I have seen that many book trailers over the last month that I no longer need my subscription to Sky. They are as varied as they are entertaining and to be honest I am developing quite a penchant for them. It all started as part of my research for this article. I am, let’s face it, technologically challenged. Two years ago I didn’t know what a blog was. I had no knowledge of Facebook, Twitter or how – indeed – to use Word. My computer allowed me to shop on-line and let me send emails.
Since I became a fully fledged author I have had to keep up with the times and the latest puzzle or task has been producing a book trailer to accompany my new novel. Now this isn’t blatant promotion of my novel, it serves merely to help fellow authors who, like me, feel they should have a promotional tool: a book trailer video to help sell their book. Everyone is doing it. That’s great if you, like the Evil Mastermind, are a techno wiz but I am a middle-aged woman and videos are not my bag.
There seems to be general consent now that videos should not be longer than 1 minute 30 seconds. I have mixed feelings about this because although you want to get a message across as quickly and enticingly as possible you also want to put in enough information to entice a future fan of your books.
So, what should you do? You have several options:
a) Pay for the services of someone who can produce a video. Prices vary. I stumbled across an excellent service provided by Avalon Graphics. They were professional, their service was excellent, the video was made when they said it would be made and they were willing to twiddle about with the video until I was completely satisfied with it.
b) Do it yourself.
c) Get a friend to do it for you.
For the purposes of this article I tried all three options. Having checked out various companies and gotten feedback from those who had used them, I employed the services of a professional team at Avalon Graphics, run by Cathy Helms. I was given a fair price for the production of a video and a contract to sign. She explained how long it would take to produce the video and was very happy to adjust the video to suit my requirements. She also had a relevant soundtrack written to accompany it.
My next port of call was the good old Indies Unlimited team where Melissa Pearl Guyan answered my call for help and pointed me in the direction of her post on this very subject. Click here for Melissa Pearl’s fabulous post.
It takes patience to make a video. I’m a writer for goodness sake, not an artist or a graphic designer. I can’t even use Microsoft Paint without making a mess. I got the relevant photos from my computer, trimmed them and added text using PicMonkey and then hunted for music to accompany the video. Royalty Free Music that is any good is difficult to track down. I spent three entire days browsing snippets of music and sites that offered free downloads. The only music site I found that was also easy to navigate and was genuinely free was www.incomptech.com.
After spending several more days holed up in my office attempting to make a trailer, I emerged victorious having uploaded it to YouTube. I showed it proudly to my husband who shrugged his shoulders and declared it amateurish.
Where next? Further research was required. I discovered Animoto. I have written a tutorial on how to use Animoto (which you can read here) rather than use up all this post explaining about it – but I have to say it was so simple to use that this middle-aged woman not only whipped up a video in half an hour but played all day on the site the next day and made a few more.
Animoto is great for people like me but you only get a 30 second video for free. If you want to make a longer one then you need to subscribe to their site. They even have free music to accompany your video which makes life much easier.
Finally, I cast my net further and begged for help from fellow authors. One raced to my assistance. Sylvia Massara who hosts an on-line show which showcases authors called The Lit Chick Show is very used to making videos. She has made several for her own novels and indeed makes them regularly for her blog. She volunteered to make a trailer for me and within a couple of days she had produced a masterpiece.
Is it worth hiring a professional? Judge for yourselves. Below are the three videos. All three have merits. Vote for the one you prefer. Having watched them I am sure you will be able to make up your own mind which option is best for you.