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Book Trailer: Inventive Ways to Promote Your Book

Coming from a film background, I never separated the idea of making films from my writing.  That was always the plan, to promote my films via my books.  But I never thought of making a book trailer to actually promote my writing. 

As savvy as I thought I was, it wasn’t until my blindness hiatus that I stumbled upon the idea of a book trailer while perusing an author’s webpage.  After a short internet search, I found Vabbler.com, a website devoted to providing space for authors to post what Vabbler calls a Book Video Trailer.  In essence, a book trailer is a short video produced by the author that can be a compilation of still photographs or an actual video that captures the summary of their novel, sort of like a movie trailer that we see before the actual film starts.  Vabbler isn’t the only website that hosts this kind of option for authors, however it is the first site I found where I was able to look at many examples of authors who have come up with some pretty creative book trailers.  You don’t have to be a filmmaker or professional photographer to put one together.  It can actually be as simple as putting together a PowerPoint of photos to music. 

How can you use it to promote your book?  Post it to your author webpage for starters. Circulate it on Facebook, You Tube, She Writes, and hosting sites like Vabbler.Com.  I have an idea to have it shown at a local bookstore prior to my book reading arrival or to bring it with me to screen it for those that show up for my reading.  This is an idea that can go in many directions.

Not only do I think this is a fantastic idea to promote writing, it can get an author involved in the writing in ways that can take away the post writing blues, the blues that comes over not hearing back from publishers and/or agents right away, or maybe not at all.  A book trailer can be a fun project, and it’s an excellent way to get your work noticed. 

If you are digitally challenged, check to see if there is a local cable programming station in your city or town.  Most have free workshops & classes for residents that teach you the basics of video editing, how to use a video camera, or in the least, you can meet others that are technically savvy that might be willing to help you with your book trailer project.  Community colleges & university extension programs at universities also offer low cost, short digital video classes that can show you the ropes.  And who knows? You may discover the inner filmmaker or photographer within, opening up a whole new creative outlet.     

Want to learn more? Start with the Vabbler link located under the Writing Resources section to the right of my blog.

Book trailers aren’t a new idea, but something we as authors may need to consider as publishers want us to become more involved with promoting our novels.  And if nothing else, the idea of making a book trailer may motivate you to get that novel finished once and for all!

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Of course I write novels…

Part of my reason for writing this blog is to track and chronicle my path to publication, and hopefully beyond.  The notion of writing novels is a recent occurrence.  Yes, I could tell the cliché story that I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer since I was 3 yrs. old, which is true, however, it was never a goal of mine to write anything beyond a story because I truly didn’t think I could write anything beyond that.  As a teen, I was a good ballet dancer.  I had dreams of New York and Paris ballet schools, tutus and tights flying around in my head.

I constantly wrote, but mostly journal writing and stories.  As a teenager, I was also drawn to theater, and that’s when I began to write scripts.  I still don’t quite know what happened with my fabulous dancing career, but I wound up in college. The ‘novel’ started in the MFA Creative writing program at Antioch University. I went into an MFA program to see if I had any skills as a writer, and mostly, to learn about the writing world. There was no intention to complete any project to get published though it seemed as if most around me yearned for publication. I thought I was the only defect in the room who didn’t have that goal, so from day one I felt I was lacking.  When I met other writers for the first time, I felt unsophisticated, I lacked the contemporary literary terminology every other writer in the program seemed to speak, and I had barely read any of the “dead white guys” of classic literature, though I did fall in love with Dostoevsky’s work at age 12 (dead white guys was a coined phrase everyone seemed to know but me). Writers spoke the colorful contemporary language of chick lit, stream of consciousness, professional blogger…I was clueless which led to plummeting confidence.  

During the first semester, for an assignment, I turned in an old story I had written a couple of years prior because quite frankly it was all I had.  My faculty mentor wrote notes in red that my main character had a strong voice and to “keep going”.  I thought, going where?  I had to turn in a little bit every month, and the thought to crank out more than 50 pages was daunting. The novel started as my attempt to pass off one story for homework that turned into a longer and longer version of it. I wanted to be cool, and accepted, so I decided the longer version of a short unfinished story was my novel.  I actually had something to talk about at the cafe, “of course I write novels”.    

Despite the self-critical review I had created of myself, I had no choice but to continue, and I think it was the first time I pushed through self-doubt to make it to the other side, into the fictive dream (another sophisticated term I learned). Thankfully, I enjoyed the characters, the muse moved in and before I knew it, I had finished more than 200 pages in 3 weeks, mostly hand written as I hadn’t yet acquired a laptop.  It was exhilarating. I didn’t know I had it in me. I finished the first draft by the end of the second semester, and though it was very rough, my mentors felt it was worth a second look, i.e. preparing it for the big P-word. 

I finished the program at the beginning of 2009, and it has been only in the past year that I’ve decided to take this seriously, learn from my mistakes, be creative, do my homework, and make the effort to finally put the work out into the world.  This is a short version of the journey, and a much lighter version, but I wanted to share an ‘about me’ story, offering a peek into how it all began, as I love to read about my favorite writers beginnings.  One day, I’ll write the longer more adventurous version…

p.s. Crime & Punishment is what I read when I was 12…yeah…

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