Friday, December 24, 2010

Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles Book Trailer

In the last few years authors have had to take up more and more of the marketing duties which were once handled by publishers. One of the ways to do this are by the use of Book Trailers.

Book Trailers are meant to be no longer than a couple of minutes and pack enough punch to get you guys interested enough to bite and take a closer look at the book. (A lot like the hook I talked about a month or more ago.)

I've procrastinated making mine but am slowly catching up. (Trolling for appropriate pictures make my eyes hurt! Looking for fodder is harder than making the darn thing!) For this latest video I started using a piece of software called Anime Studio. I think it really pumped up the quality of what I can make by a lot!

Watch the video and then I'll go through the steps I took to get it to the finished product. (Hopefully it won't be too lame and you won't cry to get your 1 minute and 13 seconds back.) :P

It's always best if you have some kind of plan before you ever start. Basically what you hope to say/show and the order.

There are several picture sites where for a fee you can download royalty free pictures (a few even have video clips) to use in the book trailer. There is one I know of that allows you to use them for free, but you have to make sure to give the photographer credit. Always need to make sure you're not infringing on someone's copyright. This includes the music and photos.

Here's a few of the ones I've been to or used:

Another option too is Deviant Art. If you find something nice there, you can email the artist and see if they'd allow you to use it in the video, giving them credit at the end. Some will and some won't.

For all these though, be prepared for your eyes to want to fall out of your head after hours and hours of scrolling through stuff! But if you end up with the perfect picture/drawing, it is well worth it. (Just give yourself time to recuperate! lol.)

Of course using photos you took does make things even better! Those are yours to use as you see fit. :P You never know what you may have hiding in an album somewhere. And with camera phone, nowadays, taking pictures is even easier. Just make sure the photo quality is high enough for what you have in mind.

I use two pieces of free software to put the video together. 1) Movie Maker, which comes standard with all computers using windows. 2) Audacity, which is a free down loadable audio recording and editing software (you will need a microphone or headset to use this to best effect).

The great thing about Audacity is that once you find your background music, you can open it up in the software then record your voice to add to the track. Even better, (make sure to save as the project) it keeps the soundtrack and the voice track separate so you can add silences in your voice parts to manipulate when they occur. This becomes very important when you're putting all pieces together in Movie Maker.

Like I said before, this year I also bought Anime Studio. The great thing about this piece of software is that you can add 'bones' to pictures to make them move. Even the Text can be manipulated. So you can make the book trailer less static. And it's even kind of fun! (You will export your project as an .avi to add to Movie Maker)

So, you have pictures, video bits, the music. Now all you need to do is put them together. Movie Maker will help you do that. Movie Maker allows you to import all the bits and then you can arrange them in any order you like, adding transition effects, scrolling text, and end titles.

The beauty here is that as you add each thing, you can preview it, and also see what time it falls on the video. This allows you to go back to Audacity and tweak your spoken parts so the timing is perfect.

Hopefully at the end you will have something to be proud of that you can share. And while it may have taken a lot of time to create, it won't be going anywhere and you can use it for years to come at your website, promo CDs, and whatever else you can think of. Make sure to upload it to Youtube. You can get code there to embed it at your webpage, or blog. Even better join Blazing Trailers where you can join a ton of authors and display your trailer with theirs.


  1. Gloria, Nice bit here. I don't think this is something I'll ever try.

  2. I'm still too chicken to try making my own. I love how my trailer to CROSSED OUT turned out. A seventeen-year-old did it!

  3. You make it sound so easy, but I'd go crazy trying to make one. Blazing Trailers made mine and if I have more I'll turn to them. I'm another chicken. :)

  4. Oh yeah, if you can get someone else to do it and it not cost you and arm and leg then YES by all means, ditch this one on them! lol. It truly is a long process, though it can have it's upside too. At least now that I have something to let me do more with it than just slides it has become a little more fun. Heh heh

  5. Cute book trailer. When the time comes for me to need a book trailer, I will probably have my son help me. He seems to be good at things on the computer. He'd probably figure it all out long before I ever would.