...does it make a sound if no one is there to hear it?
Publishers advertise their wares to entice readers to buy their books. It's basic business.
Keep your eyes open on Twitter and you'll find all sorts of give-aways of books about to be laid down. You'll be directed to websites for the author being hyped, to the publisher's website where you can read a sample chapter, and on and on and on.
Often, you'll be given a link to a book trailer.
It's a commercial, in essence, the sort of thing you'd see on television if you weren't clicking past it to avoid the annoyance of watching commercials when all you want to see is The Mentalist.
So why would a publisher spend money to produce a commercial when people don't want to watch commercials? Does anyone really pay attention to book trailers? Has anyone thought to do a market survey to find out if a book trailer helps to sell books?
Nina Metz thinks people would watch them, if the trailers were done well.
The problem is, they're not much to look at. Marketing budgets are small, and when a publisher is throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, there isn't a lot of cash in the kitty to produce something that's more along the lines of a well-crafted music video.
But even if production quality was high, would a visual help to promote a product that has to be filtered through the reader's imagination?
As Ms. Metz has noticed, book trailers aren't a big part of book promotion. You get the sense that publishers are going through the motions, not convinced that the bright young lights in marketing really know what they're doing, but maybe they do, because they're young and in touch with their demographic so let's try it.
A video can't show you an author's voice. Nor can it create the feeling a reader has when absorbing prose and developing a personal picture of the characters and the setting.
As readers, do we really want someone else doing that for us? How often have you been disappointed by Hollywood's treatment of a book you've read? Not how you pictured the room, the character's reaction, the dress---that's part of the beauty of reading.
The few book trailers I've seen have done nothing to inspire me to go out and pick up a particular novel. It's the book itself that does the selling, the opening pages or the jacket copy.
A commercial for a book?
No thanks. We're used to cable television. We don't watch commercials anymore.