Deep inside the steamy jungles of Borneo, many tribes impose certain Rights of Passage on their young boys so they can become men: walking over beds of skin-splitting hot coals; diving into pools of shark infested waters to recover a hidden pearl; hunting and killing a man-eating lion.
In the world of self-publishing, there is a Right of Passage too. It is called ‘Creating Your Own Book Trailer’.
Believe me when I say, the boys in Borneo have it easy. The mantra ‘writing a book is easy, selling it is the hard part’ is a pearl of wisdom you don’t have to go diving for. Making a trailer to promote your book is an important path to choose, regardless of the inevitable weight gain and treatments at the Betty Ford Center. *I often tell people it took a full day and one bottle of Beaujolais Superior to make my first trailer. I lied. It took two. Needed both barrels loaded for that particular hunt and I have the scars (read: corks) to prove it.
I began my research and quest for the Holy Trail-er by watching others on YouTube. Some were very good. Others were so sinfully bad, they had to be watched holding a crucifix and a vile of Holy water. This instilled in me a deep-set fear of having my efforts scrutinized likewise; we all know that be it our books, trailers or art, our work is our beautiful baby… and Baby needs protecting.
So, with a heart full of dread and only rudimentary computer skills in my arsenal (oh yeah, and a wineskin the size of Donald Trump’s ego) I went off into the jungles of my computer’s built-in video creator: Windows Movie Maker. It was a full 24 hour marathon of Trial and Error, Live and Learn, enhanced with vats of Ben and Jerry’s and M & M’s: gathering dozens of images…condensing my 150,000 word story into a 1 minute ‘catchy’ blurb…sensitive timing…fine visual editing…finding music, adding music, etc…
Which one of the following do you think is the reason why I won’t offer you explicit details of my experience?
1) it would take too long to explain all the steps
2) your choice of program may differ from mine
3) I can’t remember anything except waking up at my desk the next day with a headache, the word TOSHIBA imprinted on my cheek and a completed book trailer saved on my TOSHIBA laptop.
4) all of the above
If you chose #4, you win a Kewpie Doll! (which, by the way, reminds me of a baby Rush Limbaugh after his OxyContin lollipop…the image of which, by the way, will give me nightmares for a week).
One gem I will share with you though, is a website is called JewelBeat that offers hundreds of royalty free music clips of every imaginable genre for your trailer for 99 cents. It was so cheap and easy I wanted to be tested for STD’s afterwards.
Now, you may be thinking that I am discouraging you from making your own trailer. On the contrary. I am suggesting the exact opposite. I have given you fair warning of the trials you may face, but now I must confess, I loved doing it. Much like the mother who screams through a 24 hour labour, only to dream of a sibling for the new baby minutes after the umbilical cord has been cut: inexplicable. But my feeling of accomplishment and pride was only equaled by my pride in actually publishing my books. Self-pubbed or not, they were out there for the world to love, hate, coddle or abuse. No small feat for any of us who have offered Baby up to the always unpredictable, three-headed God of Reviews, Comments and Feedback.
True, I have not reached the bestseller list yet, but I believe my trailers, unlike my children, will remain low-maintenance and do fine on their own…and will someday pay me back for my hard work.
You can scrutinize my YouTube Babies at Denise’s Trailers and discover what embarrassingly large amounts of wine and ice-cream can help you create. They aren’t perfect, but as novice examples, they will suffice, and hopefully inspire your inner Spielberg to whip up an Oscar worthy trailer with far less effort. *My trailer Photo-Art by Denise is there too if you want to feast on some Canadian West Coast beauty and further avoid facing your WIP.
I was actually ready to create another book trailer this week, but opted instead to partake in a much easier Right of Passage: my plane to Borneo leaves in an hour.
Should be a cakewalk.