Monday, November 25, 2013

How to Make a Book Trailer for FREE

"How to make a book trailer," or "how I made my book trailer."

They say having a book trailer for your book is a great way to help promote it and grab more readers.  I am yet to see if this even makes a difference.  Nevertheless, having one definitely couldn't hurt and if there is any chance to grab more readers - I'm on it.

Promoting a book is hard and getting readers is even harder.  It's not like I am Stephen King and can scribble anything down and it sells.  Nor do I have a budget and marketing professionals.  In fact, I am a new author and have: no readers, no fans, no budget - in sum, I have nothing but a dream.  I am a complete unknown with a book nobody knows about or even wants to give a chance because they don't know my name like they do Stephen King, John Carpenter, or Anne Rice.  Does that stop me?  No way!

My book will never be on TV commercials, popular magazines, or in ads all over the place like you see the famous author's book.  I don't have that kind of money.  It would be nice, definitely, but it's just not in the budget.  In fact, it's far from the budget.  There is no budget.

So do I give up?  No and neither should you.  What we have to do is work around these obstacles and that is all they are, obstacles.  We have to think out of the box and be clever - without being annoying.

So one good way is to make a book trailer.

Don't worry, I am not going to make you read all this and then at the end leave you hanging by telling you you have to buy my software to continue.  Yeah, I come across those websites myself daily, it's frustrating.  Like I said, I'm broke and made mine for free and I am going to tell you how I did it.

Okay let us begin:

1.  Sum up your book.  The highlight of it.  What are the key points about it.  What makes ANYONE want to read it.  Sum this up into a few basic sentences.  Remember at this point you're a car salesman.  You don't want long sentences.  You want short ones to grab their attention.  Get the author way of thinking out of your head and get into the sales representative mode of thinking.

2. Get on youtube and watch some book trailers.  See what is being shown in the trailers for other books.  Get an idea of what it should look like, how it's presented, and what wording they use AND how they use it.  Just log on to youtube and search "book trailers" and/or "book teasers."  Watch a few and think about what they are doing and what you want to do.  Be realistic of what you can do.  I wanted James Earl Jones to narrate mine, but that just isn't going to happen.

3.  After you watched a few videos of book trailers, Sum up your book again.  YES!!!  Do it again.  You had one idea of what you wanted, but now you've seen other book trailers and I hope you noticed:
- They didn't have entire excerpts in them
- They didn't tell the whole story
- They didn't even have entire "blurps"
What they did was get your attention, stay on track of the genre, tell about the book in breif, and try to hook you into it to make you want more (so you'll buy the book).

So rethink what you want to put into your own book trailer.
Keep in mind you're going to want to keep your book trailer brief.  Like a TV commercial, try to stay under 2 minutes (90 seconds (1 1/2 minutes) is best) or you will lose their attention.  Do not fill it with spoilers, you want to hint to them, but not give it away.  They key is to spark interest in your book, not give it all to them in a short video.

4. Now that you have an idea of what you want to put in your book trailer, it's time to make a script.  Nothing fancy.  You want to consider the visual references to your story.  Consider one photo for each sentence.  Perhaps even a couple photos for a sentence with a few "effect" ones as well.
Make a script.  This is important.  Don't go off and freehand this.  Have a plan.

5.  Search the internet for ROYALTY-FREE pictures.  Do NOT just use whatever photos you please.  That is copyright infringement.  Most pictures on the internet are copyrighted in some form or another.  You see a lot of g+, pinterest, facebook pics that people have photoshoped.  Believe it or not, most of them are copyright infringements because the pic maker does NOT have the person's permission to use them.

Okay with that being said.  Don't worry there are still many pictures, drawings, and photos you can use.  Just search for royalty-free images.  Find pictures you like, may or may not use and fit into your mental imagery for the script you have written for your book trailer.

In mine, because my book is a paranormal horror I decided to focus on pictures of darkened rooms that described the sentences I made for my script.  For example:

Sentence 1 - "Some things are very real and need to be told."
I decided to just put that on a simple black background.  In this case, less is more.

Sentence 2 - "Something unseen that hides in the very darkness of the shadows."
The second sentence, I found a picture in the woods - with fog and light in the background shining through the trees.  To give an eerie feeling.

Gather pictures for the imagery of each sentence you wrote in your script.  Grab a few for each picture.  Make sure they are free of copyright and you are in fact allowed to use them.  Take some pictures of your own if you know how.  This is why writing a script first was so important.  You may change some of this later, but at least you are focused on what you need and want.

Make sure the images you get are at least 640x480 and clear.  This is so they look good when someone expands to watch the video in full screen.  If you grab small images and zoom them to full screen, they turn into pixels (no longer a picture but a bunch of color blocks instead - ugly).
Put them all in one folder, so you can find them easy.

6. Start making the trailer.  I used Photostory 3.  This a FREE software for Windows (I am using a laptop with Windows 8 pre-installed).  Here is the link directly from MicroSoft

I am not sure what to use for Apple or Linux, but all this software does is put together the images and allow you to make modifications, set view timing, and add music and sound.

Install Photostory 3 if you haven't already.

 Open Photostory 3

 - Choose: Begin New Story and click Next

Click Next >

- Import Pictures.
simply click import pictures, select the folder you stored your images in (I hope you put them all in one folder to make things easier and not forget any).

Add the images.  You will see them at the bottom.  This is the order they will show, but you can change this.

The picture you click and select on the bottom will show in the larger window above.
You can rearrange the pictures simply by left clicking, holding them and dragging them into the place you want them.  So if you didn't import them in the desired order, don't worry.  You can change the order any time you want.

Under the "Import Pictures" button will show a button to "Remove black borders..."  This is to have the software remove the black borders for you.  This is optional, when you click it and it will show the pictures one at a time, starting with the first one.  Showing a comparison of the black border it has and what it will look like when you remove it.

*Remember to Save your project*

Click Next >

Add a title to your pictures.  This is optional.  This puts text across your photo.  You type the desired text in the box that says: <Type text to add a title on the selected picture>

The first button above it changes the font, size, style, and color of the text you add.

The second, third, and fourth (middle) buttons position the text to either the left, middle, or right of the picture.

The fifth, sixth, and seventh (buttons on the right) position the text in either the top, center, or bottom of the picture.

In my example, on my second picture (see how the second picture is chosen on the bottom) I wrote some text and changed the font color to white so it would show up on the black background image.

The pull tab "Effect" below your picture changes the effect of your picture.  You can change your pictire to make it like a painting, charcoal drawing, pencil, etc. if you want.  You just have to play around with it to see what you like and best suits your needs.

*Remember to Save your project*

Click Next >

This is where you narrate your picture and customize motion to it.  Personally, I didn't add any narration.  That is simply clicking the record button and you read aloud your scripted sentence for the picture.  I have a better way to do this I will show you.

On this same page is where you customize the motion, fade, and timing shown in your picture.  Click the "Customize Motion" button directly beneath you picture and another window will open up.

We'll start from top to bottom on this one.
The first tab being open (by default) is "Motion and Duration"
Click and check the first box "Specify start and end position of motion."  I found it best to simple check this and set it yourself instead of letting it do it randomly.  When you checked this box, you will notice the two boxes under the picture light up as well.

Click and 'check' the boxes below the picture
The first one is: "Set start position to be the same as the end position of the previous picture."

What that does is sets to position of the viewed box to the left (the start) in the same place that the previous picture ended.  If this is picture 1 (the first picture in the list), it will not be lit up.

Click and 'check' the box below it labeled: "Set end position to be the same as start position."

This places the viewable box of your picture in the same place where it started.
I check this box on pictures that don't move just to make sure they don't move when shown.

Now, at this point, you can adjust the viewable portion of your picture.  In the picture to the left, the start position, you will see a clear box within the picture with the border of it greyed out.  This shows what part of the picture will be shown at the start.  There are eight little boxes around it (I circled five in the example above).  Use your mouse to adjust the position of the visible box that you want showing in your picture.  If you want your picture to show the whole picture from start to finish, then make sure you expand the box all the way and check the bottom box labeled: "Set end position to be the same as start position."

In the above picture I have the viewable boxes expanded across the whole picture, so in the slide it will show the whole picture from start to finish.

If you want some motion in your picture, for example, to move from the left to the right when viewing. Make the viewable box small on the left and position it where you want it to start at and then uncheck the "Set end position to be the same as start position." (I always keep it checked when I position the left box, so the right box is automatically made the same size).  Then position the left side (end position).

In my example above you can see where I have the viewable box on the left side centered and to the far left and the box on the right side, centered and to the far right.  This will create a faux sense of motion going from left to right.

Click the "Preview" button on the bottom (red arrow above) to see a preview of the motion you just created.  A small window will open up to show you a preview of the motion in that picture (circled red above).
In the example you will see the motion moving from the left to the right.

Now to adjust the timing of the movement and how long the picture displays. Click and select the button labeled "Number of seconds to display the picture."  I found it is best to check this and set it each time and not use where it sets the duration automatically.

Try different times to see which you like the best.  I found about 3 seconds to be ideal in most cases.

Now the next step is to set the transition.

Click the second tab on top of the page labeled: "Transition."  I circled it in the picture above.  This sets the transition from one picture to the next.  You can use a variety of methods, fade in, page turn, etc..  I generally keep mine at default which is a fade in from one picture to the next.  But you can adjust this to your liking.

The three pictures in this tab shown from left to right:  The previous picture (left side), the transition preview (middle) and the current picture (right side).

You can play with this to see how you like yours to be.  You can view it by clicking the "Preview" button below.  Once you are satisfied, click "Save" and then "Close."

*Remember to Save your project*

Click Next >

Add background music.  This is where you add the background music, sound effects, and narration to your trailer.  The center button "Create Music" has a selection of generic background music you can use.

You can listen to the various samples and see if there are any you like.  Personally, I didn't like any of them.  They didn't suit my needs, so I made my own - and I will show you how.

Don't worry, we will make a sound file and come back to this.

So go ahead and SAVE YOUR PROJECT!  Get into habit of doing this regularly.

Before we go to making our own sounds, click preview and see how long your book trailer is so you know how long you need to make your background sound/music.

In my case, the length of my Book Trailer was 1 minute and 31 seconds (91 seconds)

The first thing I did was search for sound effects and background music that fit the book trailer's atmosphere I wanted.  I went to several places in search of sounds, such as  Now remember, the rule with music and sound effects is the same as using pictures (and everything else).  They MUST be royalty-free.  Otherwise you cannot use them.  I found several sound effects I thought I wanted to use, downloaded at least 30 or more of them and only used parts of two and made the rest myself.

After you found some sounds you might use, the next step is to make your background sound.  The software I use is Audacity at

It is free and comes in versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Download the software and install it.

Open it up and and the first thing you want to do is click File > Save Project As
Name your project and save it.

Now import your selected background music.  File > Import > Audio

Find the music file you have selected and it should look like this:

My first clip, my chosen background music is only 1 minute and 7 seconds long (67 seconds) and I need at least 1 minute and 31 seconds (91 seconds) of sound.  Now, I have several choices of what I can do.  I can have my music repeat or I can add to it.  In my case, I had a mix of background music and sound effects I wanted to add to get the final result.  So I had my music fade out where the sound effects picked up and then faded out.  Because I am promoting a Horror Book, my intent was to make it creepy.  So to achieve this, I had some creepy background music that started a couple seconds after the trailer started playing.  I faded the music in and added a sound effect of a child singing with some fire crackling in the background, which in turn also faded out a few seconds before the trailer ended.  Leaving you suspenseful and feeling creeped out.  This is gold for a Horror Book.

Your needs or plans for music may be very different from mine.  I am just showing you how *I* did mine.  I was learning this software as I went.  The software I used to do this, I had just downloaded myself.

I then imported the second audio file I was going to merge with it.
 File > Import >Audio

The second file will appear below the first one, like mine above.

Now, I wanted the second sound to play towards the end.  So to get this to happen, I clicked the "Time Shift Tool" up top (I have a red arrow pointing to it in my example).  I selected the bottom audio I wanted to shift position.  I clicked where I placed a red "X" in the example to make sure it was selected.  Then I clicked on the line just in front of the bottom music box (where I have the red two-way arrow circled) and dragged it to the left to where I wanted it.

You can see how far I shifted it to where I needed it.

Clicking the green arrow button will play the whole thing together for you, so you can adjust it to exactly where you need it.  As you can see by the blue squiggly lines my sound effect was much louder than my background music.  I needed to tone that down.

To do this, select the "Envelope Tool" on top (red circle with arrow).
Then go down to your music selection you wish to alter. Click the top of the link and then move it down to about where you think the level should be (red arrow).

In my example, I used the "Envelope Tool" to lower the sound level to about the same as the background music above it.

Now I want the effect to "fade in" at its start and "fade out" at the ending.

I clicked the "Selection Tool" on top (red circle with arrow) and then went down to the sound effect on the bottom and highlighted a small part of the beginning (red circle with two-way arrow under it).

Then up top, select: Effect > Fade In (example below)

The sound waves now should cone at the beginning. (example circled in red)

Now fade out the ending of the sound effect / music by highlighting the potion you want to fade out.

Then click Effect > Fade Out

The result should be a reversed cone at the ending, such as is in my example below.

What I have done is just a very tiny bit of what this software is capable of.  It does have a manual you can see by clicking Help > Manual (in web browser).  Additionally, there are hundreds of tutorials for this software on the web.  I have only shown you what I did to make my own.  I was learning as I went, so my knowledge is very minimal.  I learned to do what I needed to do and moved on.

Okay, now we want to Export our now 'modified to serve our purposes sound file' so we can use it in our book trailer.

Click File > Export

Name the file (I named mine "Example1") and save.

Now we go back to Photo Story 3 and add our background sound.

Open Photo Shop 3, select "Edit Project," and click Next.

Select you saved project file and click open.

Now that your project is open again. Click "Next" three times until you get to the "Add Background Music" page.

Click the photo where you want your music to start (in my case, I wanted my music to start on the third picture. (red arrow label 1. in my example)

Click "Select Music" (red arrow labeled 2. in my example) Click the Music file you just made and click Open
--- and ta-da!

It should look like my example with an orange music line now added. (red arrow labeled 3. in my example)

Click preview to listen and watch, to make sure you got everything timed properly.  If not, you can go back anywhere and make adjustments until you get it right.  TAKE YOUR TIME!!  Get it right.  It took me a few days and I went through several screw ups until I finally got it to where I wanted it.  Getting the sound effects to happen at the right time in the picture was the toughest.

Once you are satisfied with what you've made it's time to save it in a format you can use in most readers, including youtube. (.wmv)

Click "Next" to get to the "Save your story" page.
Choose "Save your story for playback on your computer." (red arrow labeled 1.)
Click Browse to save it in the location you can find it. (red arrow labeled 2.)
Then click Next (red arrow labeled 3.).

And that is it!!!  Yay!!  You did it, you made your first book trailer!!!

Make sure you put a picture of the book and where you can find it in the ending.  After all, the whole purpose of this is to create enthusiasm for your book - they have to know where to find it.  Just like in my Book Trailer, I wanted to build suspense and end it just at the point they want more.  This is where I link them to where they can get the book.  Make sure you also include links to your book where you add the video.

Put your new book trailer video everywhere you can think of putting it - get the World's attention.
Uploading it to Youtube makes it easier because you can get the "embed" code from the youtube page.

Share it everywhere especially on your social media sites (G+, Facebook, Twitter, etc..)
Put it on your Amazon Author Page.
Put it on your Goodreads Author Page.
Put it in your blog.
Put it in your website.

Share it in a "How to Make a Book Trailer for Free" post you've made on your is mine:

Concealed in the Darkness by J.K. James
Kindle Concealed in the Darkness
or get it in Paperback

Notice how I put the book title and author directly under the trailer and then added links below it where you can get a copy? A brief 'blurp" or synopsis is good as well.

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