Book Trailers?

29 April 2019

While he was combing through non-work emails accumulated over the weekend, PG saw one about book trailers and how great they are.

He tried to remember when he had last viewed a book trailer and came up empty. He tried to remember the contents of any book trailer he had ever viewed and had a similar result.

PG is a visual kind of guy and remembers all sorts of other videos he’s seen over the last several months.

So, a question arose in his mind (it was a waking-up sort of mind, but should not be dismissed because of that fact alone) – Does anybody watch book trailers? Do they actually sell books? Has any reliable person or organization documented a measurable positive impact a book trailer had on the sales of a book?

Since book trailers are often used as part of a book launch, has anyone been able to ascertain what a book trailer added to the launch in the midst of all the other promotional noise?

PG did a very cursory search to locate book trailers that might have been noticed in a positive manner and found The Six Best Book Trailers of 2018.

Here’s the Number One Best Book Trailer of 2018:


Having no experiential basis for judging how this book trailer stacks up against other book trailers, PG is not in a position to say whether it belongs on any sort of Best Book Trailer list or not. It may well be better than all other book trailers released in 2018.

However, in the continuing contest to capture online eyeballs, for PG, this wasn’t captivating video. It was not nearly as interesting to watch as Mr. Enjoy, Gianluca Vacchi, social media influencer and DJ, in his orange Santa suit, which PG posted yesterday. (It occurred to PG that Mr. Enjoy might want to pitch his services to Random House.)

PG suggests that book trailers don’t just compete with other book trailers for online video attention.

Book trailers compete with Mr. Enjoy and Selena Gomez (149 millon followers) Kylie Jenner (133 million followers) and Christiano Ronaldo (133 million followers) on Instagram plus PewDiePie , video makeup maven Jeffree Star and a 7-year-old boy named Ryan who Forbes says made $22 million last year on YouTube (Warning: the YouTube channels start playing video w/audio right away).

But PG could be wrong.

Are book trailers worth the hassle and expense for authors?

Is Noah Hypnotik the cream of the 2018 crop of book trailers? (When PG pulled up the Noah Hypnotic book trailer, YouTube showed it had been posted in July, 2018, and had collected 249 views. Ryan’s featured toy video was posted three weeks ago and has 3,366,659 views.)

Mr. Enjoy Is Mr. Plaintiff

28 April 2019

From the 1709 Blog:

Gianluca Vacchi is a social media influencer and DJ, who has more than 12 million followers on Instagram. He appeared last year in a commercial (do not watch while drinking) for the Bank of Georgia, Europe, which was so successful that “that many United States residents registered as clients of the bank” (because nothing gives you more confidence than a Santa Claus in an orange satin robe).

While Italian and living in Milan, Vacchi travels around the world to dance on roof tops, DJing, and generally having a good time. He chose Mr. Enjoy as his nickname. After all, as another Italian influencer, who also meddled a bit with music, urged us: “Godiam, la tazza e il cantico, La notte abbella e il riso.

But Vacchi is not enjoying two of online investing company E*Trade’s commercials, [here is the other one] which were produced in mid-2017, where a middle-aged man, presented as “your boss,” is featured dancing with abandon (with who?)… with scantily dressed women.

Vacchi has just filed suit in the Southern District of New York against E*Trade, claiming “copyright infringement, as well as false endorsement and misappropriation of protectable character, protectable scenes, and image and persona of “the coolest man on Instagram.

. . . .

New York Civil Rights Law §§ 50 and 51 is the state of New York’s only right to privacy, which is not otherwise recognized by its common law. The statute makes it a misdemeanor to use the name, portrait or picture of a living person for advertising or trade purposes without prior written consent.

The E*Trade commercials are certainly “for advertising or trade purposes.” What is less certain, however, is whether the “name, portrait, or picture” of Vacchi has been used by Defendant.

. . . .

In fact, even a simple Google search for “dancing millionaire” inevitably shows Plaintiff in the top results” (Complaint).

Plaintiff claims a use of his image and his persona.

New York courts have recognized that using a “lookalike” of a well-known personality for commercial purposes is a violation of New York Civil Rights Law §§ 50 and 51. In this case, a lookalike of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis has been featured in a Dior ad. The court noted that “Plaintiff’s name appears nowhere in the advertisement. Nevertheless, the picture of a well-known personality, used in an ad and instantly recognizable, will still serve as a badge of approval for that commercial product.” In our case, Vacchi’s name is not used in the commercial either.

. . . .

In our case, Plaintiff is a middle aged man, with trimmed grey beard and hair, a toned and tattooed body, and a propensity to take pictures of himself while bare chested.  This is his image, his likeness, his resemblance.

Plaintiff claims that Defendant used a “clone of Vacchi, dancing with women on a boat while DJ’ing: conduct that based upon numerous YouTube videos, photographs, and music videos created and published by Vacchi, has become synonymous with the image and persona,” and describes “the E*Trade Character [as] a heavily-tattooed male with bare torso dancing with a beautiful female companion.”

. . . .

So Plaintiff’s persona could be: man + middle-aged + toned and tattooed body + glasses + dancing + trim gray beard + exotic locales + women in teeny weeny bathing suits.

Link to the rest at 1709 Blog

Here is a video of the real Gianluca Vacchi in a bank commercial.

(For visitors to TPV from nations other than the United States, US banks don’t make commercials like this one. However, while watching the commercial, PG had a strong reaction. He is not certain whether his response will cause him to open an account with the Bank of Georgia (the one in Tbilisi, not any bank in Atlanta) or not, but the commercial is more memorable than any prior bank commercial he has viewed.)

Here is one of the allegedly offending eTrade commercials.

PG’s observation is that Mr. Vacchi is a much better dancer than Mr. eTrade, but he suspects you can hire Mr. eTrade to dance in your commercial for less than Mr. Vaacchi charges.

Comparing the two commercials, PG is much more likely to open a bank account in Tbilisi than one with eTrade even though he can read all the words on eTrade’s website.

Palaces of Pleasure

24 April 2019

From The Guardian:

Few British songs are as well known as “I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside”. For many listeners it only takes a few bars to conjure up hazy images of striped deckchairs and dripping ice-cream cones, strolling along the prom (prom prom) and brass bands playing (tiddley- om-pom-pom). Of course a real day beside the seaside can be a rather different affair, as visitors pick sand out of their sandwiches or huddle together for warmth under a slate-grey sky. Yet both the myth and the reality are comparatively recent inventions.

“I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside” is an Edwardian music hall song, and the first verse offers a window into an era that transformed whole stretches of sleepy coastline into the nation’s playground. “Everyone delights to spend their summer’s holiday down beside the side of the silvery sea,” it explains, but if you’re an ordinary Smith or Brown “at business up in town”, a trip to the seaside is a special annual treat:”‘You save up all the money you can ’til summer comes around, then away you go, to a spot you know, where the cockle shells are found.” The rapid spread of the railways and the introduction of paid holidays meant that 19th-century resorts were becoming crammed with clerks and factory workers dipping their toes into a previously exclusive world of leisure. Many of the features that now seem central to coastal resorts were a response to their tastes, from fish and chips (previously an urban speciality) to the iron piers that stretched out in ever larger and more elaborate forms, as if each resort was poking its tongue out at its neighbours. Yet as Lee Jackson shows in this engaging account of Victorian mass entertainment, when Smith or Brown had some time off they didn’t have to go as far as the seaside to enjoy themselves.

. . . .

In London they could visit Vauxhall Gardens, where the variety acts might include a tightrope walker who performed while wearing a cap fitted with fireworks, or a man “whose unrivalled MUSIC on his CHIN has drawn forth such great astonishment and delight”. Alternatively they could take a trip to Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace, rebuilt in 1854 on a new site at Sydenham, where the attractions ranged from a tropical winter garden (a sign read “Visitors are requested not to tease the parrots”) to a fountain installed by the perfume manufacturers Rimmel, which flowed with a liquid advertised as “far superior to Eau de Cologne … a reviving perfume, a pleasant Dentifrice, and a powerful Disinfectant. If they wanted a whiff of something sexier, they could spend the evening in a music hall enjoying songs with naughtily suggestive titles such as “I’ve Got Something for You, My Love” or “Pulling My Rhubarb Out”.

. . . .

The second original element is Jackson’s response to the metropolitan bias in many earlier histories. He discusses mass entertainment from other cities, such as the “Transvaal” shooting range installed in Liverpool’s Eastham Pleasure Gardens in 1900, featuring Boer figures “who flipped over when hit to reveal a white flag of surrender”. And he has a chapter on football, which developed as a professional sport in the north of England only after the 1874 Factory Act guaranteed textile workers a half-holiday on Saturdays, thereby inventing the modern weekend as a time when they could watch other people play for a living. While some anecdotes of Victorian football might make a modern fan’s jaw drop, such as the team of “Sheffield Zulus” who turned up for one match in blackface and carrying “genuine war trophies”, others might make them feel strangely at home. Before the end of Victoria’s reign, players were already “accused of being pampered, overpaid … and far too famous for their own good”, while fans were said to watch games with “malignant anxiety” and “ungenerous one-sided enthusiasm”.

Link to the rest at The Guardian

PG notes the song accompanying the video below was recorded in 1909:

Tolkien Estate Disavows Forthcoming Film

23 April 2019

From The Guardian:

The family and estate of JRR Tolkien have fired a broadside against the forthcoming film starring Nicholas Hoult as a young version of the author, saying that they “do not endorse it or its content in any way”.

Out in May, and starring Hoult in the title role and Lily Collins as his wife Edith, Tolkien explores “the formative years of the renowned author’s life as he finds friendship, courage and inspiration among a fellow group of writers and artists at school”. Directed by Dome Karukoski, it promises to reveal how “their brotherhood strengthens as they grow up … until the outbreak of the first world war which threatens to tear their fellowship apart”, all of which, according to studio Fox Searchlight, would inspire Tolkien to “write his famous Middle-earth novels”.

. . . .

On Tuesday morning, the estate and family of Tolkien issued a terse statement in which they announced their “wish to make clear that they did not approve of, authorise or participate in the making of this film”, and that “they do not endorse it or its content in any way”.

. . . .

John Garth, author of the biography Tolkien and the Great War, said he felt the estate’s response to the film was “sensible”.

“Biopics typically take considerable licence with the facts, and this one is no exception. Endorsement by the Tolkien family would lend credibility to any divergences and distortions. That would be a disservice to history,” he said. “As a biographer, I expect I’ll be busy correcting new misconceptions arising from the movie. I hope that anyone who enjoys the film and is interested in Tolkien’s formative years will pick up a reliable biography.”

Tolkien’s estate has been careful to protect his legacy. In 2011, it took legal action over a novel that used the author as a central character, months after his heirs settled a multimillion-pound lawsuit over royalties from the Lord of the Rings films. In 2012, the estate also took legal action over gambling games featuring Lord of the Rings characters, saying that it was “causing irreparable harm to Tolkien’s legacy and reputation and the valuable goodwill generated by his works”.

Link to the rest at The Guardian


Can You Save a Dying Italian Town with the Art of Storytelling?

23 April 2019
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From The Literary Hub:

When Angelo Carchidi returned to Rosarno in 2012, the peak of Europe’s debt crisis, the place of his birth and home of his youth had become a ghost town. The piazzas, the public squares that are at the heart of Italian social life, were quiet and empty. Homes and apartments were boarded and padlocked and “for sale” signs hung from their façades. Persistent neglect from all levels of government had spurred the collapse of social services, including the public library—one of the town’s only cultural spaces, which seemed neglected and imbued with the smell of mold. Thirty-year-old Carchidi, an architect by trade, was accustomed to the city’s rural slumber. But this time, it was if a malaise had descended upon the town.

Once known as Medma, a name given by the ancient Greeks for this city in southern Italy, Rosarno now exists at the margin of a margin. The town of 15,000 people is located in Calabria, one of Italy’s most disadvantaged regions and the stronghold of the ‘Ndrangheta, the country’s most powerful mafia. For decades, the violence of poverty, crime, and a lack of opportunity has caused young Calabrians like Carchidi to flock to the prosperous north, or others—like my own grandparents—to emigrate elsewhere.

. . . .

“The place you are born forms you, it makes you grow, it makes you frustrated,” Carchidi said. “But in some way, you are indebted to it.”

Seated outside Rosarno’s Bar Spagnolo on a languorous late summer evening last year, Carchidi recounted this story to me, interrupting his musings on urban renewal to joke in Calabrese dialect with friends who pass by. Humble and welcoming, tough and stubborn, Carchidi embodies the Calabrian character that is magnified in the people of Rosarno. When he returned to the city seven years ago, Carchidi was lucky to find people who shared his interests—and more so, his hopes for what Rosarno could be. Along with four friends—Ettore Guerriero, Giovanna Tutino, Umberto Carchidi and Miriana Zungri—the group formed A di Città, an association that exists somewhere between an arts collective and a cultural enterprise. Their first project was a Festival of Urban Regeneration, an attempt to resuscitate the city through art and, in turn, revive the community. But, once the festivities ended, the city’s local council—who were, for a time, attentive to the needs of the people—relapsed.

“We realized that our work through the festival had limitations,” he said. “So we asked, if we were to recount Rosarno in a book, a tourist guidebook, what would we include in it?”

. . . .

“When you say to a person who has always lived in a place, who sees it every day, ‘If you could tell the story of this place, how would you tell it?’ It awakens a whole series of questions that can bring out even the possibilities of a place,” Carchidi said.

In late 2014, A di Città began work on Kiwi: Deliziosa Guida di Rosarno, or as it translates from the Italian, “a delicious guide to Rosarno.” The guide’s name, Kiwi, is both ambiguous and fitting. Across the plains of Gioia Tauro, an area that encompasses Rosarno, the juicy, prickly kiwifruit has begun to supplant the region’s orange groves. While the switch from oranges to kiwifruit is driven by economics, the latter—foreign and exotic to Calabria—is representative of a changing region. The guide would encompass both the old and the new, the local and the foreign, the past and the tentative future.

Over the course of three years, A di Città held workshops and meetings, involving the public in the planning, writing, and distribution of Kiwi. The team decided that their office would be the city and held meetings, much like my own with Carchidi, in the cafés, pizzerias, and piazzas that dot the historic center. During Kiwi’s production, the public library became a makeshift editorial office and the “beating heart” of the guidebook. But just before the book was published in early 2017, the council decided to close the library.

“Culture is not a priority in this city,” Carchidi said. “And this was a question of priorities.”

Kiwi, on the other hand, was the product of prioritizing culture through storytelling and, to paraphrase the Italian writer Cesare Pavese, prioritizing the stories of those for whom Rosarno is “in their blood beyond anyone else’s understanding.” As a hardcover book with more than 200-pages, the guide is punctuated with color photographs, historical illustrations, and chunks of lime green paper that divide it in two. The first half follows the structure of a conventional guidebook with maps, history, notable people, and places of interest. But the preface to this section, aptly titled “before you leave,” begins with a rumination on the perfume of orange blossoms and ends with a note about the book’s underlying purpose: to tell a nuanced story of a typecast city.

“The media have often (and sometimes with reason) written about Rosarno as the land of mafia and exploitation,” it reads. “Before continuing, we recommend leaving the labels and prejudice at home and being open to discover a contradictory place, full of contrast and surprise, with which you will fall in love.”

. . . .

At Bar Duomo, as we snack on olives and crunchy bread, Carchidi opens a copy of Kiwi and flips to this second half of the book entitled, Rosarno Ulterior. The section begins with a preface, written by the A di Città team, on the idea of “possible places” and the importance of paying attention to the everyday spaces in which we spend our lives. What follows is a series of essays that together form an oral history of Rosarno and, more so, an ode to places that exist on the periphery.

Link to the rest at The Literary Hub

PG couldn’t find Kiwi: Deliziosa Guida di Rosarno on Amazon US, but here is a link to the book’s Home Page (which has a “Buy Now” button in English which, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to work) and its Facebook page.

Here’s the introduction to a video about the book (translated from Italian via Google Translate):

Kiwi is a shared guide of the city of Rosarno, written by citizens and travelers, a choral story of the territory made up of internal and external voices. It is a laboratory to find a collective narrative of one’s own community. The path started in October 2014, with the Terra Terra Restart workshop, during which the skeleton of the guide was defined and the involvement of the citizens was started through the construction of a walking cart, a wooden structure that represents the book itself. which will gradually be enriched with pages. Kiwi is taking life thanks to the parallel work of two editorial offices: a local one, made up of citizens who have joined the project and therefore strongly rooted in the territory, and an extra-territorial one, which keeps its eye on the entire national scene.

The Key to Capitalizing on Online Video Trends

22 April 2019

From Forbes:

Software is eating the world and video is taking over the internet. According to Cisco, video will account for 80% of all internet traffic in 2019. Any savvy marketer or business executive should be incorporating video into their business strategy. Companies in a wide range of industries are using premium video as a means of winning a market, and they’re driving consumer engagement and revenues in the process.

To see the seismic shifts in video, look no further than the cable and television industry: Streaming video is the new TV. More and more people are cutting the cable cord and watching instead through online platforms. Direct-to-consumer models have taken over and made it easier than ever for viewers to get the content they want anywhere and on any device.

Video is also dominating when it comes to brand engagement and marketing content. One report found that 79% of consumers would rather watch a video than read about a product.

Link to the rest at Forbes

PG would be interested in hearing about successful video marketing by indie authors. Feel free to comment/provide links, etc., in the comments.


19 April 2019

PG was impressed by the attitude manifested by Rijksmuseum, a world-famous art museum in Amsterdam, towards public use of copies of its artwork.

Per prior posts on TPV, some museums go to great length to prevent individuals from taking photographs or otherwise using copies of their art (even though copyright protection has long expired)  without written consent, which can be very difficult/impossible for an average person to obtain.

In a section of its website called Rijks Studio, the museum provides downloadable high-resolution images of artwork in its collection. You can create your own collection of famous paintings online. The museum also encourages you to download their artworks and use them to make your own creations. You can even sell your creations to the public.



The museum holds contests to recognize some of the best uses of the works in the Rijks Studio. Here’s a video highlighting the ten finalists in 2017.

Fashion Coward

14 April 2019
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Absolutely nothing to do with books, but, for PG at least, amusing.


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