The Book Trailer is Here!
You know that scene in the movie "The Jerk," where Steve Martin's character gets wild with excitement when the new phone book arrives?
"I'm somebody now! Millions of people look at this book every day! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity that makes people!"
That's how I've been feeling about finishing my book trailer. I love seeing people's creative processes, so I thought I'd share mine with you.
How I Made the Book Trailer for "The Skeleton Club"
First I spent a week researching book trailers: the good, the bad and everything in between. Then I wrote a rough script and pieced together some stock video comps in Adobe Premiere (a video editing software).
I also recorded a scratch track of the narration. I used my iPhone in the backyard after my family had gone to bed ... that's why you hear crickets in the background.
I liked the stock footage, but wanted something more custom—and didn't want to pay $1,000 to purchase it. (Clips range from $60 to $180.) So I revised the script and started brainstorming visuals.
Then I filmed a few scenes around my house to see how they looked, using a Canon 70D:
I shared this video with others and got their feedback. My husband thought the shaky footage made the video look amateurish. A coworker suggested more dramatic lighting. I wanted more action shots. We all agreed that the eye was a little cliched.
I brainstormed new scenes and possible shooting locations, then spent a Sunday filming more footage—with a tripod this time. I recorded new narration in my office's professional sound studio. Then I edited it all together and uploaded it to YouTube:
What's In Store for Book Trailer Version #4
After sharing this book trailer with a larger audience, I've gotten even more helpful feedback:
- My audio expert suggested I lower the volume of the background music, to make the narration easier to hear.
- Another writer suggested I added my name to the end screen.
- Someone felt that the narration didn't match the tone of the story, and suggested I hire a voice artist with a deeper, more resonant sound.
- A friend suggested I clarify the part of the script where I mention that motherhood made me question my own sanity. I agree with that, too. I think a clip of a screaming newborn would drive the message home, but I'll have to wait until my son arrives in January before I can film that part.
I'm excited to eventually incorporate these edits into a new version of the book trailer. But for now, I'm happy to show this one off.
Book Trailer Costs and Next Steps
Total investment: $33 for background music + $8 for stock footage of dust particles, which I overlayed onto my own footage. (I already owned the camera and the video editing software.) If I purchase professional narration, that will add another $100—$200 to the project. But all in all, not bad.
Next steps: finalize the book proposal, include a video link to the trailer, and then send it out to literary agents in December.
Wish me luck—and let me know if I should consider any other tweaks in the next version of the book trailer!