Trailers are becoming more important in book marketing, and it’s surprising how easy they are to produce. Video software is expensive, but fortunately for our purposes Windows MovieMaker is adequate, and it’s free. I use MovieMaker Live because I run Windows 7. Older packages (XP, Vista) may need earlier versions of the MovieMaker program.
In order to put together your trailer, you need:
• Music or commentary
• Video editing software
See as many book trailers as possible to learn from them and spend some time playing with MovieMaker, familiarising yourself with the menus and the way they work. When you’re happy, add your images one at a time – a process as simple as browsing and importing them.
Images should say something about the book /service you have to offer. It’s surprising how many images you DON’T need. For my latest trailer I used only ten, and one of those was repeated. Yet the trailer runs for one minute and 45 seconds. I interspersed the images with text screens which helped carry the trailer forward. On the MovieMaker menu, these are headed “Title”.
You can apply a caption to each image. Once the photograph is in place, click “add caption” and type your words in. Captions and title screens give hints as to what the reader can expect in the novel.
MovieMaker has a selection of frame transitions, found on the animations tab. It’s one of the last things to do. Select each frame in turn and apply a transition to it. Captions, when they’re overlaid on images, can also have transitions. Play with them, learn what you can do, and make them pleasing on the eye.
As you build your trailer, you will notice that each image/title screen has a default running time of five seconds. Sometimes it’s too long, and at others, it doesn’t seem long enough, so you can adjust the length of each frame. Music is what governs the running time of my frames, and adding music is the hardest part of the process.
You may prefer a single musical track running all the way through. Because I need to create drama, I vary the track and prepare it in advance, using the Audacity Freeware. MovieMaker provides for fade in / fade out on soundtrack, but it’s quite basic.
Whatever you do, don’t use copyrighted music. You may think it is fun to overlay your trailer with the current number one, but you leave yourself wide open to prosecution for copyright infringement. If you use royalty free music, always give credit to the author, e.g. Kevin McLeod
To finish off your trailer add your credits (option on the MovieMaker home screen) and then upload to YouTube. Beyond that, it’s all about letting the world know it’s there. Embed the finished videos into your website and blog, and publicise them through Google+ and Twitter.
Re-blogged, to see all the screen shots and to read more: