Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Trailers- The Whys

If you are publishing a book these days, you know you need a website or a blog, a facebook page for your book and mostly likely a twitter account. One can never market too much.

The newest self-publishing tool is the book trailer. This video teaser works like a movie trailer, it gets people excited about your book. You put it on your website, you send it to possible readers, you post it on Youtube. When you do interviews (and you should be doing interviews) with bloggers on your book, you'll have a cool trailer to entice people to buy your book.

Here are the most common quesions about book trailers.

A) Can I do one myself?

Yes, you can. Most computers come with Movie Maker. You can put together stock photos, your cover, add music and make a trailer. With a LOT of practice, you can make nice one. If you are not handy with technology, this is probably a 2 on a scale of 1 to 5. Five being just shoot yourself, it'll hurt less.

To be honest, I find Animoto much, much easier than Movie Maker. I'd recommend paying for a single month and getting your video down ASAP. Just download the video as an MP4 before your month of access ends.

Things to remember: you must clear the RIGHTS on the pictures, video and MUSIC used in your trailer. Just because its on YouTube or its on the internet, doesn't mean you have the legal right to use it in a commercial enterprise. And a trailer is meant to make you money so its commercial.

If you know someone with Animoto, they can probably do one much easier than Movie Maker.

You can hire someone to do a trailer for you but it won't be free. If you have everythign ready, most videos can be completed within a week. If the person has to create all your materials and do the storyline, expect that time to be doubled (minimum).

Most of my video trailers are done within a week start to finish.

2) What's the biggest mistake people make in book trailers?

The biggest mistake is trying to tell your entire book in about two minutes or less of time. The trailer is a teaser, it is not the MGM production of your book. PIck the main plot, leave a question hanging at the end but NO MORE THAN ONE question is to be asked in the trailer. Keep the trailer short.

3) Will this help my website traffic?

It might if you remember to link or list your blog or website address in your video.

4) Second biggest mistake in the trailers?

Mmm...not putting your book cover in the video and not telling them where it can be purchased. The goal is to sell books so make it super easy for readers to find your book.

5) Do I need actors, a graphic artist or a filmmaker to make my trailer?

Nope. All those things help but are not required.

6) Where can I get music that is royalty free for my trailer?
Sites like Animoto PRO clear song rights for you. Otherwise, try and if you can, donate to them. They provide a great service. The music there can be used without royalty or copyright infringement.

7) Where do I get stock photos?

I suggest buying them from BigStockPhotos or downloading free ones from the donated photo link on Dreamstime. On Dreamstime, make sure you use the DONATED FREE photos. Otherwise you'll need to purchase something. Other sites like can provide free stock photos. However most of the PDP does not have a model release on the faces. It's a gray area.

8) My photos and character pictures need edited to fit my book, what do I do?

If you are doing a book with elves or if you need a tree growing in a swimming pool for your video, you'll need to find a graphic designer or a person who is good at art to help you. I often tweak character art photos for people for their websites, it's not hard to do on your own but you need some specialized programs such as picnik, fotoflexer, IPICCY, Gimp 2.0 or Photoshop.

9) I want video clips in my video, how can I find some?

The cheapest way is to do it yourself with your video camera or the movie feature on your digital phone. Otherwise, you'll need to buy video clips, get permission from friends to use their personal videos or go out to a classic video archive site and download some free classic black and white historic video. Try Shutterfly for video clips.

10) How long should the trailer be?

Most videos should be under 2 minutes ten seconds including the links and credits. :) There are exceptions but most should strive to keep it there or below. People have short attention spans.

11) What if I don't want music but I want a voice over on my video, can that be done?
Oh yes. You need a headset with a microphone (available at any Walmart for less than 20 bucks), a computer with sound and an audio recorder. The Audio Recorder---is the hardest to get. I've found the free recorder downloaded from works for this purpose. Expect to rerecord it about five or six times to get the timing right.

Since I wrote this original blog, I've discovered AUDACITY, which is an easy, free way to do voice overlays with music in the background. Love it. Takes a bit of practice but it's not impossible.

Click the LINKS below to check out some of the ANIMOTO trailers I've created:

Glady Tripalong Book Trailer

I Wish I Were Engulfed in Flames Book Trailer

How To Survive Cannibals Website Video WITH AUDIO instead of music.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent info here - i jst RT it. Thank you for being a wealth of good advice for writers everywhere.