Mar 30, 2010

Story Trailers on a Shoestring Budget

They're the new rage ... trailers for novels. I've even done them for my short stories. Why? A video is a more dynamic way to reach folks than a written blurb. A video can add drama to the written pages and get people interested in reading your work. YouTube is another media service out there to get yourself some exposure and notice. The more ways people can discover you, the better.

If you've looked around at all, I'm sure you've seen what the professionals are charging for this service. Ouch! Unless you're consistently on the best seller list, what writer can afford that? You can certainly use that budget for something else. Marketing is entirely upon us these days. So, if we can save some dollars and stretch the promotional budget, yaay.

I've figured out how to do trailers for little to no cost. Yup, free to $50 or less a piece.

How? Well, if you own a computer, the software to create your own masterpiece is sitting right there waiting for you. On PC's, Windows provides 'windows moviemaker' as part of the windows suite of software. If you look in your programs listing, you'll find it. I looked up that Mac provides imovie on its computers.

What else do you need? Images and sound. If you do the research, you can find some free resources on the web for images to license for no money and stock music to license. You can use your own video and photo. Dress your friends up. Get creative. Windows moviemaker lets you type in text. So, you can do without images, or very few. If you'd like some links to free sources, first go to my homepage: add to the discussion and vote in the poll. Then leave a comment here that you did so and would like the links and I'll e-mail them to you.

I recruited a friend of mine, Kimberly Nicole, who loves making music videos as a hobby. I put the bug in her head last fall that she needed to make book trailers and help me create videos for my stories. I am fortunate to have access to her skills as she really knows how to make moviemaker sing. But with a little time, effort and practice, you can make a decent video yourself. She made my short story trailers. I made the commercial for my website and the video poem. It didn't take too long to make something pretty decent and professional looking. Obviously, her videos show more skill than mine, but you can see that it's possible to get to decent in a couple of hours. Just play around until you're happy. Resign yourself from the beginning that the first attempts are just practice. Besides the fact, putting the videos together is fun.

Kimberly Nicole and I make a pretty good team. I write the copy, buy and gather the images and provide the music. I leave the rest up to her. Yup, I give her free rein. There's usually a little tweaking after the first version. Thus far, very little though. If you'd like to see her work, you can view my YouTube channel, my website, or her website where more of her work can be seen: Several of her videos have been winners in contests.

If you'd like her help, you can e-mail her at: 

It can not be overlooked that she has an affinity and gift for putting video and music together. She always picks the music from the block she encouraged me to buy. I was going to go another way, but she was right and in the end I decided to go with her instincts over my own. It was a good decision. So, I asked her to answer some questions on this mysterious art.

She wished me to tell you all, she's not a professional. I beg to differ, however. She's as good as any professional out there. I could not have gotten the quality of videos I ended up with from anybody else at any price. She makes me look good. Really good. I am grateful to have her friendship and her help.

How did you get into video editing?

KN [Kimberly Nicole] - I started watching other videos online and had too many ideas that wouldn't go away. I had to try and make the videos, even if they looked like crap... which they sometimes do.

Any advice for the novice putting together a story trailer?

KN - Try every idea you have, sometimes you just have to see it before you know for sure. I can have a dozen different versions before I decide on one.

Are there common movie maker/ video mistakes?

KN -Save! I always forget to save when I make little changes, then I wonder where they went. Ha!

If someone decides they want your help, may they contact you?

KN -LOL Can't guarantee I can be any help. Of course.

There you have it, how to make story/book trailers on the cheap.