Authors who are "Differently Expertised"...

Authors who are "Differently Expertised"...

14 June 2011

Regarding Book Trailers

The existence of YouTube created a whole new field of marketing for authors: the Book Trailer.
Essentially a movie preview for your book, imagery and music are meant to entice readers into the world you've constructed.

Anyone can make a book trailer. If you have a computer that has Windows XP or later software, Windows Movie Maker is already there. A slideshow of images, a little text, some awesome tunes and you're done! Here's the trailer I created for my novel Dragon & Hawk:

Uh...hold on there. Anything that sounds that easy usually isn't. First of all, you must make sure you have the right to use the images you choose. This means either you've taken photos yourself, or you've obtained royalty-free images. Royalty-free means you do not have to pay the artist each time you use it; it does NOT mean it is totally without cost.

WikiMedia Commons is a vast collection of images and other media files that are openly shared and free to use. All you have to do is download the file and mention where you obtained it in the credits of your trailer.  There is no fee to download and you are not infringing on any copyright issues. If you can't find what you have in mind on WikiMedia Commons, you have the option of searching photography sites such as iStock Photo, Big Stock Photo, or even Getty Images for royalty-free photos that you purchase a license to use. Usually these cost anywhere from $2.99 to $50. Be sure to read the licensing agreements for each site; some even allow you to use the image to make items such as tee shirts and mugs. But each one is different and it's your responsibility to know what you are paying for.

All right, you have the images you want. What about music? No, you really shouldn't dub your little film with Led Zepplin's "Ramblin'" unless you have written permission from Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Will they come after you if you don't? Likely not, but would you like someone taking your work and using it without your permission? Ethics, my friends.

Viola! Royalty -free music sites such as Incompetech and Partners in Rhyme offer music and sound effects for free or a small donation as long as you list the title and artist in the credits. If you're really lucky, you know wonderfully talented musicians who will allow you to use their music. Never forget to list them in your credits!

You may have the music but how do you edit it? Windows Movie Maker for Windows XP has a sound editing feature; Vista and Win 7 versions do not. But never fear! You can download Audacity sound editing software for free!  They have a ton of tutorials to walk you through the process. All you need is time.

And there's the rub. It takes a lot of time to play with Movie Maker, to get the images and sound married to your satisfaction, set up a YouTube account and learn how to upload your videos. It can be fun and satisfying. But in the long run, does it help to sell your book? We'll talk about that in another blog post...

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