Book Trailer!

When I first thought about creating a book trailer for my fantasy novel, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble, it seemed a daunting task. How do you capture the essence of a book in a two-minute video? How do you convey the mood, the characters, the plot twists?

To get ideas, I watched trailers on YouTube. Many of them were for books by best-selling authors, though, and they were so far beyond what I could do, both technologically and financially, I started getting discouraged. There was no way I could create something like that. However, the fact remained that I needed to make one, so I attacked the project the same way I do any large task — by breaking it down into bite-sized pieces.

First, I wrote a script telling what the story was about in as few words as possible. Then I split the sentences into phrases and brainstormed a list of possible visuals that might go with them. I spent a LOT of time going through royalty-free photo sites, looking for photos that matched my ideas and reading licensing fine print. I finally decided on iStockphoto.com. They had a one month subscription option that included up to 250 photo downloads with no daily download restrictions that cost much less than buying photos individually with credit packages. The only downside is that you are required to use the photos you download in an end product or publication as specified in their licensing agreement within 30 days after the end of the subscription. I’ve downloaded about 30 photo files so far and only had a problem with one. I called their customer service line, and they immediately e-mailed me the photo. I didn’t have to wait long on the phone before I spoke to a person, and there was no hassle.

Once I had the photos, I used Adobe Photoshop to modify them as needed and then set up the photos and text in a MS PowerPoint presentation. I’m familiar with PowerPoint, so it was easy for me to put everything together and run it through a slideshow to see how it worked. It took some trial and error to get it looking the way I wanted, but it was more time-consuming than difficult.

Next came the music. I’d also gone through some free music sites, trying to find something that would fit the tone of my book. I had no idea what I was looking for, but I knew it the minute I heard it. Free Stock Music had just the right one. The music file was too long for what I needed, though, and would require editing. After some online researching, I found and downloaded the free Audacity music-editing software. By using the online manual, I was able to figure out how to edit the music file fairly easily.

Fitting the timing of the slide changes to the beat of the music was a challenge. I had to add up how many slides per section of music and factor in the transition/animation delays. After several more trial and error sessions, I succeeded in lining up the slide transitions to the beat.

Once I had everything set, I saved the file as a Windows media video (.wmv) file. Originally, I had planned to do the trailer in MovieMaker, but I couldn’t get the photos and text to look the way I wanted them to, and PowerPoint was so much easier for me to use that I decided to go that route.

Am I happy with the trailer? Yes, very. I’m a little annoyed that somewhere in the conversion to the movie file the timing shifted slightly so the photos don’t always switch on the beat of the music like they do in the original presentation, but it’s tolerable. I feel like I’ve captured the suspenseful and adventurous tone of the book. One thing that’s missing is the romantic element. I may have to do some more tweaking to include that as it’s important to the story, and maybe find a way to show a little more about the characters. I’ll also have to add the book cover when it’s done and put in the publication date.

So, without further ado, here is my first attempt at a book trailer. You may have to put it in full screen mode to see it. If anyone has any comments or suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them!

 

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2014

20 thoughts on “Book Trailer!

  1. That was awesome, Lori! Can’t wait to pick up the book. The music fit perfectly and the video does give just enough detail into the story to pique one’s interest! Great job!!!

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  2. Wow! That’s a lot of images! (I am awed by your credits list)

    Good job doing it yourself!

    I consume media differently than you, so it was probably not as effective on me as it was on other people. We previously discussed how the vocals in mine were distracting for you. For me, the most drawing part of your trailer was the music. It did invoke the adventure and tense feeling you were aiming for, so great selection there. Around the one-minute mark, there were no words paired with the images and my eyes drifted to my other computer screen. That might be my short attention span (squirrel!). I also don’t recall anything I read (personal issue that I’ve struggled with since grade school), so I couldn’t tell you what your book was about, other than there was a sword fight and a wolf howling (audio cues that stuck with me).

    I’m excited to read your book!

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  3. Fantastic trailer, Lori! Wow. I can tell you put a lot of effort in this, and it paid off! I’m really looking forward to reading this book. A couple of quick thoughts if you’re looking for feedback – I felt like I wanted to see “the inept sorceress” represented in some way other than a journey pic, and the few seconds when there are no words (like Loni pointed out) caused me to wander in attention slightly – maybe a stronger image set there? It’s a dramatic pause, which is great, but it feels like it needs something more. Overall the words, pictures and music are really well done. Kudos to you, Lori! 🙂

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  4. Amazing, Lori. Your perseverance and creativity – I falter at after 15 minutes of computer frustration and you are learning new programs and applications and putting out a WOW product!! I loved the music and thought it was perfect as the slides scrolled through – dramatic, but not overly. Congratulations! I hope you feel proud of yourself and very accomplished.

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  6. Wow, I think your trailer turned out awesome! Love the music—it set the stage for the images and created that tension and sense of danger I think you were going for. The process you went through to create it is so overwhelming to me—I’m amazed you were able to figure it out on your own. Great job! I think it turned out fabulous. And your book sounds so cool!

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