Guest Post: An Open Letter to Book Bloggers, Readers, and Book Clubbers from author Jennie Shortridge

jennie2Dear book bloggers, book readers, and book club members,

In case you don’t already realize it, you are the future of the book publishing business. Where once it was seen as an exclusive club of intellectuals in New York, the reading public now rules, and that was never more evident to me than at Book Group Expo in San Jose in late October.

I think it all started with Amazon customer reviews, which at first the publishing world pooh-poohed as inconsequential. Now, everyone understands that they are one of the main ways people choose books to read. Publishers are embracing readers in ways they never have, now that they have a “voice” and can communicate with other readers. Book bloggers are the natural extention of that, and are welcomed with open arms into the book publishing community, as Jill and Trish and others noticed at Book Group Expo. I would say they were actually courted by authors and publicists alike. I attended a cocktail party thrown by Carol Fitzgerald of Book Report Network, a powerful force in the publishing biz, 9780451223883l1and loved  how diverse the group there was, including publishing people, authors, and yes, bloggers! My author friends all want my contacts in the blogging world, and my publisher is delighted that I’m on blog tour with TLC.

So readers, bloggers, book club members, thank you. Thank you for reading the books that don’t get all the marketing dollars, and for telling others when you like them. Thank you for taking the time to organize, to blog, to reach out to authors. We appreciate you all so much, and with your help, we can continue to do what we feel we must: write the stories that help us come together and talk about important issues, discover who we really are, or just spin a good yarn and forget about the economy and issues of the day.

You rock my world . . .
Jennie

Jennie Shortridge and her book Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe, her 3rd published novel, is currently on a virtual book tour with TLC Book Tours (view the schedule HERE).

Guest Post: Judging a Book by its…. Trailer?

It was nice to learn that I was not the last human on the planet to discover book trailers! Yesterday’s Janeology post and trailer sparked a lot of discussion in the comments, so Karen Harrington, author of Janeology, offered to share a piece she wrote for her blog a while back about book trailers.  Thanks, Karen!

Judging a book by its…trailer?                       by Karen Harrington

Do you recall that great line from Sunset Boulevard where fading silent movie actress Norma Desmond defends her role in the movies? She cites her looks, her expressions and says, “You can’t write that down.”

It’s true. There are feelings one can convey through a look that the best writers would find hard to describe. So it’s only natural that the trend towards using cinematic features is now in vogue for bookselling. Book trailers arguably have the ability to convey dramatic elements of a story in ways a book jacket cannot.

Author Brenda Coulter disagrees that this is a good method for books however saying that most trailers are simple slideshows with a soundtrack. She also dislikes that so many of the trailers cannot be viewed by a huge percentage of Americans due to dial-up connection. Now, to be fair, Ms. Coulter wrote her opinion two years ago. The method has come a long way, baby!

The trailer for Ann Patchett’s latest novel Run shows an aqueous blue background with bubbles continuously floating over images of people, houses on the rich/poor ends of the spectrum and selected descriptive passages from the novel. The singular piano accompaniment to this trailer creates an inviting, if not subtle, undercurrent of mystery and secrets. You could probably view this trailer in a library.

By contrast author Caro Ramsey’s novel trailer for Absolution comes at the viewer full stop, with ominous images of knives and crosses bouncing across the screen in a shaky hand-held camera style, all set to an eerie single violin Silence of the Lambs-esque piece that would likely get you summarily shushed by a librarian.

I am intrigued by the very way images, music and ideas come together in less than five minutes to give a potential reader a sense of the book. And this new view into book trailers made me wonder: would we choose books the same way we choose movies – from a two-minute glimpse? Would you rather go into Barnes & Noble and scan several short videos to make your selection? Or do you prefer to scan the New Release table and thumb through the pages in hand?

Much like the current political environment where the key slogan of the day is “You Decide,” you can decide for yourself by viewing the trailers above, or even the one created for Janeology which is filled with haunting scenes of water imagery and dark family secrets, scored with music that will make your neck hairs stand at attention. (Fortunate author that I am, this trailer was created by one of THE inventors of the novel trailer art form, Kam Wai Yu, who has been developing this art since the 1980s.) 

Karen Harrington is the author of JANEOLOGY, the story of one man’s attempt to understand his wife’s sudden descent into madness and murder.