Monday, November 25, 2013

Visual Appeal

My parents grew up in an era in which television did not exist, and I was close to being a teenager when a television set was introduced into our home. It was black and white, had rabbit ears on top, and was about the size of a desk. We got all of three stations when the skies were clear, the winds were low and my brother or I stood with our fingers on the rabbit ears, directing them in just the right way.

Going to the local theatre was an extraordinary event. It meant dressing up for the ladies, and the men were on their best behavior. I still remember the first movie I'd ever seen in a theatre: Gone With the Wind, all four hours of it sitting in a wood chair and peering around the lady's hat in front of me. I only realized later that I had actually been quite uncomfortable.

Flash forward to today, and visual mediums surround us. We experience life not only through television and movies but also through the Internet and streaming videos. Our favorite music is set against action scenes, playing on our emotions, creating anger, love, passion or anguish in the space of seconds.

So when a book is released, it only makes sense that part of that promotional campaign be in a visual medium that will reach its audience in a way that mere words can not. The book trailer is formed much like a movie trailer. In the space of a few brief moments, it paints a portrait of our book, eliciting the emotions and the interest that will cause a potential reader to pick up the book and begin reading. It is, perhaps, ironic that a fast-paced medium is sometimes required to grab the reader's attention and cause them to slow down enough to read and then savor each scene on each written page.

A book trailer can depict movement through actors and sweeping scenes. It can be narrated or the words set in the photographs or paintings projected. Music can heighten the emotional response and project the image of the book's genre - whether it be romance, adventure or suspense... Beside this post are several trailers that are distinctly different. Each elicits different emotions and varying opinions of each uniquely different book.

Our authors are advised to obtain permission for the elements that make up their trailers: the music, narration, film footage, photographs and other works contained therein. By uploading the video to YouTube, they can provide embedded code for websites and/or blogs, providing their potential audience with the flavor of their books through the visual medium we all have become accustomed to experiencing.

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