DIY Book Trailer for $19 vs. $2199

I thought I would pass along how I made my very own book trailer. I made the decision to try DIY when I saw that CreateSpace, the Amazon self-publisher for the paperback version of my novel, DEGREES OF OBSESSION was offering to produce a 60-second book trailer for $2199.00. Good grief! I won’t live long enough to make that worthwhile.

I first discovered that Windows Live Movie Maker was useless in this venture because you cannot make the mini-adjustments necessary to match video and sound in each segment of your storyline. But I came across Blaine’s Movie Maker Blog and in the third paragraph down, in a highlighted box, he has links for downloading the much more effective and usable prior Vista version, Windows Movie Maker 6.0, in either 32-bit or 64-bit versions.

The next step was to write the “script” for my trailer. I followed a simple format similar to the plot structure of the novel itself. Start with the status quo, build the tension, throw in the inciting incident, add a couple of significant complications, then build to the “battle scene” or climax, and move on to a final denouement with purchasing information.

Then I began to collect still photos for the various scenes. I chose non-royalty photos off the internet along with some of my own photos.The search process for photos was a long process, several hours over a few days. One must weed through all the ridiculous stock photos that are made primarily for home-made office PowerPoint shows in order to find photos that express the proper emotions found in a work of fiction. I used Adobe Photoshop Elements 8.0 to alter some of the photos but the EFFECTS menu available on Movie Maker 6.0 was quite sufficient in and of itself, especially with the myriad of TRANSITIONS that could be added between scenes, to alter the photos for my needs. I could, of course, have purchased rights to other photos but did not find any that suited my needs.

Live video is essential to an eye-catching book trailer and, through much searching again, I found and bought ONE video clip for $19.00 from Shutterstock.

My biggest find online was SoundsCrate which offers an interesting and varied menu of royalty free music and royalty free sound effects divided into categories that match most genres of writing. I downloaded several pieces of music and several sound effects.

With all the materials gathered, I opened the STORYBOARD option on Movie Maker 6.0 and began to drag and drop my photos and video clips into place. Then switching to the TIMELINE option, I dragged and dropped sound clips into the video and added superimposed titles and credits at the end. Again there were many options for each of these features. This is where an artistic sense and the patience to make dozens of minute adjustments is necessary to coordinate sight and sound.

Total time? About 25 hours of work for 1 minute 30 seconds of trailer. Of course, some time is attributable to learning the new software. So next time it should go faster. I enjoyed it so much that I’m thinking of offering my services to other authors who would like to have a book trailer for their novel. Please go to my contact page if you have an interest.

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