By Laurie Jacobs –
I wanted a book trailer to promote my third picture book, Silly Frilly Grandma Tillie, illustrated by Anne Jewett, which was released March 1, 2012 by Flashlight Press. Many trailers are limited to images and text and background music, but my intended audience for the trailer includes young children who aren’t readers. For them, my trailer needed a narrator. Fortunately, there are two applications already on my MacBook that can be used to create voiceovers: iMovie 08 and Garage Band.
There were two books I consulted before undertaking the creation of the trailer: Katie Davis’s ebook, “How to Promote Your Children’s Book” and Darcy Pattison’s ebook, “The Book Trailer Manual”. My goal wasn’t to replicate the text of the story in the trailer, but to give viewers a feel for the characters and the plot in a very short space of time—an oral summary. The publisher’s blurb for the book was a helpful starting point but it was directed to adults. My script needed to be more child friendly and shorter. Both Davis and Pattison recommend keeping trailers to a minute or less; Pattison says images should not be on screen for more than five seconds.
The final (I thought) version of the script read like a mini-movie—for each “scene” was a visual image (one of Anne Jewett’s fabulous illustrations), followed by the corresponding voiceover and sound effects.
There are free sources for music, images and sound effects, but the best quality must be purchased. Pattison gives a list of sources. Purchasers must be careful about the rights they are buying—watch for those that are for a limited time especially as trailers may circulate online indefinitely. I purchased music from http://www.audiojungle.net and sound effects from istockphoto.com. iMovie also has sound effects built in.
For those who are technologically challenged, like me, the website http://www.lynda.com is a good source for tutorials on using iMovie and Garage Band—a month of lessons was well worth the twenty-five dollar fee.
Recording voiceovers in GarageBand is relatively simple—follow a few steps and controls will appear with record, play and rewind functions that operate like any standard recording device. Though the editing options on GarageBand are much more detailed, even a non-techie like me could easily shorten or remove sections of audio clips. The greater challenge was getting my voice right. Writing each line of script on a notecard and taping the notecard to the top of my screen was helpful, as were underlining the words I wanted to emphasize and indicating whether my voice should rise or lower at the end of a line (professional voice artists definitely deserve respect).
Despite all this work, when the audio was incorporated into iMovie, there was a major problem—my audio still took up too much space. I eliminated some sound effects and some spoken lines. To more easily match the length of the narration with the corresponding image, I recorded the voiceovers directly in iMovie. This again was simple to do—select the microphone image and click on the record button. There is a three second delay until the recording begins. Repeating the first word of my line several times during this delay helped eliminate awkward pauses and throat clearing noises when I began speaking.
The process of creating a narrated book trailer for the first time took many hours, but it was well worth the effort. I learned how to make podcasts, how to edit video clips, how to combine images and sound. Trust me, if I can do it, you can too!
You can view the trailer on my website at
Kirkus Reviews calls SFGT a “capricious tale that will have young girls wishing for a silly grandma just like Tillie, especially if she can hang a
spoon from her nose.”
Grandmaideas.com says SFGT is “a delightful, delightful book.”