originally published by Jennifer Brozek, Oct. 7, 2013
As in, “Whoa, baby. That looks awesome.” As in, “It looks so awesome, I gotta buy that book right the hell now.”
That’s the reaction I want you to have to my new book trailer about The Seventh Equinox, coming Nov. 6 from Raw Dog Screaming Press. (Hopefully, you’ll remain that enthusiastic after you read it.)
Did you know someone owns the term book trailer? Yep. It’s a service mark, registration #2868140, duly recorded at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. But that doesn’t stop hordes of writers from creating videos about their novels and calling them “book trailers,” as if they’re on par with trailers at the movie theater.
But here’s the rub. Most of them suck. I’m sorry, but they do. They’re text-heavy, too long, and they look like they were made with PowerPoint in less than 15 minutes. But you get what you pay for, and most writers don’t have the dough to hire actors and CG artists. I’m not saying I do, either. Not usually. In fact, I’m certain I blew all my future royalties several times over when I collaborated with Darkstone Entertainment to make the 2.5-minute video embedded below. But I’m happy to do it in the interests of recruiting new readers, hopefully ones who will stick with me for life. I have another job to keep me in whiskey, so I don’t mind raking all my writing income back into advertising. My publishers don’t seem to mind, either.
For this trailer, it helped to have a target audience firmly in mind. The Seventh Equinox is set in the fictitious city of Augusta, Virginia, based on my home of Staunton. I didn’t set it in the real Staunton because I wanted some leeway in my descriptions of geography and government, and also to insulate me from potential libel suits. In my book, the sheriff is an alcoholic, bigoted redneck, while the real-life Staunton police chief is anything but.
Anyway, I still want locals to buy my book, because its descriptions otherwise ring with regional flavor. That’s why a Staunton landmark, the Clock Tower, appears on the book cover. And that’s why, when I wrote the trailer script (which you’re welcome to read here), I loaded it with Staunton landmarks, such as Betsy Bell Mountain. During the three-day shoot, I even revised it to include more local landmarks, such as the Gypsy Hill Park band stand and the iconic DeJarnette buildings.
The other thing I did differently with this trailer was to load it with multiple settings and story lines, more like a real movie trailer. My previous three trailers for Blood Born were each confined to one or two locales. That made this one three times as hard to make. Read more about the sausage-making at The Seventh Equinox‘s production blog.
So, what did I learn from all this? New ways to nervously pull my hair out when production problems sometimes cropped up. I also learned I should keep my mouth shut when an actress is working herself into an emotional state at my request. (Major kudos to actress Elle Clark for crying real tears.)
The jury is still out on my main questions, which are: did it help to target a local audience, and was the more cinematic writing style worth the trouble?
Maybe you can help me figure it out. In the meantime, enjoy!