People have many different opinions about book trailers. Some say they are useful, while others say they aren’t needed. Today we’re going to discuss why book trailers are extremely important when building your author marketing plan, especially with picture books.
I have been making book trailers for several years now. The first book trailers I made were for my mentor Dr. Anthony L. Manna for his picture books Mr. Semolina Semolinus and The Orphan, both illustrated by Giselle Potter.
My third picture book trailer made for the renowned author Salina Yoon for her book Be A Friend, premiered on Watch. Connect. Read on November 12, 2015. Watch. Connect. Read is run by John Schumacher, Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic, who knows how important book trailers are. You can find many book trailer premieres on Watch. Connect. Read. from some of your favorite children’s book authors.
What Are Book Trailers?
When you watch television do you ever see the movie previews that are about one to two minutes long flash across your screen? These are called movie trailers or movie teasers that give you a short telling of what the movie is about. The preview is short and simple and gives you a kind of cliffhanger. Book trailers are similar to movie teasers. They are short and simple and always end with a “What’s to happen next” suspense.
Type of Book Trailers
There are several types of book trailers for numerous book genres:
Original Book Trailers
Original Book Trailers are usually created when working with a picture book author. The videographer/animator takes the original illustrations from the book and creates a sequence of events that tell a “teaser” story based on the book’s theme or plot. A good example of this is the book trailer by Josh Funk who used the original illustrations from his book Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast without changing or masking out the characters from the original prints.
Live Action Book Trailers
A Live Action Book Trailer is when the videographer films real life actions and prepares a cast of characters representing the characters in the book. These trailers are usually used for middle grade, young adult or nonfiction books. A book trailer that premiered on KidLit TV by Mighty Media Press called The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee is a wonderful example of Live Action Book Trailers. Another example is Tara Altebrando’s book trailer for ‘My Life in Dioramas’ created by an all girl team of young filmmakers called the TeenyTinyFilmworks. These Live Action Book Trailers are similar to short, Indie films made by aspiring filmmakers.
Animated Book Trailers
Animated Book Trailers are the closest to movie teasers because they take the plot from the story, the characters and the settings, but use originally animated characters without manipulating the book’s illustrations. This type of book trailer is the most creative because you go outside the box with your own ideas, but stay true to the author’s visions.
My favorite type of book trailer is the Animated Book Trailer because not only do you create your own work, but you also build a storyboard and work like a true animator. In fact, because I am an animator, will be working on several animated book trailers that can be as long as three to five minutes long!
What You’ll Need to Make a Book Trailer
While I’m always persistent for authors and illustrators to hire a professional animator or videographer to create a book trailer, you can surely try it for yourself. But it will be costly and will take a lot of practice.
Many of the video editing software today is extremely expensive, but you pay for what you get. A few free and easy to use programs recommended for beginners are:
You can find a numerous amount of video editing program recommendations on KidLit TV such as:
Every book trailer needs music because it captures the emotion of your story. You wouldn’t want to listen to happy music if your story is a tragedy, or dramatic music if your hero is simply eating a sandwich (even though lunchtime can be an epic moment of the day). The best advice I can give to any book trailer maker is to find Royalty Free Music such as YouTube’s Audio Library or Incompetech.
Materials to Work With
Every book trailer needs materials, such as illustrations or footage. Be sure your materials stay true to your story. And never, ever steal someone else’s work or take images found on Google or Pinterest. There are many Free Stock Image websites such as Canva or iStockphoto.
To learn more about Canva be sure to watch the video below as I teach the Children's Book Academy founder, Mira Reisberg how to use the program:
Always keep in mind; making book trailers is an art, just like animating a favorite Disney film or creating an Indie film for your school. It takes time, money and effort to create a book trailer that represents your book the best way it can. Many times book trailers are overlooked, but they truly are small works of art. And it’s always a joy to bring characters to life, especially when telling a story.
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