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The Story of a Book Trailer (for Promised!)

When my agent suggested I make a book trailer for Promised, I was game.  I started asking my writer friends who had made their trailers, and I began watching trailers more critically to see what I liked.  I was drawn to the trailers that were short, and those that had voice-overs speaking like a character, not an announcer.  I liked trailers that gave a hint of the story without actually explaining it, and I liked the pace to move fast enough, but without getting frantic.  In short, I had a happy, vague notion of what I wanted and little idea of how to get there.

Next I contacted a couple of the trailer makers to ask about timelines, pricing, and how they obtained the images and music they used in regard to copyrights.  Jeff Somers had fair replies, and more important, even within a few emails, he revealed a friendly sense of humor and a receptive way of exchanging ideas.  I sent him a file of my novel and the copy from the jacket cover. My agent’s assistant lined up a five-way phone meeting with my agent, two of the creative marketing people at Macmillan, Jeff and me for us to swap preliminary ideas.  The Mac people suggested we include mentions of Books 1 and 2 at the beginning, and they knew the technical specs for their media outlets.  Jeff asked them for high-resolution images of the covers, wrap-around.  We talked a bit about what we all expected, and Jeff offered to send me a preliminary draft the next week.

Writing a script was the next key step.  Jeff wrote one based on the jacket copy, and I wrote one based on Gaia’s character, and we merged them into one that we both liked.  He said he’d start looking for a voice-over artist with a young, Midwestern voice.

A few days later, Jeff sent me the first draft of the trailer, and that’s when the fun began.  From teaching broadcasting, I know just enough about film editing to appreciate how flexible it is and how hours can vanish while you fiddle with clips.  Jeff and I got honest with each other real fast.  I’d send him a bullet list of what was working for me in each draft and what was not, with a list of other clips he could try.  Have you ever searched Stock.XCHNG or VideoBlocks?  Fun stuff.  We switched out the music twice.  Jeff found more images for a better fit, substituting, for instance, the noose for an earlier image of a gun and bullets.  He searched three different times for the girl’s face that appears towards the end.  He adjusted the timing, the pans, the zooms, the colors, the aging effects, and the fades.  Four drafts in, I showed the trailer to some teenagers I trust for their feedback.  They nixed the voice.  Jeff found a second voice-over artist, Julie Smith, who was a closer match to Gaia, and she recorded the script for us twice.  Six drafts in, we ran it by the Mac people and my agent again for feedback, and we tweaked some more.  By seven drafts, we were finished.

Thank you, Jeff!

Aside from being fun, working on this trailer has given me an interesting, different way to think about my characters and the mood of my book.  I expected an image of an orange would fit in somewhere, but it didn’t.  I never would have guessed that a clothesline in the wind could capture a feeling for my book, but does.

Take a look:



Go, Gaia!

7 Responses to The Story of a Book Trailer (for Promised!)

  • I can’t wait to read it !

  • Pascaline ~
    I hope you’ll enjoy it!
    All best,
    Caragh

  • That was pretty cool! It would be amazing if they could make one for Birthmarked and Prized too!

  • i know this is coming in late, but i just had to ask after seeing the final trailor, how close was the girl in the it to how you actually envisioned Gaia? I think the vid turned out really awesome and i really enjoyed it, i was just curious if that’s how Gaia appeared to you when you wrote her as well.

  • i know this is coming in late, but i just had to ask after seeing the final trailor, how close was the girl in it to how you actually envisioned Gaia? I think the vid turned out really awesome and i really enjoyed it, i was just curious if that’s how Gaia appeared to you when you wrote her as well.

  • Elizabeth ~
    This image was the best we could find and her hopefulness is close, but this girl’s features do not match how I picture Gaia. It would be nearly impossible to find the face to match my imagination, though. Isn’t that the great thing about characters? We each picture them just as we like.
    All best,
    Caragh

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Upcoming Events

September 14, 2014: We'll have a launch for The Vault of Dreamers at the UConn Coop Bookstore, Royce Circle, Storrs, CT on Sunday, September 14th at 3:00 p.m.

 

September 16, 2014: The FIERCE READS TOUR begins as Ann Aguirre, Marie Rutkoski and I visit Anderson's Bookshop in Downers Grove, IL on Tuesday, September 16th at 7 p.m.

 

September 17, 2014: The FIERCE READS TOUR continues with a stop at Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, NH on Wednesday, September 17th at 7 p.m.

 

September 18, 2014: The FIERCE READS TOUR continues. We'll be visiting the Cambridge Public Library in Cambridge, MA on Thursday, September 18th at 7 p.m.

 

September 19, 2014: With the ongoing FIERCE READS TOUR, I'll be visiting Books of Wonder in New York, NY with moderator Emmy Laybourne, on Friday, September 19th at 6 p.m.

 

September 20, 2014: The FIERCE READS TOUR continues with a visit to R. J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, CT on Saturday, September 20th at 6 p.m.

 

September 21, 2014: I continue with the FIERCE READS TOUR, visiting Towne Book Center & Cafe in Collegeville, PA on Sunday, September 21st at 2 p.m.

 

September 22, 2014: The FIERCE READS TOUR continues with a visit to Politics & Prose at the Bethesda Library in Bethesda, MD on Monday, September 22nd at 7 p.m.

 

September 23, 2014: The FIERCE READS TOUR will wrap up with a visit to Blue Bicycle Books in Charleston, SC on Tuesday, September 23rd at 5:30 p.m.
Check out the second leg of the tour with other FIERCE authors Gennifer Albin, Nikki Kelly, Marissa Meyer, and Jessica Brody.

 

October 2, 2014: Tui Sutherland, Dayna Lorentz, Kristin Cashore, and I will be on a panel moderated by Jim Shepard about Writing for Young People at Williams College in Williamstown, MA on Thursday, October 2nd at 8:00 pm.

 

October 3, 2014: Tui Sutherland, Dayna Lorentz, Kristin Cashore, and I will visit Northshire Books in Manchester, VT on Friday, October 3rd at 4:00 pm.

 

November 15, 2014: I'll be visiting The Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, MN on Saturday, November 15th at 4:00 pm.

Book Trailer for Promised

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