Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book Tours and Trailers

My latest detour in my writing world has been developing a book trailer.  When I think of the potential a book trailer has to draw an audience to the book on YouTube, I wondered why I hadn’t attempted it before.

I discovered that creating a book trailer required skills I didn’t have (yet!), but I was lucky enough to have a son who did. I studied the structure of several book trailers, wrote a script of what I wanted to say for my new release Cindy Moo, and jumped in.

It was a wonderful challenge, and looking back we realized there were things we’d do differently. The biggest mistake I made was not taking the time to figure out exactly what I wanted to do on paper first.  As it was, I wrote a short script, and then we figured out the imagery as we went along. But making changes in the layers of images, motion, timing, and text using Flash software was far more time consuming and frustrating than if I’d known where I was going from the beginning. If I'd planned it in a storyboard format on paper first, I could've made many changes on paper, rather than manipulating software later. It was also important to decide how much story I wanted to tell. I didn't want to replace the book. I only wanted to include enough story to make viewers want to know more.  

Because a book trailer is really a mini movie, timing was an important issue. How long should text stay on the screen? Too quick, and viewers can’t read it. Too slow, and the trailer would drag. And whatever it was, it needed to feel consistent throughout. Timing involved transitions as well. How quickly should one image change into another? How long should an image remain on the screen? These were issues I hadn’t considered when I completed the script.

Finding the music and sound effects for the trailer was an unexpected pleasure. I had a lot of fun selecting the music with just the right bounce and spunk to tell Cindy Moo’s story.  In many ways, making this picture book trailer was a lot like writing a picture book. I was creating a unique world and filling it with wonderful elements that would bring the story to life.

Surprisingly, (or maybe not!) it took several days to complete our one-minute book trailer. Hopefully, it’s the first of many. Here is the result:

If you like it and have a moment, please "like it" on YouTube and leave a comment! :-)

And something new is on the horizon at Random Acts of Writing too. On June 7, children’s author Nancy I. Sanders will be stopping by as part of her two-week virtual book tour about her new release, Frederick Douglass for Kids: His Life and Times with 21 Activities. I’ll feature an interview with Nancy and information about her new biography about Frederick Douglass. This great man was a bestselling author, an outspoken newspaper editor, a brilliant orator, a tireless abolitionist, and a brave civil rights leader. After Civil War broke out, Abraham Lincoln invited him to the White House for counsel and advice. For a sneak peak, visit her website at, and

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