Despite what some folks may believe writing is a lot of work. There’s the writing of course which requires research and longs hours of typing or scrawling, there’s the revising which is daunting to say the very least and then there’s the promoting which sometimes feels as effective as banging your head against a wall.
But some aspects of being a writer are fun. On the writing side, I can’t wait to see what my characters will end up doing in a scene, I really enjoy interacting with my readers, and I love designing and creating my book covers. And this week, I found another fun side of the world of writing: the book trailer!
This week, I made my first trailer ever for The Voyage: Book Two of The Osteria Chronicles and I can’t wait to do another.
About Book Trailers
Book trailers are pretty much a combination of your back of the book blurb and a movie trailer. Like a book blurb, they let people know what your book is about, but rather than having to read a bunch of words on the back of book in a poorly lit bookstore or library, people get to watch a very short film about your book. It’s basically a commercial for your book.
The Most Important Part of Your Book Trailer
Before I get into a basic overview of how I made my book trailer, let me cover what I think is the most important thing you need to do before ever beginning your own trailer:
You need to be able to concisely describe your book.
There’s loads of things going on in The Voyage. There are power struggles, personal doubts, land and sea adventures, monsters, dangerous love affairs, a crazy king, battles betweens gods and titans, and on and on. If I tried to convey all that in a book trailer, well, it wouldn’t be a book trailer anymore; it would be a movie. Although I have hopes that one day this series will be a movie (or TV show), now is not that time.
For a book trailer to have its biggest impact, you need to boil your description down to the very essence of the story. If you want to use cooking terms, you need to do a reduction until you’re left with a sauce that defines the heart of the book. And that sauce needs to convey the where, the who, and the what (the primary conflict) in only a sentence or two.
Visuals for The Book Trailer
Once you have that concise elevator pitch statement in your head (and on paper if you’re forgetful), what’s next?
Well, you need some images or video. I opted for images since they’re easier to come by. If you prefer video, go for it, but to find either images or video, you’ll need to search. If you don’t know what you’re trying to show your audience, you’ll be searching well beyond your book’s release date.
So come up with several search terms that define what you want to convey in your trailer and what best shows off the events in your book (they should also match what you’re trying to say in that concise description mentioned above).
For The Voyage I wanted to convey the internal conflict of doubt, the emotion of anger, the forces of nature, the conflict between the gods, and the struggle for power. Search terms included: warrior, anger, storm, greek gods and crown (among others).
I feel I lucked out a while ago while working on some other promo material when I found an image of a Roman-style warrior who looks like he’s having some sort of internal conflict. I did pay for this image from 123rtf.com, but all the other images for my trailer were found this week on free image sites such as freeimages.com and pixabay.com.
This image hunt does take some time, but your searches should yield some great (and even unexpected results).
Now that you have all these images (or video) and a great description for your book, what do you do? There are free movie making programs out there such as Animoto and Prezi, but if you’re a Mac user, you can take advantage of iMovie. This is super convenient since iMovie is likely already on your computer and it has several templates for trailers. Yes, the trailers are for movies, which causes a bit of weirdness when it comes to the credits, but you can work around this.
Now, I’m sure I’ll get complaints/comments saying iMovie is too limited, but for me that was fine. I found the perfect template that matched the mood and look of my book and my description fit perfectly into place in the placeholders. Images are super easy to edit and drop in, and the learning curve was nearly flat even though this was my first time working with iMovie and my first book trailer.
The After Party
Once you’ve created your trailer, upload it to YouTube, post it on your Goodreads page, add it to your Amazon Author Central page, include it on your book’s web page, tweet it, throw it into the Facebook void and include a link to it whenever you contact reviewers or other book-loving folks.
And Now, Get Out the Popcorn Because Here’s The Voyage’s Trailer….
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TAMMIE PAINTER IS THE AUTHOR OF THE TRIALS OF HERCULES: BOOK ONE OF THE OSTERIA CHRONICLES AND AN ARTIST WHO DEDICATES HERSELF TO THE TEDIUM OF CREATING IMAGES WITH COLORED PENCILS.