To create a book trailer or not, that is the question.
I’m not talking about the book trailer that is used to market books that have already been published and I’m not going to debate the benefits and criticisms of them. I am going to talk about taking a day to create a book trailer for your WIP. It may look cheesy and unprofessional, but here are a few reasons why it is helpful and some resources on how to do it. Read to the end for a reveal 🙂
Creating a book trailer for your WIP is helpful for so many reasons.
- It requires you to deconstruct your novel down to its essence. A one page synopsis is a heck of a challenge for a 60,000 word story. Chiseling it down to the 30 words or so that is the heart of your story gives you so much clarity. This will help you to create your query and your elevator pitch in the future.
- You will most likely use still pictures. Maybe you want to create a live action trailer, but I’m not talented in that way, nor do I want to invest that kind of time. The still pictures can help you visualize what you have been trying to portray through words. This is especially helpful if you are writing a story that you did not personally experience. This was my case for my first story, it takes place in Chicago in 1871. Sometimes it’s hard to visualize the setting.
- Setting it to music gives you theme songs that set the tone of the story. I use music a lot when I write. I find a theme song for my characters. I use specific songs for scenes in the story. I also have a soundtrack for each story. I believe that when we are using as many mediums as we have at our disposal to help us create this world in our story, it will be richer, deeper, and can come to life for the reader. I REALLY WISH I COULD DRAW! That would raise my game to whole other level!
- It inspires me every time I watch it. As cheesy and basic as it is, if I watch it before I work on the story, it puts me directly in the frame of mind I want to be in. My mind is in my story and my heart is feeling the emotions I want my characters to feel and my reader to experience.
- It is a great tool when you are getting to that point that you either are tired of your story or you don’t know what else it needs. The trailer gives a fresh perspective to push you forward.
How to do it:
I’m thinking some of you reading this could better explain this than me. So I would love to get some advice on this matter in the comments.
I used Movie Maker for Windows as the editing tool. I used images labeled for reuse. Your own photography would be great too, but since my story takes place in 1871, I wasn’t up to that challenge of recreating the look. And for my sounds I used songs and Pond 5 for sound effects. This wasn’t free, however. It took me the better part of a day to create it between learning the tool and editing down my story, music, and pictures. Straining it all down to the bones and then pulling it all together was hard but so good! so very, very good!
A few more resources:
Where to get photo stock, check out these pages. Sixty-five sites. 17 amazing sites.
A couple sites with professional book trailers. Some inspiration. Brainpickings and Book Trailers for Readers.
A critical perspective on book trailers from The New Yorker.
And a completely vulnerable moment for me. My book trailer.