How to make a book trailer for $50,000


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Oh, the book trailer. What’s it for, really? Who watches it, exactly? Can it sell a book? Does it matter if book trailers are going Hollywood? Our On Location column visits book trailer producer the Other House, owned by Chris Roth and three partners, on set to see the lay of the movies-meet-publishing land.

The company already has produced more than 50 spots for publishing giants Random House and St. Martin’s Press, most of them shot locally, Roth said. The 15-to-30-second spots air on cable channels such as Sci-Fi and MTV, Internet outlets including Google TV and Hulu, online gaming sites and at movie theaters. ‘We’re doing four or five of these a month, and there are no signs of this letting up,’ said Roth. ‘The budgets just keep growing.’... Roth’s book trailers cost as much as $50,000 each, and involve a full complement of actors, computer-generated effects, costumes and set designs with the high production values of a movie trailer. The book trailers, which often appear on social media sites, help to spur book sales, in much the same way movie trailers help market Hollywood films, said Nancy Trypuc, senior director for creative services at St. Martin’s Press. ‘It’s a way for us to try to excite people prior to the book’s publication,’’ said Trypuc. ‘We find, especially in the paranormal space, that fans are really attracted to things like this.’


Among the book trailers that the Other House has made are two for bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon’s urban fantasy novels. The trailer for ‘Retribution’ has been seen 125,000 times on YouTube and the one for ‘The Guardian’ 285,000 times. Those trailers are after the jump.

Above, ‘Retribution.’ Below, ‘The Guardian.’

I admit I’m perplexed. As with many book trailer issues, I find I’m left with more questions than answers. Is the voice-over not cheesy? Do the actors not look like catalog models? Were those really cowboys and Indians? Is this what $50,000 looks like? And most important -- do they sell books?


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The good, the bad and the other bad: The Moby book trailer awards

-- Carolyn Kellogg