I was reminded this week of the importance of blurbs and covers for our books. This reminder actually came in reference to the impact of trailers for movies. Our minister was pointing out how movie trailers can excite potential viewers, can ensure a certain movie is put on their ‘to see’ list, can promise a viewer enjoyment, challenge, even learning.
We know the same is true of book blurbs, covers or book trailers. In the midst of so much competition we must catch a potential reader’s attention. The few words or images we have on our book covers or in a short trailer need to promise a reader that they will be entertained, engaged, intrigued by our story, more so than other books that might be competing for their time and money. They need to feel the experience of reading our books will be worth the price they pay, will justify the time they give it, that our writing will keep them turning the pages, wanting to know how the story ends.
A reader will be drawn to our books if they feel they will relate to the characters in the story, if they sense that the book may have answers or inspiration for some of the questions and challenges they face in their own lives. Or at least that the story will capture them enough that they can escape from their suffering or boredom for a while. Of course our blurbs, covers and trailers need to be true representations of our stories. If a reader buys our book and then finds it does not deliver on what was promised, then of course, we’ve lost a reader.
No doubt we’ve all thought a lot about the importance of the above and worked hard at phrasing our blurbs and designing our covers to achieve the greatest impact. We know that a few words or an image can be packed with intrigue, with pathos, with challenge. They can move us, disturb us, delight us or excite us. They give us a glimpse of what is or what might be.
However, the greater challenge came for me this week as our minister went on to talk about our lives as trailers for God’s Story. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of myself as a trailer before. I suppose it’s a concept akin to being a good ‘witness’, but, as important as that is, I think the word has lost its impact or sounds too ‘religious’ these days. So the idea of being a trailer was refreshing and also very challenging.
When a person looks at snippets of my life, hears my words in a conversation here and there, glimpses my behaviour in various situations, what kind of trailer are they seeing and hearing? Are they moved by what they see and hear to want to know me better, to know more about my story? And more importantly, do they want to know more about the One for whom I claim to live, the One who directs my life and promises a perfect forever after ending? Is my life a trailer that excites people, moves people, and challenges them to become part of His Story?
Of course, when a person gets to know us better, spends more time with us, gets more into our story, they need to see that the snippet or the trailer that drew them to us, is genuine, that we are truly what we seemed to be at a glimpse. Otherwise they are not going to be further drawn to the God we claim to represent and to walk with. They are not likely to believe the promises of God that we espouse. What a responsibility we have to be good trailers for God’s Story?
I was so inspired by this thought. As I think of it each day it makes me very mindful of my words, my reactions and behaviours. I truly want those around me to be drawn to the way I live, speak, love and respond, and to want to know why, and Who enables me to live this way. What a challenge!
This also applies to our books, of course. Our novels, biographies, memoirs, devotionals, inspirational books, in their entirety, need to be trailers for God’s Story; a taste of what God promises, of how God loves, an insight into the purpose and privilege of a life spent in relationship with God.
I’ve been inspired this week to write and live as a better trailer for God’s Story. I hope you are too.
Carol writes historical novels based on her family ancestry in Australia from the First Fleet. They include the Turning the Tide series; Mary’s Guardian, Charlotte’s Angel, Tangled Secrets and Truly Free. Two of her earlier novels, Suzannah’s Gold and Rebecca’s Dream, were re-released by EBP. Next of Kin was released last year by Rhiza Press and the sequel, Beyond the Fight, was released this April. You can see more about Carol and her novels on her website, her Amazon author page or FB author page.