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Archive for July, 2011

Wow! That was so much easier than I thought and I’m so pleased with the results. I’ve posted it up on my Book Trailer page and please let me know what you think!

Even though I’d been searching and collecting images for a bit before, the actual process of creating the video clip took me about a day and a half. I never used iMovie before so this was learning completely from scratch. I wanted to let everyone know exactly how I did this so anyone can create one themselves–and I’m no techy so seriously anyone can do this.

Step 1) First, I opened up a new project on iMovie and titled it. Then I downloaded all the images I collected free and some I purchased to iPhoto (not sure if there is a direct way to just download it to iMovie, but remember I’m figuring this all out on my own and this way worked). When I clicked on the camera icon on my iMovie page there was all the photos I wanted when I highlighted last months photos. I was able to just drag each photo to the desired placement of my new project.

Step 2) Once I got them all in the order I wanted I went to Kevin MacLeod’s website, searched the mood I wanted, and I sampled some fantastic choices. I knew immediately which song I wanted to go with and I downloaded it to my iMovie. I clicked on the musical note tab to drag the song to my project. The music shows up as an encompassing highlight around your pictures. It will go as long as you have pictures or when the song ends. I found I had to delete a few images to fit the song time (click on the clip and press delete).

Step 3) Now I tried it out with the music by hitting the play button. I realized I needed to change timing to get each image in time with the music. Each image gets a default time of 4 seconds so in order to change them you must click on the image until clip duration pops up and you can type in exactly how long you want the image to appear. If you want all the images that duration you check the box to apply to all clips, otherwise leave it unchecked to specify this one clip. I found I needed to tweak each time to fit perfectly with the music and this did take some time.

Step 4) When doing step 3 be careful not to be completely exact since you need to put some transitions between clips to make it all smooth. Next to the camera icon and the musical note icon is an icon for transitions. Click on that and you can highlight each option to display how the transition appears. I decided to use two different transitions to decipher between the lives and within the lives. I used a flash between the lives and the cross dissolve between the others. Drag the transition and place between the desired clip and click on it to set the timing of the dissolve.

Step 5) Hit the play button again to perfect the timing EXACTLY to the music. This takes some time.

Step 6) To finesse the look further you can apply cropping, Ken Burns effect, and even video effect. Click on the image and under the clip duration box you see Video Effect. It defaults to None but when you click on it you get so many options to play with such as flipped, black & white, dream, sepia, and so many more. Once you choose the desired effect click on the cropping icon next to the microphone. On the side bar of your clip you’ll see three options Fit, Ken Burns, and Crop. I mostly chose the Ken Burns since it allows you to zoom and move the image however you want. This looks wonderful since it adds movement to the stills. When you click this effect a red and green box appears on the image. If you click on the green ‘start’ box you can control the size and placement of where the image will begin. Then you do the same for the red ‘end’ box and by overlapping or separating them you get as much movement as you would like. This is another part where you need some time to get it just the way you want.

Step 7) Now you’re ready for text. It’s best to try to be as laconic as possible. Write out a script on a piece of paper and try to remove any unneeded words. Your job here is to give your potential reader the impression and feel of the book. A brief outline of what’s in store for them and to entice them into going to your website to read more and hopefully buy. You’re trying to grab them, so the fewer words the better. Go hit the upper case T button between the camera button and the transition button. You’ll get some different placement options and text effects. Once you’ve picked the one you want drag it to the clip. Click on the clip and the text box will appear where you wanted it. Type in desired text and if you’d like to change the font, click the font button that appears above the image your working on. You’ll get some options of text, color, size, style and alignment to play with but if you want more text options you can click on System Font Panel. It’s a great idea to always include your cover, website, and planned launch date at the end. You can always go back and take the date out later to use after the launch.

Step 8 ) Watch the whole project again and perfect everything. Once it’s exactly the way you want it go up to the File button and select finalize clip. This will take about 40 minutes. Once that’s done go to the share button and select the YouTube option and upload it (you’ll need to sign up for a YouTube account before this step if you didn’t already have one). Make sure to specify if you want this clip viewed privately or publicly. Since most of us want as many people as we can to see it, most will choose the public option. Click the view option as soon as that’s done and you’ll see your original, amazing book trailer up for everyone to see!

Step 9) You want to be sure to give the specified credit under the descriptions box on YouTube for Kevin MacLeod’s music–and if you haven’t already donated to him for the clip you should do so now.

Step 10) Now it’s time to send this link out to friends and forums to get feedback if anything needs to change. Once you feel confident that it’s as fantastic as you can make it. Email it out to all your contacts, post it on your blog, send it out to guest blogs, feature it on your Facebook account and every possible place you can send it! Let this be your calling card!

So that’s it! Hopefully I made this easier for everyone–remember a special note–I’m not tech savvy and this might have been completely round-about way to do this, but I did it and if you need help follow this and it does turn out pretty awesome if I do say so myself!

Good luck to all you out there and feel free to comment here if you have any questions. I’ll try my (technologically-challenged) best to help 🙂

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I am most definitely an introvert.

Long ago writing was the perfect career for an introvert, but now writers just don’t have that option. Well, I guess they do, but it most likely would end in very meager sales, especially if they’re self-publishing.

When an author is creating it’s all in their heads. The whole imagined world is swirling around solely in their consciousness until they give birth to it on page. It’s this writing that takes its first breath but it still can be kept private. It’s a big step when the writer decides to let someone close and trusted see what they’ve spit out and that is a nerve-wracking time since it’s the first judgment pronounced on this very personal universe.

It was extremely hard for me to take the next step:

Work-shopping.

There I walked into a room of strangers who sat down and in turn explained the praise and problems of my inner creation. There were times after some especially harsh criticism that I felt like quitting–not signing up for the next session–but I realized that this was just the beginning of what could happen with agents, publishers, and reviewers. I had to go back, steel myself up, and realize that I could turn their comments into gold.

Surprisingly, agent rejections after this didn’t feel so harsh. It was still difficult to press the send button since I kept questioning if everything was truly ready, but I pressed and released it to the world. (Or so it felt). I had the misfortune of one very sought after agent interested in my full only hours after I sent my first query and that set me up for a slightly over inflated next few weeks. Then things slowed down a bit and I got partial requests that came and went until truly my dream agent requested the full. The more I read about her the more I realized she was the agent for me. When she wrote back a beautiful, honest, helpful rejection I decided that she was right, that I couldn’t change a large aspect of the book that would hurt my chances of attracting a publisher. So I decided to self-publish this series and attempt to get this agent with another book in the future.

The next step was to create this website and start-up this blog. All an uncomfortable amount of exposure for me. To be out on the web and putting my daily thoughts out to everyone was very hard for me to overcome. But I know this is all necessary to get this world of mine out. This world that wants to be heard and experienced by so many.

Why did I create this story if it was only meant for me to read?

So how do I, the introvert, get this book out there to be seen? What is the next step? The closer I get to self-publishing the more I must put everything out there to be critiqued, judged–and hopefully in the end–praised.

Here is my plan:

1) I must create a cover, blurb, book trailer and put them up on forums to tell me what’s working and what’s not.

2) I must get my sample chapter and book trailer up on this blog for others to see.

3) I must keep blogging and attract some followers

4) I must get the actual physical, tangible, final book online and in reader’s hands–this scares me and thrills me equally–People will soon know what’s been in my head this whole time. Strangers will learn this world that was once only mine.

5) I must send out free copies to critical reviewers and hope to get a good buzz going

6) I must guest blog on sites that will have an interest in my book

7) I must get my next book out!

Will I still be an introvert after all this exposure? I most likely will still be, but I sure am working on it 🙂

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Book Trailers


So today I was researching book trailers. Many have mixed thoughts about the effectiveness of posting a book trailer. A general consensus seems to be that a good percentage of amateur book trailers are poorly done and actually turns-off the reader from purchasing. Many think that the blurb should be the only tool for promotion since it displays the writer’s ability and talent, but then I think about how writers (traditional and self-published) need to use every promotional tool available to be noticed. Most need to create their own websites and blogs so why not create a book trailer as well?

I might be the minority here but I love book trailers. I don’t expect them to be Steven Spielberg quality and I love to have something visual that sets the mood and anticipation for a book. I’ve yet to come across one that I didn’t enjoy but I’m sure they’re out there. I’m not saying I always bought every book I viewed but I think it’s wonderful to review the book blurb, the first chapter, and a video trailer. If all of those peaks my interest I would buy.

So what should you keep in mind while planning your book trailer? Well, let’s look at some of the things that make a bad book trailer:

1) Using bad quality photos–bad resolution, cheap looking, uninteresting

2) The music is not in time with the images–make sure you choose review and perfect the timing to match

3) The author only posts the trailer on their website–it’s a great tool for posting on forums, other blogs, facebook/twitter, and links on your signature

4) Using music or images without permission or payment–you can go to Kevin MacLeod’s site Incompetech for fantastic royalty free music (he only asks for a small donation and credit) and royalty free image sites such as Wikimedia Commons for all your images.

5) Trying to actually film a movie without expertise–it seems the best amateur trailers are done by focusing in or out on intriguing stills and with captivating text.

6) Making it too long–they’re much more effective short and sweet

7) Making it too wordy–most book trailers I’ve seen uses very few words, usually single words at a time for impact

8)Using the same description you use for your book blurb–this is an opportunity to use a different approach

9) Fails to set the mood of the book–it’s critical that you choose music and images that will best describe your book and the atmosphere you create for your reader.

10) Putting it up when you think it’s perfect–as with everything promotional for your book test it out among trusted friends, discerning family, and especially writers forums (not only will they help tremendously it’s good exposure).

When should one create and post their trailer?

Some use a trailer way before publication and sometimes even during querying to entice curious agents. Some create one to spotlight their launch date. While others put up the trailer upon launching, listing at the end where they can purchase their new novel.

So what is the best timing for me? I will have to think about this for a bit but in the mean time I’m going to order the software needed and begin playing!

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