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.
I’m still celebrating the publication of my picture book, PRAIRIE STORMS, by creating another video. This time, I attended the AETN-PBS Family Day event in Conway, AR, where I talked with parents and kids about reading and books. I invited the kids to be “You Tube” Stars by answering a simple question: What is a Rainbow?
As you might imagine, we got a wide range of answers. See what observations these young scientists made!
Excerpt from The Book Trailer Manual by Darcy Pattison
Most authors make a book trailer and stop. This is my third book trailer for PRAIRIE STORMS, and I plan more. This chapter explains why multiple videos are a great idea.
More than one book trailer? Does this question surprise you? You’re unsure about doing one video, much less a couple. Should you really think about more than one book trailer for your book? Yes. Here’s why.
Networking: Like every other social media, it’s your network that counts. And networks grow when you post regular content to keep them coming back. You may want a series of trailers spread out over several months, so viewers – and readers – have reasons to come back often.
Short Life of a Video: In May 2010, Jay Yarow and Kamelia Angelova reported that the shelf life of a video is very short. Half the viewers of a YouTube.com video come in the first six days. 75% of the viewers are within the first 20 days. Of course, there’s going to be a long tail, in which your video gets a few hits/day for a long time. But if you want a high level of sustained interest, you might want to consider a series of videos, distributed 1-3 weeks apart.
There is precedence in the online world for multiple marketing messages. Often marketers use an auto-responder to set up a series of messages which are automatically sent to an email list at specified intervals. For example, you might sign up for an camera site’s newsletter because they promise to send a series of three tutorials on taking portraits with a digital camera. You sign up and get your first issue of the newsletter right away, along with a second email that contains the first tutorial. The second and third tutorials turn up at one week intervals. These automated deliveries are via an auto-responder.
The idea behind auto-responder messages is to build your audience’s trust in your ability to offer something valuable on a long term basis.
How can you adapt this idea to a series of videos? Here’s an example of how you might plan a series of eight book trailers; while I’m suggesting a wide variety of options, you should decide on a specific goal for each video. Change it or adapt these as needed for your situation. Also, I’d suggest that you create about half of these before the book is released; be flexible about the others and create and distribute them as needed to publicize awards, give updated information, display fan’s reactions, etc.
Video 1. The overall story is explained in the first book trailer. This would be the traditional book trailer that gives a plot and character teaser. The Wayfinder Video
Video 3. By now, your audience is somewhat familiar with the story. This is the time to tell a story: about yourself, the idea behind the story, etc.
Video 4. With this video, let your audience know about any extra materials to go with the story: teacher’s guides, book club guides, free computer wallpaper, online games, book marks, etc. Be sure to mention the various formats of the book in this trailer, too: Kindle, iTunes, paperback, audio, etc. It’s also a good time to offer a discount coupon for a very limited time; setting a time clock ticking encourages response. Here, Neil Gaman talks about buttons: It’s a book trailer for his book & movie, Coraline.
Video 5. If your book is nonfiction, take time here to answer any questions that you’ve received. Where did you find the original source materials for your research? Will this how-to book help me do such and so? I’m confused about the time-line, can you clear it up for me? Or, give advice, for example, to young writers, as Neil Gaman does.
Video 6. For the sixth trailer, let your readers talk for you: interview readers about their responses. Or, highlight fan videos, quote from reviews. Another idea is for you to read from the story. Or attend a conference and ask a person there to read a paragraph, then give it to another person for the next section and so on until a good sample is recorded. Here, Eoin Colfer reads from The 7th Dwarf (World Book Day 2004)
Video 7. What have you been dying to tell your audience? Maybe you want to explain the dedication, the illustrations, tell the story of how you sold the book, or just look the camera in the eye and tell readers thanks for reading. Or, wrap up the series with a recap of the most important things about your story. Another option is to provide links to related sites. See, Neil Gaiman’s Worst Comic Book Characters of All Time
Video 8. Look ahead to the next book in the pipeline and give them a hook that leaves the viewer wanting more. Or, maybe by now, you’ve got great news of awards that your book has won.
It’s fine to include a mix of polished trailers with informal trailers that you tape as events unfold. YouTube.com has proven that audiences respond to great content, regardless of the production quality. Just keep promoting the trailers in every online and offline venue possible.
While you’re thinking about doing one book trailer, you should also think about doing a series. After all, each trailer will give you more experience and they can only get better. And a series will keep your book in the audience’s mind for a longer time.
Book Trailers: Is It Budget or Aesthetics that Matters?
On my sister-site, BookTrailerManual.com, I’m having a discussion with Melissa from YABookshelf about teen book trailers. What’s the most important thing in the success of a trailer? Is it the budget, how much you spend on the trailer? Or is it the idea, the aesthetics with which you approach the book trailer? Come and join the conversation.
More and more, librarians and teachers are using video conferencing software to connect with authors. Before I did my first Skype Author Visit today, with a school in Arlington, VA, I went through several fine-tunings of my setup. These are all small tweaks, but I felt like they were important to let me relax and enjoy the presentation.
Turn Your Office into a Video Studio
Lighting. My office is a dark attic, perfect for writing, but not good at all for a video studio. Read More →