Coming to a Website Near You! The Book Trailer Hits the Marketplace


Coming to a Website Near You! The Book Trailer Hits the Marketplace

Ahhhh, the good old days. Once upon a time, writers like me were treated royally by their publishers. My children and I were once swept off to California to receive the International Reading Association prize (Spite Fences). We were feted at an American Library Association Award event at the Rainbow Room in New York City (Kinship). I was given a wine-and-cheese party in Nashville at the Opryland Hotel (Fallout). My children and I served as charity ambassadors at the Charlotte S. Huck Children’s Literature Festival in Redlands, California (Kathy’s Hats: A Story of Hope).

No more.

Budgets have been slashed, marketing departments shrunk, and such generous efforts are reserved for only the most promising of books. Sadly for writers, who would prefer to spend their time creating, they must now double as marketing agents, hawking their wares on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon, and other sites that can reach thousands of readers with the click of a SEND button. With the crush of competition represented by e-books and self-publishing added to the pressure, publishers have been forced to find new – and scalable – models to get not merely dozens or hundreds but thousands of eyeballs focused on their books.

Enter the book trailer.

I was first introduced to the book trailer at a Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) regional conference in Ft. Wayne, Indiana in 2013. The dynamic young woman who first introduced me to this new marketing medium was premier marketeer Kirsten Cappy of Curious City: Where Kids & Books Meet.

She showed the first book trailer I had ever seen, the trailer she had developed for a book about Effa Manley, promoter of baseball’s American Negro League. I found the crack of the bat, the 40-styles music, and the cheering crowds hard to resist.  Here’s the trailer for She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story.

Check out this book trailer – and others – and let me know what you think about this marketing trend.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the book trailer – for readers and for writers? How successful is this tool likely to be? What are its potential uses – and abuses? Is the trend likely to sizzle – or fizzle? Let me know what you think. And let’s talk over popcorn.

         Author of the soon-to-be-published biography Fanny Seward: A Life

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