Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Making Your Own Book Video Trailer on a Shoestring Budget- Part 1

 So, you self-published your novel, and now you need to market it.  You’ve read all about how important a good book video trailer can be, but you have no idea where to start.  You have practically no budget, aren’t best friends with any of the Hollywood actors, and you can’t afford to pay royalties. What now?

All I can do is speak from experience. It took me quite a while to figure out how to make a video book trailer--like many months to figure it out.  I mean, ideally, I knew what I wanted it to look like, and every idea I came up with was impossible. The first video booktrailer I made was for my full-length young adult novel, “Destined Love is Immortal.”  It sells as both an ebook and a paperback on Amazon.  The story is a paranormal romance/adventure that takes place in Belgium and the main characters are a sixteen year-old girl and an ancient war god. 

Now, if my book were a movie, I’d cast actor Steve Byers (“Alphas” & “Catch a Christmas Star”) as the lead, a war god, Camulos.  I’ve no idea who I’d want cast as the girl.  Obviously, I can’t film Steve Byers for my book trailer, and more unfortunately, I’m not best friends with anyone who looks anything like him.  In fact, none of the men I know around here who would willingly do me the favor of posing with swords for a photo shoot out of the goodness of their hearts are even the right age. 

By the way, did I mention that I live in Missouri?  Moreover, I live in a resort town.  We don’t have the older buildings like you’d find on the East Coast.  It hardly looks like Belgium.  So that left me in  quandary. Who and what would I photograph?

My book video trailer, which you can find here, is a photo montage.  All the pictures were taken by either me or my son, and they span twenty-five years. 

I’m fortunate to have traveled in Europe when I was younger, and for some of the photos of scenery, I used what I deemed to be appropriate vacation photos as the base picture.  By base picture, I mean the initial, unaltered photo, as most, but not all,  of the pictures in my video trailer have been heavily modified through photo-modification software that comes standard on many PCs. 

Other pictures, like those representing a cave or cliff face required a bit more creativity on my part.  I had to look at my surroundings and think of them in terms of close-ups rather than the bigger picture.  For example, the cliff faces and bare rocks in my video trailer are actually where the rock was cut out along the highway so that the road could go through.  The girl in the pictures, well, that’s me, in a wig, and photo-edited to look younger. I know I don't look sixteen below, but I certainly look younger and I was trying to show the idea of a younger girl, not exactly how my character would appear. 
"Destined Love is Immortal" also has a lion-sacrifice scene in it as well as a few mythical monsters.  To get photographs for those, I visited my local zoo and clicked away.  That's the beauty of digital photography--you can take an enormous number of pictures, hoping to get the right one, without the expense of wasting film. 
After picking photos, I spent a significant amount of time modifying them in Paint.  Obviously, Photoshop would be better, but it’s not an inexpensive software, I don’t already own it, and it wasn’t in the budget.  Photoshop is also much more difficult to use than Paint.  So, I pulled these photos into paint, cropped them, and played with the different photo options, like making them look like  drawings, paintings, etc.  With enough modification, and carefully chosen camera angles where the focus is on the action and not the faces of my models, I think the result turned out quite well.

More later about adding music, etc.  To find our more about me, look here.


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