An effective tool when trying to create some buzz for your book is what is known as a book trailer. Thee are fairly new things, having only popped up in the last couple of years or so, but they are steadily gaining in popularity. So, if you haven’t heard of them yet, you soon will.
Think of a book trailer as something akin to a movie trailer. It is a short preview designed to get people excited about your book. When designing a book trailer, you should consider the following:
Don’t Tell Everything
Think of a movie trailer. Does it show the whole movie? No, it doesn’t. Instead, it show tiny snippets of the story, making the viewer want to see more. The key is to only show the viewer just enough to make them feel the need to discover more. This will lead them to your website, which, in turn, will get them a step closer to buying your book.
Limit the Time
Like not showing everything, you need to find a balance in time. Too short, and your viewer will be confused and not want to look at what it’s all about. Too long, and the viewer will grow bored, and not get to the end of your trailer, and then will not bother to find out more. The trailer has to be the perfect length. Ideally, 1 ½ to 2 minutes is an excellent length for a book trailer, but anywhere up to 2 ½ would still be acceptable. At this length, you can’t give away too much and your audience won’t grow bored.
Fit the Mood
This is crucial – the mood of your book, should be reflected in the trailer. You can’t have a trailer for Angela’s Ashes using a lot of brightly colored scenes with AC/DC’s Shook Me All Night Long, playing in the background. Just like you don’t want to use hardcore rap in a trailer for the Harry Potter books. The point is, if your book is sad, have images and sound that will go along with it. If your story has a lot of action and suspense, that should be reflected as well.
You may have noticed, how to make a book trailer hasn’t actually been discussed yet. That is because there really is no set way to do one. Each trailer out there is unique in its own way, and creating such a trailer is truly up to the artist or, in this case, the writer. Telling you how to make a book trailer would be like me telling you how to write your book. While there are certain conventions every book must have, there truly is no one correct way to write one.
However, there are a few popular techniques people use in order to create a trailer. If you have no idea how to start, hopefully these models will be a help.
A Picture Says a Thousand Words
This can almost be considered the “traditional” way of making a book trailer. It is also the easiest, which is probably why it is the most popular. For this method, you are going to gather some pictures – either ones you have taken personally, or by going to one of the royalty free photo websites, such as istock.com, photobucket.com or shutterfly.com. On these sites, you can purchase photos for a small fee (usually less than $1 a photo), and use these photos any way you see fit. The photos you pick for you trailer should be representative of your book and the characters within. Using a tool such as Microsoft Movie Maker, you put these photos into a video and add some music to them.
Anatomy of a Scene
This could possibly be the most effective, and also the most fun to do. What it requires, is for you to turn a short scene from your book into a short script (remember it should fit into the time constraints mentioned earlier), and then shooting the scene using live actors (or friends). This is also great for you to see your scenes come to life. There are a few books, this technique might not work for, especially if you don’t have the ability to construct elaborate sets. However, if you have a “real world” story, where you can shoot a scene in your living room, or at your local park, then this is perfect. If you also happen to be a talented artist, you can also animate the scene. Either way, by the time you’re done, you’ll have a trailer suitable to drive attention toward your book.
Going to the Movies
Think of this one as looking like your typical movie trailer. It will have a bunch of short clips, encompassing the entire book. But as stated before, you don’t want to give away too much – just enough to entice the viewer. Like the previous idea, this will require getting some actors and shooting several of the scenes from your book. And like the previous idea, if you happen to be a talented artist, go for animating it, this way you are not limited in your vision. Put these scenes to some appropriate music and you’ve got yourself a movie style book trailer.