Monday, July 18, 2011

Creating a Book Trailer

The last couple days, I've been creating a book trailer. I know I'm behind on my writing and I'm sure it's just my way to procrastinate, but I think after the nightmarish week I had that I just needed a break and I needed to do something a little different. I read an entire book in one day (which isn't shocking for me, just not something I've done in a while) and I started a book trailer. It's been a blast working on it, and I thought it could be fun to write a blog post about how I tackled the book trailer while I wait for artists to get back to me.

The first thing I did was browse deviantART(dA) for images that I thought would be useful. Links to the images I liked or chose when onto a page in my Land of No Angels Scrivener file, then I took the images to use as place holders. I used about 5 images and have one or two additional ones that I kept as back-ups in case the artists didn't want me using the images. When I decided for sure which ones would be needed in the trailer, I contacted the artists on dA asking permission to use them in my book trailer that will be posted to youtube. (Also, give yourself enough time. Sometimes it can take a week for people to get back to you. Keep that in mind.)

Let's sidetrack for a second to talk about dA and about images and permission and all that good stuff. Before I became an author, I was an artist (click on the art link in the menu bar to see some of what I did) and you know one of the biggest pet peeves of artists is? People jacking their artwork without asking. It's kind of the same for writers, right? Well, some people seem to think that if it's on the internet and/or you can find it by searching google, then it's free use. This is not the case. There are copyright laws in place that do not allow people to randomly take and use images off the internet. And let's face it, it's just plain rude. Plenty of people try to justify it and act like it's no big deal, but it is. Always find the artist and ask for permission, even when it's photography. Always.

As for why I went with dA instead of a stock photography place, there are two reasons. The first is that there is a higher likelihood of being able to use the images for free as long as I credit the artists and link to their work, and second I needed images of demons and apocalyptic settings. It's not exactly easy to find those is stock photography and nothing beats the artsy feel of beautifully crafted artwork and photo manipulations. Yes, I have to wait to upload the finished project until the artists agree to let me use their images, and yes, may have to change some of the images if I'm rejected, but for the most part dA artists are pretty cool and don't usually have a problem as long as you give credit and links.

Anyway, back to the trailer. After I found the images, I wanted to find the perfect background music. It took a bit of time, but I found something I thought fit. Two pieces of royalty free music that I found on Flash Kit. They fit together perfectly and I went through using Audacity (or Cacophony) and spliced them together, did a little looping, and had what I wanted. Husband loved it. It was kind of dark metal, rock, grungy sort of tune, but my best friend (who's also one of my crit partners) didn't like it. She sent me over to Incompetech and we found something that possibly fit better. It's about 38 seconds long and I think it works.

With those parts finished, I needed to script my trailer. This was the hardest part for me. I struggled and struggled and went crazy over how to entice people, get the story across, be interesting without rehashing my book blurb, and have something that worked. I was able to get the first couple of lines out okay. It took a while, but the second half just would not work. There was so much to say about Rebecca and Errol and the adventure and the horror and everything. In the end, I decided that less is more in this case. Cool imagery, good music, and intriguing text that doesn't give too much away are perfect. But, the script took hours to decide on and I hadn't even finished it while I was working on the actual trailer.

Which brings me to how I made the trailer. For this, I used Flash. When there are so many easy programs to use and even ones online that allow you to quickly and easily set up a movie, why did I choose flash? Well, several reasons. I'm familiar with flash. I know how to use it the way I want. Before I was an author, part of my artsy job(s) was to use flash. Worked on a film using Flash, created educational graphics with Flash. All of that fun stuff. So, it was a comfort thing. Some people may use animoto or windows movie maker, but I'm on a mac and I have/know Flash. So, it was the most convenient and easiest option for me.

After spending half of yesterday working on the trailer, it's mostly finished. I'm working out some kinks and I'm adding/syncing the music properly. The only thing left is for the artists to give me permission to use their work and it will be ready to upload. I can't wait to share it with everyone, though.

[READER RESPONSE] Have you ever created a book trailer for your favourite book? Or maybe your own book? Some people like to make music videos too, have you ever done that before? If so, tell us about it!


  1. I'd never made a video of any sort before, but after a few hours playing around with Windows Movie Maker, I was surprised how easily it came out. I don't know anything about flash, does it have more features?

  2. I've never used Windows Movie Maker, so I can not tell you for certain, but I would have to assume that flash has more features purely because of Actionscripting. Flash isn't exactly a video maker (I'd use Premiere for that if I had it and needed to), but it's easy for me to use it with still images and text. There is also a learning curve with Flash a little bit. I primarily used it because I know how to and because it's what I had available. The one thing that could be great for marketing, though, would be to use Flash to make interactive mini-games or graphics. Flash allows for interactivity, so it could be pretty cool. Not sure how I would implement that, though.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Well, this is totally new to me. A book trailer! I've never even thought about it. Seems complicated though, especially that I write short stories mostly. But definitely something to think about!