Tuesday, December 11, 2012

7 Days to New Release Day: Say it with Pictures, Words and Music

I never thought the day would come when I’d be sick of looking at the naked male torso.

I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the Social Media age. As an author who’d started out writing long hand into a spiral notebook then laboriously typing the pages up on a manual Smith Corolla, just getting that first word processor was a monumental leap of faith. Then came the Internet. I remember the wonder and terror of signing up for Prodigy, my first foray into the electronic age. For a cut-paste-copy back when it meant paper gal, the idea of creating advertising for newsletters, bookmarks, etc. with a mouse click was hugely liberating . . . once I got around that initial learning curve. It opened a whole new world of possibilities for bringing the reader into the world I was creating in words.

The first time I saw a book trailer my immediate response was OoooooO! I want one! I can’t say that having a flashy mini movie has ever sold a single copy of a book, but I know it sparks interest, and is yet another tool to represent the tone, content, heart and soul of the book. And I knew I wanted one for BETRAYED BY SHADOWS. That realization came in the middle of a hectic and time consuming blitz during my week long Haunted Open House. The last thing my virtual assistant, My Girl Friday wanted to hear at the 11th hour was “Can we put together a book trailer?” How hard could it be?

I knew the rudiments: pictures, words and music. I’d already listened to dozens of sound clips with that bluesy bayou beat I wanted (no words, smoldery rhythm, no distracting elements that would pull away from the text on a long enough loop) and had picked the one I wanted. Going with the “no more than six words per slide” rule, I plucked the most telling phrases from my blurb to represent hero, heroine, story and promo and paired them with an idea of what type of images would best accompany each one and how I visualized the fades and transitions. I knew I wanted to open with a clip showing movement along the bayou (a new element I hadn’t used in previous trailers). I had found most of the setting photos during my lunch hour keying in ‘French Quarter at Night” or “Southern plantation house.” I even used some of the shots I’d taken while in New Orleans. My VA found images for the hero and heroine (the ones in my Meet Giles and Brigit posts) and she sent me the rough cut of the trailer. We still needed a couples shot and that torso to bring on the sex appeal.

It’s 10:30 p.m. and I’m scrolling through hundreds of images of Bare Male Torsos on a stock photo site. A Facebook poster’s dream turned nightmare. Too thin, too hairy, too veiny, too tattooed, too dark, too light, not enough definition. Yikes, do they really make 12 packs? Too much chin, too much nether fur, weird belly button, eeek-piercings. It was as arousing as reading the nutritional ingredients on cereal boxes! Just pick one! And then . . . there he was all sculpted and drool-worthy! 

One down, one to go. Male Female Couple Embracing photos. On the beach, in the sunset, on the bed, in the car. I felt like such a voyeur! Too many clothes. Not enough clothes. Too much facial hair. Too old. Too young. Finally . . . just right!

Then my VA’s rush to get the flips, the sound loops, the timing smoothed out. It’s 11:15 and that final cut pops into my e-mail. Sigh! Perfect! It’s a wrap! Bedtime! The trailer premiered the next day and struck all the right chords. “Sexy!” “Really gives the feeling of New Orleans” “Tantalizes and teases . . . now I just need the book!” Get some popcorn and take a look (you’ll have to eat fast…it’s not even 4 minutes!) What do you think? 

Paper or Electronic? Tomorrow I’ll dish about going full E for the first time.


  1. paper, i'm not too fond of book trailer because i prefer to keep my imagination free to see the characther and everything as it comes when i read

  2. I never realized how much work goes into making a trailer. And not just for the producer but the author, too. Wow. Very nice. I do have to agree with miki (above) that I prefer letting my imagination create the images of the h&h. Not too crazy about the image for Giles but, whoa Nellie, I love Brigit. Does she have attitude or what?

  3. I used to not like book trailers but now I do especially if they sort of of SHOW a story rather than just tell it in words.

  4. Not much of a trailer person, I prefer blurbs, snippets of the book!