I adore book trailers. I was speaking to a writer yesterday who audibly moaned when I told him I was making one. “We have to do that, TOO?” No, writer friends, we don’t HAVE to make trailers to promote our books. In fact, of all the many online promotion tools—blogging, social networking, etc.—a book trailer is one that I’m not entirely convinced has a big effect. Many of the big readers I know, teen and adult, tell me they’ve never seen one. But I think that’s changing. Teachers are using them more and more in the classroom, and savvy authors and publishers are learning to use them as another tool to create that elusive buzz.
For me, though, I decided to make a trailer because I thought it would be fun. I discovered that the computer I’ve had for four years has a program on it called Windows Movie Maker. Who knew? It seemed like a sign from the almighty Bill Gates himself that I should give this a try.
So, for the next few weeks, I’ll be taking you through my book-trailer-making journey, culminating (one hopes) with a finished project at the end. I’m new at this, so feel free to write a comment about how off-base I am.
I should tell you right off that I am one of those people who 1) is not afraid of computers and 2) likes to fiddle with picky details. (Case in point: Witchlanders took me ten years to write.) If you are not such a person, there are many companies that will make a book trailer for you. (Two that have been used by many authors I know are Air Book Videos here in Canada and M2 Productions, but since I’ve used neither, this is not an endorsement.)
My first task was to check out other book trailers to see what I could steal learn from what other authors have done. Here are three of my favorites and what I learned from them:
The trailer for Room by Emma Donoghue is a big budget (by my standards) short film made by her publisher. The production values are out of my league, but what is really arresting about her trailer is the emotional content of the script. The question is: Can I write a script for my own little trailer that has the same impact?
Maggie L. Wood’s trailer for her The Divided Realms series is more steal-able imitate-able. I LOVE the eerily beautiful mood, which Maggie’s designer daughter, Chelsea Wood of Besotted Designs, seems to have achieved mostly through lush images and some great music. I can do that! (I think.)
And finally, I was really encouraged to see that one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth C. Bunce, made her own trailer for StarCrossed. I know from looking at stock photography websites (more about these next week) that stock video is more expensive than stills, but Elizabeth uses a video clip that really adds drama to the trailer. Watch: it’s just one clip, but she really makes the most of it. After viewing this trailer, I’ve decided to budget for at least one stock video clip.
Want to drool over some more beautiful trailers? Check out the finalists for the Moby Awards: Best and Worst Book Trailers. Many of these are little works of art.
And check back next week for Part II of my book-trailer-making saga!