Friday, July 22, 2011

Lights...Camera....Action! With Guest Blogger: Nancy Gideon

Paranormal author Nancy Gideon is here to chat about book trailers and check out the Contest information below for details on how you can WIN A KINDLE!

Here's what she had to say...

Book Trailers: The Accessory for the Style-Conscious Author

When I started mapping out my promotional plans for Masked By Moonlight, the first book in my dark paranormal By Moonlight series for Pocket last spring (okay, I’m OCD, I don’t leave my carport without Google Maps!), I looked at all the avenues I was familiar with:

Website, check
Bookmarks, check
Ads, check
Reviews, check
Blog, oh, heck no!
Book trailer…hmmm...

Stylish, flashy, as eye-catching as a pair of red stilettos that made my arches ache just looking at them. Interesting, but it didn’t fit my conservative wardrobe. I didn’t have the tech skills or time to learn a new trick, or the money to invest in a glossy production. So the idea never made it onto my PR To-Do list.

With a month to go to release day, I saw a post on one of the loops by Kerri Nelson. Book trailer sale…$50. Like that jewelry store window you keep going back to, I couldn’t get the notion out of my mind. I checked out Kerri’s productions…nice! Her Book Boost site…professional! And thought…what the heck!

Working with Kerri was fun and far from frustrating. She sent me a questionnaire about what I envisioned for the project and then she went to work. Fast. I provided her with the text I wanted to use, a basic idea for the graphics, told her bayou bluesy for music selection and she had her rough cut to me in less than two weeks. A tweak here, a photo change there and I had my first book video.

Over the past year, I’ve come out of my techno-timid shell to embrace Social Media like a friend rather than a quick spreading disease. Along the way to winning a Best Book Trailer award in the paranormal category from Parajunkie’s Reviews, I learned a thing or two:

What’s the purpose of a book trailer? Is it an effective promotional tool? Not everyone is lucky enough to go viral with hundreds of thousands of hits, so why bother? Remember those stilettos? They’re not the whole outfit. Think of a book trailer as a chic accessory that accentuates your book. Its purpose is to catch the attention, to provoke interest, and convey your own personal style. Its promotional bling.

A book video’s job, aside from looking glamorous, is to quickly reach out to the target audience of your book. It needs to create an emotional response in the viewer that’s tied to the content of the book: edgy and dark with fast cuts for suspense, soft and gentle for traditional romance, quirky graphics or animation for comedy, atmospheric and bare-chested for paranormal. It needs to convey very specific information in a short period of time: type of book, a tease of the plot, a hint of the characters, a taste of the tone, title, author name, release date, website, created by, music credit and out. You have one to two minutes max to create that spark of anticipation, just the way movie coming attractions and your back blurb do.

Start by creating a script, just as if you’re making a short film. Think short, punchy words or sentences, with no more than seven words per slide. The viewer has to have time to read them. Think of that three sentence tag line: She is this and needs that. He wants this but can’t have it because of that. They can’t be together because of what? The script should lure the viewer through the clips so they can’t wait to get to the pay off: What is it and when can I have it?

An effective trailer contains powerful images to suggest character, setting and atmosphere. Search through royalty-free images for your hero and heroine using either facial shots or silhouettes. Illustrate key scenes or occupations and backdrop settings. Places to start are, or istockphoto. You can even find animated clips. Prices range from affordable $2.99 to hundreds of dollars. Don’t download images from the Internet assuming free usage. That’s a no-no. Use images that are at least 640 x 480 pixels so they can be manipulated without distorting.

The choice of music creates tone, atmosphere and pacing for your video. Dreamy and romantic, techno and visceral, haunting and eerie. Blues, classical, country, swing. Its your choice whether or not there are lyrics, though personally I find they distract from the text. Sample music clips at through You Tube or on Amazon where you can download MP3 loops. Make sure you have free use or give credit where it’s due.

Now you have images, text and tunes. Time to match the text to the image, keeping in mind that powerful words don’t always need a pretty picture beneath them. Sometimes a blank color frame has more impact. Then time the slides so they dissolve, flip, wipe, fade, explode to compliment the background score. It’ll take some time so be patient and experiment. You want smooth transitions, forward momentum, readable text and a climatic ending so the viewer is left wanting more. Build your own videos with Microsoft movie software or pay a professional who’ll range from affordable like here at Book Boost to pricy and extravagant Circle of Seven productions. Check the end of trailers that appeal to you to see who made them.

You have your slick and styling video…now what do you do with it? Your website is a given and so is your blog (and yes, I have one now!). You Tube, of course. Post them on Amazon’s Author Central and GoodReads. Show them off to your publisher for possible inclusion on their site. Our writer’s chapter has its own You Tube channel. Include them when you guest blog. Put them up on video websites such as, Book Screening, Preview the Book, Yahoo Video and Google Video. The idea is to get exposure, to increase interest and ultimately coax the viewer to buy the book.

And an award doesn’t hurt!

A Note from the Book Boost: Awe, Nancy, you shouldn't have. Flattery will get you everywhere. ;-) I appreciate the shout out and kudos for my book trailer making business. Unfortunately, I've closed the business for the time being. Need to focus more on other projects and after creating over thirty of them for other authors (2 award winners in the bunch), I had to take a much needed break. But yours is one of my faves and for anyone who hasn't seen it--check out the left column of this blog and click the book cover for Masked By Moonlight.


NOPD detective Charlotte Caissie and her shape-shifter lover Max Savoie who is pulled between his obligation to the criminal empire he inherited from his mentor and the Shifter clan who believe he’s their prophesied leader. When Cee Cee discovers her new serial killer case might involve the missing daughter of one of her colleagues, she enlists Max’s preternatural skills and his former illegal connections to try and find her before time runs out. As he struggles to keep his secret from spreading, Max must also find a way to protect his family and his clan from the danger that stalks him. There’s plenty of action, steamy romance and surprises as Max and Cee Cee reach for their happily-ever-after.

Want More Nancy?

With over 50 books sold, Portage MI author Nancy Gideon’s writing encompasses romance genres from historicals and regencies to contemporary suspense and the paranormal. Her 25-year career journey has traveled from writing her manuscripts by hand then typing them up on her Smith Corolla to learning social media skills (but she still doesn’t text!). Two grown kids and a full time job as a legal assistant later, she is still going strong with her six book BY MOONLIGHT dark paranormal series from Pocket Books.

Visit her website here:

And her blog here:

Don't forget to pick up a copy of Bound By Moonlight
available July 26th! Click here.

Contest Time:

Author's Contest Details: Make sure you check out Nancy's mega-contest on her blog where you can win a Kindle during her release week starting 7-26-11!


Anonymous said...

Great blog! Book trailers intimidate me :) I'm not yet published so I don't have to worry yet, but someday when I do I'm calling you, Nancy! Can't wait to read the new book :)

Nancy Gideon said...

Since Kerri, regrettably, is out of the book trailer biz, I can highly recommend my virtual assistant, MY Girl Friday, whose done several trailers for our chapter members and will be doing one for me soon. Check her out at and tell her Nancy sent you!

Thanks for letting me hang with you today, Kerri!