A great new way to help market your book is to create a video trailer for your book. This can be used on your personal website, on www.youtube.com, and in your publicity packages that you are sending to TV stations. Here is an interview one of my colleagues held with an author of ours who has used this idea to successfully market her book.
SPA: Congratulations on the book and the video. Obviously the video is a reflection of the material in the book, but what kind of pre-production work went into it?
Author: Well, with virtually no budget there’s not a ton of pre-production. Luckily, my background is live theatre and a bit of film so I had access to a lot of really talented people. For instance, my costume designer at the theatre built the gorgeous red cloaks (I use one for my readings now!) and my set designer made the actual flask for the Miist of Kalliope. However, this same kind of talent can be found working at fabric stores and paint shops, not to mention art schools. As for the sets, I have a room in my basement where there are no windows so it was perfect for creating dim, moody locations. Basically, I yanked out everything I had from my Halloween stuff…and let me tell you, as an official Halloween Freak, I had lots…and decorated the room like an old library. I made scrolls from dollar store parchment paper, used lots of candles and focused on tight shots as they would be easier to “make real”. The fire was a total fluke. I had put flour on the book to look like dust and when I went to blow it off, it caught on the flame of the candle and made this awesome fire. Man, can’t pay enough to get special effects like that! For the outside shots I just snuck into a cemetery not too far from my house, threw the cloaks on my sister and her two kids and said “walk”. That was a laugh! I was also able to use a photography studio for a few hours. They had the big stone walls, which really helped for some shots.
SPA: Where did you find your actors?
The walking in cloaks is my sister and her kids. And then there’s a shot of my nephew’s eyeball and my niece reaching for an old teapot. The rest are me (opening the book, the creepy looking Simp) For the Simp I just used red food coloring, petroleum jelly and kleenex and mixed it all together to look like gross peeling, bloody skin. I think it worked as it freaked out my daughter! Oh, and I had a hideous wig! The growling teeth were my dog’s.
SPA: The music is chilling and I think a key to the success of your video. Where did you find the music?
I was so very fortunate with the music. The composer in residence of your city’s symphony caught wind of my project via a mutual friend and offered to do the music. How fantastic is that! Of course I said ‘yes’ or rather squealed ‘YES!’ and after viewing the rough cut of the video he composed this amazing score. I was blown away! I’ll never forget hearing it for the first time. There I was crying with headphones on in the middle of this coffee shop. He’d just nailed it so perfectly! Obviously, this isn’t something that will happen for everyone but there are many music options such as schools, free online stuff and even Garage Band.
SPA: What equipment did you use to shoot and edit the video?
We shot on digital video, with a pretty decent 3 chip camera. My friend did the editing on Final Cut Pro, which is a really accessible program. We got sound effects from free sites online and then he put it together, brilliantly I might add. But he has had quite a few years experience on the program. This is where I think the money should be spent.
SPA: How long did it take you to shoot and edit?
The shooting took two or maybe three days and about a week to edit.
SPA: Do you have any advice for other authors who may be thinking about putting a video trailer together for their books?
Well, I just did an interview with our local TV station and they were absolutely thrilled with all the ‘stuff’ I had for them to work with (book trailer, footage of readings, props, costumes etc). It made their job so much easier and made the entire story, not only longer (aka more air time, aka more exposure), but also much more interesting for viewers. Also, my readings are much more fun. I play the trailer on a giant screen (always supplied by the school or library) even before I enter. By the time I come in the kids are already with me. They’re sold! And they can’t wait for me to read more of what they’ve just seen. The book trailer has been absolutely my strongest marketing tool. It’s a fantastic way of giving media a taster. This plus the website. I spent a lot of time and money on my website. Probably the most (aside from my book, of course:) But, keep in mind I am sharing with a demographic that has grown up ‘virtual’ so I wanted to impress them with the best of that. I think that, especially if an author is going POD, then a book trailer and website are essential. But don’t go cheesy or cheap on the trailer. Do some research and some sniffing around at film schools. Do it right, the best way possible. A really bad trailer is worse than no trailer at all.
Thanks again for the opportunity to share with you, Richard. It was a real pleasure!
All the best,Kami
SPA: Thank you, Kami. Great advice and great video!
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