Trailer Time: Know Your Audience

In my search for a suitable book trailer, I found a trailer that had been up for five days and had only four views. I wanted to see if I could figure out why.

The first thing I noticed was that the cover art used as the backdrop in this trailer is both beautiful and artistically intriguing. The extra lines in the font make the letters seem as if they’re being unwound, subtly enhancing the problem of the story—which is that the magic that had been maintaining the society is unraveling and must be fixed. The cogs and the shadowy Pegasus subtly reinforce the story as well.

The second thing I noticed was the simplicity of the names. My first thought was that some people have a gift for naming things and this person isn’t one of them. Then, I noticed that the book was intended for 10-14 year olds. This explained the simple names and the rather straightforward portrayal of the hero’s arc/plot.

Unfortunately, it also raised some potential problems. Ignoring the names and the simplicity of the plot, everything about this trailer seems like it’s geared to attract the interest of adults. The soft, sedate music accompanies scrolling text—text which is only easy to read if you’re experienced with alternative fonts. This suits readers who are more mature and a little less distractible than the average 10 to 14 year old.

I imagine myself at that age. I loved books. I loved movies, too, but I really loved books. I especially loved books that quickly swept me up into unknown worlds, because reading them was like having an out-of-body experience. I didn’t read back covers back then. I didn’t want anything to spoil the surprise of the story. I didn’t start “previewing” a story until I’d realized that reading books out of order ruined the experience for me, so I started double checking to ensure I wasn’t reading a series out of order. Back then, I seemed to have all the time in the world, so I would read voraciously, discovering whether a book was good or bad the old fashioned way—by reading it—and discovering whether the story appealed to me or not the same way.

As voracious and willing as I was, I cannot imagine myself sitting through this trailer, because nothing happens. Nothing captures me the way I needed to be captured and carried away as a child. I was too impatient and too flighty. Less than halfway through, I would have moved on to something else. And the fact is that I’ve seen my own kids do the exact same thing.

So, the question is who is this book trailer for? One could argue that it is the parents who buy books for children in this age range. But they’re not the intended audience. Should the book trailer be something that would appeal to the primary readers of the book?

About the Author

Stephanie Allen Crist

Stephanie Allen Crist is a writer, advocate, and marketer. Stephanie’s first two books, Discovering Autism / Discovering Neurodiversity: A Memoir and First Steps: Understanding Autism, are available now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *