Are video book trailers a good idea? I actually debated this question while I pondered the progress of my online book marketing campaign. In retrospect, it seemed funny that I actually pondered this at all.
When I first envisioned the kinds of activities it would take to market a novel, I imagined things like press releases, printed interviews, serialization, or an email campaign. I was thinking in textual terms, for a textual medium.
It seemed rational, but in truth, it was a limited, literal approach, and it ignored a key aspect of modern life: we live in a multimedia, multi-modal world. Reading text is only one of the modes of apprehension that we use in any given day. We also listen to radio, podcasts and music, we watch TV and video, and we interact with others remotely through telephone, text messages and online, through email and a myriad of other channels.
In one way or another, I’ve been involved with the production of graphics, video, animation and interactive media since graduating from art college in 1989. I think I had a stereotypical mindset about the written word; perhaps I assumed that novels, a traditionally linear, text-only medium, must be marketed in a linear, text-only manner. This seems odd, since it’s in my nature to take a multi-disciplinary approach – to think laterally, and to jump any conceptual fences that present themselves.
I remembered a lecture by Dr. Tom Hudson, one-time Dean Emeritus at Emily Carr College of Art and Design, and a man who was a major influence on my education. Tom Hudson cited philosopher Bertrand Russel, who claimed that about 65% of all knowledge was achieved visually. Tom Hudson went on to say that with the advent of television and the explosion of information systems, the percentage was probably now closer to 80%.
He said that before 1990, in an ancient and wondrous time about 5 years before the first web browsers come onto the scene and before the World Wide Web came into people’s lives.
Now, in 2010, you can watch (and record) video clips on your cell phone. Media is becoming small, more portable, less expensive, and more integrated. Video and interactive media are being distributed everywhere today. Tom’s words brought modern multi-media marketing approach into focus.
So the question is are video book trailers a good idea for independent book marketers and authors? I’m answering with a tentative Yes.
Here’s a couple of discussion threads on the topic: