If you're writing a book, try and make friends with a quasi-famous person to make fun of you when it comes time to promote that sucker, because apparently this trend is still cresting that wave. The tendency first came to my attention last May at the Mobys, an awards show concocted by the industry to bring attention to the latest craze in publishing–book trailers, short films meant to market works to wider audiences (like movie trailers, but for books). In John Wray's Lowboy, Zach Galifianakis plays an incoherent (if hilarious) version of the author. [video: 425x344]
Then there was the best foreign film trailer for Etcetera and Otherwise, aptly described by the New York Times as "a violently comic assault on Canadian literary lions done in a style that brings Margaret Atwood into a kind of north-of-the-border “South Park.”"
But what really cemented this pattern for me was seeing James Franco promote Gary Shteyngart's upcoming Super Sad True Love Story, in which the author plays himself as an illiterate and James Franco...well I'm not sure what he was doing in there except getting more attention for the book.
The most beautiful effort on awards night this beauty from New Zealand, but it left me unable to recall the author, subject or book title (Maurice Gee's Going West). [video: 425x344]
On the other hand, the trailer that's stuck with me the longest, because it had a plot and looked like a TV show, was soundly criticized. [video: 425x344]
So what does this mean for book marketing? Of all these books the one I'm most likely to read is Shteyngart's, and it's not because of the trailer, except that I heard about it faster than I would have otherwise. And yeah, I'm just as susceptible to the charms of being made to feel hip when in fact, I am the kind of person who goes to a book award show without any actual reason for being there. So yeah, count me as hoping it works.
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.
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