The moment I responded to a comment about one of my book trailers, I knew I had to follow through and write about how to create your own. So I'm going to put it down recipe style and start with the things you need to make it happen.

Tools:
Movie editing software (Windows Movie Maker WMM, Wax, imovie [I think that's what the Apple version is called]). I list these options, because they are free, easy to use and with a little creativity can give good results.

A picture of your book cover

You may want to include a picture of yourself if you like.

The blurb from the back of your book

Royalty free images and music

Time patience and practice!


I'm just going to imagine that some of us are clueless about computers here and explain the process using WMM. Go to Start > Programs > WMM.

When the program opens you will see at the bottom of the window, a Timeline. At the upper right, a screen. At the upper left a Task panel and in the center, a section where you will be see your images/music that you will be working with. This middle pane can also show the different options offered in Effects/Transitions found under the Edit section of the Task panel.

I would recommend that you start off with playing around with the options so as to get a general idea of what everything does. From the Import section of the Task panel, click on pictures, find the ones you want to use. When you have made your choice (press and hold the Ctrl key to select more than one at a time), they will become visible on your center panel, same for any other media you import. Bear in mind if you are going to use a film clip (say of yourself speaking about your book), WMM only caters for wmv and avi formats. Any other formats will have to be converted. I use the free version of Any Video Converter to do this (Google it).

Click and drag your pictures onto the Timeline, do the same with your audio/music files. You might want to juggle them around a bit, make the duration of a particular picture longer than another, trim down the music etc. Try right-clicking on your files in the Timeline to see other options, like fade in/out. Click on an image that you have dragged into the timeline and select Effects from the Edit section. Have a go at applying each one and seeing how it works, and which is best for to highlight on the story you are trying to tell with that image. Do the same with Transitions.

Like anything it might take a little practice to get things the way you want it, but simple works best. Also bear in mind that a good trailer lasts about 60-90 seconds. You don't want your audience to zone out before you get your message across. Think of the way tv commercials work.

Things to consider:
Copyright. You don't want to shoot yourself in the foot before you even get anywhere. Using a track from 50cent or any other artist without prior (written) permission will get you in trouble.

Use royalty free music and pictures. Images can be found for free using advanced search options on google. Being that our genre is predominantly sci-fi, bear in mind many of NASA's image stock are under creative commons license (free to use), but do cross check to make absolutely sure.

Most of my images are my own personal photos that I took myself. Even if you don't have much to work with, the fonts used can make your trailer eye catching. Notice in the book trailer for my second novel (Let Sleeping Gods Lie), at times I have used capitals to give the sentence a different visual appeal and break the monotony of it.

I get royalty free music from a site called Incompetech - http://incompetech.com/m/c/royalty-free
You are invited to make a donation, but if nothing else the owner of the tracks Kevin Macleod appreciates if you give his name a mention or add a link back to his site.
For sounds, like the shots heard at the end of my most LSGL trailer, I go to soungle.com they have hundreds on offer, all free to use.

Its a good idea to watch as many trailers as you can, both for books and movies. Learn from other peoples mistakes, how would you improve on my trailer for example? Too long, okay make yours shorter and snappier. Boring music? Choose something lively, but be sure it compliments your story line.

When choosing music, I try to keep it neutral, I love RnB, but I don't use it on my main trailer. If I really think something fits, I might do a second trailer so it appeals more to the market of readers who would benefit from knowing my book has a soulful vibe to it.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask questions if you find yourself needing further clarification on anything.

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Comment by Tosin Coker on May 23, 2010 at 1:00pm
I hope so Admin! I had to research for days to learn how to go about making my first trailer, but it's easy once you know how. Plus I have had couple of peeps tell me that it was the trailer that inspired them to buy, so I know it works.
Comment by Jarvis Sheffield - Admin on May 23, 2010 at 9:32am
Hey thanks Tosin, members can definitely benefit from this.

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