Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

YouTube: an author's fairweather friend

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From the Wall Street Journal:

"In a book industry flooded with titles and facing sluggish sales, a growing number of authors are going to dramatic lengths to attract attention. The latest tactic: producing and starring in zany videos aimed at the YouTube audience.

Publishing houses strongly encourage the practice, though some authors find the videos undignified. Thriller writer Vince Flynn says he felt 'like a dork" when he recently recorded a book trailer in Central Park. 'I know a lot of old-school writers resent it,' says Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. 'But it might help sell books.'"

As the rest of the article makes clear, book trailers actually have little discernible impact on sales, and often involve a loss of dignity for the author.

Still, they can't hurt. Like readings and the rest of it, they are more about getting the name of the book circulating so that – maybe, just maybe – someone standing in a bookstore will see spot the cover and think, "Hey, that book looks familiar..."

That's the hope, anyway. Otherwise, they are a way for an author to feel that they are accomplishing something, that they have some small measure of control over their book's destiny. A placebo, in other words.

Having little dignity to begin with, I should note that I made one myself (with the help of Ian Daffern):

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Nathan Whitlock

Nathan Whitlock is the review editor of Quill & Quire magazine. His writing and reviews have appeared in The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Maisonneuve, Toro, Geist, Saturday Night and elsewhere. His novel, A Week of This: a novel in seven days, was published this spring by ECW Press.

Go to Nathan Whitlock’s Author Page