Book trailers aren’t exactly new to the book community, but they sure are more prominent today than they have been in past years. Why? Take a look at any book trailer from 2012 or earlier and you’ll discover that “cinematic” probably wouldn’t even come to mind. You’ll most likely find poor animation or poor-quality stock images paired with terrible fonts and just the wrong music. This is why people have been saying trailers for books tend to suck. Those were the old days however.
Book trailers in general gained an audience through the last four years once readers realized that they were, in a sense, bringing some of their favorite books to life like a 60-second movie clip. They created an engaging platform to garner new readers and to create excitement for new releases. Which means publishers and authors are finally getting it right. Or at least they’re going to the right filmmakers. So in no particular order, here are five trailers for books that make book trailers suck less.
1. CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS
Author: Miriam Forster
Game of Thrones ring any bells here? If it’s not the score music, it’s the unraveling map and script font. While there is no live-action in this trailer, the effects and visuals more than make up for it. And just when you think there’s only text, the Houses the characters train in are introduced with startling 3D emblems. This adds an element of originality that you can’t get with simple text. As the trailer comes to an end, it spotlights a girl wielding a sword. No face, because that’s half of the mystery. Factor in the quick pan-out that closes with the fantastic book cover, and there’s every reason why this trailer made the list.
2. REVOLUTION 19
Author: Gregg Rosenblum
There’s a lot to be said about this trailer and I’m going to try to say it all within one paragraph, because here is where “cinematic” comes to mind. First thing: the visuals are amazing. The boy in the machine is something straight out of a Sci-Fi movie. It’s an instant hook, and it was done successfully. While the robots are a little video-game-like, it’s forgivable. The amazing cityscape and live-action is there to distract you. Speaking of which: the people running through the woods, partnered with that all-time favorite “danger is coming” music, create palpable excitement. It’s a trailer you can watch and soak in–because there is so much to absorb–and feel the suspense. Like sitting in a movie theater during the previews and deciding that you’re going to watch that movie because the trailer had you so enthralled. That’s what this trailer is. The text hints at what the book is about without giving too much away, and then a final round of applause is due for explaining the title of the book. Simple, but genius.
3. TINY PRETTY THINGS
Authors: Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
This book trailer screams “different” the second it begins. Instead of text, there is a voiceover, which can be a thousand times more captivating. It’s insight into the character, like hearing them speak on audiobooks. It’s just different, better, than reading the words yourself. What is probably the best thing about this trailer is the sole fact that the ballerina in the jewelry box is black, as is the actress. Not that many jewelry boxes are made this way, right? The actress tells a quick story with so much calm in her voice that the ending is so unexpected. It’s almost haunting, the way the ballerina just spins and spins, and then stops. This book trailer is seriously 30 seconds of marketing brilliance. Is it romance? Is it a suspense novel, thriller? Don’t know? Read the book.
4. CLOCKWORK PRINCESS
Author: Cassandra Clare
Perhaps it’s an odd thing to note, but the editing of this trailer is truly amazing. It’s a trailer that could be watched a hundred times and never grow dull, honestly. The colors are dreamy and whimsical–basically what every teen fiction romance trailer tends to entail. It’s a quick combination between text and live-action, but then the live-action isn’t in an actual location. It’s some sort of green-screen working and it’s perfect because it stays true to the book. This is a trailer you wouldn’t have found before 2012. The cinematic quality is nothing like those homemade trailers. The cherry on top is the immediate switch from voiceover to live-talking, the second the actress appears covered in blood. That is rare. Jaw-dropping. Yes, point me in the direction of the nearest book store, please.
Author: Josephine Angelini
Pacing is something to consider when watching any book trailer. It’s one thing, arguably, that trailers lacked four years ago. The trailer for Dreamless should begin with a “pace warning”, because it was so fast and upbeat that I had to watch it three times just to thoroughly soak everything in. The fast-pacing isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this case, though. It was jarring, but in that I-really-need-to-know-more-now kind of way. What makes it work is the voiceover. No one likes having to rewind a video because they didn’t get to read all of the text. Uncool. The images come and go quickly, yet it drives a point in about the book. Perhaps it’s that fast-paced as well? There is no live-action, but the images move like there is. It’s those swift transitions between images that is almost Windows Movie Maker-like. The difference is that the image subject and the background move. It stands out, it’s much better than the average stock photo, and it designs that “wow-factor” that is missing from so many book trailers.
Do all book trailers suck? Some do, but with so many innovative approaches in the last few years, the slideshow error is soon to be a thing of the past.
Written by Nadege Richards.