How to Approach Book Trailers

Some people are for them. Some people are against them. But the question still remains: Are they an effective marketing device for books? In a digital world where over one billion people are on mobile devices, chances are that consumers are more likely to hear about a book on the internet before they read the synopsis in a bookstore. Over 30% of Americans purchased eBooks in 2014, and 50% own hand-held devices some of which are dedicated to e-reading .So with the omnipresence of digital media and the popularity of eBooks, it would make sense that authors and publishers find a way to market on such a platform, right?

Sheila Clover English defines book trailers, in her eBook, The Book Trailer Revolution: Book Marketing and Promotion through Digital Video, as:

“An acted-out dramatization of a book synopsis. Book trailers use scenes from the book with live actors. These are primarily professionally made, and involve full production crews.”

Quite simply, book trailers serve as digital advertisement for books.

When advertising a product you want to answer critical consumer questions like:

What is this product?

Why do I want it?

Where can I get it?

When can I get it?

Though most authors wouldn’t like their novels to be viewed in the same light as a new vacuum cleaner or latest electronic gadget, books are essentially commodities, and in order to be marketed successfully, there are a few things to be learned from digital advertisements.

Keep it Short

On average, people spend about (45% Of Viewers Will Stop Watching A Video After 1 Minute & 60% By 2 Minutes) watching a video, that means you have less than 30 seconds to hook the viewer from the beginning. Book trailers should exceed no longer than 60 seconds. At that point you might as well make a short film. You are creating a small intro into a longer piece of work. Online videos are not where you place long, complex content. That 30 second intro of your mysterious protagonist walking up the stairs—cut it. Get straight to the point.

Keep it Interesting

You might think that it is impossible to captivate a viewer in the first 30 seconds, but think of those seconds as the first sentence of your novel. You want to draw the viewer in immediately without giving too much of the story away. Don’t fret about the time limit, let such confinements push your creativity.

Be Strategic

 Though YouTube is the number 2 search engine in the world, you don’t just want to rely on that cite as your only ad placement. You want to analyze your target audience: Which areas of digital media do they frequent? You wouldn’t place an ad for a science-fiction novel about aliens taking over the world on a site for make-up and skin care, would you? revealed that “website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video.

Though ads cost money, you’ll make a return on your investment from all the digital pre-orders your book gets.

Give Direction

There must be a call to action: What do you want the viewer to do with this information you have given? Make it easy for the viewer to be linked to either an eBook site or your own site for them to purchase. If the book hasn’t been distributed yet, provide a link for pre-order. Digital consumers are easily distracted, you don’t want to create this digital ad and hope they write down the release date. Give all of the information you possibly can to the consumer while you have their attention.

Book trailers are still fairly new in the digital marketing world, and they can shed the accusations of not having clear direction or target audiences.

Thinking of book trailers as digital commercials is another way to engage with digital consumers and gain traffic to your site (this is especially helpful for the independent book publishers out there). These trailers can be repurposed into tweets, Facebook posts, Vines, you name it. Digital media is a creative playground, and what’s more imaginative and creative than the world of books?

One of the better book trailers I have seen is the one below for Maria Semple’s novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette, created by Orion Publishing. Though I believe the trailer could be shorter it is still concise and engaging.

Check out this book trailer for Helen Fielding’s novel, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy.

I believe with a bit of revamping, book trailers can become an effective staple in the publishing industry’s digital marketing approach, and bringing the joys of reading to the mobile consumer.

What are some creative book trailers you’ve seen?

Dear Sarah Dessen

I remember the first book of yours I read, That Summer, which took me about three summers to finish–not because I didn’t like it, but because it was so different. It was packed with so many layers and complexities that made me question “was I really reading a young adult novel?”

that summer

You tackle family issues in a way that is so viscerally relatable. That Summer dealt with more than just a young romance, in fact, it wasn’t even a romance novel. Haven was dealing with the emotionally polarizing experience of a broken home: there is no right side to pick and it’s always the children who get caught in the crossfire. She also was dealing with the painful experience of how friendships grow and change–sometimes for the worst and sometimes for the best. I could understand that and I think what kept me distant from the book for so long was the mirror it held to my own family and the experiences I was going through at the start of high school and my teenage years.

While I did finish That Summer–and loved it–my favorite novel of yours is This Lullaby.

this lullaby

This novel also examined the sharp ridges of a broken family. What I loved most was the fact that you showed how coming from a “broken” family can affect one’s idea of love and relationships. Remy’s resolutions about love and practicality reflected my own and I found myself yelling at and sympathizing with her stubbornness.

The book was also funny and it was cute and it was warming. It gave the reader hope, which I find to be the theme of your work: one can go through all of these painful experiences, but at the end of the day there still lives that hope that tomorrow will be better.

Thank you for that hope. Thank you for the anecdotes. And thank you for making “broken” and blended families as human, flawed, and beautiful as they are.



My Experience as a WOSU Public Media Intern

I interrupt my regularly scheduled program of book-blogging to bring you this little gem:

Interning has been a fun (and not so fun) way for me to explore different career fields. While I have stayed in the vicinity of writing and production: I have explored all facets in those areas from marketing to radio to television.

Each internship I’ve ever held has been amazing in that they have all given me something to take away and apply to my life and the evolution of my career. WOSU has been no different; interning for WOSU Public Media has been an absolutely incredible experience. I have had such amazing hand’s on opportunities that have given me a real taste for what a career in media will be like.

Recently, I wrote a blog for what it is like to intern for WOSU and why interning is the best thing you can do–especially if you’re considering going into a career in media.

Even if you aren’t into media, you can check out my embarrassing picture by clicking the link here : )

Regular book-blogging shall resume as scheduled.

Dear Louise Rennison,

In 10th grade I wanted to drop out of high school and move to England.

When my friends asked me why, I slammed this book on the table:

louise rennison

“No, I do not want to gaze upon gothic architecture, I do not want to see Big Ben, nor do I want to take a spin on the London Eye,” was my response,

“I want to go to school with Georgia Nicolson and the Ace Gang, who are tasked with the daily trial  of surviving Hawkeye’s ferret-glare and her Nazi-Youth minions. I want to drive old Mr. Atwood mad and be the girlfriend of a Sex God!”

Ok…perhaps I didn’t say those exact words, but something to that effect.

The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson was to me what Ninja Turtles were to teenage mutant boys. The 10-part series of diary entries were jammed packed with enough adventure, angst, and melodrama to make me wish my teenage years were half as interesting. I remember the first time I saw the cover of Knocked Out by My Nunga-Nungas, I remember thinking what the hell are “nunga-nungas” and instantly needing to find out.

According to the Georgia Nicolson glossary, Nunga-Nungas are:

Basoomas. Girl’s Breasty Business.

In my head, I was Georiga; the quirky girl who was trying to fit in and making embarrassing mishaps along the way. I felt as if she were living my very life in some alternate reality for I too had a mother that was prone to walking around the house nude, My best friend was as completely maddening as Jas, and I also had a younger sibling whose affection bordered on the thin line of abuse.

It was this notion that Georgia was me that led me to speak in a terrible British accent and force my friends to use words from Georgia’s glossary.

Though I never got too high on the snogging scale and never met a guy as frustratingly funny as Dave the Laugh, I did make it to England (but it was only for a school trip), and I felt as if I grew up right there with Georgia and the Ace gang.

Even in my twenties, I’m not ashamed to admit that I still read your novels with the same enthusiasm and envy as when I was a teenager. I am keeping up with the adventures of Georiga’s cousin, Tallulah in your Misadventuresof Tallulah Casey series.

Thank you for showing that it is ok to be clumsy, to be smart, to be funny, and to be slightly over-the-top melodramatic. Thank you for an honest depiction of teenage life and for giving me something to laugh at amongst my own dealings with angst, puberty, and pimples.



NW: A Review

B Zadie Smith - NW

NW is a meta-exploration/experiment of time and identity. Zadie Smith plays with chronology, plot structure, and syntax. All of these elements are used to paint the vibrant NorthWest London town, home to Leah Hanwell, Natalie Blake (Keisha Blake), and Nathan Bogle. All come from the same place and the same socioeconomic background, but experience three different trajectories.

What’s similar about these three is loss of identity. Each is grappling with the loss of self and trying to reconstruct an identity from the tools they’ve received.

Leah and Natalie battle the time restrictions placed on women and how to respond to their ever-so-loudly ticking biological clocks.

Nathan is dealing with the loss of who he was or who he was perceived to be.

Amongst these trials is tragedy: from murder to theft, Smith illustrates the devaluation of a place already not highly esteemed. The town is as much a character as anyone else; it serves as a force that continues to draw in even those who’ve worked hard to get out. Smith explores how hometowns shape, cultivate, and store our history–clues that might help mend gaps between who we think we are and who we’ve become.

“We all get what we deserve,” explains Natasha Blake, whose identity crisis extends so deep that she changes her name.

Time and chronology are so central to the tale that they become characters along with the town. Smith also plays with this idea of not being able to escape neither right nor left, but being stuck and forced to face whatever it is approaching or attempting to be avoided. This claustrophobia results in drastic decisions made by each character in attempts to escape.

There’s something cinematic about Zadie Smith’s latest novel NW. Perhaps it is the structure: often breaking into fragmented poetic forms of dialogue. Perhaps it is the vivid description of a town riddled with poverty, multiculturalism, and a desperation to either get out, to remain, or to survive. I’m still not sure. I’m still not sure about a lot of things concerning this novel including whether I like it or not. It is certainly a book that deserves a re-read and there is a lot of careful connections made and blatant themes and motifs that all but smack you in the face at every page.

In true Zadie style, there is no ending or tying up of things; we are simply given a vignette of these people’s lives. While no one likes carefully tidied up endings, I was left with a lot of questions.

But, nevertheless, Zadie is a powerful story teller who will pull you in with her humor, her truth, her complexity.

Erotic Lit & Hollywood: A New Affair?

Could Erotic Literature have a new home in Hollywood? If the new film adaptation of Zane’s, Addicted, and E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey are any thing to go by, then the answer is, yes!

Addicted is the story of Zoe Raynard, a successful businesswoman unable to find “pleasure she wants, the way she wants it.” This results in a string of dangerous extramarital affairs that threaten to strip Zoe of everything she loves. According to the boxoffice, the film was a hit–earning $7.6 million opening night.

Audiences are awaiting with bated breath for the first installment of E. L. James’s erotic BDSM trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey. The trailer released amid heavy buzz (currently at almost 4million views), and an extra boost from a new rendition of the King Bey’s classic “Crazy in Love.”

With such films proving to be profitable ventures for Hollywood, I think we will begin to see an unloading of erotic lit adapted into films.

So, as we anticipate the development of this trend, what are some erotic books you’d like to see on screen?

White Teeth Book Review

WhiteTeeth zadie smith

(White Teeth, Zadie Smith, Hamish Hamilton)

What happens when a White-British soldier and an Bengali-Indian soldier are stranded, fighting a war no one has bothered to tell them is over? Well, a friendship spanning forty years, multiple wives, affairs, and children, of course. At least that’s what happened to Samad Iqbal and Archie Jones in Zadie Smith’s novel, White Teeth.

White Teeth is a novel that explores the ways in which individuals become involved with each other, either through happenstance or deliberate intervention, and the mess and the beauty that results from it. Archie and Samad’s friendship takes them from a tiny Bulgarian village to the NorthWest London suburb of Willesden. Both get married: Archie to Clara, Samad to Alsana. These unfortunate and impracticle unions introduce a new generation in that of their children.

Irie, Magid, and Millat occupy a confusing place in the globalized, western world: they have historical ties to their parents’ home countries, but their social ties are with the country they were born in, England. This causes deep rifts in all of their households. Both sets of parents are trying to reconcile their past in the standards and limitation that they’ve placed on their children, who are trying to wade the flow of independence and the ebb of “tradition.”

Zadie reveals one of the oldest, yet most painful and hard-to-grasp truths about life and that is that one cannot impose one’s hopes and dreams on another for one will be left with an even deeper disappointment than before.

Zadie’s hilarious wit provides a satiric and comedic introspection into the tangling of roots, and tradition, and independent will. Her observation of the reality of second and third generations of individuals growing up in the western world, and all of the confusion and conflicts that arise is so keen that she instantly becomes a voice of a generation, a class, a culture of people in the 21st century western world.

She has created timeless work that I find to be an important novel for all young people to read. I was nine when this book was first published, but at 22 I can relate to the conflicting and ambiguous worlds of Ire, Magid, and Millat, who are trying to figure out where they fit within their country, their culture, and their religion.

It’s a coming-of-age story, a coming-to-terms story, and an overall enjoyable story that one shouldn’t exit life before having read.

Passing: A Review

The last thing Irene Redfield expected one afternoon was for her life to drastically change, but that’s exactly what happened the moment she bumped into Clare Kendry, a childhood acquaintance, one smoldering Chicago summer afternoon.

Passing is the story of two childhood acquaintances: Irene Redfield and Clare Kendry who reunite, accidentally, in Chcago. While one could simply reduce the synopsis of the story to a woman passing to be white in the 1920s, Nella Larsen does what she is so expertly able to: take a concept and reflect the dynamic layers that lie beneath the surface.

In the style of modernity, Nella gives us the psyche of Irene, a woman trying desperately to maintain the appearance of a happy life which is threatened by Clare, a woman bent on rejecting the rules and precautions of a dangerous life she has created for herself.

Passing is a timeless classic. One finds themes Nella explored to still be relevant in the 21st century. Her lucid language draws you in and leaves you mesmerized by the genius of her syntax. Through such a mastery of style and language, she is able to craft an emotional tale of women who are trapped and bound by the man-made laws of the world. You simply won’t be able to put it down.

I have always felt this affinity with Nella Larsen. She was an oddity of her time; born to a white dutch mother and a black west indian father, she navigated a world of neglect and loneliness—themes which are prevalent in this novel.

Nella Larsen’s intrinsic understanding and empathy for the complexity of femininity and its construction and relation to race, men, children, and society is why this novel deserves to be read. She was a brilliant writer and a woman who, like her characters, I believe, was searching for a way out or at least a way to compromise that which is expected of and that which is desired.

Passing is a tale of femininity, identity, loyalty all mixed up in Nella’s eloquent psychoanalytic character-driven style. 

You can also check out my Youtube Channel for more of my thoughts on Nella’s novel.

Jane Eyre is Still Relevant

When one thinks of great literature there often three classics that come to mind: The Bible, Any and Everything Toni Morrison has ever written, and Jane Eyre.

For close to two-hundred years Charlotte Bronte’s tale of a young woman’s quest for independence and self-love has been the inspiration of several film adaptations, fan-fiction stories, intertextual prequels, web series, etc. There are several reasons why the stubborn and passionate character of Jane Eyre continues to be relevant in the 21st century:


“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

It’s a theme that echoes through each page of the novel.

Jane is a young woman who has felt the neglect and the abuse of being dependent on others as a child. As a young adult she is steadfast in her quest to be financially and emotionally independent.


“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”

Though Jane is described as : “poor, obscure, plan, and little,” that is no cause for her to think lesser of herself. She stands up to the man she loves and demands his respect, not on the bases of “mortal flesh,” but from spirit to spirit.


“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”

Faced with the tragedy of heartbreak from family members, institutions, and her beloved, Jane does not crumble into a pool of sorrow. She is a follower of the “if at first you don’t succeed” philosophy where she dusts herself off and continues to go forth in life without bitterness and hate in her heart. Though she may be guarded, love and passion still burn underneath her cool exterior.

Jane Eyre is a novel about a young woman with principles. She challenges her society’s idea of femininity and chooses happiness and self-worth over image and acceptance. She is not a flat, life-less character who only comes alive through the presence of a male. She is a resilient, self-respecting, independent woman; one we can still draw inspiration from today.