My stated goal last year was to make a new book trailer. It didn’t happen. Looking at book trailers these days, most appear to have been professionally crafted; definitely not your standard home-grown variety. I tried creating a book trailer four years ago and had a great time with it–writing about it on this blog.
But things have changed a bit since I made that first book trailer. Even in that short span of time, the technology has gotten better, sources for free video clips have widened, and the bar has been raised considerably.
Video Editing Software
Back when I tried that first book trailer, I used Windows Movie Maker, the default Windows video editing software, to create “Cocos Island Treasure.” It’s a fairly basic program, keeping it simple from font choice to video to photo clips to audio. (I experimented with introducing a voice over in addition to music clip in “Lucky Joe.”) Other popular programs are Sony Vegas and iMovie. Sony Vegas was sold in May 2016 and now may be more expensive than before extended into Sony Pro and certainly more sophisticated than my level of expertise. iMovie was created by Apple and is the default video editing program for the Mac. The iMovie alternative for (PC) Windows 10 (and older) is the Movavi Video Editor. The latter currently runs $39.99. Yes, there are free trials.
Most of the features found in Windows Movie Maker are also found in Movavi Video Editor, which include splitting, cropping, adding titles, special effects, and transitions, as well as sound and voice over. These can be uploaded to YouTube, as well as shared on your mobile device or TV. Import content from your favorite video and audio sources as well as your own clips or photos.
Having spent considerable time last year researching the “fireside” type of book trailer I wanted to make, the idea was shelved for lack of proper accessory equipment; everything from lighting to sound. While I had a microphone, it was deemed lacking in depth. And, of course, there was the problem with the script. I was going for something humorous, which seems to catch the most attention these days, but felt my script came out a bit cheesy.
Trailer Making 101
Granted, this is not something the average technologically challenged person could expect to pull off in a day or two–but following the information story on WattPad by Brooke she calls “Trailer Making 101,” there does seem to be a big learning curve. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, sometimes a less than stellar book trailer will do more harm than good and I suspect that is why there are so many really great, obviously professional, book trailers out there now. They definitely more than rival some of the more popular, and beautifully made, movie trailers. However, you can pull off a real decent book trailer if you give it the time and attention to detail it demands.
Keep It Short
The research that I am gleaning still points to the most effective trailer being somewhere between 1:25 and 2 minutes. It seems the more it drags on, the more it tends to lose most of today’s generation who possess that short attention span. You better get in there and get out–leaving your powerful message with a call to action. Case in point, the book trailer with 5,307,302 views by Bella Thorne in “As Dead As It Gets” (above) is just 1:36. Out of over five million views, however, the video has just over 25,504 thumbs up. (Gees–whaddya gotta do??!) And introductions are best left under 10 seconds.
Professionally created, the book trailer for Gillian Flynn’s New York Times best seller “Gone Girl“ is just over two minutes, and has just over 15,000 views. Too long or too dark? Interesting trailer that just didn’t work.
There are some amazing sites for royalty free music, although sometimes even royalty free isn’t, if you are subscribing to a website with a very large library of available music. I enjoyed using Kevin MacLeod for “Lucky Joe.” He has an amazing array of music pieces, though for most short video book trailers, you’ll need to clip those to fit your trailer. Also, be sure that the music fits the mood of the trailer.
Yes, you can do it! Don’t rush it. If you do not have decent video editing software, download the program and play with it. Study a lot of book trailers. Decide which you prefer. Then research the materials; video clips or music clips. Have your own video clips or gifs you want to use but it is not in the format required? Try Online Convert–convert clips to MP4 or AVI. Yes, this website will also convert a GIF–sweet! ©2016 Virginia Williams