Thursday, May 5, 2011

A movie-type trailer for a book? I’d rather judge it by its cover…

I’m the first to admit that I never read the entire blurb of any book or DVD. My judgement starts with the cover (shallow, I know), after which I’ll flip the book/DVD in question over and skim over the blurb, looking for words that jump out, like ‘psychopath’, ‘controversy’, and ‘scandal’.
So when I heard that there was a movie-like trailer punting Mike Nicol’s new book, Black Heart, I got a little giddy – my laziness had reached a new level; or rather, technology had leveraged my laziness to a new level, as seems to be occurring more and more these days.
I have to admit, though, I was slightly disappointed. The trailer wasn’t very forthcoming with clues as to what the story is about, other than revenge. Something somebody did in the past was coming back to haunt said person as another person wants revenge. Not vague at all. The trailer also tells us that Black Heart is the third book in Nicol’s Revenge Trilogy. Thanks for that, but for someone who has never read a Nicol novel; this is not much use to me. Right now there are a million possibilities running through my mind as to what the revenge centres on. A love triangle? A business deal gone awry? A beauty queen bitter that an opponent sabotaged the dress she was meant to wear in the Evening Gown walk?
I tracked down the actual blurb and it goes something like this: Sheemina has a vendetta against security operative, Mace, who is in a spot of trouble himself, as his partner has been shot and a foreigner under their protection has been kidnapped. “In the final part of Mike Nicol’s Revenge Trilogy the hidden hand of Sheemina February is everywhere.  Her finger tightening on the trigger.”
I was nowhere close, apparently.
My modus operandi is as follows – pick up eye-catching book (and yes, I would’ve picked up Black Heart, based on its cover), take note of words that ‘pop’, open book on random page and read a few sentences to get a feel for the writer’s style, then either put the book back on the shelf or tuck it under my arm and mosey on to the tills. This experience was obviously missing in trailer format and that, for me, is a big deciding factor with regards to whether I want to read a book or not.
That being said, I wouldn’t discount the idea of trailers-for-books completely. With better execution, it could definitely work. Perhaps the characters in the trailer could actually say something as this could convey a sense of the writer’s style to a degree. Also, the trailer needs context. As mentioned above, I had no idea what the book was about based solely on watching the trailer and had to hunt down the blurb for more information.
Or maybe I just put way too much thought into the whole process. What do you think of trailers for books?

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