You may remember that late last month I featured a chilling excerpt from Waking Up Dead on the blog for the release. I didn't have the author over then because I was saving her for something really great and today she is delivering on her promise to give me a special post.
Without further ado let me hand you over to one of the finest writing creatives: Margo Bond Collins
Indie authors know that it’s often important to minimize costs surrounding advertising. And while it’s possible to spend hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on a book trailer, with a little time and effort, it’s possible for an author to produce his or her own book trailer.
1. Write your script. Knowing what words you are going to be using over the images can make a world of difference once you start looking for appropriate images. Think in terms of text that is about the same length and style as the back cover of a novel.
2. Break the script into small chunks. You won’t want to over-load your screen with text. But make sure that the chunks make enough sense by themselves to be left alone on the screen for a few moments.
3. Once you have your script ready, take a look at it and decide on the tone of the piece. Romantic? Eerie? Terrifying? Regal? Comic? Check your script to make sure it can be adapted to that tone.
4. Begin gathering images to use. I cannot stress this next bit strongly enough: make sure the images you use are not only free to use, but also (unless you want to clutter up your trailer with attributions) do not require you to acknowledge their source. I suggest gathering 3-4 images per phrase (and maybe a couple extra); you might not use all of them, but I always prefer to have a strong image base and not have to search for new images in the middle of the program. http://www.Morguefile.com is my favorite, but there are others.
5. Once you have your wording and your images, find music that will help set the tone. Again, find music that is not only royalty-free, but also licensed for free commercial use. I like http://dig.ccmixter.org/, but there are other sites, as well.
6. Put it all together. Many computers come with Movie Maker already installed. To use it, you should put the pictures in order, copy the script blocks onto individual images, and add music. Finally, you can choose a movie effect—“Pan and Zoom” to create the illusion of motion, for example, or “Cinematic” for a filmic look.
7. Start cutting. If you’re anything like me, you will have gathered up tons of images and will have long stretches without any words –or will leave the words on the screen too long. Be ruthless in your editing!
Additional things I have learned along the way:
• Don’t try to do a long trailer; people have short attention spans! It’s best to keep it under 2 minutes; even better to keep it under 90 seconds.
• Don’t be afraid to cut out images you thought you wanted—don’t let the image stay on the screen for too long, or you might lose your viewers.
• Be sure to include a title slide and an ending slide with the information about the book, including where to buy it.
• Make sure your movie doesn’t cut off too abruptly; let it fade to black
• And finally: have fun! Be creative! The more you practice, the better your trailers will be.
I’m including my first attempt at a book trailer below. It’s not perfect; there are things about it I would change now, but I think it makes a great example because of its flaws. Overall, though, it conveyed what I wanted it to convey, and doing it taught me a lot about how to create an inexpensive book trailer video!
And what a stunning book trailer this is. I can't see the imperfections can you?