Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Anatomy of a Book Trailer

“Wow, I love the video you did for your book. How did that happen?”

That’s the question I’ve heard from friends in the week since I posted a teaser trailer on youtube for my historical thriller The Crown. It’s gotten about 600 hits on youtube (plus the views on my Amazon page, but there’s no stats counter). It’s been shared on facebook and tweeted on twitter. All of which definitely helped build the buzz for my book.

The answer to how it came together is one word: Friendship.

First off, here is the trailer:

I had no master plan for publishing my book that included a teaser trailer. I assumed that they were super expensive—like mini-movies—even for someone with a screenwriting background, like me. A photographer once proudly showed me a book trailer he’d done, and although the novel seemed wonderful, the author looked deathly pale and quite uncomfortable sitting on a couch, talking about her creative process. There was no way I planned to subject anyone to that.

The week after The Crown made its debut in bookstores, I was emailing my friend Christie LeBlanc, bouncing around ideas. The numbers were good, and I was happy…but there was something else I should be doing?

“How about a trailer for the book?” Christie instant-messaged me on facebook (she lives in Ottawa and I live in New York). I’ve been friends with Christie, a filmmaker and screenwriter, since we met in Max Adams’ online writers group, 5150.

“Sure,” came my response. “But I’ve got no budget for it!”

I will let Christie take it from here—I asked her to explain how she pulled off this amazing feat. Just as I turned to her, she turned to Mark Knox, a friend who is a talented musician and composer.

Christie: “This project came together very fast so we could get it out around the same time as the book release. I was lucky to get Mark Knox on board last minute for the music. I gave him an idea of what I was looking for, and he nailed it. And when I say nailed it, I'm not exaggerating. All I told him was that I needed a 40 second or so clip of music that not only reflects the time period and the main character's religious calling, but also captures the mounting tension of the story. What he delivered was beyond my expectations.

“I knew going in that a trailer could never do justice to the book. My goal was simple: to entice the audience into wanting to delve into Johanna Stafford's journey. But with a world as rich as the Tudor Era, and a story layered with ever-mounting danger woven into an intricate storyline, pulling that off in 60 seconds is quite a challenge.

“I opted for one strong visual that would stay with the viewer. I enlisted the mad design skills of Norman LeBlanc to create the crown in blood, then set the scene with well chosen words and the haunting music. I edited them together with a touch of animation at the end, and even with sub-par equipment and a crazy deadline, I'm thrilled with the results.”

So am I, Christie and Mark. So am I!


  1. Reading The Crown this week on my Kindle and loving it! I will share the trailer on fb and recommend it to friends. Can't wait for your next novel. :)

  2. Thank you Melissa! I am so glad to hear this.