You know a phenomenon has reached critical mass when it appears in the New York Times. And recently, the New York Times discussed the growing necessityand, more often than not, awkwardness of the book trailer:
But in the streaming video era, with the publishing industry under relentless threat, the trailer is fast becoming an essential component of online marketing. Asked to draw on often nonexistent acting skills, authors are holding forth for anything from 30 seconds to 6 minutes, frequently to the tune of stock guitar strumming, soulful violin or klezmer music. And now, those who once worried about no one reading their books can worry about no one watching their trailers. (A mother still nursing her 8-year-old: 25,864,943 views; recent best-selling maternal memoirist: 5,124 views.)
The article goes on to examine several ways that book trailers function, from art piece to reassuring the reader that the author is relatively normal to meta-commentary on the nature of book trailers.
Moreover, the article points out that book trailers may play a bigger role in book sales in the future: one recent survey found that only 0.2% of readers discovered their last book through a book trailer, while another found that among teens, nearly 45 percent bought a book after watching the trailer.
All the more reason for authors to overcome their stage fright, perhaps…