Authors traditionally rely on writing to spread the word about their books. Yet they often overlook videos as a fabulous promotional tool. Trailers historically have been reserved for movies. But with the advent of Social Media, it became possible to make book trailers at low or no cost.
A book trailer adds an extra dimension and visibility to the promotion of your book. And in our competitive world, we, authors, should use every advantage we can get. This, visual dimension can be quite valuable. A book trailer can be posted on your YouTube channel, website, author Amazon and Smashwords pages, Goodreads, as well as a number of other places.
I know, I know. You think it’s too hard. It actually isn’t, but there is a learning curve – a rather steep one. One point I want to make is that the trailer doesn’t need to be overly complicated. For example, you don’t need to make it into a movie, unless you like that kind of thing. It is very effective to use pictures/photos, together with a snappy narrative and suitable background music. This is my preferred way of making a trailer, but of course, use your imagination and let your creativity tell you what works for you and your book. Sky is the limit!
I estimate the learning curve for making a trailer at about 50-60 hours. So, if you can’t afford to dedicate this much time to learning about movie and trailer making, than you are better off delegating this task to someone else.
But if you are up for the challenge, here is what you need to know.
First, you need to start a YouTube channel. It’s easy to sign up and setting it up takes no more than half an hour.
Mine is called Lada Ray Channel and for now, I keep it simple. So far, I’ve made 4 book trailers and a bunch of nature/Halloween videos. But I may expand my channel in the future, time permitting.
Take a look at my channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/LadaRay/videos
Once you’ve set up your Youtube channel and learned the ropes, you can start making your book trailer. Estimated time for each trailer: 5-10 hours.
Here is what you will need:
1. Find and upload on your computer a movie maker software. Google it. There are several that are free, including Windows Movie Maker. Of course, you can also pay for a more sophisticated version.
2. Think about the theme and flow of your trailer. I love this part! It’s like directing your own movie. I usually write down the narrative for each frame and visualize what kind of picture would work with it.
3. Write out the narrative. Don’t overwhelm your trailer with text though. Remember, you are making a movie, not writing a book. It’s supposed to be snappy, entertaing, and a feast for ALL the senses.
4. Gather enough images to be used in your trailer before you begin. My advice, have plenty of extras. You can always discard the ones you decided not to use. It is much better than coming short while in the middle of your trailer-making process.
To find the images, go to a website like Shutterstock, where you can purchase royalty-free photos inexpensively.
I love photography, so whenever I can, I use my own pics for trailers and videos.
5. Find the music that works with your trailer. You can purchase a piece of music online, or use a royalty-free piece that is past its copyright. These are usually classics. A word of warning: classics are great if they go with your topic and presentation. But I sometimes see pieces that are completely mismatched. Try your music for size before applying it.
For example, check out my STEPFORD USA trailer.
The music used is a classic: Second Waltz by Russian composer, Dmitry Shostakovich, written in the 1940s. And it works very well with this particular piece.
6. After you’ve assembled all the elements, the real fun begins! Upload your images into frames, add text and music! Enjoy!
1. To make my videos look and feel more professional, I usually play with extending or narrowing time frames depending on how long I want every image to linger.
Check out my GOLD TRAIN trailer.
Notice how the music changes and highs emphasize the narrative and work with images?
2. Always fit your music to frame. Otherwise it will be too long or too short. This will make it look sloppy and unprofessional.
Check out my videos:
Enchanted Autumn and Amazing Autumn Meditation
to see how the music precisely matches the length of the video. Unfortunately, not every video has this, resulting in a period of silence or a cut off piece.
3. YouTube offers some very cool video enhancement tools, like color enhancement, moving frames and text, etc. I used some of them in my videos. See if you can spot what enhancements I used in the following trailers and videos:
GOLD TRAIN trailer
STEPFORD USA trailer
Autumn Waltz of the Ducks
Amazing Autumn Meditation
Humorous Enchanted Halloween
These video enhancement tools are great fun and I enjoy playing with them. Word of caution: make sure they work with your particular piece! And sometimes less is more.
Good Luck! If you decide to make a book trailer or if you already have one, feel free to post a comment together with the link!
P.S. When you set up a YouTube channel, make sure you subscribe to Lada Ray Channel and let me know about it. I’ll be glad to reciprocate!
Copyright Lada Ray, 2012