by Bonnie ZoBell

Welcome to Part Two of From Printed Page to Moving Picture – Looking into Book Trailers

In the first part of this series, I shared my journey of making a book trailer with John Ray Gutierrez at Big Burrito Media for my book, The Whack-Job Girls.  The second trailer maker who came highly recommended to me and who is a wonderful talent is Kim McDougall. She’s the founder of McDougall Previews, her trailer-making company, and of Blazing Trailers, a free site where anyone with a book trailer to post can get a great promo page, regardless of who made it. I already knew and was impressed with Kim’s fiction, but then was referred to her for her trailer-making prowess by Mary Akers, who wrote a book with Andrew Bienkowski about Bienkowski’s harrowing experience as a child, banned with his family from Poland to Siberia. Mary is very pleased with Kim’s powerful video for The Greatest Gift. Three of her and Andrew’s mainstream publishers used it as part of their promotions: Simon & Schuster UK, Allen & Unwin (Australia), and The Experiment (US).

Kim, who is also a fiber artist and photographer, and writes children’s and YA fiction under her married name, Kim Chatel, has been creating book video previews since 2008, and her unique designs and competitive prices have allowed her preview business to soar. With over 300 trailers under her belt, she continues to create fun, stylized promos.

For less than the price of a glossy magazine ad, a book trailer can reach a global audience… Your book trailer is your ebook’s best friend. When more and more people are browsing for books online, the trailer is a natural tool to help readers connect with your book and take it off the virtual shelf.

I spent some time on the Blazing Trailers website admiring Kim’s amazing work. Some of my favorites were the Xujun Eberlein video Apologies Forthcoming for her collection. It’s remarkable to see the trailer capture the beautiful language in the fiction and meld it with the haunting music and the great drawings. The video Gauntlet Runner based on S. Thomas Bailey’s fiction-historical action novel, makes great use of the wilderness and wildlife, present during the almost impassable Ohio Valley being fought over in May 1754. For the video of Tricia Dower’s literary fiction collection, Silent Girl, Kim has found just the right images, graphic arts, photography, glass breaking, baby’s feet, with absolutely no talking (which makes these trailers less expensive).

Kim says she likes to make trailers “fun, scary, sexy, intelligent, mysterious . . . whatever best reflects the book.” Above all, she wants them to be “interesting and memorable. In the end, a trailer is an advertisement. Its purpose is to name-brand an author and a book.”

Why does she think book trailers are important? “We live in a multi-media world. YouTube is now the biggest broadcaster in the world, and more people get their news and entertainment from the internet than ever before. For less than the price of a glossy magazine ad, a book trailer can reach a global audience. Finally, your book trailer is your ebook’s best friend. When more and more people are browsing for books online, the trailer is a natural tool to help readers connect with your book and take it off the virtual shelf.”

Asked what problems she sees in other book trailers that she tries to avoid, Kim says, “My two biggest pet-peeves about trailers are, 1) static images that don’t fill the screen, and 2) trailers that use too much text and tell too much story. Online screens are small. I try to use all the space I have by making images pan or zoom to fill the tiny screen. The sad truth is that you have 10 seconds to get a viewer’s attention on YouTube, and you need to renew his attention every 20 seconds or his itchy finger will click on ‘next video.’

“I get bored easily,” Kim continues. “So I always try to do something different. I’m constantly learning new software, finding new sources for royalty-free media and honing my techniques. Even with all that, I still keep my prices some of the lowest in the industry because I’m a starving author, too, and I know how hard it is to find inexpensive and effective book marketing tools.”

You can preview Kim’s production rates here.

You can find hard-working and serious artists out there who will make you a good book trailer at a reasonable price. These two should be at the top of your list.

______________________Bonnie ZoBell

Bonnie ZoBell’s fiction chapbook The Whack-Job Girls with Monkey Puzzle Press was released in March 2013 and her short story collection WHAT HAPPENED HERE is forthcoming with Press 53 in spring 2014. She’s received an NEA fellowship for her fiction, teaches at San Diego Mesa College, and is Associate Editor of The Northville Review. For more information, visit www.bonniezobell.com.