Monique O'Connor James: "Book videos"
_Monique O’Connor James writes a fine line between paranormal romance and paranormal women’s fiction. Her debut novel, The Keepers, has now been released by Astraea Press. Here’s how she created that awesome book video that everyone on Facebook is raving over.
The first time I saw a book video, I wondered why they hadn’t been thought of sooner. Done right, they are the perfect marketing tool. In a very short time, they can grab a reader’s attention and make them remember your novel. Done haphazardly, perhaps, they will give the reader the wrong impression of your novel, and readers will subconsciously file the title under “forget that one.” Therefore, some time and effort should be put into your trailer.
It’s not necessary to be a professional or have an endless supply of money, to get a good book video. The first one I laid eyes on was the video for a Dean Koontz book, Tick Tock. Of course, in 30 seconds of excellence, it made me want to read his novel. I thought to myself, I had neither the money, nor the resources Dean has, but what I really needed was something well planned and executed, not necessarily costly.
Now before I go on, I must confess, a friend from Turner House Productions, Marissa Turner, polished my video for The Keepers. However, in the time since, I’ve spent some time learning to do what she did, in case she ever withdraws her offer. Besides, there are parts of the video only the author can create.
I’ve put together my ideas with the steps necessary to complete a professional looking video which will be effective and cost little. There are several websites, which will do what I describe, but these worked for me, and you are welcome to comment with ones which have worked for you.
1. Photographs – Choose photos relevant to the theme, setting, characters, plot, and climax of your novel. I used personal photos taken during research trips, family photos, friend photos, and a few from BigstockPhoto.com. Bigstock has photos you can buy to use for about $1 a piece. Another important website for photos is Photoshop.com. I used this website to make all the pictures in my video black and white. It also has options to correct any problems with your pictures and apply other applications.
2. The Blurb – This is NOT the blurb on the back of your book. Remember you want to keep your video at 60 seconds or less, as most people will lose interest and close it, if it runs on too long. Make this blurb grab your reader’s attention, in as few words as possible. You don’t need to introduce all your characters and spill the entire plot; stick with something which will summarize quickly. Think about the movie videos which really grab you by the eyelids.
3. Music – You can’t use music on your video unless it is in the public domain and/or you have permission to use it. There are royalty-free websites where you can get music for free or almost free. I use Incompetech.com. The music on this site is free. However, I suggest you give a small donation; his music is worth it.
4. Slide show – Now that you have your photos and music together, you can create a slide show. I suggest Slideroll.com, because it’s user-friendly. Download the software, and it will walk you through composing your slide show. You will be able to choose the length of your slides, add captions, add music, and change the order of your slides, until they flow the way you want. *Note – It will only give you the option to display captions when you hit the publish button.
5. Video – Slideroll’s website also has a program which will let you turn your slide show into a video. There are no options during this stage, but you will need to do this step.
6. Music fade – The website Audacity will allow you to fade the music in and out at the start and end of your video.
7. There are several websites which allow you to the smooth the transition between slides: a good one is FreeSlideTransitionDownloads. These steps will help your video look more professional.
8. Finally, make sure to add your book cover to the end of your slide show. You will also need to add two extra slides; the first for credits, music, photographs, etc.; the second for your publisher and your web address and/or where you can purchase your book. Slideroll allows you to add the blank slides at the end of your slide show.
Hope this helps and you achieve a terrific book video. Here’s the link to mine. Feel free to use it as an example as you play with your options!
_Thanks, Monique! The video for Deal with the Devil was made with the free program Windows Movie Maker, using music from Incompetech and public domain photos from U.S. and German archives. I did use the Audacity sound editing program to tweak the music, though. The Keepers is live on Astraea Press, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. You can also find Monique on Facebook and Twitter (@Mjames13), as well as her blog and website.