Why make a book trailer?

I used to make trailers for every one of my books, but then I stopped. All of a sudden, I wasn’t really sure they did any good. I even worried that a bad trailer might harm a book’s chances. Also making them is incredibly time-consuming, so I thought I would be better off concentrating on writing the next book. I suppose the fact that I was under contract to write two books in one year helped to focus my energies. As soon as the first book was written, I had to get straight onto the next. There was no time for pissing about on Cyberlink PowerDirector 9 (the software I use for editing).

The other reason for stopping was that it was not just time-consuming, it was incredibly frustrating. One thing I’ve found with Cyberlink PowerDirector 9 is that it loves to crash my computer. Sometimes I’m crashing out about every thirty seconds. Yeah, I’m sure it’s my fault. I tend to favour video files that are too big for my puny Dell laptop to handle.

Anyhow, there’s usually a lot of swearing and shouting. My wife is in the habit of saying, after every trailer I’ve made “You should buy yourself a decent computer. A mac, maybe.” And I go and worship at the temple of Apple for a day or two, before deciding that I’m never going to make another book trailer again so there’s no point forking out on a new macbook air as my puny Dell laptop can generally cope with ordinary, everyday novel writing.

But once again, with A Dark Palace, I felt I ought to have a go at making a trailer. The book’s about the motion picture industry, after all. So it seemed somehow appropriate. Well, at least I could have a browse around Shutterstock and some other footage libraries to see if I could find any clips that might work.

Fatal mistake.

I found some clips all right. And once I found them I knew I wanted to make a trailer. I suppose going back to Cyberlink PowerDirector is a little like giving birth again. You kind of forget how much pain was involved the last time. (Yes, I know I’ve never given birth. But I’m guessing it must at least come close to the pain of a repeatedly crashing PC.)

So the cursing and the weeping and the gnashing of teeth, not to mention the pulling out of hair (what little I have left) began anew. And all the time I was thinking, “I don’t know why I’m doing this. It’s not going to do any good. No one’s going to see it.”

But then I realised that didn’t matter. I made the trailer because it was a final act of engagement with the story I’d written. It seemed, in fact, that making the trailer had a ritual significance. It was something I needed to do for me. And for my relationship with the story.

I made the trailer because I wanted to.

I think this is my own personal favourite of the trailers I’ve made. Before this I liked my A Vengeful Longing trailer best (see it here). But now, it’s this one. I think this has a lot to do with the music, which was composed, and performed, specially for me by my son, Luke. He’s fourteen, and he’s into his music.

I don’t know whether I’ll ever make another trailer. (Hey, I can’t even say for sure I’ll write another book, but that’s another issue.) But if I do, I hope I can get Luke to do the music for it.

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