Hi everyone and Happy New Year. No, I didn’t fall off the planet, but I have been busy learning a new skill–video production. And while I don’t recommend everyone create their own videos in house, I will say that if you have a background in photography and have the right equipment you may want to give it a try. If not, I recommend working with an experienced videographer. Regardless of whether you produce your own book trailers, or hire a pro, content is king. You want viewers to take an interest in your books, but you don’t want to give them too much information either. This rule applies for stand alone books as well as a series.
If you’re promoting a series you have two options–do a trailer for each book, or do one trailer for the entire series. In my case, my series was three historical fiction novelettes written for young readers. The first thing I realized is working with child actors might be too problematic as I could be dealing with stage parents, uncooperative kids, child labor laws, and so forth.
Budget was another concern. Even though I’m doing the videos in house, there are still other expenses, such as costumes, location fees, talent fees, and so forth. My solution was to do one video, without actors, and focus on the series theme of two modern day kids going back in time to learn the history of the real American west.
My first book was set in Tombstone, only about an hour’s drive from where I live, so that made the location easy. Once I arrived I set up my tripod on the street and started shooting. It was a fun day, and while you’re shooting video you can strike up some interesting conversations with other people. (And, if you’re lucky, maybe you can get them to do some gunslinger footage for you.) Afterwards it was onto editing and recording the voice overs. I’d stumbled on the perfect voice actor a few weeks earlier at a book fair, and once the voice over was recorded I had a musician friend do the piano score. I also had a pro do the final sound mix. Remember, your audio is just as important as your video, and unless you have a background in sound engineering it’s best to have a pro do it, especially if you’re working with multiple sound tracks.
Here is my final result. It came out quite well, and I’ve had some amazing feedback on it.