Two posts ago, I whined about the erosion of imagination in young readers. Once you post a book trailer, you’ve completely defined the appearance of your characters and setting.
I’m done with the nostalgia kick. Time to get off the horse-and-buggy and jump on the high-speed, digital marketing train.
Kids are visual. Kids are digital. The best way to generate interest – any interest – in your book among kids is a trailer on YouTube. (Who hasn’t sat down with a 12-year-old and a laptop? How many hours were you forced to watch videos like the talking dog who wants bacon or Harry Potter puppet pals?)
Writing is about understanding the audience, and writers need to chase their audience. The marketplace is crowded. How does your book stand out? People much smarter than me say book trailer. If you’re lucky, your video goes viral, and going viral is the publishing industry’s lottery.
Before I jump ahead, this is a conversation to have with your agent and editor. They might have good reasons to discourage a trailer. Or maybe the publishing company will pay to have one made. That’s another publishing industry lottery.
Here’s some information I found:
Teacher and librarian Michelle Harclerode has a ton of great information about trailers on her web site. She knows the marketplace, and she occasionally makes trailers herself. Her site is filled with trailer-making resources and sample trailers.
Make your own. Author Myrlin Hermes did. You can read his guest blog on Nathan Bransford’s blog. Plan enough time, especially if you’re not a movie software whiz. Hermes gave himself four days. As your average techie, I’d plan a few weeks. The web has tons of tips for making your own trailer. Sometimes it’s worth paying a pro. You’ll get professional results, and you’ll save your time for what you do best: writing.
Be careful about copyrights. You can find cheap, royalty-free music for cool mood-setting. Some sites might ask for attribution on YouTube. No big deal. Hermes suggests Wiki Media Commons, packed with public domain pictures. Government web sites have collections of incredible photos — national parks, disasters, and others.
When I worked in public relations, I used free photos and paid photos. I purchased CD packages with photos. It takes some digging to find a good, free photo that represents the image and tone you have in mind. Frankly, a lot of them stink, and the best are often unrelated to your subject. As I’ve debated whether to have a book trailer, I’ve been taking my own photos. Just in case. I know what I want, and I have a great camera. It’s a matter of playing with light and angles.
I’ll post links to book trailers soon.