Novel Promised Book Cover
About Birthmarked: "This science fiction adventure is a brisk and sometimes provocative read, thanks to solid pacing, a resourceful heroine, and a few surprise twists."

--Publishers Weekly

FBsquareTwitterSquareFBsquare

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!)”

  • [...] O’Brien, the talented author of the Birthmarked Trilogy, wrote up a delightful post about her experience working with me on the book trailer for Promised: “From teaching [...]

  • Pascaline:

    I can’t wait to read it !

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

  • Hannah:

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

  • elizabeth:

    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.

  • elizabeth:

    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

Leave a Reply

What’s Next from Caragh?

THE VAULT OF DREAMERS
I'm currently working on a new YA sci fi series with the first book,The Vault of Dreamers, due out September 16, 2014 from Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan.

FBsquare FBsquare FBsquare
Book Trailer for Promised

Caragh's Latest Favorite Reads

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Every Day
The Dog Stars
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
The Fault in Our Stars
Two of a Kind
Until It Hurts to Stop


Caragh's books »
Archives
Blogger Roadsign
Audio Books
The audio books of BIRTHMARKED, PRIZED, and PROMISED have been released by Tantor Audio. They're available through Tantor, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Audible.com