Note: Just to be clear, this post is about marketing, not the merits of the book I use as an example.
Here is the cover of a new book called Black Cow:
What kind of book do you think it might be?
My guess was a children's book. The title seeemed pretty consistent with that but of course it's mainly the illustration that gives that impression.
That's why I was surprised when I saw the book trailer. The text of the trailer is the same as the book's description at Amazon.com:
"Freya and James Archer live the high life in a luxury home in Sydney's poshest suburb, with money, matching Jags, two beautiful teenage kids ... and they couldn't be more despondent. James wakes weeping each morning, dreading the pressures of a long and grueling work day ahead, and Freya is struggling with her foundering real estate career. Global recession is biting in Australia, and the Archers are afraid. In a desperate bid for happiness and security they shed the fragile trappings of success and cruise over into the slow lane to take an unmapped turn-off on a country road and live off the land in a remote old farmhouse on the peaceful southern island of Tasmania. But is this an end to their old misery or the beginning of an even greater one?"
OK, that's not a bad summary, although more of a hint about what happens to the Archers after they move might have provoked my curiosity a bit more. So now let's watch and listen to the trailer version of this description:
Is it only me, or is that a voice more likely to help you doze off than to rush to your online or offline bookstore? You don't need to use somebody who has that voice of doom ("in a land where..."), but too laid-back isn't good, either.
Again, I don't mean any offense to the author or to make any judgements about the quality of the book, my point is that if your book cover, your title, your story, and your trailer (both in content and in style) are not consistent it leads to confusion on the part of the reader. And it's too easy for browsers to move on to the next book for you to want to take that chance.
(Marketing your book is one of the subjects of "Your Writing Coach," published by Nicholas Brealey and available from Amazon and other book sellers.)