It seems like nobody can release a book without making a trailer for it, and now the trailers themselves have become a kind of art form. You've got the relatively high production values of the trailer we've got here, for Jeff Carlson's new book Plague War, directed by Adad Warda and featuring the author reenacting scenes from the book (including killing a guy and watching bombs go off in the mountains). It has a slightly infomercial feeling, with the boyish Carlson telling us about his product, erm I mean book, but overall it captures the action-packed fun of his novel and makes for a good teaser. But most book trailers don't feature the author. Let's take a look at a few other trailers for new work and see how they stack up.

The trailer for Tobias Buckell's latest novel Sly Mongoose has been out for a while (the book hits stores in August). Instead of focusing on the process of writing or why he's qualified to write this book, Buckell made a trailer that focuses on world-building. The selling point of Sly Mongoose, according to this trailer, is the insanely cool planet where it takes place and the floating cities that cling to its upper atmosphere. We don't get much of a sense of the plot, just a sense of place. And if the plot is as cool as this planet, you'll be sold.


By far my favorite subgenre of scifi book trailers is for the subgenre of erotic fiction. You don't see this kind of book plugged a lot at cons, or in the magazines, but you sure see it a lot on YouTube when you search for "book trailer scifi." I love this trailer for Lexxie Couper's novel Shifting Lust — the music totally works, plus there is a shape-shifter "like no other" and lots of long, loving shots of VR-looking semi-naked people. What is the plot? Um, plot? You want a plot?

Another way to go if you want to promote your book is to go totally lo-fi. That's what Jeff Sommers did with his trailer for futuristic Mickey Spillane-style noir book Digital Plague. What I like about this trailer, aside from the fact that there is a lot of gratuitous "kill kill kill" stuff, is the fact that it really conveys the novel's sense of satiric fun as well as its shoot-em-up premise. Like the trailer for Sly Mongoose, this trailer won't give you much of a sense of the plot, but you do get a feeling for the world where it's set. I wonder if this means book trailer makers think that scifi books sell based on world-building rather than on plot or narrative structure?

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