Hating Your Own Book Trailer

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Slate is on the case, looking at why so many book trailers are self-loathing:

Behold Jonathan Franzen, opening his book trailer for Freedom with the words: “This might be a good place for me to register my profound discomfort at having to make videos like this.” Behold Slate editor Gabriel Roth, who transformed the trailer for his novel The Unknowns into a comment on the existential futility of book trailers. “Look, it’s my novel,” Roth tells the camera. “I can’t sum it up for you in like 30 seconds.” Behold The Love Song of Jonny Valentine author Teddy Wayne, pretending to lift the veil on book trailer production hell, protesting “No, I told you guys I don’t want to do this” as a Teddy Wayne bobblehead in the bottom-left corner of the frame hawks cheap-o Jonny Valentine merch. “Can you imagine James Joyce—” the real Wayne begins, then hopelessly chugs his beer.


Lyz is Managing Editor at The Rumpus. Lyz's writing has been published in the New York Times Motherlode, Jezebel, Aeon, Pacific Standard, and others. Her book on midwestern churches is forthcoming from Indiana University Press. She has her MFA from Lesley and skulks about on Twitter @lyzl. More from this author →