Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Finishing Up

You can view the first three articles in this series here: The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Day 1, The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Day 2, The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Day 3.

Okay, we are plunging into our last post on how to create book trailers, for now. This post covers how to use the free Windows Movie Maker software, but at the bottom of the post I also mention Adobe Premiere Elements and do a little comparison.

On your computer you should have a free little program called Windows Movie Maker. It should be at Start/Programs/Windows Movie Maker (in XP). If you don’t have it already you can get it here. While I’m not really impressed with Windows Movie Maker, I'm discussing the use of it here since it is free.

Open WMM and in the left hand column click on ‘import pictures’. Then import your music and sounds from the ‘import music’ link at the same location. Save this collection under a recognizable name for future use.

Towards the bottom of WMM you will see ’show storyboard’ and if you click it it will change to ’show timeline’. Make sure you are on the timeline. Then select the music piece you want to use for your opening and drag it to the audio track. If needed, you can clip the track. Just drag the ends of the track to the correct point. (You can see more details of the timeline view by clicking the ‘+’ magnifying button.) Right clicking on the track will give you options for volume, fade in, fade out, etc. If you have a second (or more) piece of music that you want to use, drag it down to the audio track too and edit it to your specifications.

Now you can start dragging pictures to the Video track. (If you magnify your timeline so that it is as large as it will go, these next steps will be easier for you.) I like to have my pictures change on the beats of the music. This means that you will need to lengthen or shorten your picture duration to match your music. On the audio track you can see the pattern your music makes. This will help you to match the beats. Keep in mind that if you are going to add words to your pictures they will need to be visible long enough for people to read the words. So you may need to skip a couple beats to make this work.

Once you have your pictures approximately where you want them to be, you can start adding your synopsis. Select your starting picture, make sure that the menu under ‘edit movie’ is showing, and click on ‘Make Titles or Credits’. Select the appropriate option you want and enter and edit your text. Keep your written segments short and concise so that the end-viewer will not have trouble following your train of thought. Repeat this process for all pictures you want to add words on.

Once all your words are entered, you can start adding video effects and transitions. Have fun experimenting with these because they will add panache to your movie. These will slightly change your transitions from one picture to the next so you may have to do a little more editing on the length of your pictures to get them to transition at the correct time to match your music.

If you want to add sound effects you will need to finish your movie (as we will talk about in a moment) and then reimport it as a video. Then you will be able to add a second layer of sound to the movie.

To finish your movie click on Finish Movie/Save to my computer. I suggest you don't use the preinserted settings - some people will have trouble getting it to stream. Save it a little smaller.

WMM has a drawback, and that is that you can only add one layer of sound. So if you want a second layer of sound you will need to finish your movie, and then import the video into WMM and then you can add a second layer of sound. I tried to do this with my trailer, because I wanted the sound of water playing in the background to 'link' my two songs together. The problem with this is that when you import your movie, add the second layer of sound and finish the movie again, it has bad effects on the quality of your pictures.

Solution to this problem is to use Adobe Premiere Elements which is a much stronger program than WMM. You can put in several layers of sound right up front. The other great feature about APE is that it will connect right to YouTube for you and upload the video via FTP - all you have to do is input your YouTube username and password. The quality of APE is much better too. I bought a fairly old version of APE on eBay for around $30.00 - so you can get it for not too much. Below I'm linking to two versions of my trailers so you can see the difference in quality between WMM and APE.

This is the one created with Adobe Premiere Elements

This is the one created with Windows Movie Maker

Once you've reached this point, you are ready to upload your movie to YouTube or GodTube. On July 1st I will also be posting a list chock full of places you can upload your videos to.

I would love to see your trailer so please comment with a link to yours.
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Writer's Block, Flickr Style

Ever wonder how writer's block looks through a camera lens? Here's a sampling:







The New No. 2

Ball Point Python, rmthompson1979



Visual Arts by Jennifer K



Out of Ideas, c h r i s t i n a

Caught in the Fence, thorinside

Writing Block 1, Nirvana


Adam Lyon

Day 71, .Nicole takes pictures.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Day 3

View the first two articles in this series here: The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Day 1
and The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Day 2
Okay, so you have your pictures and have a pretty good idea of where you are headed.

Now, I suggest that you sit down and write out the short synopsis of your book that you will use in making the trailer. Remember to keep it short! Your trailer should not exceed 3 minutes in length.

What is the tone of your novel? If it is humorous, try to highlight that in your synopsis. If it is literary then stay in that genre. In other words, no comedic trailers for a book with a serious tone and vsv.

You will need music to match the tone you want to set. Music, again, is many times copyrighted. But many pieces are licensed under various creative commons laws. Please be sure you look at the CC license of each piece, as some are not licensed for commercial use. That being said, here are a few sites that offer free music and/or sound bites. Also check out Stonewashed and Incompetech which both have some great music. Another site I found in my web-wanderings is: Also, thanks again to Cindy for pointing out If you come across any other sites that offer free music, please feel free to post a comment.

So, write your synopsis and download your music (to the same folder as you downloaded your pictures earlier) and next time we’ll put it all together.

The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Finishing Up
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Day 2

View the first article in this series here: The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Day 1

Okay, so hopefully you’ve had time to view a few book trailers and now have an idea of what you would like yours to look like. To see what mine looks like you can go here. (Ignore the "now available" info. 'cause it's not quite true yet. :) I put up the brand new trailer just for you all to take a peek at.)

The next step in creating your book trailer is to find the pictures. It will be helpful to you if you have a specific idea of what you are looking for. So take a few minutes to plan out your trailer.

When looking for pictures keep in mind that many of the pictures on the Internet are copyrighted. There are several sites where you can sign up for an account and buy pictures for a fairly reasonable fee. There are also several sites where you can get free pictures - but many of them you have to sign up for an account. Just do a google search for ‘free pictures’ or something along that line and you will get plenty of returns.

The site I like to use is Flickr. You’ll notice that the link takes you to the ‘Creative Commons’ section of that site. Many of the photos on Flickr are copyrighted, however the ones in the Creative Commons area have user-friendly licenses associated with them. I only used the ‘Attribution License’ photos. These photos are denoted with the word ‘By:’ in a circle. You can use these pictures freely, and even make changes to them, as long as you give the author credit.

Click the ‘See More’ link under the Attribution License section. Then you will be able to search for specific types of pictures. Here I should put a caveat - you may run into some offensive pictures.

When you find a picture that you think you may use, click into it and you will be given the option of different sizes that are available for download. Select the size you want (I went for larger sizes, though not always the largest) and click download. (It will help you later if you have all your pictures in the same folder, so I suggest that you make a specific folder on your computer to put all your pictures into. Mine was called, “Book Trailer Images”.) Don’t forget to keep a log of the photostream names for the pictures you want to use - later you will need these in order to credit the authors.

I would also like to say thanks to Cindy for bringing my attention to You can use images from that site with freedom to edit them and you don't even have to keep track of attributions.

Alright, you are ready to go! Have fun downloading your pictures. I recommend that you download more than you think you will use.

If any of you have links to royalty-and-copyright-free picture sites, please comment with the url.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Day 1

What is a book trailer you may ask? Well, you’ve all watched a bazillion (yes, that is a highly technical term) movie trailers - intriguing ads intended to pique your interest so you will watch the film. A book trailer has the same purpose - basically, it is an ad for your novel, with the goal of making everyone who watches it run right out to buy your book.

Creating a book trailer will be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your marketing experience. I had a lot of fun creating mine.

There are several aspects to consider when creating a book trailer. There are two basic styles that I have seen. There is the documentary approach, where the author parks themself in front of a picturesque (or not-so-picturesque) scene and talks about what a great book they’ve written and why you should read it. The style I prefer is more of a movie style. These show the story happening in pictures or video-clips with either readable words or a voice-over of a short, intriguing synopsis. I’ve also seen a combination of these two styles where the author speaks the synopsis.

Before you launch into creating your trailer you need to decide on the style you like. So, first, go to YouTube and search for the term ‘book trailer’. Watch a few and get a feel for the type that intrigues you. You can also find several Christian ones on OakTara's website. I personally find an author yammering on in front of his bookcase about what a great book he’s written pretty boring. But, that may be just the kind that gets your attention and makes you want to pick up the book.

Keep costs in mind as you peruse the trailers - cost in time as well as money. When I started to create the book trailer for my first book, Rocky Mountain Oasis, I wanted to use video clips. This book is a historical romance, so I was looking for clips of cowboys and western themes. I found some and was very excited until I saw the cost! One short 20-30 second clip ranged from $1000.00 to $5000.00! That’s quite a lot of mulla when you consider that you will need several clips to make a movie. Now, if you have your own video camera you can create your own clips. But consider the time it will take, not to mention finding ‘actors’ to model for you etc. For this reason I chose to use still pictures. We’ll talk more about where to find them later. Once you’ve decided what style of book trailer you want to create, you are ready for the next steps.

I am going to talk specifically about how to create the movie-type book trailer using still pictures. But even if you want to create a different style, I’m sure you will be able to glean some tips from the next several posts. So I hope you will tune in next time to learn more.

The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Day 2

The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Day 3

The Making of a Book Trailer ~ Finishing Up
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