I've been ranting about book trailers during my features of them for quite some time.
A lot of publishers -- or maybe it's the people who create the book trailers? -- still don't seem able to understand the concept of what a trailer is. It's video. It's voices. It's action.
A lot of book trailers are flashes of video with lots of text, or static photos with lots of text, or a mixture of both. They're long and boring to follow.
I feel like it's not difficult to grasp what it takes to make a good trailer. Book trailers, in my opinion, aren't meant to explain the whole story. It's a flash, kind of like a cover -- meant to show you just enough to draw you in and make you want to read it.
Just like when I look at a cover, I don't need the entire plot explained to me in a book trailer. I want the trailer to entice me in, make me want to go look at the book on Goodreads or pick it up when I see it in a bookstore. I don't want to have to sit and read a trailer.
What was the point of a trailer if I was reading it?
In my opinion, a book good book trailer should be short and sweet. Give me one that's 30 seconds or less. Give me video, voice-over, not something that explains the whole story but something that gives a hint of where the action begins.
Random Books got this right with their trailer for Jennifer Donnely's Revolution.
It's 15 seconds long. In those 15 seconds, we get awesome video, a quick bit of narration to give you the overview of a story, and... that's it. The only reading we have to do is the tagline at the end (acceptable) and the actual reading of the book when it's presented in the last second.
If I hadn't already known about this book, I would have gone and looked at it based on the trailer alone.
Penguin is another one that got it right, with John Green's The Fault In Our Stars.
Is there a little reading? Yeah. But it's matched with a great song, the visuals are dynamic, and it manages to give a brief hint of what the story is about (romance -- they're on a swing -- and somebody's sick -- the heartbeat monitor). Another one I would look at based solely on the trailer alone.
And even though the Penguin one is clearly a higher quality of video than the Random Books one, both manage to do the same thing -- get me interested in a short amount of time without me having to read anything.
And isn't that what a good book trailer should do?