In addition to book signings and social media, there is another method you can use to promote your book: the book trailer. Not only is it functional, but it’s also really cool to see your novel brought to life as a movie.
That being said, it does require a certain amount of work if you’re planning on doing it yourself, as well as a little outlay of money. I’m sure there are free downloads out there, but if you want a quality look with a lot more creative options to choose from, then it could cost you $70-130. If you’re expecting Warner Bros. you’re going to have to cough up more bucks. I knew nothing about making a book trailer before trying to do it myself, and I loved doing it. I used Cyber Link software. I also experimented with Magix Movie Edit Pro. They are both good.
With your plot in mind, begin by deciding what visuals will best depict your story and characters. You can take your own photos or look for stock photos online (you may have to pay for those). Create your own moving scenes with a video camera (or use your phone) and add sound or voice to it if you like. Speaking of sound, special effects can be added such as the clicks of a shutter camera (the ones those pesky newspaper photographers use at crime scenes) which you will hear in the trailer I put up. If your software allows for lots of options, you will be able to add other special effects such as fog, shattered glass, and many more.
When you feel like you have more than enough to choose from, download the clips into your software as shown in the above image. You will get to choose each individual one you want to incorporate into the movie, including videos and sounds. Not all will be appropriate.
Here’s the tricky part: the accompanying music. You will see in the photo above that I took of my movie board that there is a timeline where you fit your photo clips, sounds, text, video segments, etc. below it onto different tracks. There is also another line for the music. It will take a good deal of experimentation to time the clips to the music track, but boy is it worth it! You contract or expand each clip according to the timing. It looks complicated, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not. I bought my music and you may have to as well. Make sure you give credit to the composer and state that the trailer is for promotional purposes only. Keep the music to a minute or less.
I tried to upload my book trailer for THE HOUR TO REAP, A Harper Simone Novel, but it's too large (39 MB) to upload to WIX's limit of (25 MB). You can watch it on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AmuYlnCeec or go to my author website which has both links under the tab for BOOKS to view it: http://pjwoodsauthor.com. The version on YouTube is a little different. Check them both out for the different visual effects you can use.
You can put your book trailer on your website, social media and even publish it on You Tube. The neat thing about a book trailer is when you do a book signing. Put the trailer on a loop on your laptop and have it on the table next to you. The not so neat thing is to discover there’s no electrical plug near your table. Check that out before your signing date and if they don’t have one prepare to use up your battery for two hours.
Most of us know how lonely it can feel sitting all by ourselves at a large book store signing. Customers try to quickly sneak by your table pretending they don’t notice you. Well, having a movie playing on the table is one way to get their attention. Most men love the techno stuff. It’s a great conversation starter. Then of course after seeing the movie, they will just have to read the book, or perhaps buy it for someone else.
P. J. Woods is the author of the Harper Simone Novels. You can keep up with Pat at her website: http://pjwoodsauthor.com or her professional website for editing at: http://bonmotsandprosepublishing.com.