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The fabulous Emily Casey has stopped by with an extremely helpful post on creating a book trailer, as part of her author blog tour!

Emily is the author of The Fairy Tale Trap, a young adult novel about Ivy Thorn, a smart and resourceful teen who must extricate herself from the fractured fairy tale in which she finds herself trapped.

Emily has also graciously offered to give away a ebook edition of her novel, downloadable via Smashwords. Check out her fabulous book trailer and the first couple of sample chapters on her website, then come back and enter the draw! All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog before February 3rd (limit of one general comment per day). Additional entries can be added by subscribing to Emily’s or my twitter feeds, liking our FB pages, and posting or tweeting about the giveaway. Be sure to leave a separate comment for each of the above. I’ll run it through a random number generator to select a winner.

Also: do check out Smashwords, Amazon, or Goodreads for more information or to purchase your own copy!

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Hey, Kat! Thanks for letting me come on your blog. Today’s post is about how to make a book trailer for $0. Because if I can do it, so can anyone.

Being an independent self-publisher is hard work. It’s even harder to do it for cheap. A lot of authors try to cut costs where they can, and a lot don’t even consider making a book trailer. I think this is a mistake. A book trailer lets you show readers how great your book is in 90 seconds. Plus, it’s fun to make.

Now, I have zero experience making videos. There are a million ways to make a book trailer (Macs have similar, if not better, movie-making software), but here’s how I did mine.

1. Find pictures

There are a few places to find free photos. I started at Powerpoint of all places. Windows comes with some great clipart. There are a few rules about how you’re allowed to use it (read them, just in case) but for the most part, you can use these pictures without having to credit anyone. (I found the pictures of the rose and the castle here.)

Also, go to Flickr.com. I highly recommend you try their Advanced Search. Select the three checkboxes that allow you to search for Creative Commons photos that you can alter and use for commercial purposes. Double check the rights of EVERY picture you use (because they still vary from photo to photo) but for many pictures all you have to do is give credit to the photographer.

I gathered maybe 10 pictures that I thought I might be able to use and stuck them in a folder.

2. Find music

I searched for public domain music but you can also use SoundCloud. (SoundCloud is like Flickr, but for music.) But either public domain or creative commons (as long as the composer has given rights) is fine to use.

With music, I think it’s more like I’ll-know-it-when-I-hear-it. For me, the music was the most important factor in creating my book trailer. It builds the emotion and directs the flow of your visuals. Find music that you love, that fits the feel of your book, and that makes you feel something when you listen to it.

3. Listen to the music

Seriously. Listen to it over and over again. I had it playing on a loop all day. Listen until you know it. This was key, at least for my trailer. It may be different for you, depending on how music affects you.

4. Pull everything into your movie maker

(The specifics I give are obviously for WMM. Windows Movie Maker is sometimes glitchy and will freeze if your computer slows down too much. Save often. I plugged in a USB and dedicated it to ReadyBoost [in My Computer] to make my computer faster. I didn’t have any freezing problems after that.)

WMM is pretty intuitive, I think. If you want to change something, look to the right side of your screen, find what you want to change and double-click it.

Pull in all the photos and music you want to use. (Add Photos and Videos, Add Music. Both are under the “Home” tab.)

5. Arrange the pictures in the order you want them. Add text.

You’re a writer. Words are your strength. But if you ever get lost and you have a good query letter for your book, you can use that as a guide.

To add text, you can click “caption”, “title” (for a black background), or “credit”. Everything is under the “Home” tab. You can tweak font, size, and text animation under the “Format” tab.

(If you want to edit a picture, double-click the frame on the right-hand side of the screen. Then drag the black line across the frame until you can see the picture you want to edit. Double-click the picture as it appears on the left side of the screen.)

6. Add Effects and Timing

Click on the “Animations” tab. You’ll find options for how to transition from one slide to the next (on the left) and you’ll have the option to add animations to your slide (on the right). Just play around with them. Click until you find something you like. You can apply the same animations to all the slides, or you can mix and match.

The “Edit” tab lets you decide how long you want each slide to last. In general, 4-6 seconds is a good amount of time. If you have a tiny bit of text with a black background, closer to 4. If you have a lot on the screen, closer to 6.

7. Make Changes to the Music, if needed.

The “Options” tab lets you decide where to start your music or where to end it. I recommend you Fade Out: Slow. This will make the end of your trailer feel less abrupt. If you want, you can Fade In, but I thought mine worked better with no fade at the beginning.

8. Tweak

Again, play around with everything, save often, and see what works for you.

9. Save and Publish

Click Save.

Now you need it in a video format. You can do that one of two ways:

a) Go to the “Home” tab. To the right, there’s a “Share” menu. You can click YouTube or Facebook and it’ll take you to a wizard that will publish your video directly into the site you want.

b) Click the movie maker tab (the tab to the left of the Home tab that looks like a book), go down to Save Movie, then Recommended for this project.

That’s pretty much it. You have a book trailer now!

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I hope you’ve been inspired to create your own trailer, thanks to Emily’s step-by-step instructions (I know I have!).

The next stop on Emily’s tour is Julie Lindsay’s blog–check out her post there tomorrow! As well, Emily is looking to raise funds for a paperback edition of The Fairy Tale Trap. If you’d like to contribute, stop by her kickstarter page and leave a pledge, for some delicious, and karmically nutritious crowdfunding goodness!

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