Q. When is it absolutely right for an author to appear in his/her own book trailer?
A. When the book is a very personal story.
Book trailers are all the rage these days, the latest marketing tool for the multi-media age. If you haven’t seen one yet, they are essentially like the movie trailers you see at the cinema before the feature… a 3-4 minute summary of themes or plot, designed to pique the curiosity of an audience.
Book trailers most commonly appear on the web, although sometimes you’ll see them in other contexts as well. Because words on a page don’t exactly create a visual feast (!), directors of book trailers find other ways to represent the imagery of the book. Some use actors, some use other kinds of pictures and graphic concepts. Some book trailers cost tens of thousands of dollars to make, or even more; others are made on a much smaller budget.
It’s rare for an author to appear in their own book trailer. A client of mine, Dr Ernest F. Crocker, has recently appeared in the trailer for his forthcoming book NINE MINUTES PAST MIDNIGHT. Ern is a senior and highly-respected medical specialist based in Sydney, Australia, and his book is due out September 2011 with Authentic. I worked with Ern through the manuscript development and editing process.
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I believe Ern made a good decision to appear in his book trailer, for the following reasons:
1. Getting to know the author is an important part of this particular book
NINE MINUTES PAST MIDNIGHT is essentially Ern’s personal story of how as a young, rigorously scientific doctor he was confronted with a medical miracle that science and logic could not explain. It altered the course of Ern’s life and career, and also set him on a quest to talk to other doctors about their experiences of divine intervention in their work and lives – including those times when the miracle doesn’t happen.
The primary strength of this book is Ern’s willingness to reveal his inner thoughts – including doubts, fears and failings – to the reader. It feels ‘right’ that we get to see him in the trailer. It helps us trust his honesty.
2. This author does a good job in front of a camera
Ern is a public speaker with many years of experience, which stands him in good stead when looking down the barrel of a camera.
3. It creates positive synergies with the author’s platform as a speaker
Ern is building a respected reputation as a speaker in the general area of wellness for business people. To appear in his own book trailer builds two-way ‘brand recognition’ between his speaker and author roles.
What do you think about authors appearing in their own book trailers? I’d love to see some links to your favourite book trailers, as well! If you’re writing a book, are you already thinking about your trailer?