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Aww. Didja miss these? It’s not like I see as many videos these days, y’know. Not for lack of interest. They just don’t float in front my nose the way they used to. Fortunately there are a couple that I’ve collected in my travels and I’m featuring them here today. They may be a bit old. You may have seen them 100 times before. But what the hey, right? Life is short.
First up, ALSC released the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder reaction videos. Grab your popcorn and enjoy:
I just saw this next trailer online (thank you, Monica!) and I cannot convey to you the avarice I hold for anyone who has already seen this. It’s Matt Phelan’s latest. And it’s gorgeous:
Another trailer to follow. True, the violin brings to mind a kind of Ken Burns-y feel. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
A couple months ago young Marley Dias put out the call for middle grade black girl books. I missed the fact that she appeared on Ellen. Problem alleviated!
Thanks to Rita Williams-Garcia for the link.
I do not wish to take away from Travis Jonker his drop dead amazing compilation of peculiar I WANT MY HAT BACK videos he compiled. So I will just put one here and tell you to go to his site to see the rest.
This does my little 1984 heart good.
It’s summer. Everyone’s making summer reading videos. This is my library’s. My superintendent is sitting on a slide (at Penny Park, clearly). It gives me great respect for the man. Plus, check out that logo at the end. I hate to say it, guys, but I think my library hosts the most attractive summer reading t-shirt this year.
Hm. That would make a good blog post. . . .
And just to round this all out in a nice way, here’s the book trailer for Evan Turk’s The Storyteller (one of the most beautiful picture books of the year):
I just read a review of the book Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell and put it on my to-read list. (That list is so long, I will need a prolonged convalescence to ever get through it all - or possibly a life of leisure.) And then I find this!!!
Teaching faith and values to pre-schoolers is not always easy. So, books like this one are helpful for extolling the wonderfulness of the world - and the Maker. And the trailer is pretty just the way it is.
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Ack! Too many good videos, too little time! We’ve an embarrassment of riches today. The only question really is where to start. And the only natural answer is with Obama’s nominee for the Librarian of Congress. Not much of a question there, really.
Next up, there is beginning to be a bit of a tradition of authors and illustrators recording videos of how they got “the call” when they won the Caldecott or Newbery (I almost wrote and/or Newbery, which is an interesting near flub). Last year we had Dan Santat’s video. This year, Sophie Blackall’s:
At this rate it may behoove us to just give the medals to people who are good at making videos. And the Newbery Medal goes to . . . Tyler Oakley!
Now let’s get down to brass tacks. People, there are awards out there that go beyond the mere borders of this great nation of ours. And the Hans Christian Andersen Award is the greatest of these (though the Astrid Lindgren Award gives it a run for its money). Now they’ve made a video for us that goes through the 2016 nominees. I adore this. I just want to meet all these people. Suzy Lee!!! Now, weirdly, I want her to adopt me. And Iran! How cool is that?
This next book trailer seemingly has an international flavor to it, but is homegrown Americana through and through. It may also be the most beautiful trailer of 2016 thus far.
Earlier this week, Phil Nel posted a killer post called Seuss on Film. The piece is “a brief (but far from complete) collection of Seuss on film!” Turns out, it was somewhat tricky getting Mr. Geisel on the old camera. Phil’s a trooper, though. He found newsreel after newsreel and has posted them on YouTube for our collective enjoyment. You should really read his posting yourself. In fact, I insist upon it. And just to whet your whistle, here’s a jaw-dropping 1964 discussion with Seuss in New Zealand where he improvises answers to kids’ questions.
As for our Off-Topic Video of the week, I give this to you because I love you. Really, truly, deeply love you.
I’ve been meaning to write a detailed blog post about how to make a book trailer for years now, since I made one for my first novel, Fair Coin. So that was back in… 2012. Yikes!
This isn’t that post—not quite. Consider this more of an introductory overview of the process, and if people are interested, I will break the process down further in a series of subsequent posts to make a more comprehensive guide on tools and techniques and other resources.
Anatomy of a Book Trailer
So, you want a book trailer. The first question you have to ask yourself is: Do you need one? Opinions are split on whether they actually encourage people to buy books, even among marketing professionals; it’s difficult to measure those outcomes. Then again, it’s hard to say how much film trailers encourage (or discourage) people from heading to the theater. For a while it seemed like every book had a trailer, just because, but you certainly don’t need one to sell books, and you aren’t necessarily at a disadvantage without one. Schools and libraries sometimes show trailers to their teens, or help them make trailers for their favorite books, so there could be some value in making people aware that your book exists. And the very slick, very professional trailer that my current publisher, Adaptive Books, produced for The Silence of Sixwas shared widely, and many people commented that it made them want the book.
Maybe you just want a trailer because trailers are cool, or you have a neat idea for one, or you have time and money in excess. For me, the thought process was:
I know how to make a trailer myself, so why not?
I want to do everything I can to make my debut novel a success, so if there’s a chance a trailer can help, I’m gonna have one.
I have a fun idea for a trailer, and I really want to make it happen.
But you’ve decided, yes, there will be a book trailer. The next thing you should do is talk to your publicist to see what they might have planned. Some publishers will handle all that for the author, others will cheerfully wish you luck.
If you’re on your own, your next decision is a big one: Do you hire a professional to make your trailer, or do you make it yourself? You can make a trailer yourself even if you have zero video production experience, but if you want something lavish, something cinematic perhaps, you will probably need to get more people involved. A basic trailer could run you several hundred dollars, but if you’re planning to film this from scratch with actors and costumes and special effects, expect to spend much more than that. For now, let’s assume you have practically no budget, because you’re a writer, and you still have to buy swag (which should be a separate blog post). Would you believe you can make a decent trailer for $20 or less?
Here’s the basic stuff you may need in your book trailer, with some examples from the Fair Coin trailer, embedded below:
Do you want your trailer to have actors or video footage or a slideshow of images set to text or music? Personally, I don’t like trailers that have actors or even narration dramatizing scenes or passages from the book; I prefer getting a sense of the book’s tone and plot, which trailers are excellent at conveying. Fortunately those are much cheaper to produce as well.
Because Fair Coin is about a coin that grants wishes, I wanted to show someone flipping a coin. That should be easy, right?
To make a video, you need assets: video clips, images, sound clips, music, etc. You can find a lot of this for free, usually through a Creative Commons license or for a licensing fee, or you can of course record your own (which then requires, at minimum, a smartphone and at best, a video camera). Licensing fees can vary from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. In a future post, I’ll point out some great places to get free or cheap music and stock photos.
It turns out that to capture a coin flip, you really need a high-speed camera, which is expensive — even to rent one for a couple of hours. High quality stock footage runs a few hundred dollars for just a thirty-second clip. But I lucked out: I found a perfect clip on YouTube and wrote to the creators for permission to use it. Since it was something they shot just to test their camera, they were happy to give it to me for free, and sent me high quality source video. I still had to tweak the color to what I wanted, but it cost me nothing! I got permission from Sam Weber, the artist who painted the cover for Fair Coin, to use it in the trailer and bookmarks, and he also sent me a high resolution file to work with, which I also tweaked subtly. (Check out Jenna’s eyes.) I couldn’t get permission for the music I wanted, but I found royalty-free music that I liked and paid $20 to license it. I got the sound effects for free. Total cost for assets: $20.
Even a very simple trailer, like a slideshow, requires editing software. I’ve made trailers in Windows Movie Maker, and there are some things it does very well, like filters, so I’ve returned to it even when I have access to fancier programs. So free software like Movie Maker and iMovie on Macs are very much an option, and you can use Audacity for easy audio mixing. I primarily use Adobe Premiere Elements, which is very affordable and offers a robust set of professional features, but you could also spring for Avid or Final Cut if you have the cash and a computer that can run them. I already had Adobe Premiere, so I’m calling that cost zero as well.
You’ll see a few simple visual effects in my trailer. The one I really wanted — the ripple effect — didn’t come with the version I owned, and it was kind of expensive to buy it so I ran a trial version on the clips that I wanted and saved them separately. Tricky, but free!
Total Cost: $20.
To oversimplify things, you use the editing software to put all your assets together, then you output a video and upload it to YouTube or Vimeo or Facebook, or however you want to share it. In reality, even though I wasn’t paying someone to do the work for me, it did cost me around two days of my own time, which is also valuable. If I had been paying myself to work on the video at my usual freelance rates, I couldn’t have afforded it! But basically, I ended up with this:
When the sequel, Quantum Coin, came out, I was pretty sure I didn’t need a trailer, but I made one just on principle, and for the symmetry of it, and the process was very similar.
Woot! I’ve scraped and saved and slavered and after a couple weeks have culled together enough videos to constitute a truly lovely Video Sunday. And since Halloween is near upon us (a holiday I will, strangely enough, be spending at an outside wedding in Maine) why not begin with the king of frightening children’s literature himself, Stephen Gammell. Mental Floss recently released a post called 14 Terrifying Facts About Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Fine and good but the link to the documentary caught my particular eye . . .
Another book trailer, and this time for a book that I certainly hope will be getting some awards soon. The Martin Scorsese blurb is a nice touch.
That tune just slays me.
This next one is timed nicely with the Alice in Wonderland 150th anniversary. It discusses Alice Hargreaves (the real Alice)’s trip to Columbia University in the 30s and has some very nice interviews with some of today’s Alice experts. It mentions things like a picture of Alice that was published in Punch before the book was officially published. Be sure to get to the part where you can hear the real Alice’s voice.
And our off-topic video today features the son of a friend of mine (some of you may recognize his voice). His kiddo, I should say his very small kiddo, has memorized all the literary ladies on his mommy’s mug. The way he pronounces Sylvia Plath? Priceless.
When actress Lena Dunham started talking in the news about how she wanted to turn Catherine Called Birdy into a film, I was intrigued. And apparently she’s not a fly-by-night children’s book lover either. All her tattoos are children’s literature inspired. Hearing this I figured she’d have the usual suspects. Eloise, sure. And she does have some normal ones like Ferdinand the bull and Olivia. But then she starts talking about her Little Golden Book tat (for Pals). The kicker, however, is the Fair Weather by Richard Peck tattoo. I think I’m safe in saying that this may well be the only Fair Weather tattoo in the history of the world. Now she’s created a documentary on Hilary Knight called It’s Me, Hilary. Some additional info:
Thanks to Michael Patrick Hearn for the link.
And now a lovely little video in tribute of my workplace. I do love that main branch. It would be awfully nice if a video like this was made of each of the branches as well. We have 86+ but boy would it be cool.
The art of the book trailer, and I would call it an art, requires a certain level of absurdity. After all, we’re talking about a video medium celebrating a literary one (by extension, my Video Sunday series is a regular exercise in peculiarity). So when a trailer comes along that is purposefully absurd and sets the correct tone (music, voiceover, visuals, etc.) it is worth highlighting. Behold Night Circus by Etienne Delessert. It works, man. It works.
Morning, folks. We’re beginning this Sunday morn with stuff that’s good for the soul. How often have you said to yourself, “I’d love to own some original art from illustrator Matthew Cordell but I’m too busy spending all my cash on children’s literacy foundations”? Well, fear not! Now you can do both. In celebration of their book Special Delivery, Messrs. Cordell and Philip Stead are going to hold a raffle for five pieces of awesome art. You win by donating money to good causes. The details are here and the video here:
Next up, the American Hogwarts. I mean, it is if by “Hogwarts” you’re referring to a well-established university setting with a clear cut amazing children’s collection, staff, program schedule, and more. Princeton finally decided to create a little trailer for the Cotsen Children’s Library, and I have to say I’m stunned. First off, there’s my girl Dana Sheridan killing it with the storytimes. Then there’s the just wide range of services they provide. And the furniture, dear GOD the furniture!! I’m fascinated by the Cotsen Critix program too since bookclubs for 9-12 year-olds are my weakness. Wish I lived closer to it! Here’s more background information and here’s the trailer:
Someday I shall teach a course on the art of the book trailer. In it I will show all the different myriad styles and techniques one can utilize when coming up with your very own. And always assuming that I remember, I shall include this simple, lovely trailer for The Mystery Hat by Rune Brandt Bennicke and Jakob Hjort Jensen . Sometimes it’s all in the soundtrack, folks.
There go Scieszka and Biggs. I’ve suspected for years that they were in the pocket of Big Audiobook but never had the proof . . . until now!!
Seriously, though, I’m-a wanting that crazy white wig.
So this year we are seeing not one but TWO different early chapter book series about Latino girls. This is a good thing since the running tally before 2015 was . . . um . . . yeah, it was zero. Zero series in total. The first is the Emma Is On the Air series by Ida Siegal and illustrated by Karla Pena. The second is the Sofia Martinez series by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Kim Smith. But only one of these (as of this post) has a book trailer:
It’s not a children’s book. It’s not even a YA novel. It’s (*gasp* *shudder*) an adult book . . . but its book trailer is adorable. I can resist it, not at all.
Thanks to Alison Morris for the link.
I had not yet taken the time to see the trailer for the Lena Dunham/Hilary Knight documentary. Nothing too surprising to see here, but it’s certainly a very clear cut case of a famous person attempting to shine their light on someone they admire who might not be a household name (though Eloise certainly is).
As you may have noticed, I’ve not done a Video Sunday in a while. It now appears that what I was waiting for all this time was Dan Santat’s parody of Serial, turning it into a reenactment of his Caldecott Award call. I’m just ashamed that when he won it didn’t immediately occur to me that, “Wow. We’re going to get a really great video out of this.” Hindsight is 20-20.
Nice that he got to take the shark suit out of mothballs, right?
As a children’s librarian I associate American Girl dolls far more with their books than the actual dolls. This American Girl Dolls: The Movie trailer from Funny or Die will satisfy any children’s librarian that has ever had to shelve those darn books (or struggle with the eternal question of where to shelve them).
Shh! Don’t tell them Mattel owns both Barbie AND American Girls. Thanks to Beth Banner for the link.
So this Meghan Trainor librarian parody video has garnered 77,963 views as of this posting. And I have heard from more than one person that its creator resembles me. Which is infinitely kind but she is (A) Younger (B) Cuter (C) Actually knows how to style hair. Ever noticed that my hair is always a plain bob? I don’t do hair. This woman. She’s all about the hair.
This next one’s a bit of a surprise. Not that it exists (tree to book, book to tree) but that I can’t think of a single American book that has gone a similar route. Usually we just get “bury this bookmark” swag. I think only a small publisher could get away with this. Or an Argentinian one. Wow.
Thanks to Gregory K for the link.
As someone who doesn’t know a thing about making book trailers, I tip my hat to anyone who is capable (or has offspring who are capable) of creating such a thing out of the ether. With that in mind . . .
As for the off-topic video, I’m not entirely certain why I decided to go with baby goats in pajamas today. Maybe it was something in the wind. In any case . . .
My brother built a pond on his property because he LOVES stone walls and running water - (but especially stone walls). So when I saw this evocative trailer I thought of him. Here's to you, second youngest brother - and to your water feature.
It is so much fun to imagine that any pond can go deeper under the earth.
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Been a while, hasn’t it? Well, better late than never. And you probably get a better level of quality videos if there’s a month’s gap, eh?
Today we begin with the video of the week. The Wall Street Journal released this article about Brian Selznick’s puppeteering work on his own book trailer. For me, it’s the waves that are the most impressive.
When I was sent a copy of Diva and Flea, written by Mo Willems and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi, I almost immediately found myself reading it to my kiddo. For me, child of the 80s, it had a bit of an Aristocats vibe to it. For my daughter, it highlighted Paris (a city she already knew through her Madeline and other kidlit texts) and was an interesting tale of miscommunications (her interpretation). Consequently, Disney upped the ante with its video for the book. Here’s Mo sporting some Raschka locks in a kind of Dinner with Andre for children’s literary fans. Be sure you stay for the drawn image at the end. I think Tony’s version of Mo is the best thing ever.
Did I ever tell you about that time I went to a Scholastic event and there were a bunch of authors standing about talking, and I got into a discussion with Barbara McClintock and this guy who was all in black? Yeah, we had a good talk and the guy (who was NOT wearing a nametag) wanders off and I turn to Barbara and say, “Who was that?” And she says, “Jeff Smith”. Yeah. So basically I met the guy and wasn’t able to say anything pertinent to him at all. I’m pretty sure we discussed skunks. I don’t know why. That’s just how it came out (which, technically, is right up there with the only conversation I ever had in person with Judy Blume and it was about black and white cookies). Anywho, I missed this video when it came out in May, but I assure you that the folks in it are just as cute now as they were then.
My beautiful beautiful first library. Is it not gorgeous? Wouldn’t you love to go there? Do. Plus the video shows a mysterious glass box in a tower that I’ve never seen before. I would love a closer look!
Thanks to Marci Morimoto for the link
Here’s how long it’s been since I last did a Video Sunday. I never posted this faux teaser trailer for the Series of Unfortunate Events video series. Crazy, right? It’s so beautifully done, particularly the choice of Amanda Palmer song (and she is a friend of Daniel Handler’s in turn . . .).
Do I really have to mention that Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club for Kids video isn’t, ah, appropriate for kids? I don’t do I? I mean, it’s Chuck Palahniuk, for crying out loud.
One video I’d love to show you and that I just don’t have on hand comes from a recent Children’s Literary Salon at NYPL that I help set-up but could never see. There is footage out there, and I have seen it, of Rita Williams-Garcia, Jeanne Birdsall, and my former co-worker Christopher Lassen dancing like The Jackson 5. I am not making this up. I thought I might have a Facebook link but no go. So if I find it, I will post it, but in the meantime please believe me that you live in a world where such things really do happen.
And for our off-topic video of the day, it’s a little old but there’s no reason not to do the Johnny Depp dressed as Jack Sparrow visiting sick kids in Australia video, right? I do wonder . . . what did he smell like? And do authors ever get asked to do this, visit sick kids? Or write to kids as their own characters?
We are thrilled to welcome author Bethany Hagen to the blog this month as our columnist for Ask a Pub Pro! Bethany is the author of the Landry Park "Downton Abbey dystopian" series with her newest book, Jublilee Manor, just released. She's here to answer your reader questions on how to work necessary backstory into a series, deciding whether to use deep POV in a large-scale book, mistakes in queries, whether book trailers are worth it, and do we really need to know what your characters are wearing? Be sure to check out Jublilee Manor below!
If you have a question you'd like to have answered by an upcoming publishing professional, send it to AYAPLit AT gmail.com and put Ask a Pub Pro Question in the subject line.
Ask a Pub Pro: Author Bethany Hagen on Series, Deep POV, Book Trailers, and What Your Character is Wearing
1) In writing a series, what's the best method for working in the necessary information from a prior book into the next one?
Did you ever watch Lost? Lost was one of those shows (and Game of Thrones is currently another) that have those "Previously on" bits at the beginning. And of course, you always know what the show is going to be about based off the clips they show...like, "Oh, they showed Hurley winning the lottery, so it must be another Hurley episode." What I like about the "Previously on" bits is that they only reveal relevant information--and information that maybe wouldn't be apparent throughout the course of the show. For example, they didn't need to show us clips of Jack and Kate kissing for us to know that they have A Thing. While watching the episode, it would be pretty obvious that there's some serious romantic tension. Instead, they only remind us of the previous plot beats that would be essential to our understanding the plot developments of the current episode without being totally confused.
Boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. So MUCH very very good stuff to show you today. Honestly, I don’t even know where to start. Hrm. Howzabout we begin with one of my favorite tropes: things that parody other things that you’ve never seen. It was Dana Sheridan who directed my attention to this video about The Queen of Hearts from an Alice ballet. A lot of time is spent explaining how one of her dances parodies a very specific dance from Sleeping Beauty. All I know is that we need more funny ballets in this world. Preferably based on children’s books in some manner.
Thanks to Dana Sheridan for the link.
In the book trailer world I came across this little trailer for Hilo. I liked Hilo quite a bit and the animated portions of this video simple sweeten the pot.
And well . . . come on. It’s the viral video of the week. You don’t think I’d let this one go, do you? It’s practically the whole reason I’m doing a Video Sunday today. What I like to do is look at the book covers the kid’s being read. Lots of Margaret Wise Brown in there, but a nice shot of Global Babies and other beloved contemporary favs as well. Bravo, parents!
Me stuff and it’s audio, not video, but eh. Life’s short. I was asked to speak with Chicago’s radio station WGN on Friday evening, so I did so about pretty much all things children’s literature. Now I’ll admit right now that I should have made a better point about how picture books have a higher reading level than easy books and that reading them as an older kid is totally legitimate. That’s the problem with live radio. It just goes too fast. But Justin Kaufmann was an awesome host and we had a great time with the yakkety yak. In case you’re curious, the link is here.
So full credit where credit is due to Travis Jonker for locating this remarkable Wall Street Journal interview with Brian Selznick about how his drawings become a book like The Marvels. Brief it may be, but worth your time and attention.
Okay. The off-topic video. I want to pay tribute to my new town. And what better way to do so than to show you this truly dated and WONDERFUL history of Evanston, IL. For fun, just skip to the section on “Evanston Today” at 12:10, sit back, and just soak it in. Soak. It. In.
So, fun fact. I read a serious 2017 Newbery contender a couple months ago and it looks like they may release it in the nearish future (February 2nd). I’m calling 2016 as The Year of the Fox, by the way, since both Sara Pennypacker and Kathi Appelt have fox related middle grades on the horizon. This is a particularly nice little book trailer for the Pennypacker book, and not just because they get my current workplace correct. It’s a classy little number.
Betcha bottom dollar you’ll need to read it.
You know, when I hear about librarian parody videos, I naturally assume that they’re done of the latest, hottest song. It’s almost a relief to see one of, of all things, Bohemian Rhapsody. What’s next? Eye of the Tiger? Cause I’ll take it!
Thanks to Aunt Judy for the link.
As you may have heard, the internet being what it is, there’s a new illustrator of Harry Potter in town and his name is Jim Kay. A whole host of new images were released the other day, and that was swell, but sometimes it’s nice to hear from the artist himself.
You know, I thought I’d posted this video before but it appears I somehow didn’t. Ah well. It isn’t a Video Sunday without at least one 80s style toy ad. Such as it is.
Thanks to Dana Sheridan for the link!
And for today’s Off-Topic Video I’m going to say, “YES! I KNOW HE DOESN’T HIT THE BRICKS WITH HIS HEAD BUT WITH HIS FIST! THIS IS STILL FUNNY, CONSARN IT!” Phew! Had to get that out there.
Using a website called Mindomo (makes some great infographics and mind maps!) I made an infographic of what recommendations for YA novels. There are 13 genres represented and comes with book trailers when available.