I have a book trailer! And you can view it on YouTube. I hope it makes you want to read the book…
Now, of course, there’s a story behind this trailer and some of you may want to hear it. Some of you may want to make your own book trailer. So here goes.
(1) In the beginning
I never thought I’d have a book trailer. It seemed like those were for other people. People with big, fancy publishers who can throw marketing / promotion dollars around. Or people whose husbands / children / close relations or friends have video expertise and can do this stuff for free.
But the thought was there, niggling in my brain. What if I could have one? What if it was possible? I’ve heard lots of kids in the age group this book is targeted at talking about book trailers.
I decided it was worth exploring so I did what people like me do – mothers, writers, school volunteers – we ask for help. I asked some savvy friends for help.
I got lots of support and many ideas, and I got referred to Souad Daou. Talk about a stroke of luck.
(2) Moving forward
Neither Souad, nor I, had ever created a book trailer but Souad had all the relevant technical and creative expertise, and I’d written the book so, in theory, we were the two most qualified novices to tackle this project.
It took quite a while just to get going. I watched many, many book trailers and liked some, while I found others looked unprofessional. Many were too long. Many trailers used techniques I felt would be overreaching for our budget. The idea of actually shooting our own video was out, as far as I was concerned. If you’re not a pro it’s just too easy for that to look “wrong” and, also, I don’t (personally) like trailers where an actor plays any of the characters, as I feel it takes away the reader’s privilege to have that person look just as they imagine them in their head.
So Souad kept asking “what do you want it to look like?” and I kept saying “I’m not sure” and sending her a ridiculous number of links to book trailers I liked – all of which were completely different one from the other.
(3) Gathering momentum
I finally found a book trailer I really liked that I actually thought we could do! So now I had some guidance for Souad. We figured out a series of linked images would work fine. We were on our way!
So these were the steps:
- Write a script. As if writing a synopsis of my book, and then a shorter synopsis, and then a longer synopsis, and numerous summaries, all different lengths, for the website and for flyers, etc., etc., wasn’t enough, I now had to write a script. Nothing to do but get it done. In case you’re interested, it’s 58 words long. Yup, 58. That’s it.
- Find music. Actually I had found the music before I even met Souad. My friend Debora recommended getting royalty-free music from a site like Triple Scoop and it really didn’t take long for me to find the perfect piece of music there. It really set the tone for the whole trailer so it was great to have it early on.
- Find images. Both Souad and I shopped iStockphoto for these and, at the same time, Lynn was looking for images to use on the website. In the end we were able to use almost all the images on both the website and for the trailer, and I found a discount code online, so I got all my images for just over $100.
- Let Souad do her thing! This is where I knew I needed help. The trailer looks simple when you view it, but Souad had to link those images together, run the text over them, line up the music and do a million small things I can’t even imagine. It’s amazing what goes into a 45-second trailer!
I was very impressed the first time I saw it – and that was without the music. But I could also immediately see where certain things weren’t working; many of them around my script. What looks right on paper, doesn’t necessarily look right standing alone against an image.
The other learning curve was around rights / licenses, etc. Souad and I were both very cognizant of wanting to use the music and images in a legal, ethical manner. Even though we paid for them, we weren’t always sure of the details of the wording in the contracts. The good news is both Triple Scoop and iStock were incredibly fast at getting back to us to clarify that, yes, our use of the work was covered under their licensing agreements and to wish us good luck on the project. I was impressed with the customer service at both places.
(4) The Finished Product
We went back, and forth, and back, and forth. Finally we just needed the cover image. We got that and Souad dropped it into place and it was done!
Then Lynn uploaded it to YouTube for me and now you may view it…
I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about the book trailer process, or to hear about your experience making a book trailer (or even just watching trailers!).