2 things the Hunger Games film reminds us about the book industry

March 23, 2012 § 9 Comments

It’s not a big secret that I’m pretty conflicted about books that are made into movies, even (and sometimes especially) if the movies turn out good. That said, it’s been incredibly encouraging to see all the hubbub created by the release of the first Hunger Games movie. I’ve talked to dozens of people who would never have heard of the book if it weren’t for the movie, many of them who were reading it to see what the commotion is all about. Even better–“something better than getting people reading?!” you ask–yes, even better is that it’s getting people talking about the themes of the book, like privileged people taking what they have for granted and turning a blind eye to the suffering of others, and being used by non-profits as an opportunity to raise awareness about world hunger.

And I have to admit that it would be dishonest of me to say that I haven’t been stoked to see it.

So rather than get down about the fact that many times more people are going to see the movie than will ever read the book, I’m looking at the positive. « Read the rest of this entry »

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Rewards, deadlines, and motivation

March 21, 2012 § 5 Comments

Or: My love-hate relationship with deadlines

Yesterday I told my wife that I need to start writing more short stories. She promptly responded that I should give her one each week and in return I would get, da-da-da-da, “the red plate”. Now the motivational aspect of the red plate is a curious thing. I can’t say why I am so covetous of it, but it holds some mystical allure for me. Growing up, whenever any of us kids did something worthy of praise like getting good grades or making a sports team we would get “the red plate.” It was a big deal. I don’t know why, it just was. So when I got married, my wife and I were given a red plate of our own, with which she can motivate me cheaply.

Really though, the red plate was just icing on the cake. One short story a week? That sounds nigh impossible. Challenge accepted. « Read the rest of this entry »

Tension, Prologues, and Dramatic Irony

February 2, 2012 § 5 Comments

Or: How David Eddings ruined a perfectly good book by including a prologue

First off, I apologize for the few new posts as of late. I’ve talked about the Three Stooges Syndrome here before, and I happen to be struggling with a bad case of it. I’m trying to crank out another short story or two to get in the submissions merry-go-round, finish the young adult steampunk novel that I’ve been working on for the last year (draft six, here I come), and a few new projects have come down the pipeline at work and are taking more creative energy than usual (which is a welcome challenge). Too many ideas have been trying to get out of my brain all at once, and hence none of them were making it through the door.

I had to cut back on something and, compared to work and writing, blogging isn’t my top priority. What that means is  for the next few weeks (or until things begin to lighten up) I’m going to blog only when I’ve got something demanding to be shared with you folks.

Which segues nicely into what brings me to my keyboard tonight…

I’ve had Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings, a young adult fantasy book « Read the rest of this entry »

The “It’s a Book” book trailer

January 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

This book trailer is a great example of what we’ve been talking about lately: It’s funny, well-made, and targets a specific demographic.  All those things add up to more than 400,000 thousand views (and me wanting to post it here). Enjoy.

What do you think? Does it make you want to read the book?

Targeting a specific audience for your book trailer

January 20, 2012 § 2 Comments

Or: Book trailers from a video pro’s perspective: The sequel

Last week we talked about book trailers in general and A) book trailers can be a powerful way to market your book, but B) there are a ton of mediocre book trailers out there, and C) if you want to only spend $100 on a book trailer, you should spend your money on other kinds of marketing instead because there is a quality threshold with video, below which I would be surprised if you recouped the cost of the video from added sales (even if it’s only $100). This post started out as a discussion of all the challenges book trailers face, but as it turns out, they are legion and I wanted to take more time addressing them than I could in a single post, so here’s a start talking about the most fundamental problem most book trailers have.

Before starting any book trailer (or any marketing at all), it’s important (if you want your money’s worth) to ask two simple questions: « Read the rest of this entry »

The selective pigheadedness of fantasy fans

January 16, 2012 § 5 Comments

Or: The tension between fantasy and familiar

(Note: for anyone hoping for the second post on book trailers: It’s coming, but I haven’t had the time to put it together properly yet, so be patient)

Recently I found myself in a bookish conversation when my fellow reader took issue with the use of the word “id” in a fantasy story (though I can’t remember which story for the life of me). The argument was that id is part of a theory of the psyche that was developed by Freud, and since Freud had never lived in this fantasy world, the characters wouldn’t have any idea what id was.

I’ve raised similar issues before regarding technology or terms that don’t belong in a given fantasy world, my favorite being « Read the rest of this entry »

Book trailers from a video professional’s perspective

January 13, 2012 § 8 Comments

I’ve been meaning to talk about book trailers for a while, but it was an overwhelming subject to tackle. Then, during the Tuesday night episode of Jersey Shore (I didn’t watch. I just heard. Don’t hate me) there was a book trailer for The Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare, which precipitated this post. (Note: for anyone not up to speed on book advertising, book trailers are basically a video hook to try and entice readers to buy your book, much like a movie trailer.)

I have something of a unique perspective on book trailers because, in addition to spending my free time writing and reading, I work full time as video producer and editor « Read the rest of this entry »