Readers seem to have clearly moved on from the age-old adage of judging a book by its cover. If the current batch of best-selling authors in India is to be heard, it is trailers that are helping sell the written word. “I thought of making a video last year when I was launching my first book, The Immortals of Meluha. It was probably the first of its kind in 2010,” claims banker-turned-author, Amish Tripathi.His 180-second homespun video received over 57,000 views on YouTube and convinced Tripathi about the scope of this new-age marketing tool. "The idea was to reach out to an audience that visits theatres, but doesn’t walk into a bookstore," he says. Currently adding finishing touches to the trailer of his latest novel, The Secret Of The Nagas, Tripathi has stopped dabbling with the medium and approached professionals — Mumbai-based advertising agency, Think Why Not — to prepare the promo. "We’ve decided to release it at multiplexes. It will be out with this year’s big-budget release, RA.One," he adds. .
Joining the club was Ashwin Sanghi with his Machiavellian novel, Chanakya’s Chant that was launched after showcasing its audio-video production. "Originally, I had planned to launch my first book, The Rozabal Line with a promo in 2008. Back then, YouTube was picking up significantly, so I decided to put it up online,” says Sanghi. Produced on a nominal budget, this rudimentary four-minute production sans moving images ended up receiving over 15,000 views on the web. Cue to the present, and Sanghi’s latest footage features music composed by Ameya Naik, with visuals to match. “The readers are spoilt for choice now. A promo adds to recall value and allows readers to make up their mind. I specially commissioned a track on the Shaktimantra since it features prominently through my novel and can somewhat be a reader’s guide.” The composition along with the first chapter of the book was available for free download around the time of the launch.
This month, graphic novelists Vijayendra Mohanty and Vivek Goel too will be launching the third edition of Ravanayan with a video at the Comic Con. “It’s purely for marketing purposes, since our target audience is also very tech-savvy,” feels Mohanty.
Stretching from a couple of seconds to a few minutes, ask them of the dangers of the video revealing too much and Tripathi chips in: “Ideally, it should not be longer than a minute. It’s just a teaser to ensure your target audience picks up the book.”
No wonder, websites like Amazon and Flipkart now offer video promos of books besides their summary and testimonials. Is it the writer’s innate yearning for a movie deal that has propelled this new trend? “I doubt that. It would be an unrealistic expectation on their part, since barely one per cent of books end up translating into scripts. But if they do, then why not?,” adds Sanghi.