Friday, May 9, 2014

How to Make a Book Trailer, Guest Post from Barbara Barth

Welcome Barbara Barth, author of DANGER IN HER WORDS, with  a must-read instructional guest post on how to create a book trailer.

Making My Book Trailer

    I am a very hands on person. I don’t want to say I am a control freak . . . but perhaps I lean towards that end of the spectrum rather than the ‘let someone else do the work’ side. With everything I do, from writing, to self-publishing, to decorating my antique booths, it is a total art project for me. I have a vision in my head that I want to capture and share with others. No one else can do that for me. I also find it a challenge to see what I can actually manage to do on the computer and it is great fun! I created my own website and blogs. I love putting graphics together and coming up with something that is visually pleasing . . . at least to me and I hope to others!  I want whimsical and light-hearted most of the time. Even with my memoir The Unfaithful Widow, the cover was pink and white, to convey hope rather than grief.
    Here is the most important thing before we go any further to let you know how easy it was for me to make the book trailer for Danger In Her Words, and if I can do it, you can do it.

    I DON’T work in HTML. I am the queen of drop and drag, uploading photos, and creating text boxes. However, do keep in mind the trailer is a visual extension of your book and you want it to be professional in appearance, not a quick thrown together job. With a bit of planning you can do a simple book trailer that will be eye-catching and one that you will be proud to display.   

    I did a bit of research before I started to determine what makes a whiz-bang book trailer.

  How long should it be? This is MAJOR. Think of it as you would an elevator pitch for your book. Keep it quick, to the point, to create excitement, anticipation, and curiosity. You want to use critical elements to communicate the tone of your book and its message. Done properly, you can create interest in buying your book or at least entice the viewers to check out your website. Do not give away the details of your story. Remember you want the viewer to want to know more than you are telling.

   A book trailer works best from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Personally I think 3 minutes is overkill. I checked out some trailers of authors I liked. The trailers that held my attention were about 1 minute 30 seconds long. So that is what I aimed for. Enough time to get my idea across without becoming boring.

   The next step for me was organizing my images and what I wanted to say. I chose several of the B/W illustrations from my book, plus the front and back cover. The images in my book are stock images I purchased. You can use your own images, images from public domain, or purchase stock images. Do not ‘borrow’ images that are not yours to use. I also wrote down the key words I wanted for my text boxes so I would not have to tax my brain too much at one sitting!

   The site I used was Animoto ( ). There are other sites available if you Google ‘making a book trailer’, but I’ve worked with Animoto before for personal occasions and liked its simplicity.

   They offer three programs: Lite, Plus, and Pro. Lite is free, but not what I wanted. Pro costs $39.00 a month and was more than I would ever need. All three plans include unlimited video creating and sharing. The Plus program was perfect for me. The cost is $5.00 a month paid as an annual fee of $30.00, renewable the following year. With the Plus program your video can be up to 10 minutes long, it is web quality, you can choose from 51 templates, and there are 300 plus music tracks.
    I want to mention here that the 300 plus music tracks are not the most exciting, but you can keep sampling different songs with your project and find one that works nicely and is pleasing. I went through twenty-five horrible songs to find what I thought fit the tone of my book and the images I used. You can upload your own music choice, but remember copyright infringement is a big issue. You Tube will pull videos for copyright violations. You can find music in public domain ( ) or go to iStock and buy music clips. I chose to keep it simple and work with what Animoto offered.
   I have joined Animoto, created my account with a user name and password, paid my annual fee, and am ready to get started.

   Click on the CREATE tab on the top right corner of the home page. It will take you to a list of templates on a page that says CHOOSE A STYLE. You can choose a category, or if you are like me, I want to look at everything. So I clicked on ALL. The line of choices is right under the top row of templates. Some of the templates are limited to the Pro Plan only, and you will see that as soon as you click on it. Move along.

    After trying several of the templates I chose to use the Animoto Original. Each template has its own way of streaming the photos and the size of the images. I did not use a video in my trailer, but photos with text, still the trailer came out like a mini movie. I ended the trailer with a photo of my book cover, back and front, and my website.

    Note here, that with any of the templates you choose, you have the option for any music, any  length up to 10 minutes, to upload your photos or video clip, write your text boxes, and preview before publishing. I added my photos and text in one template and then kept going to the top right hand side of the screen to click to change style, so I could see how my photos worked in many templates to find the best fit. I did the same by changing the music and previewing. It did take most of the morning to accomplish this, but it was fun to do. After my trailer was completed I uploaded it to You Tube.  It hasn’t gone viral yet . . . oh well! I think it conveys what I’d hoped for and I am tickled pink to have it as another tool in my media kit.

    Making my own book trailer was not about cost. I receive daily e-mails from companies that offer to make a professional book trailer for $25.00 and up. For me it was about creating the vision I had for my book.

    The photos below show some of the process.

Animoto Home Page:

Templates. Under first row you can choose category. I chose ALL.

Start screen. Note left hand side where you can change style, add photos, text, etc. by clicking on link. On top is the link to click to change music.

After clicking on Add Photos, the screen comes up for me to choose my pictures.

Here I’ve started to add photos and text.

My final trailer completed.

Thank you, Barbara! I have wanted to learn how to make a trailer for my books for so long. Now I can't wait to try my hand at it!

Thank you to The Muffin at the blog for WOW-Women on Writing for setting up this stop on Barbara Barth's blog tour. The tour will run through June 6. Check out the WOW website for more stops.

Meet Barbara Barth:

Barbara Barth likes a lot of things: turquoise jewelry, surfing the 'net, and margaritas, to name a few. Then there are the dogs. As many as her house can hold! This Georgia antique dealer and jewelry maker published a hobby newsletter for thirteen years. After her husband died she recorded the year that followed in a series of essays. When she isn't writing you can find her at the local thrift shops or pounding another nail into the wall to hang the paintings she can't resist. She published a memoir, The Unfaithful Widow, and Danger In Her Words is her debut novel.
Find out more about Barbara by visiting her online:



About DANGER IN HER WORDS by Barbara Barth:

 A TV sitcom pitch gone wrong turns dog-column writer Susan Meyers in a tailspin. "Sex Sells" was the topic of the day at the writers' convention. Susan decided to try something new and a steamy romantic novel seemed just the answer. A widow who hadn't dated in three years, Susan was out of practice with men and sex. She turned to an online dating site to find inspiration for her book and unleashed a predator with the words she wrote. Tucked an hour away from her friends in a small town where she kept to herself, with only her tiny dog for company, Susan felt safe from the world. Little did she know her life was about to change.

A romp of a story about writing and finding yourself in this book within a book. If you love girl-talk, farmhouses, antiques, country towns, a touch of murder, a sprinkle of suspense, and a bit of naughty fun, come join Susan as she learns about life from her character Jamie. Two widows looking for love in all the wrong places might still get it right if they live long enough.

Paperback: 238 pages  
Publisher: Gilbert Street Press (February 12, 2014)
ISBN-10: 098317153X
ISBN-13: 978-0983171539