to sell a lifebelt to a drowning person. I wonder if a book trailer is too sexed up, then people might get confused and think it's a film. Though, maybe that's not a bad thing.

As Caroline says, blog widgets seem to work but aren't necessarily as good as they seem. I must confess I never joined in the BB one {hangs head in shame}. As I said, marketing tends to turn me off. Perhaps I'm unusual, but the more things are hyped, the less I want to get involved. Does that make me weird? I've avoided Twilight and Harry Potter so far, for these reasons. Oh, and Twitter.

I'm not entirely sure what constitutes a Podcast. Do you need an iPod for that, or is it a more generic term? In any case, I'm not a big listener to any kind of "radio". Book reviews are much more likely to get me to part with my cash.

Clare: Yes! I don't feel it should be part of my job. Why are writers expected to be (self) publicists? That's definitely not where my skills lie.

Hmm, I haven't really answered the question, have I? What would I like to see in a trailer? Not much idea after all that. Sorry.

Revisionista said...

I'm not usually influenced by book trailers~~it's usually the excerpt and/or hearing an interview with the author that'll make me buy the book. I think author's being interviewed on other people's blogs is also effective.

Calistro said...

Hmmm...this is something I'll need to start thinking about in the next few months so it's a very timely topic. Thanks.

I think blog interviews are good for spreading the word about your book. If someone sees a cover enough times there'll be that sense of recognition if they see it in a book shop and the interviews might arouse enough interest for that person to buy it. The thing is...most blogs seem to be interconnected somehow, particularly writers blogs, so I often end up reading any interview with the same author on 4 or 5 blogs. Perhaps it might be more useful to find a way to have interviews on readers blogs rather than writers blog? Maybe the answer is to contact reader blogs offering an interview and a book giveaway/comp?

All this is pure speculation btw.

As for trailers? I've seen some very clever ones but I'm not sure how useful they are. What you want, ideally, is some kind of viral campaign (like the woman writing on the fridge/cooker etc one). That way people forward it to each other not because they think "Oooh you'll like this book" but because the viral thing is entertaining or funny or thought provoking or whatever. The book or product should only be tagged on at the end, not the focus of the viral marketing (IMO). That's why Caroline's widget was so successful - because there was a sense of adventure, the unknown and a sense of community.

Quite how you go about coming up with one of these fantastic viral campaigns, I have no idea! I think your best bet is to think about the kind of readers you're targeting and what might excite them?

Sorry...just thinking aloud here...

Re podcasts. I used to listen to the Ricky Gervais one (before he started charging) but, other than that, no. If you created a podcast about the process involved in writing a novel, how to plot, how to create memorable characters etc you'd get other writers interested and they'd download it in order to learn. A plug for your book at the end might generate some interest.

Just thoughts..hope they help.

sheepish said...

I'm afraid I am fairly low tech in reading reviews to decide which books to buy. I don't get to book shops very often either so can't even browse. Is it a silly question but what do you do with the glove puppet???
Good luck with whatever you decide on.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Sheepish - My videos tend to involve the Jasfoup glove puppet expounding upon the delights of tea, or cake, or similar, gentle hedonisms and generally end with "and buy this book because it's all about me (and Harold)"

30 seconds of fun, is the aim.

Karen said...

Author interviews draw me in, and I always read book reviews in newspapers and magazines, but I don't see the need for book trailers (though one starring Colin Firth might entice me!!) and I never listen to podcasts I'm afraid.

So basically, get interviewed a lot and good luck with your whistle-stop tour :o)

Fiona said...

I've listened to a few podcasts and liked them. A problem with one or two of them was the author trying to play the role of an actor. I like the story read in a flat, clear and unemotional way.

I love your book cover too, Rachel, and having read some of your writing, I know the inside would be just as good.

Mrs Boob Pencil said...

"I like the story read in a flat, clear and unemotional way."

I'm intrigued by this. I write energetically and I read energetically too... if there's emotion in the writing then inevitably that comes out in the reading... but I don't entirely understand why you would want it not to? When I've seen authors get engrossed and engaged in the reading of their own work, it's drawn me in. But maybe I misunderstand - are you objecting to ham acting, or readings with expression?

Fiona said...

Hi Clare, I like it read that way because it's closer to actually reading the book myself. I, the reader, want to decide or imagine the character crying, shouting, whispering. If the writing's good enough, I'll get it through the words and not the author emphasising it as he or she reads it.

Then again I could be just cranky:)

pierre l said...

Hello Rachel. Clare had already mentioned my favourite book trailer of all times (which now comes with a sequel, so you might want to click on "the beginning" at slide 2). It advertises Miranda July's book of short stories "No one belongs more than you do".
I have just watched it again and still enjoy it. My copy of the book is a yellow hardback.

Un Peu Loufoque said...

shallow as ChrisH here I am afraid! Give me pretty good artworks and good type face and I am yours!! Also have to admit I am only person in world over 12 who has not got an ipod to braodcast too or wahtever you do with them!

Un Peu Loufoque said...

shallow as ChrisH here I am afraid! Give me pretty good artworks and good type face and I am yours!! Also have to admit I am only person in world over 12 who has not got an ipod to braodcast too or wahtever you do with them!

Wordtryst - Liane Spicer said...

The consensus seems to be that book trailers don't sell books, but they can't hurt in the overall effort to raise awareness of the book. Reviews and recommendations from friends, otoh, do sell 'em. I'm like the Captain in that the more a product/author is hyped, the less inclined I am to be interested - yeah, ditto on the JK Rowlings and Dan Browns. But then I'm contrary by nature. The millions of people buying those books would indicate that the hype works.

I made a trailer when I stumbled across the ANIMOTO.COM website. It allows you to choose your music, upload images, and voila, you have a cute (or not) trailer. I had fun doing it and posting it about the place but I wouldn't call that marketing as such, and to tell the truth a succession of stills seems rather lame compared to all those dynamic music and movie trailers.

Publicizing oneself is anathema to me too, but if you want to survive in publishing these days you have no choice. Even the big names with huge marketing budgets behind them have to get out there and tout their books. Horrible, really.

I like your puppet idea, LD. It's novel and I'd watch it based on that alone.

Leatherdykeuk said...

What a fabulous set of responses today, and there I was feeling bad that I couldn't come up with an interesting topic. Thank you all for the food for thought.

Annieye said...

I think book covers, the first page and the blurb on the back sells books more than anything. If someone recommends a book to me I'll usually read it too. I can't say I go much on adverts, podcasts or trailers.

I think these days authors have to do a lot of their own promotion and marketing and I agree - Caroline's Black Boxes widget was brilliant.