Technical stuff for you authors: I had the lion part of the video done on a Fiverr, and then added Creative Commons photos from Flickr, and editing it in FinalCutPro. To write the script and edit the video took an hour. Cost of Fiverr was $5.
This video was created by MadMoo at Fiverr.com At Fiverr, people post an offer to do something for just $5. For promotion purposes, this is fantastic. You might get a video of someone eating fire, then yelling that they love your book. Perhaps your book is about gymnastics; there’s someone one fiverr.com, I am sure, who would do a video of themselves performing a round-off back handspring, then yelling out your book title. You want weird, wonderful, beautiful, off-beat? Fiverr has it.
The price is right. $5. Of course, that’s the base price for a limited, carefully defined product. And there are add-ons possible for everything and of course, the Fiverr person wants you to add-on, so they make more money. In most cases, it will be money well-spent. Gee. Maybe you have to spend $20 on a video.
In this case, the video came without music, but I popped it into FinalCutPro, an Apple program and added a public domain piece of music for fun. MadMoo would have added video as an add-on, if I had preferred.
SPECIFICS: I used MadMoo on Fiverr.com, ordering the Stop Motion 10-second video. Instead, I got back a great 30-second video in a format that I specially requested. It came back within 24 hours. Will I order from MadMoo again? Of course. I especially like the Stop Motion videos where a hand is writing something out. (Note: I am not an affiliate with Fiverr and not associated with MadMoo, except as a satisfied customer.)
Is this the perfect promotional tool for everything. Of course, not. But it’s a fun way to get interesting video. I uploaded this to my YouTube channel and will use it as an intro to the channel and will post it around on my website. Once it’s on YouTube, it’s easy to embed into any website, especially a WordPress blog like this one.
Here are five ideas for using a video from Fiverr.com.
I drag my feet when it comes to marketing my books. The exception is when it comes to making a book trailer. Book Trailers don’t take a ton of work, they aren’t expensive if you do it yourself, and it feels like play, not work. I’ve just finished making my third book trailer, this one for the newly released DOGGONE FEET! Here’s a short synopsis of how I did it.
Research. In order to convince myself what I wanted to undertake was possible, I watched a bunch of book trailers online. It reassured me that many of them were very simple and still worked well. I read up on the subject—blogs, articles, and Darcy’s fabulous book, The Book Trailer Manual, full of helpful information and reminders. Finally, a friend showed me a few basic moves on i-movie — which was already on my Mac laptop. (Note: For Windows users, look for the free Movie Maker software.)
Mood. I know that choosing music often comes after creating the content but in some cases, finding the right music helped me decide how to proceed. (Like when I came across a great chicken squawking song that fit the craziness in BIG CHICKENS.
So what mood did I want to convey with DOGGONE FEET? I knew I wanted to use zydeco music—zippy playful music from my Louisiana heritage that went along with an underlying music theme in the book. I even used the term ‘zydeco shoes’ in the book as an homage to artist Earl Hebert who has a book about his paintings by that name. It comes with a CD of zydeco music by The Lucky Playboys. With a phone call or two, (I knew a relative of his) I got permission from Mr. Earl’s estate to use the term and the music. The music set the fun snappy mood that I felt matched the book. I loaded the song I chose into i-tunes and then from i-movie, I imported the music into my project.
Content. I made lots of little scratchy thumbnail storyboards with 10-12 panels. As with all forms of rough drafts, several ideas were pretty bad, but one thing lead to another and eventually, I came up with an idea that I thought worked. I wanted to showcase the fun art and give an idea what the tension in the book was about. In this case, I decided I did not want to use text directly from the book but rather a short summary of what happens instead. I decided on two main ideas I wanted to bring in. (Don’t try to smush in more than that!)
A dog is adopted by two feet and takes up residence under their table.
More and more feet show up at the table escalating tension for the dog.
I scanned several images from the first half of the book and dropped them into i-movie. The program assigned a few seconds to each image.
Cheat. If you are a techie and want to spend time learning to play with i-movie, I promise it isn’t hard. But I used my teenage son who mastered the basics in an hour with the promise of tripling his allowance. He used a tool called the Ken Burns effect to move the camera across the art in each segment so the images didn’t appear too static. Then we went back and dropped a line or two of type on each scene. We used black so that it did not conflict with the colors of the art and mimicked the look of the book itself.
Fine Tuning. We adjusted the timing in the music to be sure shifts in music coordinated with the images and to be sure the reader had enough time to read each line that came up. Trailers that are too long try my patience, so I kept mine close to one minute. I did not want to give away the ending or tell the complete story anyway, so short was good. Once I had the tension cranked up with the text adding more and more feet to each scene, I left the reader wondering what the dog would do next. Then, I tacked on an image of the cover and was ready to roll credits.
Credits. The closing was another place we had fun. Think of going to the movies when the producers do something clever to make you sit through the credits. I initially wanted to use dogs reading my book in the trailer but ran into trouble with the voice-overs. (See chapter one in Darcy’s book.) I settled for a clip of my dog reading the book while wearing glasses. My son filmed it on a flip video, which plugged right into the computer and could be dragged into i-movie. We rolled credits over the dog footage and faded the music out in the last two seconds.
Done! Next we loaded the video onto youtube and to vimeo (directions are online) and other sites that teachers or librarians might access. I now have a handy promo when I guest blog and when I send emails to friends and bookstores etc. It’s a great way to promote my book without feeling like a salesman.
Coming on Thursday, September 6: WIN A MARKETING CONSULT FOR A FRIEND! Susan Raab of Raab Associates (http://raabassociates.com/) has kindly offered 10 FREE marketing consults. The catch? You can’t enter. You can only enter your friend’s name. See the posting at 12:01 a.m. September 6 for full details–you’ll have 24 hours to enter.
I like the idea of Random Acts of Publicity. I like the fact that it connotes Random Acts of Kindness. Writers, especially children’s writers are a kind, supportive bunch. We mentor each other and help each other but we promote each other a lot less than we should. Sometimes we are just overwhelmed by the scope of good books written, afraid that if we promote one and not another, someone will feel slighted. And few of us have an unlimited writing time so we guard what little time we have for writing like jealous lovers. But
That’s why time devoted to Random Acts of Publicity is a good thing. If we were all to reach out just a bit more, it will help all of us. It’s easier to think of it as just I week or two.
I used the idea of RAP to launch my blog, Words from the Top, the first year Darcy started it. Last year, the competition for a marketing consult motivated me. And I was delighted when I won a consultation with Raab and Associates.
I took careful notes. My book, My Name is Not Easy, was just coming out. It was historical fiction, set in the 1960’s in bush Alaska in a parochial boarding school in which the majority of the students were Alaska Native. I knew, of course, that this was pretty unfamiliar territory for the average teen reader. Raab gave me a lot of ideas about how to make it accessible, how to get it out there.
Since the story was based on my husband’s story and since I had lived within the Inupiaq culture for the majority of my life, they suggested that I offer both of us for media interviews. I took that idea and created a book trailer with both of us talking about the book.
The big takeaway for me was this: I needed to find a way to connect my book—remote historical fiction–with today’s readers. Raab asked me to think about what readers could learn, fifty years later, from this piece of history. Of course I hadn’t written it to teach anyone anything but now, after the fact, what did this story offer contemporary readers? It was a story about dealing with adversity coming out at a time when adversity was on people’s minds. How could I capitalize on this? What kinds of strengths do people need to face adversity, to make a difference? In my notes, I wrote this:
The characters do XXX the real story is XXX and this is relevant today because XXX
I used the ideas I got from consulting with Raab when I did interviews and blog appearances.
So what is the lesson here? Think carefully about marketing and hope your book earns a major award? Sure, but even if you are as fortunate as I was, this is hardly the end of the story.
The effect of a major award is great, don’t get me wrong. It piques interest. But the real truth is that all of the lessons I learned from the marketing consult are still there waiting to be implemented and still relevant–maybe I should quit writing blog posts and get back to work, supporting my books. All of them.
But wait—what about Random Acts of Publicity Week? What if we start looking at each other’s books and thinking deeper about marketing other books the way my marketing consult make me think about My Name is Not Easy? What is it about that book I read recently read and loved—the one thing that will recommend it to other readers? Often readers can see this clearer than writers can. And as wonderful as awards are, they are also transitory and somewhat serendipitous. Sometimes, for whatever reason, really good books fail to get noticed by the award committees. Maybe a certain book wasn’t even submitted for an award.
First, write a great book. Ah, yes, you’ve already done that. (Be sure it’s the very best you can make it before reading further!)
Jump start Word-of-Mouth. But how do you get people to READ the great book you wrote? Don’t you want an easy way to introduce the book to readers and get them excited?
Even in today’s digital world, Word-of-Mouth (WOM) is the best way to spread news about your book. And book trailers are the best way to jump-start WOM because it gives your readers something to talk about.
BREAK OUT: GRAB ATTENTION!
The Book Trailer Manual
Order NOW! Pdf download: $9.99
The Book Trailer Manual (90 pages, pdf), along with the playlists I’ve created on YouTube.com,give you an in-depth look at what’s being done now, along with tips on creating your own Word-of-Mouth trailer.
By using The Book Trailer Manual (pdf):
Everything from idea to viral.
8 specific ideas on content
10 options for images and sound
42 sites to submit to
Recommendations for hardware and software
HOW TO CREATE YOUR MULTI-MEDIA ELEVATOR PITCH
Everything in The Book Trailer Manual is based on the most recent research available. You’ll learn more than just who is watching online videos. We combine conventional wisdom with research to give you answers to these questions:
What should you put in your trailer?
What is the shelf life of a trailer?
What is the best distribution strategy to get the most viewers?
The Idea: With 14 specific ideas for content and 10 ways to approach images and sound, you’ll be able to create compelling content. Need help or inspiration? The Book Trailer Manual Playlists on YouTube.com lead you through book trailers that illustrate your options.
The Book Trailer Manual by Darcy Pattison is a “must buy” if you want to create a book trailer. She covers every aspect from planning to marketing so easily and clearly that I couldn’t put it down. Her knowledge was impressive–and she imparts information about areas that I hadn’t even considered. I wish I’d had her manual before I started my first book trailer – but now my second trailer will be even better! Kimberley Little, author of The Healing Spell (Scholastic). See the book trailer, The Healing Spell.
3 Case Studies provide further examples of how authors successfully initiate book trailers or how they work with a publisher to make sure the trailer gets the most viewers.
10 Common Mistakes to AVOID. Explains how beginners often go wrong and how you can avoid those mistakes.
The complete process is laid out clearly:
creating an idea
writing a script
setting up the skeleton of the book trailer video
filling it in with sound and image
optimizing it so search engines can find it
Software/Hardware. You’ll learn what to look for when you consider software and hardware.
Images and Sounds. You’ll learn where and how to purchase stock photos, video or sounds.
Win a Free Book Trailer from Tina’s Trailers Comment about the book or book trailers below to be included in a drawing for a free book trailer. Deadline for comments is May 15, 2012 midnight.
Case Studies of 3 Book Trailers
One of my interests is book trailers, especially how to create great book trailers. As the first stop on her blog tour for her new book, Tiny Nichols Coury stops by to talk about how she created these three videos for her book.
Win a Free Book Trailer from Tina’s Trailers Comment about the book or book trailers below to be included in a drawing for a free book trailer. Deadline for comments is Wednesday night at midnight (May 9).
Where do you get the animated backgrounds? I buy all royalty free video and art from shutterstock.com and edit it into iMovie 11, a Mac program.
Where do you find appropriate music? Around two years ago I bought a music library of seven hundred songs from royaltyfreemusic.com. Always use royalty free music. I have heard many horror stories of book trailers having their audio pulled by YouTube for not having the licensing. Also there are audio predators claiming that you are using their song to try to get money out of you. They harassed me. You Tube asked for proof of my ownership of my book trailer music. I had the paperwork to prove I had legally purchased the music. That was the end of them bothering me.
There’s a neat animation of a red line going from the New England area to South Dakota. How/where did you get that animation? The map in many different forms is a standard feature in iMovie 11.
Animated fuse: how did you get that animated image? I went to shutterstock.com and put “fuse” in the search box. The trick is to get a little longer clip and then edit to the trailer.
Where did you get the music for this video? Royaltyfreemusic.com This was from their cinema albums. I listened to hundreds of songs before I found the right one.
The concept is very different for this one from the previous. It doesn’t feature as many bits of illustration from the book and seems more inspirational. Can you talk about how you develop a concept? I am only allowed to use 20% of the illustrations from the book for the book trailers. This gave me a challenge. I planned to have many trailers for my book, but how could I create different views of the same story and keep them all engaging? Book Trailer #1, Intro; Book Trailer #2, Question; Book Trailer # 3, Theme Song. Book Trailer # 4 will be the Presidents on Mount Rushmore talking about the book.
The soundtrack for this video is a song with lyrics. Is this an original song that you commissioned for this book? Can you talk about that process. I grew up and went to college in Los Angeles. As a trained illustrator I started out doing album covers for no name artists, and in that career I met my husband of twenty-five years, Al Coury. Al is a legendary music executive who worked with everyone from the Beatles to Guns & Roses. We have many professional musicians who are friends. I knew I wanted a theme song for the book. So as a favor to me, our good friend Jack Conrad, who played with the Doors, agreed to write it. This blew my editor’s mind and he is putting it online for a free download when you buy the book.
In general, when you do use a song with lyrics and when do you not? Do you ever do voice-overs? The audio is the difference between a professional and amateur book trailer. Great music makes a trailer and is worth the cost. For the most part it is hassle free. If you are a musician or know one, record a professional theme song for your book trailer. You eliminate all issues of licensing. If you are producing a trailer yourself avoid voice-overs. It requires special equipment and trained actors to really make it work. I don’t have a great voice for narration, or the trailer budget to hire someone professional. With that said, my next book trailer is the Mount Rushmore Presidents joking about my book. I’m lucky–another one of our musician friends, Neil Diamond’s piano player Tom Hensley, agreed to produce the voice-overs for it. If it weren’t for our friends I’d be strictly using music.
Buy it Now!
Win a Free Book Trailer from Tina’s Trailers Comment about the book or book trailers below to be included in a drawing for a free book trailer. Deadline for comments is May 15, 2012 midnight.
Today, I’m officially unveiling a new book trailer for Prairie Storms, my nonfiction picture book.
I’ve done tons of research for the past two years ago and wrote The BookTrailer Manual, which will be totally revised in time for the 13th annual SCBWI Winter conference on January 27, where I’ll be speaking at the pre-conference Marketing Intensive on the topic of book trailers. So, check back in at www.booktrailermanual.com about then or sign up for the newsletter at the site to get notification of when it is available.
I created this trailer myself. The old film comes from public domain video that I found at archive.org. When I saw the ice skating bison, I knew it could be an interesting video, so I looked for something humorous to go with it. Research says that humor is the most often shared content on videos, so I’m searching for funny things. For the music, I bought the track at istockphoto.com for about $5. NEVER use copyrighted music; besides the obvious reasons why, I just saw that YouTube can recognize some instances of copyrighted music use and they have permission from the copyright holder to insert ads on videos that use their music. So, you may get unwanted ads when you do this.
I use SonyVegas HD software. There are tons of free software packages out there, including free ones that come on every computer (iMovie or Windows Movie Maker) and those from YouTube partners at www.youtube.com/create. But I like the Vegas program because it has great tutorials, I can burn a DVD and thus show the trailers at conferences, and it has more flexibility than many of the free programs; for example, it records my voice when I need to do voice overs.
When I want to shoot my own video, I use the Kodak Zi8 camera because it is light weight and mostly because it has an external microphone jack, the only small camera like this to have that option. I just plug in a cheap lavalier microphone (clips onto your shirt) and record that way and it has good sound quality. I like the Zi8’s HD quality, too.
To upload, you create a YouTube Channel and basically follow instructions. For the Vegas software, I make sure the video is edited as I want and then it’s a simple matter of clicking the option that I want to upload to YouTube. It then creates the video in a format optimized for YouTube, accesses my channel and uploads it. Once uploaded, I can log into YouTube to edit, annotate, fill in descriptions, etc. as needed. Most software has a similar option, so you don’t have to worry about the technical specs of YouTube–they all assume you want to upload to YouTube and make sure it is easy.
You can also do something as simple as use your iPhone’s video and upload that. It can be as simple or complex as you want. I guess what I emphasize is that with some basic experience, you can quickly get up to speed on creating the video files. But it’s the ideas that will grab people and make them want to share your video. Rarely does a simple rehash of your story’s plot line get many views. The YouTube audience wants entertainment. The manual has 14 types of videos and more suggestions on combinations of text, sound track and images.
The Bison v. Woman Skating Competition
This new video is an example of a YouTube Aesthetic Book Trailer , an informal, humorous video that only addresses the content of the book tangentially, but nevertheless, creates interest. The humor is meant to be shared! I chose this aesthetic, instead of the Movie Trailer Aesthetic or the PowerPoint Aesthetic, because I believe it has more potential for drawing in viewers on YouTube.
Please watch the video. Enjoy, laugh. And pass it along–I need your help to get lots of eyes on this!
If you can’t see this video, click here. *|YouTube:oRle8t3dHLs|*
What sounds does a ground hog make? An earless lizard? A burrowing owl? Six months ago, I had no idea!
August, 2011 Release
When I decided to create a book trailer for my forthcoming book, PRAIRIE STORMS, I knew I wanted something fun and useful for kids, parents and educators. We know the sounds of dogs, cats, horses, cows and goats. But do we know the sounds made by other common creatures? Skunks? For this trailer, I decided to focus on the sounds made by each animal in PRAIRIE STORMS. This post is about how I created that video.
Written by Deborah Halverson, founder of the writer’s advice website DearEditor.com, it has great advice on writing and publishing a teen novel. Deborah edited young adult and children’s fiction with Harcourt Children’s Books before picking up a pen to write the award-winning teen novels Honk If You Hate Me and Big Mouth.
The book is filled with great features, including:
tips for targeting an audience, finding an angle that’ll make the story stand out, and writing a killer hook
an extensive chapter on self-marketing to help writers move boldly into the realm of self-promotion–including book trailers
techniques and exercises to shape plot, create teen-friendly characters, develop a convincingly youthful voice, write natural dialogue, and use setting to illuminate characters and plot
13 National Book Award winners and finalists, Newbery medalists and honorees, and other award-winning luminaries sharing their insights
self-editing tools to transform a first draft into a strong submission-ready final draft
insider tips for finding the right agent and/or editor and preparing a stand-out submission package
Animal Sounds – FREE. Second, I needed audio of the sounds made by each animal. Any time I need audio or video for animals in the United States, I start at the Fish and Wildlife Multimedia Library. The government agency provides public domain multimedia, free for public use. Here, I found great audio for the American Bison and the Bald Eagle. However, none of the other animals had sound tracks.
Animal Sounds – Inexpensive. My next stop was www.SoundDogs.com, a site which has a wide variety of audio clips. Amazingly, they had every other sound I needed, except the ground hog. For these clips, I looked for short audio clips with clear sounds of the animal involved. You can sort by the length of a clip and I was looking for the shortest possible: I knew I wanted the whole video about one minute in length, so I would only need a 4-5 second sound clip for any one animal. I searched and listened to clips and made decisions. One disappointment was that the earless lizard had no sound; indeed, most lizards don’t make any sounds. I finally decided to go with a clip of a lizard running on wood as the most likely option.
After I put all the sounds into the shopping cart, I was a bit afraid to look at the total. It was a pleasant surprise to see that I had only spent about $20.
Ask Permission from Private Party. Then, there was that pesky ground hog. Fortunately, I found www.hoghaven.com, a site specifically about ground hogs, and they had a dozen sound clips of ground hogs. I wrote the site owner, explained the project and asked permission to use one of the sounds. They were gracious enough to give permission. That gave me the last sound that I needed.
Creating the Book Trailer for Prairie Storms
With Kathleen Rietz’s (www.kathleenrietz.com) watercolor images from the Prairie Storm book and the sounds, I set to work. I use Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum (http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/moviestudiope) to edit my video. No, it’s not a free program like PhotoStory, it has lots of flexibility and options. I searched and searched for a program when I started doing book trailers, until I came to Vegas. Here’s what sold me on this program: they have extensive tutorials right at your fingertips, built into the main screen. The learning curve for this program was minimal compared to anything else I tried, an hour instead of four or five.
To create this trailer, I made some decisions: The trailer would run about one minute. With twelve animals that meant about 4 seconds per animal, with the remaining time going to the opening screen and credits.
I set up the program with markers every four seconds and added the images on one track, the animal sounds on a second and the sound track on a third. Then, I went through and added to a fourth track the text that appears on the video. Vegas has the capability to scan across an image or zoom in and out, so I adjusted this. Initially, the images were full page, but the text of the book interfered, so I zoomed in on each animal, then panned across to create movement. Static images are weaker than moving images in a trailer, you lose the viewer’s attention.
After previewing it a number of times and getting feedback, I took my husband’s suggestion to create a bit of a splash at the end with the book cover. After the American Bison at the end, there’s actually a half second of nothing except the music track. This is followed by a thunder clap and the front cover of the book. To find the right thunder clap, I went back to www.SoundDogs.com and searched through their extensive offering of storm sounds.
The video ends quickly with credits to the publisher, Sylvan Dell, the film composer Jeremy Doss and thanks to hoghaven.com for the groundhog sounds.
Working with a publisher, I was careful to run drafts of the video past the editor, publicity director and publisher. Jeremy Doss approved the trailer, as did Kathleen Rietz, the illustrator. When all approvals were in, I uploaded it to YouTube. And waited. It was ready early June, but I knew that I didn’t want to show it until after I spoke at the American Library Association, where the trailer would have its debut. And now, here’s the debut on this site:
TEACHERS: If your school blocks video through your server, please email me (darcy at darcypattison dot com) for a copy of the file to show to your class.
AUTHORS: Need more on how-to create book trailers? See my sister site www.booktrailermanual.com