I have watched Maggie Steifvater’s video twice, because it makes me giggle. The fairy with toast? HA! The SCUBA love?! SNORT.
And, as Darlene Marshall pointed out in the comments, I’m totally curious about Maggie Stiefvater’s books.
So why did this trailer work for me? Two reasons:
1. It’s indirect marketing at its finest. It’s not a hard sell. You don’t see her books until later in the trailer and even then they’re not the main focus. It’s about paranormal romance and hot squid lovin’.
You don’t even see the author because she is, literally and figuratively, behind the content. The content is front and center.
2. FUNNY FUNNY. Stiefvater is demonstrating both a knowledge of the paranormal genre (yes, many people are looking for a new genre to scratch the vampy itch) and a familiarity with the more popular tropes within it, while cracking me up.
The format, with the low tech cards and the well-rendered animation, is simple and witty. If that’s Stiefvater’s style of humor, and it carries over into her books, I’m so curious about them already, because damn that was clever.
I love clever. I love funny. I love witty.
And I hate being subjected to variations of a hard sell. And how many combinations of stock photography, swirly animation, and voiceover can there be before the trailers all begin to look the same?
If her video had been “A fairie tortured by his own desires… A mortal woman who isn’t what she seems…” with photographs and blowing leaves and whatnot, I would have tuned out almost immediately.
I did an interview in 2007 about book trailers with Toni McGee Causey, Colleen Gleason, and Jackie Kessler, and over two years later, many of the techniques they discuss are still in active use. Causey made the point that part of the purpose of her trailer was to explain her story and her character to the publisher’s marketing folks in a mini-film so they’d better know how to publicize the book.
Two years later, I think that is probably still one of the best uses for a book trailer. In addition, I think book trailers are mostly interesting to other authors. As a reader, I am rarely if ever swayed by them when they are a plot synopsis in standard promotional language.
That said, I am always curious about creative authors. Display humor and wit with cleverness and style? I’m going to be curious about you, and curious about how those traits might show up in your books. Hell, take this example: I’ve typed her name so many times, I now know how to spell “Stiefvater.” If I see her name, I’ll definitely recognize it.
Also? Kraken. Giant squid. OMGHA! Only thing better: WERE SQUID. WHYYYY is no one writing the were-squid chronicles?!
So, the age old question: do book trailers do anything for you as a reader? Do you like the video approach to book synopsis? Would you like to watch booktrailers while you shopped in a bookstore, for example, as a shopping aid? Or do they leave you indifferent?