Surprise, surprise (thank you Gomer Pile), the first time I saw a “novel trailer”, I thought, “Wow what a gargantuan waste of time.” You will find that’s my general reaction to anything I don’t already know how to do. After a writer friend posted hers on Facebook, I did some research and found one for Dean Koontz that was of over the top quality wise.
His didn’t make me want to read the book anymore than Kay’s did, but I did mosey on over to the Sony store and purchase it. Basically, both of the trailers did their job. I was intrigued and the images stuck in my mind. As I mentioned, I’ve only attempted this once and I most assuredly did not have a net, but I was impressed. DK’s was done with a champagne budget, and mine was done with Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill (budget, I mean ).
So here’s how I did it for everyone else interested in dipping their toe in this marketing tool. My quick disclaimer here is, there are a ton of sites and a ton of tools to use. The ones I used were simple and for that reason I’m posting them. Let me know if you have done your own trailer and send me the link or file. I would love to see them!
First things first. Making a trailer for the “coming soon” novel, The Keepers, gave me a great excuse to spend the day in New Orleans where the story is set. My husband and I brought the kids and the cameras, and made a day shooting our favorite French Quarter and Garden District sights. It is not necessary to do this, but it was fun.
Before I started, I had a basic idea of the images I wanted my readers to see. These photos would set the mood for the story and in some ways tell their own tales. Fortunately, in the case of The Keepers, the setting lends itself to some of the scenic areas of NOLA that provide a lot of visual impact. You will need to take the time to pull a few photos together.
It took fourteen photographs for my trailer, but that will vary with flow, captions, music, and how long you want the reader to view each frame. Between the photos I already had and my stepmom’s collection, I had all I needed. However, if you find yourself looking for pictures with specific themes, you should check out www.bigstockphoto.com.
Bigstock allows you to purchase photos for use in your trailer and the fee is nominal. I believe I’ve paid as little as .25, and as much as a whopping $1. Considering photography is an art all its own, that’s cheap! If I had paid for my photos it would have cost me about $14, still a manageable expense.
Once you have your pictures together, there is another website for you to investigate. www.slideroll.com. The site asks you to set up a slide show first. You will put your pictures in order and guesstimate the timing. I went ahead and put my captions on the pictures during this step. (Important: I spent 45 minutes frustrated, because the captions weren’t showing up. When you publish the slide show a box will pop up with options for the captions – keep on top – turn on, etc., toggle these boxes).
The site has some of its own music, but of course, I didn’t like it for my trailer. You will need to find royalty free music. If you search google there are a plethora of sites to choose from. I used www.incompetech.com. The site is run by Kevin MacLeod, and the music is free. He does request that you give a $5 donation to the site if you use his music and give him music credits. You can use any music as long as it’s not copyrighted. Each site will have the musicians requirements for using their music. I guess, it’s important to point out at this point, if there are screaming vocals, your audience won’t be able to concentrate on the trailer.
I went into panic mode once again, when I was trying to add the music. Truthfully, slideroll didn’t make it easy to use music if it wasn’t provided on their website. However, the option to turn my slide show into a video popped up when I published. VIOLA! The video software made it simple to pull music from your hard drive and put it on your trailer. The program even made the music fit the length of the video, or vice versa.
That was it! It took me about 12-15 hours to finish mine, taking into account sleep, food, and screaming kids.
Hope this makes it easier for someone to do the trailer they have been dying to do!