Book Trailers

They look and sound fantastic when well done. Not so much when they’re not. Who would have thought they would be so difficult to do and do well? Certainly not this girl.

Yeah, yeah, I bragged that I’d worked on my trailer for A Shadow in the Past and would be passing on the link when the time to reveal it rolled around. Read on and you’ll see why the big reveal is currently on hold.

Shortly after I launched my website, a few years ago, I put together really primitive book trailers for the two complete manuscripts I had at the time – Sarah’s Gift and The Anniversary. When I say primitive, I mean there was no sound track (music or narration) and it wasn’t even made with Windows Movie Maker (XP version). I converted the photos to .gif format and used Animation Shop that came with the version of Paint Shop Pro I was using at the time. You could still have transitions and some good ones at that. My biggest problem then was my 640×480 pictures were too big and part way through making one of the trailers, I would run out of memory… the computer, too… (grin) In the end, I had to resize my photos down to 320×240 in order to be able to get a single animated .gif saved so I could upload it to my website.

Fast forward back to the near distant past. When I accepted the contract from 4RV Publishing, I took down my novels page. Sarah’s Gift wasn’t Sarah’s Gift anymore. Not anywhere close to that first story I’d put together and had received more reject letters/e-mails than I care to remember. So why leave something that outdated and irrelevant up there? My other manuscript, I withdrew from the publisher since they’d had it for over two years and hadn’t done anything with it. Now, with the new first novel, this second manuscript in its current form doesn’t fit with my current direction. But I digress.

Back to book trailers. I experimented with the old Movie Maker (Windows XP version) and the new Windows Live Movie Maker for Windows 7.0. I decided that it was easier to start from scratch so I got my photos imported, my transitions and effects chosen, titles at the beginning and credits at the end. So far so good, you say. Not quite.

It was after I had the video set up the way I wanted that I decided to record the audio track. I knew what I wanted for it but it was almost half an hour long! I mean I wasn’t making a television show. So I found a good place to end the audio track. I’m still at about the eight minute mark but far better than what I had before.

So, plug my USB MP3 recorder into my laptop and download the file, open it in Audacity and I’m off to the races. Took a long time to cut the excess time at the end but I got there in the end. Then I thought some of my pauses were a bit too long so shortened them. I’d flubbed in a few places so was able to cut them out entirely (yay!) as I didn’t relish the idea of recording it over again. Import the audio track into my movie and save it.

I watched and listened and was feeling pleased with myself so took the plunge and uploaded it to You Tube. I sent the link to two people who have made book trailers and made excellent ones. People whose input I value. They both pointed out the same thing. I’m talking about one thing but the photo on the screen didn’t match. That was something that never occurred to me.

Back to the drawing board… I went back to my script that I read from and have marked what pictures need to be put where so now it’s a matter of getting the correct duration for them and their transitions to properly align themselves with my audio track. Oh, and those gaps I shortened before? I’m stretching some of them out again.

I read that the best size of photo to use for a book trailer was 640×480. I’ve been able to find “most” of the original book trailer photos in that size or larger so have scaled them to that size. Now I’m good to go. I think there were only two that I would have to hunt down and re-scan and they weren’t overly relevant to the scene(s) I narrated so I’m not overly fussed.

Irritating, aggravating and addiciting! Even though things aren’t going as well as I would have liked, I’m learning as I go and having a blast doing it!