The Silver Cage book trailer

Today, rather than posting some of my writing, I’m going to post something related to my writing: the book trailer I made for The Silver Cage. Since this is the first book trailer I ever made, I’ll also talk a bit about how I created it. But first, here it is:

I got the idea to make my own book trailer when my publisher, LazyDay Publishing, asked me to collect some royalty-free pictures and come up with 20 to 40 words to describe the book. LazyDay was going to create the book trailer from the pictures and words I supplied; they had even hired a professional musician, Ehron VonAllen, to write the music. But as I started collecting the pictures and tried to come up with the words, I realized that I wanted to take a shot at making the trailer myself.

I did some online research about how to create a book trailer. Most of the sites suggested using Windows Movie Maker since it came with Windows XP. I had my doubts about using a free program to do something as complex as creating a video, but Windows Movie Maker surprised me. It has easy-to-use storyboard and timeline views and comes with a good selection of video effects and transitions. It also allows you to add captions and credits in a variety of different formats (although I didn’t use that feature), and it has a few other capabilities I didn’t bother to explore since what I was planning to do was pretty straightforward.

(As I was working on the book trailer, I got a new computer with Windows 7 on it. The video software that comes with Windows 7, Windows Live Movie Maker, is very different than the XP version of Movie Maker. It has some really cool video effects and transitions and allows you to pan across your image or video, but it doesn’t have a timeline view. Because of that, I’ll either use different video software or I’ll use my XP machine when I make the trailer for my next book.)

The first thing I did for my book trailer was write a script. I then sketched out a storyboard so I had an idea of the images I would need. Next, I used Photoshop to create the images from the royalty-free pictures I collected online.

I imported all of the images into Movie Maker and used the storyboard view to put them in the correct order. I experimented with timing, video effects, and the different transitions until I had the trailer roughed out. I then sent it to my publisher so they could show it to Ehron and let him write music for it. (If you’re not lucky enough to have a musician to write custom music for you, there are several sites online where you can get royalty-free music that you can use for your own trailer.)

After I got the music added to the trailer and got all of the timing on the video tweaked to line up with the music, I uploaded the file to YouTube, which was a surprisingly fast and easy process. Now that it’s on YouTube, I can embed the trailer in blogs, such as this one, and on websites, and I can submit it to the different book trailer sites. I’ve already got it posted on Blazing Trailers, and it showed up on the Harry Potter Costumes blog less than two days after I posted it on YouTube and started tweeting about it.

And speaking of websites, I finished the website for The Silver Cage this weekend. Be sure to check it out.


About Mik Wilkens

Writer of fantasy, science fiction, and other speculative fiction. Author of The Silver Cage, a fantasy novel, coming 12/1/10.
This entry was posted in Book Trailer, How to, The Silver Cage and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Silver Cage book trailer

  1. Good post. Love the trailer. Congratulations. I’ll try to make a trailer just as an exercise. It’ll probably be easier with an iMac and OS X. If necessary, I can use the loops from Garageband–won’t be Ehron VonAllen, but okay for an experiment.


    • Mik Wilkens says:

      Thanks! I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to create the trailer with Windows Movie Maker. Everything was pretty much just drag and drop. The only thing I had to research was how to save the movie so YouTube would recognize it as sized for HD. If I’d used a standard size, I wouldn’t have had to research anything.

      I bet you can make some cool music with Garageband loops.

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