Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Trailers Part 4 - The God-Awful Informercial & The Hey Looky Here

I know, I know. It's been a while what with all the conventions, cover reveals, edits, contracts, distractions and other groovy stuff getting in the way of science. Well I'm back and I'm here to lay on you the next spine-tingling installment of my strange journey into Book Trailers.

I classified the book trailers I found into five categories listed below.
If you’ve been following this earth-shattering series you’ll notice I'm changing things up a bit today. I dedicated an entire post on each one of the first three but I'm going to lump the last two in this one today because I only have one example of each. I coulnd't make myself look for another "God-Awful Informercial," and my "Hey Looky Here" cannot be followed.

If you haven’t seen the previous posts, grab some popcorn and go check them out. It’s all linked above. I'll wait.

<Pause while you go back and read my brilliance in the previous posts>

Back so soon? Wipe that grin off your face. Yes, I write long fiction too. Check out BEATRYSEL now on Amazon and watch for THE UNSEEN ELEANOR coming out in July. But now, back to the blog.

Okay, here we go, the God-Awful Infomercial.

One of the reasons it took me so long to get to this post is that I absolutely hate the next  book trailer. Maybe if it were for a different book by a different author in a different dimension where greed wasn’t made a virtue and religion a tool of oppression, patriarchy and conservative politics, I could warm up to it. But then of course I’d be a being of pure thought then, transcendental and orange. Yeah, I’d probably be orange.

Check this out.
I don’t like Dave Ramsey. I associate his voice with right wing hate radio, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. A friend of mine gave us tickets and the wife and I attended a Dave Ramsey show here in town. It was a money management seminar, but it was held in an auditorium and he spent as much time plugging books and other seminars as he did teaching us the principals of money management. I got a couple of good gems out of it, but the experience was so heavily politicized it made my tie-dye bleed.

Okay, putting aside my own feelings, I have to admit that this is a good book-trailer. Or do I? Is it really a book trailer or is it just a commercial?

I wrestled with this for a while while I decided to include it or not in this survey and came to the conclusion that it was a book trailer. How else can a non-fiction book be presented except by a commercial/infomercial? I guess one could show what was in the book, give demonstrations and quotes, share a little info, but this works too and is the more common approach.

"Infomercial" might be too generous a title for this one. This trailer doesn’t give any information. Like the Mood Medley, it’s working on emotion not fact or direct content. It doesn’t offer any useful tidbits of information that would lead to interest in the book, like putting money aside in savings, not using credit cards or paying tithing regularly to your local Conservative Super PAC, which are probably all in the book. Nope, nothing useful in this bit of imagery except happy American people living better lives because (assumedly) of what they read in the professionally advertised book.

It is one slick commercial. Television quality - primetime, not just late night insomnia theater. It has money behind it. It's slick.

Family, work, and blame are all present. The cornerstones of any good book on fiscal responsibility. Considering Ramsey’s crowd, and having seen him live, I have little doubt that the formula in this book trailer is effective for his audience. It’s probably playing in a loop right now in some SuperDome lobby while people stand in line to buy his books at a special seminar discount prices. As of this writing, Smart Money Smart Kids hasn't been released yet, but I'll bet good money it's a best seller when it is. Say what I will, Ramsey sells books. There's much to appreciate in his marketing.

But it's Dave Ramsey.... Ahhhhgggg. Moving on.

What we need now is a palate cleanser. This brings us to one of my favorite book trailers of all time.

I present to you the Hey Looky Here! in the form of a "book trailer" for Brent Michael Kelley's Chuggie and The Desecration of Stagwater.
Wasn't that something? Or was it something else?

This little masterpiece was commission and delivered from for five bucks. It’s worth a hundred times that for just it's camp factor, don't you think. Hula-hoop, bunny ears, tattooed navel, rock and roll and pink everywhere. Gotta' love the internet.

Chuggie is an off the wall fantasy character, so an off-the-wall trailer is perfect. But who cares - this is just the kind of thing the internet was made for. Watch it again.

So silly.

Is this an effective book trailer? It depends on what you want it to do. If you want it to sell your book, this might do as well as anything else insofar as it’s interesting, hypnotic and mentions the book. The strange tale of Chuggie and Stagwater is not diminished by this silliness. I’ve read it and I know. The book is a riot, like this trailer. Both just make me happy.

Next week I’ll sum up my findings on book trailers and let some other people say a word or two.

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