Thursday, February 21, 2013

Toads and Pianos!

To paraphrase a popular saying among writing professionals, “There are a lot of people who want to have written a book, but only a fraction who will write one.” As anyone who’s ever tried it knows: writing is Hard Work. Hard. Work. These days I feel like Fred Flintstone trying to get the Flintmobile going – I’m having a hard time gaining traction in my new WIP. To completely mix my metaphors – though I’ll stick with the vehicular theme – I’m currently taxiing on the runway, waiting for take-off, anxious to hit altitude where I’ll finally begin to soar through the writing process. Maybe. Each new book I begin is a crap-shoot, wherein I ask myself, “Can she do it again?” And, oh, the conversation that little question incites inside my head.

Speaking of craps, the name for the old and popular dice game is believed to have originated from crapaud, the French word for toad, given because of the toad-like crouch the players assume while tossing the dice. I’m not making this up. Honest. Gotta love the French.

Okay. So we’ve established that writing is not the romantic, suave, easy life non-writers assume it to be. It has its moments, yes, but the same can be said of childbirth and weed pulling. The fond moments always pertain to the end product, never the process. Crapaud! I could crawl in a hole just thinking about it.

And to throw even more light on our word of the day, according to The Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopedia Dictionary, crapaud also translates into “baby grand [piano].” I swear I’m not making that up either. Do you suppose it has something to do with the way the French sit when they play the piano?

Just a thought.

If writing can be a drudgery, and rewriting an even worse drudgery – and let’s not even talk about submissions, rejections and marketing – why the deuce do we do it? If I were sitting at a typewriter, this is where I’d rip out the sheet of paper, wad it up and toss it into my over-flowing waste basket, then choke myself with my ascot.

Gosh, I’m feeling metropolitan today.

So, is there anything fun about writing? Yes, yes, and yes. To name a few: getting into the groove, breathing life into the nostrils of your characters, writing The End on a story well written. Hearing from happy readers. Investing well the millions you’ve earned from your Hard Work. Oh, wait, that last part was pure fiction. Ignore it.

And making trailers.

For me, making trailers is the “icing on the petit fours of (the writing) life” – to quote one of my characters, from one of my books. As I sit here I can’t remember which. Okay, maybe making trailers isn’t really the icing, but it’s one of the ingredients. I love making trailers. They’re fun. And in comparison to actually writing the book, they’re easy. I love selecting the music, getting just the right feel for the story; selecting the images I’ll use; and writing the script, which will hopefully help tell the story of the story without giving the story away. (That last part of the last sentence reminds me of a button I wore in my hippie days that said, “Why do we kill people who kill people to show people that killing people is wrong?” I’ve since had reason to reconsider that button.) Then I love watching the completed trailer, feeling a sense of a different kind of accomplishment. Of course, I wouldn’t have known where on earth to begin without Katy. She’s such a wealth of information, and beyond helpful.

But putting all the fun things of trailer-making aside, are they useful? Do they create interest and help sell books? I personally enjoy book trailers. I view them to learn what other writers are doing, and to compare them to my own. But I’ve also purchased books because of trailers. Have you?

Another question I have is how do you get people to view them? I’ve talked about my trailers on Twitter and Facebook, but I haven’t generated much traffic to them. Should I add that to my list of things to worry about? I love lists, but I want them manageable. If I put the link to my trailers, say, here, would you be even a little bit enticed to view them? If you liked them, would you encourage your plethora of friends to view them? Then would you participate in this completely unscientific poll and tell me what you think about the trailers and the subject of trailers and whether or not you would create trailers for your own books?


Sandra Stiles said...

I have viewed your trailers and the questions they raised in my mind entices me to read them. I self-published my first book. When my students at school found out it was one of those "cool, my teacher published a book", but no sales. The media specialist ran my book trailer on the morning news the next week and students were running to her to find out how to get a copy. They didn't know the book was going to be that exciting, she told me. I believe they can help promote your book. I use them in my classroom all the time to get my students to read. I can't speak for other adults as I read all age levels. But, for me that is usually the first thing I look for.

Jennifer Major said...

Before I go any further, there is a town on Prince Edward Island named Crapaud. It's a wonder LM Montgomery set the book far, FAR from there!!!

Susie Finkbeiner said...

Thanks for the French lesson! You made me smile this morning, Sharon.

I've been very pleased with how effective my book trailer has been in generating buzz for my novel. The film makers were able to capture the gritty emotional edge I'd hoped for.

But I have to say that I've got a great group of friends who posted and reposted the trailer. That helped a whole lot.

Josey Bozzo said...

It's funny, I'm a visual kind of person and I love movies. But I have never watched a book trailer before. Not for any particular reason. Just haven't thought to watch.
Weird. I know.
But I do think that they can be useful in promoting a book. Especially now, with everyone on computers and tablets all the time. Video clips, and trailers seem to be the way of things now.

Cherry Odelberg said...

Yes, that is what I want to know about trailers; whatever do you DO with them?

Patti Hill said...

Sharon, you have to teach us how to do a trailer. Can a non-techie like me manage?

I like the idea of making them myself. I'm getting to be a control freak, now that I'm a publishing company of one. Crapaud Publishing? Ribbit!

Sharon K. Souza said...

Patti, absolutely I can teach you. Katy is the one who got me started. And, really, they're fun.

Marian said...

I viewed your middle trailer. I loved it. I didn't share it because I haven't read your book yet. When I read your book and love it as much as I love the trailer I will share it.

Sharon K. Souza said...

Sandra, how fun for you and your students.

Jennifer, Crapaud?! Really?

Susie, glad I made you smile. I viewed your trailer. Well done!

Josey, thanks for joining the conversation. I'd say most of the people I know (discounting writers) probably haven't viewed book trailers.

Cherry, yep!

Kathleen Popa said...

Sharon, your trailers are delightful, and your books are brilliant.

And I'm going to think about that line, "choke myself with my ascot," all night.


Jade said...


I love your "Unraveled" trailer. It made me want to read the book :) loved the French lesson too, hehe!
And now I'm excited to someday create my own trailer—inspiring! but of course the writing comes first.

I have not yet figured out how to get more people to view a trailer, or even a blog, for that matter. I try to be patient and ask questions on the blog so there's a bit of a dialogue going. A feeling of community usually works well...


V. Gingerich said...

I didn't get around to reading this post right away and now that I did, I understand why. It was just the laugh I needed on this grey and rainy Monday morning. Thanks!

Do you suppose it has something to do with the way the French sit when they play the piano?

Thankfully, I'd finished sipping my Earl by the time the above came along.

Also, Sharon, I just finished your book and was completely satisfied, which means a lot when the expectations were high, like mine.

P.S. I don't watch book trailers.

Sharon K. Souza said...

Wanderer, I'm glad to help you laugh on a gray Monday. It's lovely here in northern California this morning. Thank you for reading my novel. I'm really glad you enjoyed it.