Passive Guy has to admit he thinks most book trailers suck.
Here’s an exception for a book by Gary Shteyngart. The trailer breaks some rules but makes some much more important rules. The trailer came out last summer, but PG completely missed it.
Here is some analysis about what made the video successful.
The style of the trailer reflects the content of the book. Shteyngart’s book is a satire; therefore, his trailer is satirical. Obviously, this particular trailer is hilarious, which helped it to become a viral sensation. At 150,000 views, this is not exactly Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday,’ but it’s pretty damn good for a book trailer. I’m not going to go super in-depth into the math since these things are always highly variable, but if the conversion rate on views-to-sales was 5% then that would make this book a bestseller.
Which, in fact, it was. The book charted at Number 11 on the New York Timesbestseller list the month it came out.
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Notice the trailer is packed with interviews. Interviews are cheap to shoot, easy to edit, effective, informative and engaging. That’s why. The convention grows out of common sense and is dictated by the generally small budgets we have available to shoot our book trailers.
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Note that Shteyngart posted his trailer on YouTube July 7th when his book came out on the 27th. That gave the trailer three weeks lead time before the book hit the stands, and the timing calibrated it to coincide to the weekend when most people would have been reading pre-publication reviews for Super Sad True Love Storyin The New Yorker and Harpers. I’m betting that Shteyngart’s agent told him to drop the video on that date.
Link to the rest at BookBuzzr