Alex Marcoux, author and SEO expert, said, “Whether a trailer sells books or not, what makes a book trailer worthwhile is the traffic a video generates for the author’s website (if the video is SEO’d properly).”
Bonnie Ramthun, author and RMFW’s Published Author Liaison, told me the book trailer for her middle grade novel The White Gates, “turned out to be quite useful in promoting the novel in schools. Teachers show the trailer to the kids to get them interested in reading the book.”
Isn’t that what it’s all about? Getting someone interested in reading your book and looking at your website to see what other books you’ve written? A good book trailer does both and a great book trailer will be shared by viewers with friends.
Some publishers now generate book trailers for their authors, but if your publisher isn’t one of those, the least expensive approach is to design and create your own trailer. Or is it? Time is precious and you’ll need to learn new software.
Bonnie Ramthun enjoyed making the trailer for The White Gates. She said, “I learned a lot while I was researching book trailers. In my opinion, book trailers should be no more than a minute long, the length of a television commercial. I used purchased music to avoid copyright issues from shockwave-sound. I used iMovie on my Mac to create the trailer and the clips were shot by my son, Tom, a snowboarder. I'll be doing a book trailer for my next series because I think trailers are an important marketing tool.”
While photos alone can be used to create an effective trailer, I personally enjoy the combination of live-action and photos and took a similar approach when creating the book trailer for Fogg in the Cockpit. Using Windows Movie Maker software I blended photos with a 1944 gun-camera clip. I did spend quite a bit of time learning the software and fine-tuning the duration of the images against the music, a process I thoroughly enjoyed. One decision was whether to include text across multiple photos, and as you can see, for this particular trailer I decided to let the images stand alone, with just the opening screen, closing screens, and the first gun-camera slide providing text.
Fogg in the Cockpit:
I want to also mention the “special effects” that I created for Fogg in the Cockpit, and I’m not talking about the built-in options available in the software, where images can be made to fade, zoom in or out, and so on. At the end of the video a P-51 taxis across the screen towing a blacked out screen. This was done with Movie Maker and Photoshop, as I emulated the early days of stop motion by separating the P-51 image from the background, moving the fighter across the background screen a few frames at a time, and then creating a jpg of each specific image. It took 160 jpgs for those few seconds, plus another 100 or so beforehand as I figured out spacing and timing. Would I do it again, even though it was tedious and time-consuming? Yes. It was a challenge to see if I could pull it off, and I’ll use that clip in the credits on future (non-book) videos related to the 359th Fighter Group.
Alex Marcoux explained, “While I was taking a spirituality class I was assigned a project, to do something I had never done before, and we were encouraged to step out of our comfort zone. It was then I attempted my first trailer, and Back to Salem was made with Cyberlink’s PowerDirector. Since my novel Back to Salem had been made into a short film a couple of years earlier, I was able to use some of the raw footage from the film (courtesy of Atlantis Moon Productions) as well an original song (“Down to the Water”) which was recorded for the short film.”
Oh, and while I’m thinking of it, be aware that video size does matter when posting on some sites, though 100MB is the topset that I’ve seen most often. My recent non-book related video was about 13MB and it was over two minutes in length, so I suspect it’s unlikely you’ll exceed the max
Next Monday we’ll continue our discussion about music for your trailer, whether you want a teaser trailer in addition to your regular trailer, and we’ll take a look at several professionally produced trailers. We’ll also suggest sites where you can post your trailer.
Hope to see you next week!