Friday, June 8, 2012

Nancy Jardine talks book trailers!

Happy Friday, dear readers and friends! I hope you'll enjoy all of today's fun posts! And right now, I'm turning the blog over to author Nancy Jardine. Nancy has a really interesting guest post today and I do hope you'll drop a comment and let us know you were here!

Nancy? It's all yours now!

Hello Nikki. I’m delighted to be guesting with you today and have a topic that is currently very dear to my heart! My new release -TAKE ME NOW, a light-hearted contemporary romance from The Wild Rose Press-needs the best ever book trailer! I’m about to bare my soul on this one and tell you about all the mistakes I’ve made so far! I’m also going to be looking towards making my next trailers much better and I’m hoping by the end of this blog your readers will be able to help with this very important task.

What do you think makes the best YouTube book trailer? (Before writing this blog I purposely watched a lot of book trailers to get a feel for what is ‘out there’.)

But, since it’s natural to start at the beginning, that’s exactly what I’ll do. In August (2011), I had my debut history/mystery romance novel, Monogamy Twist, published. Everything in publishing was totally new. After signing that contract I looked at all the associated marketing techniques I ought to be employing to help sell my book. I felt like an ostrich with my head stuck in the sand. As a teacher, for decades, I’d never needed any marketing paraphernalia! I’d never had a website, never had a blog and then, when a cyber friend asked if I had a book trailer made for my debut novel I confessed to not even knowing exactly what that was!

I then started the revolution of getting Nancy onto the marketing wagon (at no cost since now I’m writing the coffers are very bare) I set up my website, and blog, joined every other social network I could handle, and then turned to making my book trailer!

Aha! I thought- what the heck do I do?

A few questions got me started, but I floundered around and made my Monogamy Twist book trailer. Filled with first–timer enthusiasm I embraced everything with gusto …and a large degree of ignorance. I had great fun trawling through hours worth of potential music, liking a whole lot and ended up with an enormous list of possibilities. Just choose one piece? I couldn’t commit myself…

I found websites for companies that could provide any images I might potentially use. Again I had a ball pouring through and choosing, and ended up with a huge list. Fortunately the ‘Royalty Free Photos’ site I now prefer very much has ‘lightboxes’ where I can store potential ones before I buy-thus giving me time to make the best choices, and waste no money.

I spent time learning a few techniques on Windows Live Movie Maker that I could legally use on my laptop.

Was I ready? There was no holding me back! I was desperate to get started! I wanted that book trailer out there!

I can hear somebody saying “Well now, what’s the hurry?” This was the end of July and my book was due out in weeks. Patience wasn’t part of my vocabulary.

Aware of copyright issues I made sure I chose a piece of music that was Royalty Free and in the public domain. I spent hours and hours, even days, fitting my images to the music till I was satisfied.
I adored my book trailer when it was finished; proudly showed it off, and got it uploaded to YouTube. I even got it onto a site for showcasing book trailers.

Unfortunately, new to the process, I used the piece of music in its entirety and fitted the images around the duration of the music, since I didn’t want to offend the composer by chopping the piece. Mmm... In retrospect that was a considerate thought, but it also made my trailer far too long, a bit boring, and probably gave away too much of the storyline.

I’ve now got two new novels releasing in August 2012 and I’m currently planning book trailers for them. This time I’m going to use that learning curve and make better trailers, and since I’ve watched hundreds over this last year, I hope I have a better idea of what works.

What do I now think is the purpose of a book trailer?
As I see it-it should be a teaser; it should entice the reading public to buy your book; it should give an idea of what the genre or sub-genre of your book is.
Should I use music?
Background noises only?
Voice-over only?
Video, or not?
Use phased in still images?
What duration?
For all of the above I need to use -just enough, but not too much!

Here are my intentions for producing my next trailers.

Yes, I will use music. Research appears to show that the average attention span for viewing a trailer is around 90 seconds maximum, so, I will use music, though will ensure it’s less than a minute and a half. I viewed a trailer around 50 seconds, that was short and sweet-and gave away very little of the plot. I will probably buy that book. That one was definitely-just enough, but not too much!

Background noises?
That’s another option I can consider, but if so I’ll need to be very clever about the timings, and the mood I want to set. That means a bit more learning about using the techniques in Window Live Movie Maker, but I need to become better skilled anyway! The mood at the beginning of a novel isn’t always echoed at the end. However, I’m going to play around with this option for my historical novel which is set way back in the Roman/Celts era of 1st century A.D. (Though, I’ll also make a version with suitable music, compare, and see which I feel is more effective.)

Voice-over only?
With voice-overs the ones I personally like best, and believe to be most effective, are the ones which intensify towards the end. When they create tension and a build up of expectation rising to a crescendo, it makes me want to order that novel. There were at least two trailers like this in my recent viewing which made me put them on my To Be Read pile. They were also short -just enough but not too much!

Video clips?
Wow! Hold on there! I’m personally not ready for using any video clips within a book trailer, and don’t think they would be appropriate for my next two novels…though I wouldn’t discount using them at a late date, if suitable. I watched a trailer for a ‘suspense’ novel and this technique was used particularly effectively. It was also short, maybe about 40 seconds and that book also went onto my TBR pile. -just enough, but not too much!

Phased in photos?
I’m likely to use a few of these and have already learned better ways of presenting them, using more of Windows Live Movie Maker tools. I will, however, be extremely careful about where I get the images from. Anything taken personally, using my own camera and computer photo processing programs is no problem. Any other images I use I will purchase the right to use of them for book trailer purposes, and will acknowledge their source.
I believe this to be a very important rule to live by. I don’t want anyone to infringe copyright, or make illegal copies of my own novel, so I wouldn’t want anyone to have their photographs used illegally either.
There are plenty of sources of Royalty Free images out there, that are either free for you to acquire and use, or are available at cheap cost. In trailers viewed some images made more impact than others. So again I’ll be aiming to be very selective and use - just enough, but not too many!

Duration of trailer?
Length does matter. I want as many people to watch, and like, as possible so I’ll be aiming for maximum impact. If that means the music needs to be cut to an optimum length I’ll be making sure that whatever I use is available for me to use at Royalty Free status, and when in the public domain it will be able to be trimmed to my needs-with suitable acknowledgement! So - just enough, but not too much!

Of course there is another important option…
I could pay someone else to make the trailer for me…but, apart from the cost involved, I don’t want to. Selfishly I want to make it myself!

And now it’s over to you. What do you think makes the very best YouTube book trailer? Please drop me a line and tell me, because I’m still very open to suggestions.

Thanks for hosting me today, Nikki.

Bio and links-Nancy Jardine
Having taught 11-12 year olds for many years, Nancy Jardine finally gave up the chalk in the autumn of 2011. During the last few years she has written a historical novel, three contemporary novels- two of which are what she calls her history/mysteries. She’s also written the first of a time-travel series of novels for children aged 9-12years, and a family saga is her current work in progress.

Nancy lives in the picturesque castle country of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her husband who now does all the cooking…the menu far more exciting and tasty than it used to be! Ancestry research-if you hadn’t already guessed-is one of her hobbies, as is participating in exciting events with her family which drag her away from the keyboard. Working in her large garden, she tends real flowers and now grows spectacular weeds which she’s becoming very fond of!

MONOGAMY TWIST, a contemporary history/mystery, is currently available in print and ebook from:
The Wild Rose Press :   Barnes and Noble:

Link to YouTube Book Trailer for Monogamy Twist is:

TAKE ME NOW, a light-hearted contemporary romance, by Nancy Jardine will be released by The Wild Rose Press 3rd August 2012.

Blurb for TAKE ME NOW:
Nairn Malcolm’s looking for the impossible. He needs a highly skilled, enterprising aide who’ll be at his beck and call 24/7. No ordinary Jane Doe will do. He doesn’t expect the only candidate who drops in at his Scottish castle for an interview to be so competent…or so stunning.
Aela Cameron’s got exactly the right mix of talents to satisfy all Nairn Malcolm’s needs, and more. She loves the jobs he needs done, adores his castle, and finds his frenetic lifestyle energising. But she’s only looking for temporary: not to fall in love with the man.
Can Nairn convince Aela she’s tailor-made for him in every way…and not a passing fancy?    

THE BELTANE CHOICE, a historical with romantic elements, by Nancy Jardine will be released by Crooked{Cat}Publishing 31st August 2012.

(Look out for details soon re: the book trailers for Take Me Now and The Beltane Choice on my website and blog)


  1. Very interesting post! I've tweeted and shared to Facebook. Thank you Nikki and Nancy.

  2. Thank you for visiting,(and for the shares, Kimm! Hope it helps someone.

  3. Good post Nancy. I personally like book trailers that are anywhere from 50 seconds to 1.5 minutes long (just long enough to get the idea across). I like dynamic and powerful music, good still images that resemble what the author thinks/and describes her characters as looking like interspersed with dialogue about the story. I'm personally not a big fan of the voice over because that means you have to get an additional noise element in and I think the music can pretty much drive things for you. Good luck with your next trailer!

    1. Thank you for your comments, Maria. It's good to know what other people are thinking and liking about book trailers!

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  5. I had no idea what a "Trailer" was, thanks for the education! Still, music, sound effects, voice overs, videos and phased in pictures, as well as something for a prospective reader to be energized enough to go and buy a, the potential reader must have the attention span of an A.D.H.D. two year old on a sugar high! LOL

  6. Hi, Nikki. Thank you very much for having me as your guest today. It's been great to visit you. *

    1. It was my pleasure, Nancy! Come back anytime :)

  7. I'm following closely. I want to make my first book trailer and I don't have a clue.

    1. Just missed you last night, Sandra. I'm on my 3rd draft trailer for Take Me Now snd have to decided VERY soon which to use.

  8. Interesting post. I'll keep this information in mind. :)

    1. Thanks, Melissa. Glad it was useful to you.

  9. Nancy, your plan for your book trailer is well thought out. I made one for my last pubbed book and plan to make one for the upcoming book. Some say they don't help to sell the book, but I've decided I want to have them available anyway. I'm not fond of the voice over, and the ones that are least effective are those in which the visuals and the text whiz by so fast my head spins and I'm left with little or no idea what the book is about.
    Good luck with yours!

    1. Hi, Linda. It's great to hear your thoughts and I'm glad you're planning to do more. About the text going so fast is useful to know!

  10. Very interesting post Nancy. This offers a lot to take under consideration when learning a new craft for marketing one's own book. Thank you for sharing and if I had any suggestions I'd offer it. I don't. But congratulations on your two book release in August!

    1. Hi, Calisa. Thanks for popping in and for your congrats. I know I can come to you for other suggestions if I need them!

  11. Great post, Nancy. My brother (who's a graphic designer) made my first trailer. I made the second two using Royalty Free Images I purchased, Public Domain images, my own photos, and photos my daughter/SIL took. It took forever! If I ever finish the book I'm working on now and get it published, I'll def get my brother to do the trailer. lol~!