by Judy Croome
I’m happy to have as a guest today novelist and short fiction author Judy Croome, who blogs from Johannesburg, South Africa. Judy is in the process of launching a book, and as part of her campaign tackled the task of putting together a book trailer. Here’s her report:
Watching a DVD these days is a complete experience. Not only do we have the movie, we also have interviews with the actors and, of course, the ubiquitous “The Making of…” section, taking us into the technical world behind the finished product.
I’m ambivalent about watching those “The Making of…” clips. I often find that seeing the cameras and the remakes and the lights takes the mystique out of the movie. Who wants to see Take One, Take Two and Take Three of the dramatic rescue that had the viewers’ hearts in their mouths? I’d rather keep the scene vibrant and alive in my imagination.
As the release day of my debut novel approaches, a blogging friend has asked me who was doing my book trailer. The question wasn’t, “Are you doing a book trailer?” Rather, it was taken as a given that I was doing a book trailer.
With loud grumblings, I went off to YouTube and typed in the keyword “book trailer.” The plethora of book trailers that sprung up was astounding. Some were too long; some were just plain silly and some kept me gripped from the opening slide to the last fading bar of music, enticing me into buying the book out of sheer curiosity.
My path was clear: if I could be tempted into buying a book or two, my novel needed a book trailer of its own. Why don’t you look at my book trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-o0ZluGZ__A and tell me what you think of it?
Hmmmm. Not perfect, but not bad for a first attempt by someone who can’t even hold a video camera steady. So how did I go from not wanting a book trailer to that? Let me share with you:
12 Easy Steps to The Making of a Book Trailer
TAKE ONE: Search Internet for professional book trailer makers. Found professional book trailer producers Circle of Seven. Nearly faint at cost of having a professional book trailer made.
TAKE TWO: Turn to my blogging friends who have created their own book trailers. Friends kindly share their knowledge and information with me. They showed me where I can:
- Find and legally purchase images from one of the following:
- Find and legally purchase music: http://www.shockwave-sound.com/index.html
TAKE THREE: Return to my favourite YouTube book trailer and analyse it.
- How many slides? (9 slides/images)
- What was the turning point? (slide 5 was climax)
- How long were the captions? (shortest was 4 words; longest was 12 words)
- What made it attractive? (the music fitted the words; the slides fading in gave it a professional look)
TAKE FOUR: Realise that the captions sound like a pitch in a query letter. Dig out an early query letter (the one that made numerous agents write back to me and say “I love your story, but haven’t a clue where to market it!”) and strip it to its essentials. Write captions for slides.
TAKE FIVE: Search the image sites until I find the perfect photos. Nearly faint again at the licensing costs (Helpful Hint: look for royalty-free photos; rights-managed photos are ridiculously expensive!) Eventually find acceptable photos that sort-of tie in with the story at a reasonable, but not cheap, cost.
TAKE SIX: Search the music sites. Hit it lucky with the first tune. I found the perfect music! And, at US$19.95, for unlimited use, it’s cheap compared to cost of images!
TAKE SEVEN: Decide it’s time to learn how to use Microsoft’s Power Point programme (necessity makes for a wonderful teacher.) Muddle through the tool bar and screen instructions, inserting photos, captions and figuring out how to get music to play across all slides. (Helpful Hint: before buying your images and music, download the watermarked/preview files. Insert them into a dummy trailer to see how the finished product will look and sound before you spend money on buying stuff that may look good in your imagination, but doesn’t work when displayed in the trailer)
TAKE EIGHT: Admire slideshow and play it over and over again. Conduct a poll on trailer. Send dummy version of PPT slide to family and the lovely ladies of my writing critique group. Family responds, ‘Oh gosh! You did this all by yourself? You’re brilliant! A genius! This will get an Oscar, for sure!’ My writing colleagues (who know this book as well as I do!) respond more sedately, ‘Get rid of slides 1 and 3; they don’t work. The rest work okay.’
TAKE NINE: With more realistic expectations, I return to the image websites. Find alternate images for slides 1 and 3. Change them. Resubmit to writing colleagues and get the thumbs up. Now we’re ready to roll!
TAKE TEN: Waste three hours trying to upload latest version of the PPT slideshow to YouTube, before realising that I’m supposed to convert the PPT slide to a video first and then upload it to YouTube. Bang forehead against computer screen.
TAKE ELEVEN: Google ‘how do you convert a PPT slideshow to video.’ Surprised at the number of ways this can be done. Worry about costs mounting up, but settle on buying a software conversion programme at US$49.95 from http://www.acoolsoft.com/ (they also offer a free version of their PPT-to-video conversion software.)
TAKE TWELVE: The conversion takes less than a minute; getting YouTube to accept my login details takes fifteen minutes; then it’s under two minutes to upload and finally…it’s a wrap!
I have made a book trailer in twelve easy steps. And you can make one too!
Judy Croome lives and writes in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her short stories have been published in ITCH magazine and “Notes from Underground Anthology”. She was recently shortlisted in the African Writing Flash Fiction 2011 competition. Her self-published novel, “Dancing in the Shadows of Love”, will be released in May 2011. Visit Judy at her blog www.judycroome.blogspot.com