A Novel Idea

Archive for August 2010

The latest craze among writers and publishers (excluding eBooks) appears to be the Book Trailer. I subscribe to a number of trade periodicals and enewsletters and have noticed a sharp increase in ‘look at my new trailer’ plugs. Are these writers fools or Fellinis?

Picture courtesy of http://mapmagazine.com/free-art-exhibition-madridfederico-fellini-the-circus-of-illusions/

I’m all for the DIY approach to self promotion. Very few writers get much in the way of an advertising budget from their publishers. The ability to upload countless videos promoting oneself and one’s work to free streaming sites such as YouTube must seem a god send. Many writers are creative with more than just words so the chance to make their own movie-style trailer has added benefits.

As a teen I spent many hours behind a very heavy so called portable video camera and many more hours in our school’s editing suite. I’m pretty good at picking up new software, so once I finally land a publishing contract, I could in theory make my own book trailer. Could. In theory.

So far I am yet to come across a book trailer that has made me actually want to go out and BUY THE BOOK.

In fact, certain corners of the Internet seem infested by self-made, low-budget book trailers.

Here’s your chance to shamelessly self promote:

I challenge you to provide a link to your book trailer if you truly think it actually functions as a piece of successful advertising rather than wasting precious minutes of people’s lives like most ads. I’ll buy the first five books that actually make me want to pay hard earned cash for them. My only conditions: no horror, no holocaust themes, no misery memoirs. Life is too short to wallow in pain.

Book Trailers fall into a number of categories, but must be judged on their effectiveness to sell the book.

Amusing (and/or gross) Book Trailer – but I still won’t buy:

Example: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters


Annoying (and/or disturbing) Book Trailer – Not only a ‘won’t buy’, but a ‘beware’. I may never come anywhere near your title for fear of repetition of mental anguish.

I came across a new novel book trailer that I won’t link to for fear of inducing epileptic fits in others. It was clearly a non-professional effort. Flashing images, crappy music, cheesy grab lines.

I really feel for the author. A first timer, no doubt with barely a coin to rub together. Unfortunately some advertising is so bad it makes you seem worse than an amateur. It says ‘I don’t care’. It makes me question the quality of the rest of your work.

Example: Feel free to post your own.

Engaging Book Trailer – makes me buy the book: Position Vacant.

See above challenge.

Is there a book trailer out there you sorely wish to re-do for the author? Perhaps a deserving book wronged by celluloid?

Write well. Write often.


(C) Copyright of the author. 2010.

In one week’s time I intend to be finished with the second draft (I’m giving myself a month per draft now). Yet today I’m working on chapter six of what is currently a sixteen chapter novel. I only have two more full days between now and my deadline (due to other commitments), so I need to pick up the pace.

Strangely the writing itself is very pacy – almost too pacy. I am currently obsessed with dialogue as a vehicle for expressing character and action. I actually need to go back and stick in the slow atmospheric stuff.

Do you find your writing process morphing with each draft?

Do you have a natural tendency for description over dialogue or vice versa?

Onwards writing chariot…

Picture courtesy of http://www.astor-theatre.com/images/images-ben-hur.html

Write well. Write often.


(C) Copyright of the author. 2010.

This week’s post is an attempt at being ‘cruel to be kind’. I read Ian Irvine’s ‘The Truth about Publishing’ earlier this year and found it brutally honest yet ultimately encouraging.

Make yourself a steaming cup of tea or coffee – then read this:


Harsh as it may sound, I agree with Ian that ‘Anyone who can be discouraged from writing should be’.

What do you think?

Write well. Write often.


(C) Copyright of the author. 2010.

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  • Violet: Thanks Alannah :) Apologies for not replying sooner: I'm finally catching my breath and the year is almost over!
  • Alannah Murphy: I remember your first post, way back when I had my old Here Be Dragons blog, and I am glad you are still writing. We all find out, sooner or later, ho
  • Violet: Good to hear that Aaron. Good Luck with your work.