Hmm…what do I like?

23 Mar

I’ve been feeling crummy for the last two days. A little sick and really tired, so I’m cranky. Lucky for me, cranky is the perfect mood for researching book trailers. What better than to watch videos and then gripe about what I didn’t like? It’s a nice low energy requirement and high rant satisfaction activity.

My Book Trailer Dislikes


1. Low resolution. Especially on the text.
2. Being told what kind of story it is. “A heartwarming tale of…” “A gripping thriller that…” I should get that from the feel of the trailer without being told.


1. Too long. I think sixty seconds is ideal, but no longer than ninety.
2. The first twenty seconds have nothing but a pretty animation for the production company’s name. I don’t care who made the video. I’m interested in the book first and the author second. Production doesn’t even make the list so stick it at the end.
3. Long set-up to describe the year and the setting and the main character’s life since they were twelve. Get to the point.

Pictures/Clipart Slideshows

Some trailers used this really well, but most of them did not. Personally, I don’t like the stillness of them.

1. Different image sizes so the black borders are moving all the time.
2. Images that have seemingly nothing to do with the book.
3. They don’t stop. Image after image after image for three minutes.
4. Stays stagnant for just a moment too long. Every time.
5. Paired with dramatic music. You know, the music that speeds up and gets louder as the video reaches the end. That’s great, but when there’s no motion, the drama is lost on me. (Also, pictures of people running is not motion.)


1. Overruns the side of the image.
2. The same color as the background so it’s hard to read.
3. Too small. 12 point Times New Roman is a little hard on the eyes when it’s compressed into a video player.
4. Long sentences. Be concise. Use the right word instead of three trying to make the wrong word right.
5. Sentences stop in awkward places. “Free from an — unspeakable childhood”


I’m not a big fan of book trailers that look like movie trailers either.

1. Action scenes that don’t make any sense if you haven’t read the book.
2. Bad actors. Every time I imagine the character, I’ll see these people.
3. While fight scenes may occasionally convince me to watch a movie, they don’t make me read a book.

My Book Trailer Likes

I don’t like slideshows and I don’t like movies, what do I like? This list is short, but I’m cranky today.

1. Simple videos

Wake by Lisa McMann

2. Good slideshows

Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis (I think, I like this because something is always moving.)

2. Simple animation (Maybe not simple to make, but simple to watch)

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

3. Good voice over

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

4. Something unique that makes sense for the book

Gone by Michael Grant (The home-movie thing works for this)
Becoming Normal by Mark Edick (This video only uses one picture)

Please note: not a single trailer in my favorites runs longer than ninety seconds. That wasn’t a conscious decision, I just noticed it when I was linking them.

Of course what appeals to me may not appeal to you. Any trailers you specifically like? Why?


Posted by on 2010/03/23 in Marketing, Random, Writing


4 responses to “Hmm…what do I like?

  1. Dave

    2010/03/23 at 21:57

    You should see the one for Gaiman’s “Blueberry Girl”. It’s a little long for your criteria, but well done. It makes me think of you and Alyssa, which one depends on what mood I’m in. Sorry you feel crummy.

    • Candice Beever

      2010/03/23 at 22:15

      That was cute. It does remind me of Alyssa. I really liked the animation, but the poem voice over made me sleepy (that may not be the video’s fault though).

  2. K.D. Storm

    2010/03/23 at 23:12

    Sorry you aren’t feeling good. I didn’t know there were book trailers. Wow! Learn something new everyday

    • Candice Beever

      2010/03/24 at 12:00

      Go to YouTube and type in book trailers and you’ll find a pretty good sampling. It’s something I’m noodling with making, but it’s still a little ways down the road.


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