Monday, March 21, 2011

The Low Down on Book Trailers PART 2

Welcome to Part Two of my discussion with YA Paranormal Sensation Judith Graves.  Let’s dive into some more detail about making books trailers.

photo credit: Blaise MacMullin
Where did you get your footage? 

Madison has her own sources for the still images she uses in trailers, so I’m not sure about the stills, however, we both searched for the video loops that were incorporated into the trailer for Second Skin.

There are many stock photo sites out there, if you’ve got a keen eye and the right equipment, you could create stills or film footage yourself. I have a still digital camera, as well as a HD quality video cam, my Flip Ultra HD, to take high quality footage for my vlogs.

How much did it cost?  Did you have to pay for Royalties?

I had both trailers made for under $500, the Second Skin trailer being the most costly as I paid for the video clips. Most trailers only use still photos, I wanted the Second Skin trailer to have a video montage / True Blood opening kind of feel. When you buy images through stock photo sites, the royalties are covered.

If you’re going to film yourself, my Flip Ultra was about $250 and my digital still cam, $300. Then it’s just your time and creativity. Authors can and do produce some fantasticly amazing trailers. One of my favs is Maggie St… talented, author, musician and dare I say, filmmaker? Here’s a link to the trailer she created for her second novel, LINGER (in an awesome werewolf series), note, she filmed, drew, and composed/recorded the music:

Then there’s the master of marketing and author of a brilliant ghost series, Tonya Hurley’s trailer for the third book in her Ghostgirl series, Lovesick. I’m guessing this one cost quite a bit, and was perhaps funded by her publisher – at least in part - but Tonya has reported on her Facebook page, that the trailer is played as a commercial in movie theatres. Again, Tonya wrote the lyrics, but the song was recorded by another artist:

So there you have author-created trailers at either end of the “cost” spectrum, Maggie’s being home-made and limited only by her time/creativity and Tonya’s limited only by a budget. ;)

How do you distribute it?

Authors post their trailers to their blogs/websites/YouTube chanel and their publishers usually feature them on their websites or blogs. They tend to go viral, that’s their purpose. So, when a blogger interviews me, they include the trailer – either a link or embedded into their blog post…and it is seen by others. Perhaps a reader likes it, so they might add it to the sidebar of their blog and feature it for a few months…and so on, and so on.

What are some other ways that you personally promote your book?

There are infinite ways to promote. I have SWAG, here’s a link to a post I did about the various kinds I’ve invested in:

Virtual author visits are a great way to connect with readers, without travel. You need a conferencing program like Skype (free at: and a computer with a mic/camera. If you’re comfortable in front of a camera, have developed a solid approach to writing, and are keen share your knowledge of our craft, I recommend joining the Skype an Author Network:

Online blog tours are great for word-of-mouth and getting your name/cover out there. Author collectives, like the one I’m in, the Class of 2k10 ( are invaluable…the group book signings and cross promotion of each other’s work has been wonderful. I have a publicist who helps set up signings and does wicked cool press releases.

Live touring is great for promoting as well. I’m a presenter, so I tour with the Writers Guild of Alberta and the Young Adult Book Society, going into schools and libraries – speaking about the writing process, writing with voice, characters to DIE for, etc. I’m also a library technician and do workshops for library staff regarding virtual author visits, booktrailers as literacy promotion tools, etc.

What other stories can we expect to see in the future?

Second Skin will be out this October and then the third book in the SKINNED series, Skin of My Teeth will be available in 2012. I have a witch tale I’m rather fond of, but it’s still a work in progress.

Judith, you are amazing.  Thanks for letting us feed off of your energy!

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