Extracurricular Activities

I am amazed at the number of Christians involved in extracurricular activities. One of those areas of interest is politics. In a number of social outlets, the platform of negative reporting is spearheaded by Believers. If they dislike a politician, they illustrate their contempt with negativity. If they endorse a political party, they will sound the trumpet of praise and adoration. If it’s a political ideology they disagree with, they will express it with carbon monoxide rhetoric. I am not interested in whether someone is Republican, Democrat, or whatever. What concerns me is that the harvest fields are ripe for harvesting, but the harvesters seem more concerned with issues unrelated to reaping. (John 4: 35) The last thing I want to do is to turn off a potential Believer by expressing a political viewpoint that might add to the further polarization of our society. The majority of our political understanding is determined by what we read or hear from the media. Can we honestly promote something as truth, when all we know is from biased reporting?


Our Country is in a mess, but I am at rest because God is in control. This is a time for Christians to stay the course. This is the time to stay focused. This is the time to pray for those in authority. (I Timothy 2:1, 2) This is the time to make sure our priorities stay in line with God’s Word.I don’t believe there is a Biblical subject that has not been written or verbalized about. The redundancy of theme writing and publications has inundated the social platforms. Faith shared articles and quips have continued to be popular with the faithful. My concern is that those outside of the Faith have little or no understanding of what our jubilation is all about. While the Christians encourage each other with the Word, the unbelievers remain in the dark searching for the allusive answer to what life is all about. It is time for Believers to leave their spiritual “Disneyland” and share their lives with those that are living day by day. It is exciting to feel the spiritual goose bumps in our closed communal gatherings, but the real excitement is releasing the “rivers of living water” to those in our communities that are looking for something to quench their thirst from the heat of sin.


The Life Book is what Believers need to tweet about. We need to share what God is doing in our lives, and what our lives are doing in serving God!

Top Ten Ways Authors Irritate Book Marketers

To promote a book, an author needs help, and that help comes from people in the media-from book reviewers to journalists, conference planners to bloggers, and many, many others. Approaching these people properly and following their guidelines is essential for winning them over so they will cheerfully help you to promote your book. While good manners and common sense should prevail, all book promoters have their horror stories about difficult authors. Following are the Top Ten most common complaints I have heard from various publicists and book promoters about authors with whom they have worked or refused to work.

1. Making Cold Calls: The telephone is a great means of communication, but it’s also a great interrupter. Before you call someone, visit his website and read all the guidelines. If you can’t get an answer to a question, send an email. People are busy, so when you call them, you interrupt them. Most people will reply to your email in a timely manner, and if a phone call is needed, you can ask in an email when is the best time to call.

2. Being a Bad Guest: Sometimes it’s not all about the author and the book. TV and radio hosts need guests and they like experts. They especially rely on authors of non-fiction books who can inform their audience. In these cases, authors need to remember it’s not about them or their book; it’s about the topic they were invited to discuss. Don’t try to plug your book during the show; just inform the audience. The host will doubtless mention your book when he or she introduces you and again when the program ends. Be a good guest by following protocol and fulfilling the host’s need to give his audience what it wants and you might even be invited back.

3. Being Impatient: Everyone is busy today. Magazines and other publications are often planning out issues six months in advance. Newspaper reporters are struggling to meet today’s deadline. And book reviewers have stacks of books to review. Don’t expect people to respond to you immediately. Don’t expect them to drop everything to read your book or even your press release. Give them a reasonable amount of time. If you contact someone and you don’t hear back from her right away, wait a couple of weeks and then follow up, or ask upfront what is the timeframe for when your book review or the news story might appear. Being impatient will only irritate people, and even if they do run your news story to make you quit bothering them, they might not be willing to do so the next time around.

4. Mailing Out Unsolicited Books and Manuscripts: In submitting books to publishers, usually a query letter is sufficient. Nothing is worse than getting stacks of unsolicited manuscripts in the mail without return postage. The same is true with books for reviewers, especially when accompanied by a letter that says, “Thanks for requesting my book” when the book wasn’t requested. Furthermore, as the author, you’re wasting money. Most unsolicited books end up never being read and instead are donated to a library or Goodwill store, while the manuscripts end up in the circular file, and you’ll be lucky to receive back a formal rejection letter.

5. Posting Your Own Book Reviews: Any author with a grain of sense should know better than to post book reviews at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores and give his book five stars. Nothing makes an author look worse. And almost as bad is when Mom, your brother, and Uncle Joe post the reviews for you-you can often tell because Mom will say, “I’m so proud of you, Mary, for writing a book.” The same is true for your website if you have a guestbook to sign-tell your family to stay away from it. Your publicist who wants you to look professional will be pulling out his hair if he has to deal with your mom promoting your book.

6. Printing Non-Credible Blurbs and Testimonials: I know you’ve seen them. The testimonial from A.K. in Hawaii who doesn’t want anyone to know he loves a book but still writes a book review. Who is A.K.? Why do readers care? Find testimonials from authors and experts in your field who are willing to give you their full name. If you don’t know anyone who can give you a testimonial, get busy looking for someone. If you still can’t find anyone, don’t print any testimonials on the back of your book. No blurb is better than a bad or fake blurb. A.K. may be a real person, but for all the reader knows, the author could have made up A.K.

7. Indulging in Self-Praise: Authors who praise themselves and their books only prove to people what big egos they have. This lack of emotional intelligence likely also shows up in a lack of good judgment in writing the book. Don’t make your website read like a commercial for your book. Make it informative, but beginning with “My book is the best one ever written on this topic” and “This wonderful novel was written with touching scenes, engaging characters, etc.” is a turn-off. It’s fine if you have testimonials from others saying those things. Just don’t say them yourself. The same is true with the book’s cover. Tell people what your book is about, but save the praise for your endorsers.

8. Having Insufficient Material: Nothing irritates a book promoter more than trying to promote a book that is not promotable. What makes a book unable to be promoted? No website to visit; no placement in bookstores, either physical or online. No email address to contact the author. Believe it or not, I’ve seen authors who say, “Readers can mail me a check for $19.95 to my address at P.O. Box etc., if they want a copy.” People want a chance to look at the book and read about it before they mail you a check, and they want to pay online because it’s faster and easier than mailing a check. Create an Internet and bookstore profile or your books will rot in your basement.

9. Hiding Your Identity: No one can promote your book if you won’t promote it. Readers care as much about the author these days as they do about the book. You need to be a visible presence in your book’s promotion. No pseudonyms. Your face needs to be on your website and on the book’s cover with a short biography. You need to blog and promote via social media so you appear like a real person online. You need to make appearances at book signings and other events. It’s difficult for a publicist or a radio host to say “This is a great book” and make people interested. It’s easier for them to say, “I’ve read this great book and here is the author who is going to tell you about it.” Your book is your child. Don’t send your child out into the world alone. Hold its hand and go with it.

10. Expecting Something for Nothing: Nothing is going to irritate a book promoter more than an author who acts like he and his book deserve publicity and deserve it for free. It takes a long time to read a book and write a review or a blog. It costs money to operate a website and pay people to maintain it. Even if a service is free, such as a journalist writing a newspaper article about your book, appreciate the value of that person’s time and send a thank you note after the story appears. Always give book promoters a free copy of your book. And do not complain about prices. If you can’t afford the service, find one you can afford, but don’t argue over the fees. Remember that the publishing world is a small place-you don’t want word to get around that you are cheap or a deadbeat.

Authors, now that you know what irritates book promoters, ask yourself whether you’re guilty. Are people not returning your calls because you’re being pushy or you’re clueless about the proper ways to promote your book? Now you know. There’s no more excuses. Go out and promote your book with new confidence and proper promotion etiquette.

How To Collect Books For Fun OR Profit

Before you start to seriously go out and buy books, you need to learn some terminology and become familiar with book publishing and production process. For example, while most people think of book collecting only in terms of the final product as it appeared in the bookstore, there are other elements of a book that are more valuable, more elusive, and more heavily collected. Plus, the more you know about the history of books and how books are constructed, the more finely tuned your critical senses will be, and the more you’ll appreciate finding a truly good book. This article is an attempt to educate and provide you with resources to get you started in book collecting.

For the collector, there are three primary things to consider when buying a book: EDITION, CONDITION and SCARCITY in this condition and edition.

Understanding these areas is the different between success and failure, between being able to build a collection of treasures and an assortment of reading copies, between being able to collect and sell for money, or just going out and buying a lot of worthless books.

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Parts of a Book

*Cover- To put something over or upon, as to protect, conceal or enclose. Dustcover.

*Spine-The back part of the book and it faces outward when you shelf the book right.

*Title Page- The page at the beginning of the book, usually containing the title of the book and the names of the author and publisher.

*Copyright Page-Where the copyright date is found.

*Dedication Page-Its the place where the author dedicates the book to someone.

*Table of Contents-A list of the books contents, arranged by chapter, section, subsection, Etc…

*Forward- An introduction by person other than the author, and it is usually a famous person..

*Text (or Body)-The actual words of the book

*Glossary-A list of hard words with their meanings often printed in the back of the book.

*Bibliography- A list of books, articles, etc. Used or referred by the author at the end of the book.

*Index-A list of subjects and names in alphabetical order at the end of the book.

*ISBN-International Standard Book Numbers–is a ten digit number that uniquely identifies books and look-like products published internationally.

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Getting Started

The used and collectible book market divides into three neat categories:reading copy, antiquarian, and modern first edition.

*Reading Copies

Are books you can take to the beach or into a bathtub. They’re the largest part of the book market, and they’re everywhere. If you buy a book with anything in mind other than collecting, you’re buying a reading copy.

*Antiquarian

Antiquarian book lovers seek out classic old volumes—editions of Scott, Wordsworth, the Bay Psalm Book, examples of fine printing and binding from centuries past.

*Modern Firsts

Modern first edition collectors tend to limit themselves to this century, to the writers who have defined the times we live in, such as Steinbeck, Hemingway, and Faulkner.

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Taking Stock

The first step to being a good book scout is to take a look at your own bookshelves at home.

This is going to be your opening stock, so take a minute to appraise what you own. Do you have a lot of paperbacks with cracked spines and tattered covers? Or do you have a nice selection of good hardbacks neatly care for, books you brought as soon as they came out? The fact that you own books at all shows that you’re a lover of books, which is the first step to becoming a serious collector.

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First Edition or Printing

So, obviously, you’ve got to learn how to identify first editions to avoid making costly mistakes. After all, if you think it’s a first and you turn out to be wrong after paying a premium. The problem is, nearly every publisher has its own method of identified first editions. You can memorize the policies of every single publisher in the history of the book trade, and even then you’ll make mistakes, because all of the rules have exceptions. On my shelves, and on on the shelves of every collector I know, there are at least a few books that looked like a first of first, but turn out later to be plain old books instead.

As general rule, there are two things to look for right off the bat:a statement of edition, or a number line.

The statement of edition is exactly that: on the copyright page, the book says “FIRST EDITION” or “SECOND EDITION” or FIFTY-THIRD EDITION.” Or if not “edition” it will say “printing”. With lots of publishers that’s all you’ll need to find.

Unfortunately, some publishers don’t remove the edition slug from subsequent printings; or sometimes a book club edition will state that it’s a first; or sometimes there’s nothing stated at all.

The next thing to look for is the number line. This is a sequence of numbers which, on the first, usually go from 1 to 10 (some publishers will go 1 to 5 and then the five years around the year of publication: for example, 123459495969798); it may be in order, or it may start with 1 on the left, the 2 on the right, and so forth, with the 10 in the middle. Look for the 1. On every publisher employing a number line except Random House, a number line with a 1 is a first edition. Random House, just to be sure that no one can ever be sure, use a 2 on the number line and the “FIRST EDITION” slug.

There are some publishers who indicate a first edition by not indicating it. If you don’t see anything that says it’s a second or third edition, then it must be a first. There are other publisher who code the information into the book somewhere, but it isn’t always easy to find.

Those three checks will help you identify most books from most publishers, but not all.

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Points

These little differences, about where the photographs should be, wrong lines printed in the book, etc., are known as points.

The easiest way to start learning points is the obvious one: pay close attention to the better price guides, which rarely fail to list the major points. Never just look at the price, look at the entire entry.

Because points are so vital, it’s time to introduce one of themes of this article: to collect successfully, it is important to specialize to a large extent. You are never going to learn the full field of points, of every single detail differing in every single book. In the comfort of a used book shop, maybe the owner has time to run back to check twenty reference books to research points.

But you are standing in the store, looking at the book, and you’re not sure, you’re on your own. If you’re specialized, you’ve got a better chance of coming up with the right answer. This is not to say you should never go out of your field; but in your field, go for depth. Learn everything you can. If you’re a science fiction fan, a modern lit fan, a devotee of travels and voyages, there are specialized bibliographies and reference books you can use to track down and discover new points.If you’re interested in children’s books, study the authors, and pay attention to every detail of the book in your hand.

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Condition

We’ eve looked at the details of the edition; now it’s time to look at the details of condition. You can own a copy of the rarest book in the world, and if the boards are off, the hinges sprung, if there’s writing and foxing on the pages and heavy water damage along the edges, all you got is a lump of worthless paper. For a first edition book to be collectible, there is nothing that affects the price as much as condition. Even the rarest first, if trashed, is just trash, not a collectible book.

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Dust Jackets/Dust Wrappers

It is the condition of the dust jacket that determines the largest percentage of the book’s price—-some dealers estimate as much as 80%—-and so this is where you should start grading. A wonderful book without a dust cover is just a reading copy. Collectors want prime dust jackets.

That’s what they see first, that’s what’s displayed on the shelf, so the dust jacket should be treated like cash money.

When grading a book, look at the dust jacket first, and then move on to the book itself. When you look at catalogs, you’ll see most dealers will give one grade for the book itself, and another for the dust jacket. The whole package is important, but the dust jacket has priority. Without exception for books produced in the last 40 years, there is nothing more important for the book’s value than the dust jacket.

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Grading

Grades are given in descending order: Very Fine, Fine, Near Fine, Very Good, Poor.

* Very Fine–A book that is in perfect condition There are no sign that the book has every been read. The dust jacket is bright and shiny as it was the day it came off the press. No signs of rubbing, bumping, chips, dents, dings, or creases. Book should be tight, creaks with you open it and does not fall open to any particular page of section. No ownership marks on any of the book.

* Fine–It is a small step down. A tiny bump or two is allowed. The book may have been read, but very carefully. The dust jacket has lost some of its sheen, bit it is still intact, with no tears or chips in it.

* Very Good–A book that is physically intact, dust cover on and reasonably unmarred. A book that has some basic flaws. These are the books on most people shelves. The dust jacket may have rubbing, a tear or two and a couple chips. It could be sun-faded.

* Good–A Book in reading condition only. Dust jacket will have serious problems–Large chips, tears, and price clipping (were someone cup the price tag off) are to be expected. Book may have stains, hinges torn loose from spine.

* Poor–The final condition before the recycle bin

* Library Markings: There is one other thing that makes a book worthless:library markings. These may be a stamp with the library’s name on it, the glue from a return-card pocket, or stickers on the dust jacket.

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Book Scouting

To be a good book scout, you have to keep your eyes open at all times. Never drive by a place that might have books for sale. You can find books at Book Auctions, Garage Sales, Estate Sales, PTA Auctions, Antique Stores, Book Fairs, Thrift Shops, Goodwill, etc.

Tools to use when you are Book Scouting.

*Price Guides:

1. Allen and Patricia Ahearn’s Collected Books:The Guide to Values.
2. Book Prices:Used and Rare
3. Mandeville’s Used Book Price Guide

These three guides will cover a good percentage of the book market.

*Online Websites:

1. Addall
2. Abebooks

These two sites are great for founding and getting prices on books.

*Dealer Catalogs

A supply of dealer catalogs can teach you more about the currency book market and current prices than anything else.

Never, ever throw a price guide or a catalog away. Updates do not always have the same books. You may often find yourself scrambling through a stack of material, looking for what year a particular book first showed up. With some practice, it’s not that difficult to prorate the market and update material yourself, and the old guides are a valuable source of information. Beside which, watching how the guides change can teach you how the market has changed, and whether the prices you’re paying or asking are fair. Pricing a book is an art form in and of itself and one you can never be entirely sure of.

* Editions and Points Guides

1. Edward N. Zempel and Linda A. Verkler’s First Editions

2. A Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions

I recommend owning both guides.

*Books about Collecting Books

1. Modern Book Collecting By Robert Wilson

2. Understanding Book Collecting by Grant Uden

3. How to buy Rare Books by William Rees-Mogg

All three books are excellent in getting you started.

*Book Buying Tools

1. Scoul Pal– Check out their scanner system that adapts to any cell phone. Scanner are simple and easy to use. You just scan the barcode containing the ISBN or UPC number and ScoutPal will present concise results, including a summary of market prices and quantities, sales rank, editions and availability, and used/new/collectible details.

2. AsellerTool– Check out their scanner system too.

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Spotting Trends and Picking Authors

Like all other fields, the book market moves in cycles.There is more short-term money in spotting trends than there is in buying classic writers, but there is also a lot more risk. Trends come and go, while the classic authors more slowly but steadily.

Which is one of the reasons why it’s important, even in books you’re planning to deal, to buy things you like. There is no telling when you’ll get struck with them. If you are a collector, simply buy what you love. You can never go wrong doing that. Dealers have to look at things a bit differently.

What you must remember is that all hot books have their day, and that day almost invariably comes to an end, sooner or later. If you’re buying a book for resale, not just for collecting, it’s important that you constantly monitor the price guides and the catalogs for fluctuations in value.

When picking authors watch for cycles. Watch for books in new categories. Some writers have a strong enough visions that they are indefinable, and these writers tend to to be especially collectible in their early works. Tom Clancy is one.

So watch for what’s new, for who’s on the cutting edge, because even if you look at classic collectible books, you’ll see that those authors, too, were pushing the envelope. That’s what’s made them worthwhile for so long: Hemingway’s restrained prose; Steinbeck’s social consciousness. T. S. Eliot reinvented poetry, as did Allen Ginsberg. That’s why their books are still sought after, still read and discussed.

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Signed Editions

There is nothing as lovely as an autographed book. It has a special feel that cannot be matched by any other copy. This copy was in the author’s hand, before it came to you.

Signed copies are always at a premium. Everybody wants a copy of a book that has passed through the hands of a favorite author.

There are two kinds of signed books. Limited editions, which were produced to be signed. Signed trade editions are the copies that fans and hopeful dealers have taken up to the author and gotten signed themselves.

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The above information, if apply, will give you a great start to your book collecting hobby or book dealing.

Book Trailers: Compiling & Arranging Elements for Effective Results

In book marketing, there are numerous promotional avenues. There’s Facebook, media interviews, book signings, book tours, news releases, and speaking engagements. These approaches are straight forward and rely on communication skills found in most writers. Book trailer is an animal of a different sort. It demands an assortment of skills and resources, mainly condensing the story to its most tantalizing elements and embellishing it with photos, videos, text, voice over, sound effects and music. It’s complicated, time consuming task, and if you hire someone, very expensive. Yet with some simple strategies, guidelines, and resources you can produce an effective video with little or no money. That is, if you have a video camera/smart phone and an editing program, things you likely have already and don’t know it.

Defining Goals

First, let’s look at what you want to accomplish with at book trailer. In general, you want to promote book sales. However, being more specific you want to hook the viewer with unique and enticing information so they will watch the entire video. If you lose them before you’ve completed your pitch, there’s little chance of a book sale. As such, you require new and fascinating information throughout the video, information that not only holds their interest, but moves them toward buying your book.

Another goal is to make your trailer shareable, that it moves on from your initial viewers to their friends and followers. If your video resonates, it’s possible it will spread beyond your contacts. It could have an afterlife that spreads exponentially through social media. If you ask, you get. So, it makes sense to make this request, please share, toward the end of your video.

Compiling Elements

What types of things go into a book trailer. Normally, trailers answer potential readers” questions such as: what’s the book about, what’s the genre, is it any good, plus something about the author. Such things are usually found on the inner flaps of the book or on the back cover. If not, the following template used by producer Nat Mundel to create loglines that land movie and TV deals will help in that regard.

TITLE OF BOOK is a GENRE about NAME OF PROTAGONIST, AGE, ONE OR TWO VIVID WORDS DESCRIBING THE CHARACTER who wants HIS/HER IMMEDIATE GOAL. When THE INCITING INCIDENT happens and ONE MAJOR PLOT POINT, he/she goes on a journey to ACCOMPLISH GOAL and discover/realize/find THEME.

The above template is a great starting point to help you distill your book down to two sentences. It clarifies the genre, offers a mesmerizing shiny object that grabs their attention, and provides enough to leave the reader wanting more, all in a few brief sentences.

A logline is a one or two sentence description of your story that boils down its basic premise in a way that’s concise yet evokes emotion in your reader. It highlights what is most unique about your book. Specifically, the logline provides the author with a way to focus on the three main anchors of their writing.

Who is the protagonist?

What do they want?

What is at stake?

Once you have the logline sketched out, look for some escalation in the book that ups the stakes. It could be a confrontation or complication that takes the story in a different direction. The outcome should be unclear. It could also be the discovery of a new evidence, a red-herring, or a revelation that gives hope to reaching the goal. This section presents an emotional argument for buying the book and sets the hook before the prospect is reeled in. Most importantly, it sets up a question in the viewer’s mind about how this story continues.

The next section is more specific. It could be a brief discussion about the character traits of one of the main characters and how this reflects on the story. This might include character faults, misplace dreams, or foibles of the heart. It answers the question why. It could also be about the location or period of the story and what effect it has on the characters. Another consideration is the social or morale setting and how this affects the direction of the story. This section pulls the viewer deeper into the story, both emotionally and literally, asking the question, “Why did this happen?” It can also facilitate a love-hate polarity that further draws the viewer into your story.

The last section is closing the sale. By using adjectives commonly found in reviews it could imply the benefits of reading your book. It could present some additional arguments such as testimonials, reviews or awards. Being on any best seller list likewise deserves mention here. Acknowledgements for use of photos, videos and music are also shown in the section. You should also make a request to share this video. The most important part of this section is stating prominently where the book can be purchased. Various images of the book should be used in this section to imprint cover art and book’s title.

You will note that each section provides new and revealing information. It pulls the viewer in, creating an investment in different aspects of the book. Primarily, it creates that pressing question, “How does this story continue?” And that’s the bait that hooks your viewer and causes them to buy your book.

While there are other templates, the above format serves fiction books well. It answers the questions book readers ask and provides the information in a straight forward memorable fashion.

Writing your script will be a major task in that it demands a different style of writing, one that is denser and more compressed. Your script should contain both the narration and the card or graphics displayed on the screen. You should know that narration spoken over images is processed easier and quicker than the graphics competing with it. Thus, words on the screen tend to be brief, short phrases or individual words designed to be memorable, imperative and engaging.

Narration, on the other hand, relies on the human voice-to emote, phrase, emphasize and resonate- to develop deeper meanings. Its task is to tell a complicated story briefly and compellingly; or to highlight characters, situations and conflicts. Writing has to quickly and powerfully present the “saleable” qualities of your story, such as the characters and conflict(s) while hinting at likely outcomes. It might also convey the tone, style, and quality of your book.

Narration should use a recognizable vocabulary, figures of speech, and accepted language. Also, avoid long sentences and complex ideas, as the viewer’s attention is split between images, graphics and narration. If there is dialogue that explains a crucial story point, allow the narrator to take on that character and for greater impact, post the dialogue on a white screen.

Avoid wall to wall narration as this will soon dim the viewers’ interest. To take its place and vary the content, mix in moments of sound effects, graphics and/or music. Likewise, consider the use of live video with sound as this will too enliven your presentation. In the closing section, some narration can be used to punctuate key selling points even with same information shown on the screen.

How you end your trailer is indicative of its success. Final impressions like the initial ones are of greater importance and more memorable. So, with what impression do you want your prospect to leave? What indication of finality would work? It could be a musical ending over the image of your book cover and its tagline. It could also be a sound effect used earlier that congers up a certain feeling. Another choice is the sudden, startling glimpse of the killer’s silhouette, knife raised ready to strike accompanied by a woman’s scream. Whatever your choice, you want the viewer to go away literally and emotionally wanting more.

Now that you have scripted your book trailer, you need to come up with visuals and sounds that embellish them. Visually, these could be text, photos, videos and visual effects. Sound wise, they could be dialogue, voice over, sound effects or music. These embellishments should tease the viewer’s imagination to where the trailer plays out in the viewer’s head more so than on the screen.

Before you start searching for images, define what specific embellishment you want and approximately where they will be placed. Such a predetermination will reduce your search time and help maintain the focus of your video. In doing this process, compile some sort of record keeping so the inserts are labelled as to location within your script and where they can be found. Some embellishments may have alternates, ideas that might work provided the right image, sound or music can be found. I would designate these alternative with suffix a, b, c, etc.

In a normal 60-90 second book trailer, who might have the following number of embellishment inserts.

Voiceover: 60 seconds, 100 words max; 90 seconds, 150 words max

Text, titles, captions & listings: 85 words

Photos: 12 photos + various photos of book cover used 4 times

Videos: 2 Videos; 1 stock, 1 live action (About 5 seconds each)

Sound Effects: 3 sound effects + transitions as required

Music: 3 tracks (could be from same selection)

Visual Effects: 2 for moving text; 8 for photo & video transitions

Many of these media inserts can be found online. Sites like unsplash.com, librestock.com, and gratisography.com offer high resolution images that you can download for free. Another site for free music and sound effects is YouTube.com/audiolibrary/. You can find free public domain video clips at archive.org. For music go to freestockmusic.com. You will need to create a free account and can download various types of music for free with no royalty restrictions. Other media resources can be found on Google by searching for royalty free photos/videos/sounds. Do not use copyrighted materials.

If you feel uncomfortable about using your own voice, you can use a professional voiceover artist as found online. There are numerous voices from which to choose and demos are available on each artist. For voiceover narration on the 150-word example previously mentioned, costs would be about $25 on sites like fiverr.com music & studio/voiceover services. A special script should be compiled for the outside narrator, which indicates how you want the narration and dialogue to be read or expressed. These directions should be placed in parentheses prior to the words spoken.

There are some media inserts you may want to produce yourself. Your book cover, for instance, may be shot straight on, from the spine angle, and upright/slanted. Closer angles on the book cover’s artwork may also be relevant to your script. Background for these book photos should be on neutral or white poster board with some shots allowing room for text.

Other images that create the essence of the scene can also be produced with photos or video. Such inserts should be ambiguous allowing the viewer to fill in the blanks. Examples might be: a fearful eye wondering what’s behind her, a sound of footsteps approaching, two hands lovingly overlapping. Other inserts might be the scream from an open mouth, a hand clutching a knife, two lovers moving away through a park, a freeway clogged with traffic, a back lit image of the menace, a shadow of a hand holding a gun.

These images and sounds can prod the viewer to use his imagination and the results are more persuasive than using realistic images. Most video cameras have excellent sound recording ability, especially when using an external mic. Therefore, consider using your camera as a sound recorder and capturing just the sound by hooking up only the audio connections.

You might also want to consider a behind the scenes video section relating to research, character creation, establishing a story location, or target audience. Images with voiceover might be author at computer: medium side shot, fingers typing, author’s face looking at screen.

Now that you have compiled and downloaded or captured your trailer elements, how do you put them together. Before you start the editing process, let’s look at the setup of editing programs. The main feature will be the time lines. This is where video/audio clips are laid in and cut to the desire length. There are additional time lines below used for narration, sound effects and music. In the more expensive editing systems there are additional time lines to layer in and sync up additional media materials.

Source materials can be downloaded from the web or capture off your camera. These items are stored in a project file and would include video clips, photos, sound effects, narration, and music. These items are placed into the time line in their proper location where text and titles can be superimposed on the visual elements. Additional adjustments such balancing audio levels, transition effects, and color balance smooth out the cuts and give it a professional look. When combined together these elements make up your book trailer.

There are numerous video systems available with vary capabilities and range from free on up. PC users can edit using Movie Maker which comes installed with Windows while Mac users can edit with iMovie. If not installed, they can be download for free from Microsoft and Apple respectively. The Movavi 14 is also available free from movavi.com or the Movavi 14 plus version goes for $39.95. The Pinnacle 21 editing system is available from pinnaclesys.com for $49.95. More elaborate Pinnacle systems are available at higher prices. Corel® PaintShop® Pro 2018 and VideoStudio® combination which edits photos, designs graphics and makes movies is available through paintshoppro.com for $150.00.

These editing systems come with tutorials schooling you as to their capabilities and operation. While the free systems come with basic editing features, spending a bit extra can offer more creativity plus more imbedded effects and media resources. It all depends on the complexity of your trailer and the quality you want.

Arranging Elements

Now that you have all your script and media elements at hand, you can begin the editing process, pasting them into your time line. But where do you begin. I would start with the element that is the most consistent, be it narration, visuals or music. In the example I proposed, narration would be the element that is least likely to change much. So, you would lay that in first. Be aware that you may have to add pauses or even quicken the pace. This can be done by either adding room ambiance or cutting out pauses between sentences. When you record your narration, record a minute or so of room ambiance without talking and use this to extend pauses.

Next, start adding your visuals that support or embellish your narration. The length of these visuals will depend on their complexity and the time it takes to read superimposed text. If the text complements the narration, then the visual time can be reduced. Avoid overwhelming the viewer with too much information. For emphasis, space the narration to allow the viewer time to concentrate on a lengthy or important text.

A device often used in infomercials is duplicating narration and text on a plain background. This ups the comprehension and makes the information more memorable. This also varies the flow and increases the viewer’s concentration. This device works especially well when text rolls out on the screen one word at a time, an effect possible on more elaborate editing systems.

There will be a tendency to overplay the images and text. Too much information muddies the waters. Remember that you want the viewer to imagine a great deal of the story. By hinting what the book is about, you let the story develop in the viewer’s mind. Utilize the idea that book readers have imaginative minds and enjoy filling in the blanks. It’s a good idea to slow the pace to allow time for important images and ideas to form in the viewers mind.

Try to have a couple of video clips in your trailer. These are usually without sound, yet the screen motion stirs up thoughts and emotions not possible with still photographs. They likewise increase the attention span and make subsequent information more interesting.

Pace is an important factor in book trailers. Too slow, you lose your viewer. Too fast and your information get lost. There’s a happy medium and it depends on relating new and interesting materials that engage the viewer. That’s why sketching out your script is so important, as it forces you to see your trailer as an informative and entertaining book talk on video. Your script allows you to see the progression of your story building, pulling the viewer into an imaginary world.

Avoid cheesy effects which distract from your message. Simple transitions like fade-in, fade out or cross-fades keep the focus on the trailer’s purpose, to create an awareness of your book and a desire to buy it. Keeping the clarity of this goal in mind determines the success of your book trailer. Sometimes, people become enamored with a certain phase or image that if lost would make the video stronger. Be conscience of this fault and seek outside consultation to rectify.

Use the same font throughout, but vary the font size. Be aware that your text will be read on computer screens plus mobile devices. As such, font size must be readable and this may limit the length of text placed on the screen. Rather than minimize the font size, extend the text to the next screen using ellipsis (… ). The font size of the text should be indicative of its importance. For instance, in the last section, the acknowledgements for use of images or music would be smaller than places where the book could be purchased.

When superimposing text on an image, delay entry of the text ever so slightly so the viewer’s attention is on the image first, then on the text. Such a delay ups the comprehension as you control where the attention is focused.

Selection of music likewise requires some guidelines. Be aware that your perspective book buyers are already indoctrinate by seeing numerous TV and film productions with music. Your tastes and sensibilities in music may differ from your perspective audience. It’s therefore wise to select music reflective of the genre of your book. If it’s a scary murder mystery, that’s the type of music that would support that type of story. The music has many functions. It can create mood and atmosphere, portray emotions, reference a time or period, or create unreal situations. Music can serve several purposes that are either important on the emotional side of the movie or help/enhance the storytelling.

Using wall to wall music diminishes its impact. Fade out your music at various points and replace it with sound effects. Then at the appropriate moment bring back the music to elicit a new perspective or emotion. In this way, by isolating the music’s entrance, you make it more effective and allow it to support a new idea.

To help smooth out your cuts, allow the sound to slightly precede the visual. This allows the mind to process one element at a time and also creates suspense as to what the sound means. These micro overlaps create that, “What going to happen next?” mentality that subconsciously pulls the viewer in deeper.

Subtle use of sound effects can create the proper atmosphere or instill a menace is present. Wind blowing through the leaves or the footsteps of an approaching mugger help prod the imagination to where the story becomes a fixation. In addition, sound effects help break up the sameness of media elements and create higher expectations about the book and its contents.

As you continue with the assembly process, you will note that adjustments and corrections have to be made. You’ll also find that certain sequences don’t work, they don’t move the viewer toward your goals. This is a normal part of editing. It’s like writing a book, where much of the time is spent rewriting.

Before you make big changes, save your file. Then prior to making changes rename and save the file. In this way, you have a backup should your file become corrupted. In addition, should you find that you prefer your original better and it only needs minor corrections, then you still have that version.

The last section is where you close the sale. You offer in text and/or voice-over more arguments for buying the book and where to obtain it. As I mentioned before, these could be a complementary statement about the benefits of buying this book using adjectives commonly found in reviews along with a listing of testimonials, review quotes and/or awards. Also shown in this section are acknowledgements for use of photos, videos and music. The most important part of this section is stating prominently where the book can be purchased. Various images of the book/cover should also be featured in this section. It also helps to place somewhere in this section a sticker-like graphic reading, “Share this Video.”

Once you have your final version completed, let it sit for a few days then come back to it with fresh eyes. Look on it as a book buyer and judge if it meets your expectations, that it strongly encourages the purchase of your book. If not make corrections. If it does, then pass it on to people who will give you an honest evaluation. Don’t corrupt their judgment with additional information. Simply state you want their response to seeing your video book trailer, whether it’s positive, neutral or negative. Request specifically what they liked or disliked. With this consensus, make adjustments as you see fit.

Distribution of Book Trailer

When your book trailer is ready for distribution, you still need to prepare copy to go along with it. For YouTube you should have a description of your trailer that includes the title of your book, author’s name, and what’s it about. To make your video stand out, write a unique description with a catchy, enticing headline. Likewise, add tags. These allow users to find your video by linking common words associated with your video. If done properly, such copy greatly increases the likelihood of finding your video on a Google or YouTube search and having your link opened. This description and information can likewise be used on other video hosting services such as Facebook and Vimeo. Check Wikipedia.org for complete list of video hosting services.

To upload your video to YouTube, follow the instruction found at wikihow.com/Upload-a-Video-to-YouTube. Similar instruction for other hosting sites can be found online. Some editing systems have programs that simplify this uploading.

There are also video syndication services, however their fees are beyond most authors’ budgets and when term payments run out, your video is removed. While posting them yourself is time consuming, it negates this problem and they remain on the Internet forever.

There are numerous other ways of getting your video seen. Facebook and Twitter postings with links to video with a brief description is one way. Also use LinkedIn updates with reference to your trailer and its location. Another place is reader forums pertaining to your genre or audience market.

Your own website is another place to not only post your video, it should likewise serve as a depository displaying more information about the book and a bio of the author. Also consider email distributions to followers, friends, acquaintances, and of course family members.

If you have an author’s page on Amazon, this is another place you can post your video. However, there are numerous restrictions which are posted at https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help?ie=UTF8&topicID=200649570. On your author page, you can also share video interviews, book signing videos, and other videos with readers. Your videos should focus on specific features of your books or your experience as an author.

Also consider news releases, either email or letter, to journalist, book critics and book bloggers. Another good source is free or low-priced newswire services. It just a matter of filling out the form with the proper entries. Such postings can up your web presence as well as improve your Google ranking.

Most authors expect the trailer to pull in a lot of interest when actually, it’s all the efforts promoting it that do the heavy lifting. If nobody knows about your trailer, you can’t expect much. However, if a whole lot of people see your trailer, a percentage of them will end up buying your book. It’s a numbers game. Likewise, if you strategically place your trailer in all online/offline places where your prospective book readers hangout, good things happen. The desired goal is to get the viewer interested, either in making the purchase or in finding out more.

While this article covers the basic considerations in creating a book trailer, there is a great deal more to be learned. One way of increasing your knowledge is to look at book trailers available on the internet. You will discover there are numerous ways to create video trailers, whether it be through emotional implications, character driven, or story plotting. You might also consider a more impressionistic approach that strongly communicates the aesthetic of the book while only hinting at elements of the plot. Likewise, in using photographic/video-graphic images, avoid showing people, or at least not showing their faces in a clear way. You want your viewer’s imagination to build the characters as they would when reading your book.

By looking at numerous trailers, you will find editing techniques that will make your video stronger, like the slow zoom-in or the use of title cards. In particular, watch how the juxtaposition of images and/or music provides a feeling or thought different from what they emit by themselves. Also, be aware how pace, the unveiling of new and unique information, affects the degree of engagement.

While book trailers get few lifetime views and have notorious low conversion rates, they are superior on sales landing pages increasing conversions up to 80 percent. That might be the place where a book trailer best contributes to your sales. In addition, book trailers can make a lasting impression, they’re easy to consume, easy to share, and they stay on the internet forever. A book trailer can be a valuable addition to your marketing campaign, especially if your target audience, your potential readers view it. Homing in on that fact could reap huge benefits and increase your ROI.

In closing, it is better that your book trailer to be super simple, ultra-clear, and thoughtfully aligned with the imagery. The intent of the trailer is to illicit a sale, to get the viewer interested, either in making the purchase or in finding out more about your book. To do that, you must allow the viewer to imagine and collaborate in the making of your book trailer.