Book Trailers and Keeping Up With the Joneses

If you’re an aspiring author such as myself, then you know this is both a very accepting and encouraging culture (writers) with down-right-olympic-tight competition. Granted, most of the competition is with ourselves, but we are still working continuously to get our works noticed. We improve our manuscripts, research agents, blog, tweet, guest blog, enter writing contests, join crit groups, proposition beta readers, join writing communities…oh, the list goes on. It’s a double full time job in addition to our 9-5 and family, church, community, real-life commitments. But, there’s no fighting it. It is what it is and it is busy. I am certain this is what eventually separates the weeds from the chaff. Those writers who cannot hang, will let it go, drift away, for another time, or forever. Either way,only a few survive the constant rejection, knowing we will be found.

Hang in there. You are not the chaff. You are reading, learning, growing. You will persevere. Then what? If you land that mythical unicorn – in this case, a unicorn would be the literary agent you need to get your books into Barnes and Noble LOL. Then what? Well, then you begin to promote your work. Sure, you may be given a publicist and a small (micro) budget for promotion, but as a debut author, you’re gonna have to switch gears and get into a new work-around-the-clock-mode called self promotion.

The new buzz in promotion is swirling around book trailers. A book trailer is like a movie trailer, but often shorter, and they are growing in popularity thanks to YouTube and author blogs.  Book trailers can be made for zero dollars or a minimal charge. If you have a newer computer, you likely have a program called Movie Maker and don’t even know it. Movie Maker is super user friendly and if you can use Power Point, you are all set. Many authors are making their own book trailers. You can too.

Take some pictures. Save them and use those as a sort of slide show, add text and music or a voice over, and Voila! Free advertising! Buzz is being created! You did it! If you don’t want to take your own picture, there are royalty free sites you can sift through for images, and royalty free sites for music and sound clips. If those don’t suit your fancy, you can look through the WWW until you find what you want, then contact the owner of the image and pay them for it. Or, if you are really a cinematographer at heart, contact your local actors guild and make a short video. The options are endless, and its a fun break from all the writing and editing.

So, if you’re like me and your time is already nonexistent, you never sleep and your kids only recognize your voice not your face which is buried behind your laptop screen, you can now add one more on your to-do list. Check out YouTube and your favorite author sites, watch some book trailers and start thinking about how you’ll use yours to best promote your book.

This is a trailer for the fabulous YA book Shiver by Maggie Steifvater. She made this herself AND helped compose the music. Someone slap some of that talent over my way please!

I’d love to hear from some authors who have one to share or words of wisdom on this topic. I am really amped about the possibilities here. Do dish, PLEASE!!

4 comments to Book Trailers and Keeping Up With the Joneses

  • Valerie Haight

    Great blog, Julie! I hope I’m there one day. Gotta add Shiver to my list now! I also loved Allie Condrie’s interview on YouTube. It makes me link the author to the book, making me want to read it even more! Love the great advice, as always.

  • Hi Julie,
    I loved planning out my book trailer! I used istockphoto for all the images and video clips, and some of the sound effects. The video clips were more expensive than than the still images and the audio, but I decided I really wanted them. Also, because my book is middle-grade, I wanted actual voices of kids instead of just text. I recruited a couple of my son’s friends for that. I ended up paying a college student to put it all together for me, because I couldn’t figure out the right music (I’m bad at that!), and I didn’t want to take the time to learn how to put it together myself. Now that my son has seen the process, he wants to do my next one. I’m all for that. Here’s the link to it on Youtube:

  • I can’t believe how talented these people are who can not only write and get their book published, but can also create a trailer.
    Before I read this blog, I felt very smug that we had a girl in our RWA group who does it for a fee and that I had booked her for my next release….now I’m sheepishly going off to hide my red face.
    But I’m still going to let her do it…after all it’s only honorable to stick to an agreement..Right??

  • Julie Anne Lindsey

    Valerie! I am so excited to see all these book trailers! SQUEE!

    Dee! What a FUN trailer! My son is 7 1/2 and he loved this! We watched it twice LOL:) Thank you for sharing!!!

    Mimi! I know! Its not fair! I want to make a book trailer and it be this awesome! Mimi! Maybe YOU need a book trailer!

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