Thursday, August 9, 2012

Guest Post - Book Trailer Videos!

Today, you lucky devils, Paul Carroll,
author of Balor Reborn joins us to lay out his speedy quick ways to build a video book trailer. Paul joins us from Literary Plus, the wonderful new talent house of authors, designers and creators of independent literature, led by Shen Hart.

Your Book in Film

When it comes to promoting your book, the next event of the Writing Olympics is exactly what you need to get beyond the writing desk. Making a book trailer allows for people to spread the word about your book easily, to find out about the feel of your book quickly, and to get an idea of what they can expect. There are some simple things I picked up from a module in college to help make this process so much easier, and while I could write a whole book on making simple videos like this, let’s focus on the basics instead.

Your book trailer should be planned, first. You’ve warmed up your creative juices, you’ve gotten everything you need to do for the cover done, and you’ve written your book, so this shouldn’t be a problem. For Balor Reborn, I knew my book was focused in Dublin; I knew I had something coming back from the dead; I knew what would happen in the book. So I planned accordingly.

My images are all from Dublin. Ideally, you should take your own photographs if you’re using them. I would have, too, if I’d been able to get out of the house to do it. However, if you’re stuck for time and resources, head to websites such as, and follow these simple steps.

1. Specify your search options. On Flickr, click on Search. Don’t bother typing anything into the search bar beforehand. When the page loads, click Advanced Search. This will bring up the new page of options for you to choose from.

2. Specify your search terms. The first option available to you is to enter key words to find your images. You can also choose to exclude some images. For me, I wanted photos from around Dublin, so I typed ‘Dublin’ into the search bar. I was getting images of celebrities who had come to Dublin, too, so below the search bar in the Advanced Search page, enter in terms you want to exclude. (For me, ‘Gok Wan’ was one I had to enter.) You can enter more than one word to be more specific.

3. Choose between photos and videos. The next step is simple. Choose to look for photos or videos to use. You’re better off keeping it at photos for the purposes of your book trailer, based on the later settings you need to apply to your search.

4. Search by date. If you want photos from the Olympics, and you simply type ‘Olympics’ into the search bar, you can choose to look at photos from a particular range of dates. This isn’t always necessary for your book trailer, but it’s useful to note.

5. Creative Commons options. Before you click search, look at the Creative Commons section of the Advanced Search. It’s the reason you’re here. Click ‘Only search with-in Creative Commons-licensed content’ to begin with. Because you’re making a video advert, click ‘Find content to use commercially’. If you plan on changing the image at all, which I did, even if it means just adding text over the photographs, click ‘Find content to modify, adapt, or build upon’. With that done, click Search.

When you select your images, be sure to note the licensing on them before you save. If you need to attribute the photograph to somebody, find their name and jot it down. You’ll need it later.

When I had my images, I slotted them into my Story Board. A Story Board is simple to create: decide on what you want your trailer to look like, plot out images on the page and specify an order and where the text will go.

You may wish to write the text for your trailer, beforehand. I went for something simple, to give a feel for what the book is about. My text was broken into four lines:

In a peaceful city
a long dead evil
will rise.
There will be blood...

This was the basis for the feel of the trailer. Decide what images the text will span across; you can have the same text continuing across multiple images if you wish. With that done, you need to find music.

I use to find my music. Specifically, I use the royalty free music. Kevin MacLeod provides hundreds of free tracks to use, even commercially like this, with one simple rule: you attribute it to him. Again, note his name and get picking your music. You can search within a genre, which is useful; or by key-word, which I found to help in certain instances; or within the ‘feeling’ of the music. For the purposes of a book trailer, this is the most useful, and allows for you to find exactly what you need. You can listen to the music before you download.

When you have everything you need, open up a movie maker. I use Windows Movie Maker. The most recent version works better for putting text in different locations, but the 2007 version still works fine. Add your images and music to the files to use in your project, and follow your storyboard closely. I chose to have two different tracks for my trailer, breaking at the final line of the text.

I finished the trailer for Balor Reborn with an image to tell people when it’s out and where they can get it or find out more information. However you choose to end, publish the file for your computer (the default setting) and head to YouTube or another video hosting site. Upload your book trailer file, and head to the description. Here, you will need to include the names of the photographer(s) and the composer(s) of the music used. You can also include your book’s blurb, which is helpful, and a link to where people can get the book. This information can be edited whenever you want. You should also add in tags, before sharing your video.

A final piece of advice: get feedback from people before you make it public. And there you have it: my simple process for putting together a book trailer. It’s an excellent way to get some more publicity for your book, and if you followed my advice to the letter it won’t cost you anything to do. Can you afford to say no to a free marketing tool?


Paul Carroll is a writer from Dublin. He is studying to be a teacher of Religion and English at second level, while working in a bookshop at weekends. His 'free time' is divided among assignments, fiction, poetry, articles and blog posts, as well as college Drama and almost weekly trips to the local cinema.

He has been writing since the age of twelve, with a love of words going back further than he can remember. When he isn't reading or writing, he likes to make use of social media, bake, and talk to friends. Often, he'll watch a horror film alone in the dark for the sheer joy of it.

He can be found online at

About Balor Reborn

Old Ireland is returning, as an ancient evil arrives in Dublin. A single glance from his eye is all it takes to kill.

Stephen Fox is haunted by the memory of his wife, and suffers from guilt at abandoning his new-born son. The spirit of the tyrant Balor has come back to take his vengeance on the country. A hero must rise in the unwilling form of Fionn Murray, a university student with a mysterious past.. As a world of wonder unfolds around him, and with no one but his house mate Michael at his side, he’s left with the choice of running, or facing the evil that could consume the world.

Based on the old Irish myth of Balor of the Evil Eye, Balor Reborn is the first in a series that seeks to revive the magic of Ireland. It was written and published in one week.

It's available to buy on PDF, Epub and Mobi through

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