The Making of the Book Trailer

Book trailers are a much debated thing among writers. The question raised most often is whether they actually help sell books. I tend to believe they can, but I also believe they can have the opposite effect. If a book trailer looks poorly done, then stands to reason the book will be of similar poor quality. That’s not always a fair assessment, because videos require a different set of skills than writing. If you’ve ever seen a bad book trailer, though, I’m wagering you silently vowed not to buy the book being promoted.

With the above in mind, I fell into the camp of not wanting to do a book trailer for my novel Gidion’s Hunt. I didn’t really have an idea for how it should look or what it should say. That all changed after attending a James River Writers Writing Show this past June. The panel discussed how to build a writer platform and part of the discussion turned to book trailers. They pointed to an example of a book trailer that worked, which was made to promote A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

After watching that trailer, the gears turned in my head. No, I couldn’t afford to do an animated video, but I loved the use of silhouettes. Thanks to my time working in production in television news and years producing my webcomic The Wildcat’s Lair, I knew I could build some clean and sharp-looking images.

The first image I built was the first one in the book trailer, which shows Gidion walking down a street in his hoodie. I briefly toyed with the idea of manually drawing the silhouette of Gidion in the computer but realized that just wasn’t going to work. The solution was to take a picture of myself in a hoodie and then cut out my image and make it all black. Those with a keen eye will notice the feet and bottom half of the legs aren’t perfect. You’ll later see why that didn’t matter.

Process of creating silhouette of Gidion Keep for my book trailer to Gidion's Hunt

Then I just needed the setting. This part was much simpler than you might think. I just drew the outline of a group of buildings. The rooftops on the left are lower than on the right. This helped provide a sense of depth.

First frame from the book trailer to Gidion's Hunt with only the buildings

Then I added in the street, which was just a long box of black along the bottom of the image.

First frame from the book trailer to Gidion's Hunt with only the buildings and street

Gidion’s silhouette went in next. The unfinished lower legs from the original image of Gidion aren’t an issue, because they disappear into the street.

First frame from the book trailer to Gidion's Hunt with only the buildings, street and Gidion

I’d already chosen blue as the image’s base color to help invoke an impression of night, but just to make it clear, I added in a moon. Of course, it had to be a full moon, because in monster novels, isn’t it always a full moon? Anyway, the moon also helped fill in some of the dead space I had in the left side of the image.

First frame from the book trailer to Gidion's Hunt

So, that’s how I built that first graphic. Next week, I’ll show you which of the images from the trailer is my favorite and the graphic art trickery that was required to make it.


About Bill Blume

Bill Blume discovered his love for the written word while in high school and has been writing ever since. His latest book Gidion's Blood is being released on August 11th by Diversion Books. His short stories have been in many fantasy anthologies and various ezines. Just like the father figure in his first novel, Bill works as a 911 dispatcher for Henrico County Police and has done so for more than a decade. He also served as the 2013 chair for James River Writers in Richmond, which produces one of the nation’s best annual conferences for educating and connecting writers.
This entry was posted in Gidion Keep series and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Making of the Book Trailer

  1. Pingback: The Making of the Book Trailer, Part Two | Bill Blume

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s