Book Trailers: What You Need to Know

MoodLast week, I blogged about book trailers — are they something you still need to do or are they yesterday’s news?  If you want your work in school libraries, librarians love trailers.  They play them for their students.  Sharyn Murray created the amazing trailer for The Water Castle.  Here, she answers questions put to her by the author of the book, Megan Frazer Blakemore.

Okay, you’re going to have to follow this link to it because I can’t show you the video here.  It is the second video on the page.  The first video is the booktrailer for The Water Castle.

In the video, Murray explains that when you make a trailer, you already know the story (the book).  Your job in the video is to figure out how to depict this story in another format.

If you are a print story teller, one of the reasons that video feels tricky is that the layers in video are different than the layers in a print story.  We work with plot and subplot, theme and symbolism, mood and detail.  A videographer works with visuals (moving, stills, on-screen text) and sound.  Sound can take the form of special effects (a door slamming), music or voice.

Both the visuals and the sound need to work together to hook your reader.  One way to do this, and it is the method Murray used in the Water Castle trailer is to rely on mood or emotion.  She goes for spooky and a bit ominous.  Visually, she does this with the pen-and-ink images, the bold text (Believe)  and the smoke.  But she also uses sound to build this same effect, pullying together music, the main voice over (talking about the story) and then the spooky background voices.

Whatever mood or tone you go for you in your trailer, you need to use as many layers as possible to firmly hook your viewer and make them want to become your reader.



Book Trailers: Hot or Not?

Recently, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about book trailers including a Facebook discussion about whether or not they’re still relavent.  I was surprised by how many writers consider them old news.

If writer’s saw a direct correlation between a trailer and sales, I think they would be behind it.  But a trailer is a tricky thing to do.  Especially a top notch trailer.  To see what I mean by top notch, take a look at this trailer for Megan Frazer Blakemore’s The Water Castle.

Of course, I’m a huge mystery fan and this makes me want to know what happens in this book.  I’m hooked by the spookiness and the mystery and the suspence.  I want to believe that the character can actually find the fountain of youth.

This draw sent me to the library.  I have the library book on my desk.

At the recent Missouri SCBWI workshop that focused on the Common Core Curriculum Standards, the librarians all praised book trailers.  Our schools are media intense with screens in most classrooms and the library.  Librarians use these screens to play trailers all the time.  If they have a trailer of your book playing, it will be checked out.  Constantly.

Repeat after me, circulation is good. Admittedly, I’m intimidated by the thought of having to make a top notch trailer.  I hate being intimidated by something so I’ll share more next week on how to make a trailer.


When You Make a Book Trailer Get Your Readers Involved

When you think of a noteworthy book trailer, what pops into your head?  Awe inspiring cinematography?  Big budgets?  Professional actors?

For Darcy Pattison’s latest picture book, Desert Baths,  students at an Arkansas Audubon summer camp were filmed imitating various animals from the book.  Of course, my warped mind pictures the looks on the faces of some of the super cool older kids.  “You want me to what?”  Still, you can tell they had a lot of fun.

How could you get your readers involved when its time to make a trailer for your book?




Book Trailers that Pull the Reader in

I hope that everyone can stand another post on book trailers.  Most book trailers focus entirely on the book itself.  Or on the author.  But here are three that manage to do something a little different.

The first is for a picture book called A Dog Is a Dog.  For the most part, this focuses on the book, but it does so in a way that pulls the reader in.  How?  By asking a question that you soooo want to answer.  Take a look to see how they did it . . .

In the second trailer, the focus shifts just a bit more.  The picture book is called Blackout and while the video shows illustrations from the book, the video shows so much more.  It includes cameos with actual New Yorkers telling what they were doing when the power went out.

The third trailer takes yet another step back.  The picture book is Prairie Storms by my friend Darcy Pattison.  Darcy did her research and found that the most frequently forwarded videos are humorous.  Her book is about how animals survive harsh prairie weather.  Not so funny.  So she made a humorous video pitting a bison on ice against a vintage skating video.  Take a look.

Consider these three approaches and your WIP.  Which would be most effective for you?


Awesome concept and video

Brian Selznick has a new book coming out.  Wonderstruck (Scholastic, September 20011) contains two story lines.  He tells one through the text and one through the illustrations.  Check out the trailer here:

Not only does it sound like an awesome story (don’t I wish I had 1) thought of it and 2) had the artistic talent to pull it off) but check out the effects in the trailer.  Not super flashy but . . . perfect.

Now off to my library site to see if I can request the book yet . . . yep.  I’ve put in request #5 . . . waiting . . . waiting . . . waiting . . .


Book Trailers

If you’re anything like me, you watch book trailers, you read about book trailers and why they are so important, and you think, good thing I don’t have a book.  The fact of the matter is that I figure out technology when I have to and not one moment earlier.

But Jing might actually inspire me to give this whole video thing a whirl.

Jing is a free program that allows you to capture whatever is showing on your computer screen — such as a slide show — as well as audio.   Book trailers.  How to videos.  About the author.

This could really come in handy.  If any of you give it a try, let me know and I’ll link to your videos!


Some Book Trailers Reveal as Much about the Writer…

I blog about book trailers a lot, usually about once a week.  Given that frequency, you’ve probably figured out by now what types of trailers I like — slick and highly graphic and somehow matching the tone of the book.

But every now and again I come across a different kind of trailer that captures my attention.  Check out the trailer that Brent Hartinger did for his novel, Shadow Walkers.

You get a feel for not only the book but his sense of humor as well as at least a few things that really matter to him.  I’m betting this sense of connection will turn more than a few more readers towards his books in the not-so-distant future.

And, the best news?  This is the type of trailer that any of us could make.

What are you waiting for?


Book Publicity and You, Part 2

Last week, in the post Publicity and You, I discussed bringing all of your varied talents to the marketing table.  Who better to come up with innovative ways to market your own book?  Ways that match the tone of the book?

One of agent Bree Ogden’s clients, D. M. Cunningham, did their own trailer  and it is awesome (see below).  Creepy, crawly and full of suspense.

What talents do you bring to marketing your book?  If you were to do a trailer, what would you do?