I've been posting about book trailers on Mondays for about two months. There are a lot more book trailers out there and there is a lot more to learn, but I got the answers I was looking for.
The three most important thing a book trailer needs:
The Hook - The point of a book trailer (I assume) is to encourage people to buy/read the book. You just need to hook them and for that you don't need to know the intricacies of the story. If you can sum up the whole book in a 30-60 second video then the book isn't worth reading. A trailer is about the right length for that one moment that changes everything and a hint of all the drama/action/adventure/heartache that is to come.
Incarceron did this brilliantly:
The Tone - This sets up what kind of story the book is and after the hook is the most important aspect of a trailer. In the above Incarceron trailer the sounds, the colors, it all adds up to this intensly creepy feeling of being watched. It sets us up for danger and intrigue and ties us in perfectly with the tone of the book.
Another great example is The Replacement. It's so creepy!
On the other side of the coin, I can think of at least one book where the trailer got the tone wrong and set me up for the wrong book. I had the wrong expectations and ended up really not enjoying the book.
The Audience - This is most important with sequels and established authors. If there is already a built in audience, the purpose of the trailer is to remind them that they love the other books and get them excited for upcoming books.
Three good examples spring to mind:
City of Fallen Angels:
and The Scorch Trials:
And since I've mentioned it in almost every book trailer blog I've done, I want to explain why my number one pet peeve with trailers is the overuse of voice over. First, I think that a lot of times when voice over is used, it is because the trailer is trying to explain the story instead of just giving us the hook. Second, and this one is more of a personal thing, I work in the film industry and interact with actors on a daily basis. The voice over often just sounds like bad acting to me.
One noteable exception is Elixir by Hilary Duff:
I may be wrong, but I believe that is actually Duff doing the voice over. The voice over works because she is an experienced actress who knows how to deliver lines (and half of Lizzie McGuire was voice over so she's got experience with more than just live acting). Seeing as she wrote the book, she's also way more tied in to the character than another actor would be. This makes a HUGE difference.
I've really enjoyed checking out all the book trailers out there. The publishing industry is just starting to really sell books the way other products are sold and that is exciting. If I notice new trends, I may come back to this topic, but for now, I'm moving on.
Next week starts a new topic. It's totally different that book trailers, but I think it will be just as entertaining.