At this point, we’ve all watched a trailer on youtube and seen comments asking things like “is this for a book, or a movie?” Many of us have probably made the mistake ourselves. We don’t blame you. A lot of these new book trailers wouldn’t feel out of place sandwiched between the low budget horror preview, and the superhero Hollywood blockbuster.
As book trailer production quality continues to progress, and as more YA epics are being adapted trying to be the next Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or Twilight, it’s getting harder and harder to differentiate between mediums. The rise of cross-media collaboration in the literary world, particularly using video, is an exciting new addition to the vastly changing landscape of publishing. Here’s a list of 10 book trailers we feel do an excellent job of further blurring that divide between the printed page and the silver screen.
1. THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey
The attention to detail paid to the making of the series of cinematic book trailer for Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave has lead to many fans in the comments wondering just when the movie was coming out, long before the recently released film adaptation had even been shot. One of the benefits of a truly cinematic book trailer is that it allows both readers and studios to visualize the potential of a film-adaptation well before any development contracts have been written up.
2. Half Bad by Sally Green
Our book trailer for Sally Green’s Half-Bad was released in tandem with a real-world publicity campaign, timed for the release of her debut novel. This book trailer remains as one of our favorite Film 14 projects, and the concentrated efforts of the publicity team over at Penguin caused Half-Bad to create quite the splash, catapulting Sally Green from an unknown author to a force-to-be reckoned with. The trailer was shot by Film 14 regulars Ben and Julien Deka, and the hyperkinetic, frantic pace of the project undoubtedly wouldn’t appear out of place among the trailers at your local movie theater.
3. THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray
Everyone loves a period-piece, and with the rapidly increasing amount of quality archival footage available on the internet today, novels set in the past really reap the benefits. The cinematic book trailer for Libba Bray’s The Diviners starts with an establishing montage of found footage clips, transitions into a period specific, black & white silent era scene, before finally stripping away artifice and planting us, in full color, in the midst of the grizzly murder. The kind of steps taken by this cinematic book trailer are more advanced than your average high-budget movie trailer, and the quality of the piece makes for an excellent case as to why this trailer would work perfectly in the movie theater.
4. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
With compelling visuals that span multiple seasons, a swelling, majestically cinematic score paired with an intriguing voiceover, the book trailer for Ruta Sepetys’ Salt to the Sea does a terrific job of setting the tone of the novel without giving away too much of the plot. How many movie trailers can say the same?
5. Lily Alone by Jacqueline Wilson
Out of all of the book trailers on this list, this trailer for Jacqueline Wilson’s Lily Alone might be the one that most possibly runs the closest to the average movie trailer that you’d see in theaters. The amount of individual scenes, the expertly in character voiceover, using multiple songs to allude to character development within the narrative, and even the use of in-scene dialogue, all mimic a trailer for a feature film. The only difference is that movie trailer editors include all of these things because they have a large amount of footage to select from. The filmmakers who made the book trailer for Lily Alone should be recognized for going so far above and beyond for this project – the vast majority of movie-goers probably could not tell that this isn’t a movie trailer.
6. A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes
The book trailer for A Book of Spirits & Thieves might be the only straight fantasy trailer on this list, which is strange given the popularity of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, as well as the highly cinematic HBO show Game of Thrones. Maybe 2016 will fill in this gap and give us a few more fantasy YA novels to make a new list? This book trailer focuses on a rather simple, yet purely fantastic element of the novel – the transport between two worlds.
7. Monument 14 Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne
Emmy Laybourne’s Monument 14 series has been a fan favorite since the first book came out, and a movie adaptation has been in development for a few years, much to the chagrin of some rather impatient, though wholly devoted fans. Perhaps this impatience is what caused a lot of fans to believe that this book trailer was in fact a trailer for the movie, though I’m sure the quality of the piece also has a lot to do with that. The book trailer features explosions, airplanes, a truly cinematic score, even a CGI noxious gas. It’s easy to understand why fans would have been confused. Here’s to the Monument 14 movie, which we’re sure will feature all of these things and more!
8. REBOOT by Amy Tintera
This science-fiction boot camp book trailer begins with all the classic elements of a military film: the tough drill sergeant, a burning building, and a disheveled, yet capable crew standing at attention. However, it only takes a moment for the trailer to abandon these tropes and present us with the fascinating premise for the novel. For both movie trailers and book trailers, a sign of quality is a video ends having raised more questions than its answered. Although the production quality of this trailer has grow worse with time, its included on this list for its ability to really plant the conflict in your mind.
9. THE RETURN by JENNIFER ARMENTROUT
Not every book trailer allows for extras littered about the floor as dead bodies in pools of blood, CW TV stars in cameo appearances, and Demi-God/Apollyon sexual tension. The trailer for Jennifer Armentrout’s The Return, plus the trailer for the second book in the TITAN series The Power, has all of these things and more. The books are strongly written, and elicit a strong, devotional response from fans, so likely it’s only a matter of time until we see the film adaptation gracing movie-theater previews!
10. The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden
Alys Arden’s trailer for The Casquette Girls is everything you could ever want for a novel about a teenager dealing with ancient vampires living in contemporary New Orleans. You’ve got your beautiful establishing shots of the city, the distinct NOLA architecture, eery gothic imagery, regionally specific voodoo elements, and even the creepy Casquette that the novel uses for its namesake.