Video book trailers are the hot thing now, it seems. Everyone is doing one. Some are great (no, I have no examples because I really, really pay very little attention to them) and some are downright corny (no examples because my mama said if you can’t say anything nice, etc). Apparently, according to the Wall Street Journal, it’s turning into quite the cottage industry:

Circle of Seven Productions, a Brentwood, Calif.-based production company specializing in book trailers, had more than 100 clients last year, up from about a dozen in 2005. TurnHere, a two-year-old Emeryville, Calif.-based production company, has deals with Simon & Schuster, Penguin Group, Hachette and Chronicle Books. And HarperCollins has cut out the middleman; the publisher just built a book-trailer studio in its offices and says it hopes to churn out 500 author videos this year.

The article also says that book trailers can cost a lot of money to produce. Obviously, this puts them out of reach of the average author, which is why the homemade ones crop up a lot. Nothing wrong with homemade and, again, some of them are pretty good.

But do they work?

There is scant evidence, however, that the average book trailer actually has much impact on book sales. Despite Doubleday’s recent video upload for the self-help book “We Plan, God Laughs,” by Sherre Hirsch, the book has sold only about 3,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70% of U.S. book sales. And even though Jami Attenberg’s trailer for her novel “The Kept Man” is reminiscent of Miranda July’s short films, only 3,000 copies of Ms. Attenberg’s recent book have sold. Most trailers cost about $2,000 to produce.

I think romance writers have embraced the idea of trailers and many work hard to make them. But what do I do when I click over to a site that has a trailer? I skip it. Unless you’re a friend, or you’ve specifically asked me to look at it, I skip. Why?

Dunno, guess I’m in a hurry. And that, to me, is the crux of the trailer issue. If you want to do a trailer, make it short, sweet, and to the point. Just my opinion, of course!

What do you think about trailers? Like them, hate them, want to do one? What are your criteria for good trailers? What makes you watch or not?

**The WSJ article is here.

**Wow, here’s a site where you can go watch book trailers! In the interest of research, I watched. Okay, there are some good ones here. Hmm… 🙂