(This is for non-profit book trailers only)
Have you ever wondered what the movie trailer of your book would be like? I’ve done it countless times. And one day, unable to wait for the unlikely future where Warner Brothers would make a trailer for me, I decided to take the matter into my own hands. In the time frame of a week I managed to create my very own book trailer. I had no past video-making experience, but I figured it out after hours of mouse-clicking and hair-tugging. To make the process much easier for you guys I’ll give you a step-by-step instruction on how to create a book trailer.
However, before I move on to these ten steps, allow me to point out the major benefit of investing a few hours into this project. Having a book trailer is a great promotional tool. Back when I had The Runaway Courtesan posted on FictionPress, I uploaded my book trailer onto YouTube, and ended up having a flood of people visiting my story. Why did my trailer spark the interest of so many? First of all, a book trailer in itself is a fascinating concept, because it is relatively new (correct me if I’m wrong, but this is my educated guess based on the fact that book trailers weren’t well-known until the creation of YouTube just a few years back). And newness intrigues. Second of all, while a FictionPress’ summary is limited to 254 letters, a book trailer, through its visuals and music, can say a lot more.
You may think: Hey, I’m far from getting published, so I’ll promote my work when I’m nearer to that day. But I would strongly recommend you to start NOW. Sadly, even though you might be a brilliant writer, in the end, becoming a bestseller all comes down to Business. This is a fact that was restated once and again by the senior editor of Harlequin Blaze, the well established agent Amy Moore-Benson, and bestselling author Deborah Cooke, in a conference I attended a few weeks ago (‘The Business Behind Romance Writing’). So if you’re determined to become a bestseller, not only must you write a great book, but you should think ahead, start planning, and begin promoting yourself.
HOW TO MAKE A BOOK TRAILER:
Note: Everyone with a computer/laptop most likely has the basic movie making program (like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie). If not, you can download it for free; all you need to do is surf around.
1) Decide on whether you want to make a book trailer comprised of photos or scenes from movies. If you prefer the first, scroll down to step 9. BUT if you want to make a movie-trailer-like video…
2) Watch a lot of movie trailers before making your own. Choose and study trailers that embody the same mood and genre of the book trailer you want to create. If yours is a romantic comedy, check out some romantic comedy trailers; if it’s action pact, choose an action trailer, etc.
3) Write an outline for how you want your trailer to enfold. For example, in the beginning of the trailer, you want Jane to meet John, then show how they fall in love, then how John learns of Jane’s terminal illness, then a major conflict that occurs, and end the trailer there with a bang. Basically, a trailer is like…using visuals and music to represent your book summary. Make sure you don’t spoil the ending of your story!
4) Jot down some powerful lines/words that will catch the audience’s attention. For example, a phrase like “Jane had a secret…” will add more intrigue to the scene of a pale-faced woman dashing through a dark, foggy forest, constantly glancing over her shoulders.
5) Surf YouTube and save the links of all the interesting videos (snippets from movies are the best) that you can envision representing your story.
6) In order to convert the YouTube video into the right format to work with go to mediaconverter.org
7) Once you’re on this site: (i) click on “Enter a link”, (ii) paste in the YouTube html link, (iii) once you do, and you click on ‘OK’, a green arrow will appear that will allow you to go to the next step, (iv) Under “select an output file type” choose WMV, or whatever video formatting your program works with, (v) once you click on “OK” it’ll start to download, and you’re done this stage!
8.) Mediaconverter.org only allows you to convert five times. So, either select your videos carefully, or span out the converting to a few days so you can have many videos to work with. The latter is what I did. I chose five of the videos I REALLY needed to work with on the first day. I converted other videos as I progressed.
9) The next step is really up to you to explore. Find your movie making program on your computer, import the videos onto it, and then play around with it. Add photos, affects, add transitions, cut, paste, etc., For more information on how to work with your program, those with Windows Movie Makers can check this site out, and those with Apple Notebooks can click here.
10) When you’re satisfied with the trailer you’ve made, save it onto your computer, and then upload it onto YouTube! Make sure to add a link of your trailer to your FictionPress profile. And don’t forget to share it with a certain blog…*clears throat loudly* You can leave a link to it on the comment section below this article.
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
Tip #1: Don’t make your trailer too long. The average attention span of an individual is 30 seconds. So you really need to intrigue them within these few seconds. The max should be one minute. Hence, do not make a trailer using the whole five minutes of the music you selected. What I did was cut out the most climatic few seconds of E.S. Portsmouth’s Nara.
Tip #2: You’ll notice in my trailer that the first two lines that follow the other make it seem like the “Viscount” and the “Rake” are two different characters. But I meant to describe the Viscount AS the rake. Unfortunately for me, I ended up deleting the videos I cut scenes out from, so there’s no going back to fix this up. So be wiser than me and save everything; that way you can go back whenever you desire to fix any errors up easily.
Tip #3: Try to represent your protagonist in the trailer with one actor or actress. This is an issue I struggled most with, because I didn’t want the audience to get confused thinking that I had a whole jumble of characters rather than the one character the ten different actors meant to represent. You will notice that I mainly stuck to one actor (Richard Armitage) throughout my trailer. Even though the actor playing my hero changed at times, it was very brief, allowing for no confusion. The heroine changed often, but because the hero remained the same, and because the words I added like “Love” and “Desire” gives the sense that he has a romantic interest in this one woman, it helped the actresses seem like the same woman. Or so I like to think.
Tip #4: As mentioned above, I’m going to stress it again, because it’s super important. The phrases you choose to include in your video are required to indicate the players of your trailer. Two good examples where, unlike mine, there were multiple characters introduced in Covet and Prada and Prejudice.
Tip #5: Don’t forget to acknowledge the sources (movies) you used to make this video.
June Hur is the author of The Runaway Courtesan. She is currently awaiting the responses of two agents that requested a partial of her manuscript. When she is not working on her next book, she can usually be found at a book shop, searching for a Great Love Story to read and analyze. You can follow her on Twitter or through her blog.