Show…? Tell….? Wha?…..

As writers, we’re constantly told to ‘Show, don’t tell’. Stereotypically, or maybe just me, we tend on the introverted side. Put this together, and you’ll get massive conflictions when someone cheerfully asks: “Hey! What’s your book about?”

“Um. I don’t know (can’t you just read it?)– Hey! How was your weekend?!” Deflection and avoidance. Character flaw of the introverted writer. Plus, as I tend towards sarcasm generally, I completely see the weirdness of fantasy. Trying to describe any element of it without sounding really strange and crazy becomes awkward. I envision people slowly backing away from me while nodding and going “Yea, oh, ok, sounds great. Hey! Gotta go! Great seeing you. Good luck with….that.”

How the heck do you rectify this? If you have a defective brain that disallows you from telling people what your book is about, then they aren’t going to read it. Similarly, if no one knows that it exists in order to read it, no one buys it, and if no one buys your book, well, it fades into the oblivion that poor unread books limbo in. For eternity.

My poor book. Complicate that with the ‘Self-Published’ label in which I have to be more verbal and more aggressive with getting my book heard about, and I think I’ve seriously screwed myself over.

I was reading Susan Finlay’s interview with Jane Dougherty about her new book The Dark Citadel (which I then started reading), and at the end of the interview is her book trailer.

Alright, I’ve been seeing this concept popping up here and there the last year or so, but I think I’m just now at the point where I can look into it more seriously. Watched hers (which was good!), Googled what programs there are that do this, and then got onto a Goodread’s forum (link) where someone asked the same question and multiple people replied.

This could solve my personal character flaw.

And it looks really fun and cool. A nice distraction from the seriousness of pre-publication matters. (Rrrr. Update: still cool, not so heavy on the fun part)

Someone mentioned on Goodreads that it takes 7-10 times of seeing something for a person to suddenly take note (in answer to another’s question on whether a book trailer alone generates enough sales to make it worth doing). Which seems to be true as I’ve probably seen things about book trailers ten times or so up till The Dark Citadel‘s video where I finally went, Oh, hey, what is that?

I looked at Animoto, which seems to be the main software program after Adobe. Then somewhere I saw that Windows Media has a movie maker- which is on mine and everyone else’s computer, apparently (who knew!). I played with that a little but couldn’t leave blanks for where I hadn’t yet found pictures. Decided to try PowerPoint as I’m slightly more familiar with that, and maybe I could just make it as my rough storyboard.

Turns out, PP has exactly the background I needed for my scripted idea. It also does the entrance/exit effects I wanted, and just seems more user-friendly. And free, compared to Animoto, which limits your time frame to 30 seconds on the free account (I needed about 60). The paid account isn’t astronomical, though. But none of their current themes worked with my vision.

The Goodreads forum also lists some websites to obtain Creative Commons- type pictures, video clips, and music to add to your book trailer. It appears that you cannot simply take music from your library and use it- copyright laws.


I wrote all the above throughout the week. Then I folded, and decided to play with Adobe’s program. The new Photoshop and Elements Premiere 12 just released earlier this month, so I’m playing with the 30 day trial version to see if I like it better than powerpoint and Media Player before I buy it. Anyone else interested in Adobe’s trials: WARNING, if you don’t buy after your trial, everything you made during the trial will be unusable.

In any case, Adobe takes more of a learning curve than Power Point. It’s not completely intuitive and their customer service is enough to steer you away from their products. Their community forcums are a gigantic nightmare to go through.

Anyone else working on a book Trailer? What programs are you using?


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