Today I decided that my 2-3 (I honestly don’t know) YouTube accounts needed tidying up, so I started a fresh new channel (because that simplifies things, right?) using the MagicintheMailStories@gmail.com email account.
As you may have guessed, I love doing my own book trailers. It’s so much fun!
The channel is here (don’t click on that; they’re all right here).
Then I slightly-edited ALL my existing book trailers to make sure they all link back to my store, and put them all on the magical new channel. And here, for your convenience… including the NEW trailer for IRON LIGHTS (with a sneaky cover reveal)… are all my book and story trailers thus far.
Antipodean Queen 1: Heart of Brass
This trailer took several days to make as I tried to capture the sense of the novel via visual images (a process that became tradition for all three Antipodean Queen trailers). It’s the first trailer I ever attempted, and my first go at iMovie too. I’d filmed the waterworks engine at the Goulburn Waterworks Steampunk & Victoriana Fair the previous October, and several of my friends like steampunk and/or historical garb (and dancing) so I found quite a lot of images that way, then filled the trailer out with some stock images, and some pics from Michael Estrada (who is very generous with his images; I found him on deviant art by accident some time ago).
There’s some adorably (I hope) bad photoshopping here, too: Combining a stock image of steampunk people with my own photo of a hot air balloon; the top hat on this trailer’s version of Matilda; the clumsy erasure of a modern background.
I have my own ideas about which people in this trailer represent which characters. The couple in the thumbnail are now married so they fit Matilda and Patrick rather well. In fact I usually run into them at the Goulburn Fair.
I remain pathetically grateful to FLAP! for letting me use three of their songs (one per trailer). I’ve seen them live twice (first in Melbourne, then Canberra) and I hope their component parts are still making music. This song is a true story about a convict’s attempted escape from a Tasmanian prison. The second is also a true story… this time about the time the lead singer fell off a cliff and broke both her legs!
Antipodean Queen 2: Silver and Stone
I was delighted to discover that the model Irina Braga (who features on the covers) had done three different steampunk photo shoots. The image below is one that hasn’t been altered. I actually stumbled across her husband on one of the facebook steampunk communities I’m part of, and he bought a copy of the first book.
This trailer benefited from the advance knowledge that it would exist; I deliberately collected images over time. One might argue that my daughter is the star here, and I am absolutely fine with that.
I’d noticed at my first book launch that it’s worth taking a moment to explain what steampunk is before carrying on. And that it’s fun to mix videos with still images (although stock video costs a LOT).
Yes, the first image after the opening train is indeed me, looking rather younger and fitter than I do these days. But I still have that corset 🙂
Antipodean Queen 3: Iron Lights
This trailer didn’t cost a cent. Almost every picture (and all three videos) were taken at—again—the Goulburn Waterworks Steampunk & Victoriana Fair. In fact the lady with the wings (Leanne, I think) had a not inconsiderable influence on the plot.
Eagle-eyed viewers may notice that the British flag-vested gentleman is the very same man that I thought of as ‘Patrick’ in the trailer for Heart of Brass, and that there are at least three versions of Emmeline in the one trailer (the woman with the clockwork handle in her back is author and model Tara Moss, who is a simply fantastic human being).
I was careful to include both my children this time. TJ is the boy in the brown aviator hat; Louisette is the tiara-wearing pirate (apparently “more treacherous than any sea” although she certainly doesn’t look it).
I LOVE the image of the three books side by side, and went back to add it to trailers #1 and #2.
The pictures of the lighthouse and the sea were all taken by me at the Lonsdale Lighthouse. ‘Miss Venture’ is a real historical image that I based the character on.
IRON LIGHTS will be launched on Sunday 26th August 2018 2:15-2:45pm at Kings’ Hall (Old Parliament House) as part of the Canberra Writers’ Festival.
Heest Trilogy 1: The Monster Apprentice (set in Rahana)
I wanted this trailer to feel quite different, so I hired some actor friends and told a story (of sorts) through the videos & music (this was a very expensive trailer). When I had all the internal illustrations, I added several of Tash Turgoose’s pics. I’m very pleased with the result.
Murder in the Mail: A Bloody Birthday
The fundamental appeal—and difficulty—of the “Murder in the Mail” story system is that it has to be explained to every single reader. For that reason, I tried to be as clear as possible. I filmed relatives of mine posting and retrieving A4 envelopes from mailboxes, and ultimately only used the “recipient” footage (although I like it a lot).
Louisette did some very matter-of-fact acting which I wanted to include but the “Murder in the Mail” artists gently pointed out that having a child prominently featured was rather confusing for a murder mystery story.
For some reason Adobe gave me several free stock images at just the right moment, so I used that plus some of the art that I had permission to use publicly. I paid for the music.
This trailer was very useful for the Kickstarter campaign, as it’s well above the usual Kickstarter video standards. This is what my trailers look like when I’m trying to be closer to the ‘professional’ end of the ‘professional to quirky’ scale.
This trailer took perhaps half an hour, and cost nothing! The song is the same song that’s included with the Magic in the Mail: Emmeline’s Empire story, and I used 100% art images rather than stock images. I copied and pasted the Murder in the Mail trailer into a new file, and then simply changed it from there, being careful to echo the beats of the original without making the two trailers identical.
And since Magic in the Mail is more child-friendly than Murder in the Mail I could use Louisette’s face in this one. Winner.
Do I have any advice for people making their own trailers?
Hmmm. Try to keep it under a minute, with striking images and emotions that give a sense of the book rather than necessarily focusing on plot or characters.
Have an EPIC cover.
Keep in mind that you can get a pretty decent book trailer for $5 or so. 😛