Book trailers (to wit: trailers for books) have fascinated me for a while now. I can completely see their value, if done well. But they’re a bit of a challenge, like perfume adverts. The audience can’t do the obvious thing and actually smell the product, so the advert is most likely to contain a woman rolling around erotically, slowly removing what little clothes she has on while a testosterone-deep voiceover rasps, ‘Erogenous, the new fragrance for women.’ The marketing team (or author) has to think of a way to convey what the book is about without resorting to simply reading out the blurb over a flashing image of the book slowly removing its jacket. The other issue, particularly with genre publishers, is that there are small teams and smaller budgets to contend with, but that doesn’t stop them from trying this marketing endeavour. Some of the following trailers work. Others not so much.
Michelle Zink’s Prophecy of the Sisters – Atom
This uses a mixture of the blurb and photography, with slightly repetitive music. It’s pretty good and I particularly like the mysterious glimpse of the island, but it misses out on describing the actual plot and as far as I can see it’s about a good sister, an evil sister, and only one of them can prevail, which understandably breeds some mistrust between the siblings.
Aliette de Bodard’s Harbinger of the Storm – Angry Robot Books
This is by the author rather than the publisher and it’s an inventive mix of animation, photography and film. It also gives a good sense of the plot.
Greg Bear’s Hull Zero Three – Orbit Books
Built by the Quake2World project, this is a videogame-esque trailer that is simply a teaser for the book, so no blurb, simply the words ‘Can you survive the ship?’ The blood on the floor is a nice touch, and it’s Event Horizon meets Alien by the looks of things, but that’s only a guess, although guessing is what we are being invited to do.
Trent Jamieson’s Death Most Definite – Orbit Books
This is the first book trailer by the author for this title. I’m not kidding, I actually clicked on it several times, utterly confused, before it finally, er, clicked. It’s a book trailer. Get it?
And here is the second:
This is by far my favourite trailer I’ve seen so far. It’s atmospheric, intruiging and beautifully done. The graphic-novel pictures coupled with the black birds breaking up each image is just phenomenal and really makes me want to read this book and find out more about the author behind the trailer.
Stephen King’s Full Dark, No Stars – Hodder and Stoughton
And this is what happens when you have a big budget. For Stephen King’s collection of four short stories in Full Dark, No Stars Hodder and Stoughton have teamed up with Future Shorts and created four unique, completely different trailers, that they say are to give the ‘flavour’ of each story, rather than portray the exact details. Disturbing views of bloodied bed sheets, shady roadside deals and calm night time murders abound in what are essentially short films. Intriguing, dark and twisted, the completely silent (apart from a slow, drawling version of ‘Stand by your man’)A Good Marriage trailer is my favourite.