Promotional book videos -- aka trailers for books -- are still a popular form of online marketing. The expense involved with having them done professionally, however, often puts them out of reach of most authors' budgets.
When Samhain author Kinsey W. Holley wanted to do a trailer for her upcoming June release, Kiss and Kin, she decided to have some fun and make it herself.
The result was an attractive, funny video (you can watch it here.) I thought it was quite fetching, and unlike most of the high-priced trailers I've watched, definitely interested me in purchasing the novel. Which means it works.
But how does an author make a promotional book video that doesn't require a degree in movie production or empty out the savings account? Kinsey was kind enough to share the nuts and bolts of what she did with me via e-mail (posted with permission):
"I made it in Photo Story 3, free from Microsoft and I got the images from Dreamstime, a royalty free stock photo sight. that's the only bit that cost money - you buy credits in pre-packaged amounts, and spend the credits to download the photos. I spent about 50 bucks by the time it was done.
Music was harder - the royalty free music sites are expensive - ten bucks for a few seconds of music, 60 bucks or more for a few minutes. I spent ten bucks to get a short sample of something before I realized I couldn't record and loop it - I could make it play over and over again, but I couldn't eliminate the start and stop in the middle.
Then I went into PhotoStory and realized there's an option to "create" your own music. It's limited, of course, but you pick the style and instrument and you can preview it - the music starts playing when your video starts, and it stops itself at the end. I messed around with a few styles till I got one that seems to fit - it even slows down at two very appropriate spots in the video.
Basically, if I can do this, anyone can do this."
Kinsey also had more advice for authors interested in creating their own trailers and where to put them online:
"The main thing to remember when making a book video is to keep it short - don't go over a minute if you can help it (I'm long winded so mine goes to 11:11). Anyone who's doing a book trailer should put it up both places - their website and Youtube. One last thought. The Romance Studio has very reasonable ad rates - you can advertise your book trailer for one week for ten dollars, for instance, and they offer other formats as well."
Now we'll all agree I am the most technically-challenged writer in NetPubLand, because, well, I am. I've never made a video before and I know nothing about video-making beyond popping a tape into on our handheld movie camera, aiming it at birthday cake, Christmas tree or whatever holiday we're celebrating, and pushing the red button. I think that qualifies me as an excellent test subject, so this week I'm going to follow Kinsey's methods and see if I can make one of my own.
What do you guys think of trailers for books? Any likes, dislikes, advice for the novice trailer-maker? Any great, author-created trailers out there we should see? Let us know what you think, and links if you have them, in comments.