Fellow Memory Eater contributor Justin Swapp is working on a series of story trailers for the anthology. Mine went live today, and includes Carly Sorge’s fantastic artwork for the story, which I’ve previously only shown to select people on my iPod screen. So I figured I should show it off to everyone:
Before I talk more about book and story trailers, let’s go through all the standard ads. We still need a lot of support to get The Memory Eater funded. We’ve had an awesome first week and the 1/3 funding threshold is already in our rear view mirror, but it’s still a long road ahead. $8 gets you an eBook, $15 gets you the print edition, cheap for either and both help support us. There are also still four original pieces of story art available for purchase. The sampler, including the start to my story Home Again, is still live. There’s also an interview with the editor up. Go check it all out.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around book trailers. I’m not going to pretend I know the full history of these videos, I only know my personal history with them. It’s a history of jealousy and distrust, just as all good stories should be. Long before I was on the internet, the only book trailers I ever saw were those very few books that got television commercials. They would be Tom Clancy books and James Patterson books. Hell, Patterson still shows up regularly, even in commercials that aren’t actually for his books. I’m not sure where the feelings first came from, but as I got older I rolled my eyes more and more at book commercials. Something about the kind of books that were being advertised to the much lower common denominator of the television audience.
Yes, I was a snotty little brat at points in my life. Perhaps still am.
Do I begrudge James Patterson of his success? No. Do I wish I had it for myself? Absolutely. Even if that meant feeling like I was selling my soul and engaging in the kinds of writerly activities that I’ve rolled my eyes at in the past? You better fucking believe it.
But I don’t, and so I still roll my eyes whenever I see James Patterson threatening to kill of a character from a series of books I don’t read if I don’t read the new one. Or using words like “unputdownable.” Which appeared in two different commercials, so I suspect he’s trolling us. Which I can begrudgingly respect him for.
I’m not sure when I first saw a book trailer on YouTube. I do know it was recent, because I think the book trailer for last year’s Phoenix Rising was the first I actually sat down and watched in its entirety. When I first came across these trailers, I lumped them in with the Patterson and Clancy commercials, and dismissed them as a whole. However, there’s one very big element to the commercials that set them apart from the trailers.
How many authors can you name that get commercials? Beyond the ones I already have in this post. It’s not something that happens for a huge, vast, overwhelming majority of writers. Seriously, the number of writers who get television commercials is a rounding error away from 0%. It’s just an avenue of advertising not open for even the biggest name writers, and certainly not for those who are relative unknowns in the field.
I’m going to stop right there, because you all see where this is going. This is me waxing on about how the internet democratizes communication, allowing individuals to reach out to individuals in a way never before possible. Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying, and I know it’s not any kind of grand revelation. Hell, this entire blog is one fledgling writer reaching out to people that he wouldn’t have any way of reaching out to before the internet.
So instead, as someone who has viewed a couple of book trailers now, some thoughts I’ve had.
- Use all the resources available to you. If all you have is a program that lets you put up some simple animations with some clip art, do it. If you have friends with any kind of film making experience who owe you favors, cash them in. The better it looks, the more likely someone is going to stick with it long enough to see the publication date, or share it with friends.
- Remember it represents you. Check the spelling, check the grammar, take some time to edit it and make it something you can be proud of, and something that will represent you positively.
- Get it out there. Youtube isn’t going to send the link out for you. Yes, the internet blah blah democratization blah blah. It hasn’t gone THAT far. Get the word out there. Zero views does no one any good.
- Don’t spam. I’m trying to be good about this myself during the Kickstarter campaign, and I certainly hope people will say something if I’m going too far (this is not only permission to do so, but an actual request). I’m limiting myself to a tweet a day and a blog post a week, where the blog post has to use the Kickstarter to segue into another topic. Diminishing returns are a real thing. You’re talking to largely the same audience each time. I have personally hit that unfollow button on the writer who keeps posting the same blog post or video four or five times a day every single day.
Get out there. Self promote. It’s the power of the internet.