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I’ve been looking forward to this book for a long time, mostly because that cover is SPECTAZZLING. But also cause I follow Greg Pizzoli on Twitter, where he is clever and quippy and shares things like THE ENDPAPERS. And then this is what the publisher teased us with, so I was pretty much in love with this book right away:
With perfect comic pacing, Greg Pizzoli introduces us to one funny crocodile who has one big fear: swallowing a watermelon seed. What will he do when his greatest fear is realized? Will vines sprout out his ears? Will his skin turn pink? This crocodile has a wild imagination that kids will love.
Yeah. SO INTO THAT. The Watermelon Seed hits stores TOMORROW, May 14th, so you might want to go ahead and get in line. After you meet Greg, of course.
So I’ve also been looking forward to this post for almost as long. I’m thrilled to have Greg Pizzoli in for a visit. Welcome, Greg!
I call him “Kroc”. Sometimes my editor calls him “K-Roc” or “The Krocster”. Boy, does he hate that.My background is in printmaking, and I built a silkscreen shop in my studio, which is how I generate a lot of my work. I think my preference towards limited and deliberate colors comes from the printmaking. It could be laziness, but I’m going to say printmaking.
Even the first sketches of this book were in just a few colors. It just made sense to make the whole book feel like a watermelon. Plus, he’s a crocodile, so the green is already there.
Everyone at Disney*Hyperion was very supportive of my trying out different inks and paper choices to get the feel just right. We did CMYK v. Spot color tests and there was just no comparison. I think it would be tough to get that pink, and that green with CMYK. At least for me. We tried a few different paper stocks, too. I’m super picky.
Basically you make a drawing in black and use that to make a stencil on a screen. Doesn’t matter how you make that drawing – by hand on tracing paper, with construction paper, in Photoshop – whatever you can use to get a drawing in black. Your screen, which is a frame of aluminum with a fine mesh stretched across it, is covered in photographic emulsion, and you expose the screen to light. Wherever the light hits the emulsion, it hardens and becomes water resistant.
BUT if you put your black drawing between the screen and the light source, the emulsion that is blocked by your drawing (which remember, is black, thus very light blocking-y), that emulsion stays soft. And you can wash it out with water. So everything that wasn’t blocked by your drawing is water resistant, and your drawing washes out of the screen, making a water resistant stencil in the shape of your drawing. You make one of those for each layer, or usually, color. WATERMELON was offset printed obviously, but I did a lot of screenprinting textures, etc to make it feel very printy. The spot colors definitely help there, too.
I’ve been teaching screenprinting for about 4 years at The University of the Arts in Philly. It’s where I met Brian Biggs. He took a continuing ed class I was teaching in 2009. He introduced me to my agent. I dedicated a book to him, but it hasn’t come out yet. I still owe him big time. I still teach! I love it.
Humor usually keeps me interested in whatever I’m doing.
I like to work with texture for sure, too. And shapes. Shapes, yeah, shapes are good. I know this is great interview material here. Breaking news, Greg Pizzoli “like shapes”. Today on Buzzfeed, 23 shapes Greg Pizzoli likes most.
Anyway . . . I was really into shapes and texture with THE WATERMELON SEED, and the next book I’m doing with Hyperion (NUMBER ONE SAM, Summer 2014) comes from a similar place. We’re doing spot colors for that one, too. But four this time, which opens up a lot of possibilities in terms of overlapping layers and colors.
Like most people, I like lots of stuff. I never get tired of looking at Eduardo Munoz Bachs posters. He obviously had a lot of fun making his work. A lot of people you’d suspect probably, Sendak, Ed Emberly, Tove Jansson, Charles Schultz, etc.
I’m really lucky to have so many talented buddies in the Philly area, too. I host occasional drink ‘n’ draws at my studio and Zach Ohora, Matt Phelan, Bob Shea, Tim Gough, Amy Ignatow, Brian Biggs, Lee Harper, Gene Baretta, Eric Wight, and several others have come by. It’s a good time. Sometimes we do this thing where we each draw for five minutes and then pass the paper to the right and draw on top of that drawing for five minutes, until we get all the way around the circle or run out of beer. You can imagine just how bad these things look. Joe Strummer, Iggy Pop, David Bowie. They’re my heroes.
No way! I love coffee. I think I quit for a while last year and it just floated around my online profile for a bit. I did stop drinking as much. I am down to like 2-3 cups a day which feels great for me. I was drinking like 8-10. Oh yeah. I’m nicer now.
Greg Pizzoli, people. Is he awesome or what?
So yeah. That’s pretty much my favorite thing on the internet right now. Did you catch the part where the period at the end of the sentence becomes a spotlight for good old K-Roc?! I love that detail.
The Watermelon Seed! Greg Pizzoli! Thanks for hanging out here! We love your book. And you are top notch, too.
Hi, everyone. It's time for a new batch of book trailers. Most of these are pretty recent though some may be a little older since I don't keep super up to date with book trailers. I have some mixed feelings about them (most are kind of cheesy) though I do like the idea of having a promo for a book. Anyway, here are a few book trailers and a couple of film trailers thrown in for good measure at the end. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Ugh, I a so excited for Siege & Storm! Can someone please lend me their ARC?
Still have not read this series yet though it looks good and I kind of love that each book has a color theme. And emerald is one of my favorite colors.
I really like this whole campaign. The trailers look high quality and they're intriguing. Has anyone read The 5th Wave yet?
I don't have much to say about this one since I haven't read any of the books yet. I don't really love the voice over, but that's just me.
I had no idea they were going through with making another Percy Jackson movie. The first one was so bad. At least Annabeth is blonde in this one. I will probably wait to see this one on video.
Well Katniss doesn't seem too whiny in this trailer. Catching Fire was my least favorite book of the series (sorry - don't hate me!). I totally thought it was a filler book. This trailer makes it seem like it's going to have a lot more going on though so I am optimistic. And Effie promises to have some fantastic outfits.
What did you guys think? Are you looking forward to any of these releases?
Savannah Morning News columnist and The Shadow Man author Mark Murphy has launched a book trailer contest. Three cash prizes will be awarded and the first place winner will receive $3,000.
Contestants should create a trailer (no more than 1 to 3 minutes in length) and submit it before April 30th. The entries will be judged on the following criteria: creativity, originality, and how well the video can be used as a marketing tool.
Here’s more from the announcement: “Trailers (1-3 minutes in length) should try and take advantage of the Savannah setting while incorporating aspects of the city that are present in the story. The iconic cover shot of the Forsyth Park Fountain at night must be incorporated into each video as well links to the author’s website and Facebook page.”
So, I'm waiting for Animoto to finish mybooktalk previewI show when the kids are all coming in. As I'm doing that, I started thinking about all the sites and apps I use or think about using when I begin creating my booktalk. So here are some you may find just as amazing to use as I do.
Online image editors:
Thanks to creative online genius,the perfect image editor was born! PicMonkey allows users to upload and modify images from cropping to color to frames and so much more! I use it when creating my book trailers to add depth and complexity to just another flat image. And the extras are awesome! Create/add zombie, vampire, and ghost features as well as themed backgrounds and textures. This is a go-to must have website. Currently, it has no app, but some things are better to manipulate online.
Need to find something out of the ordinary to use for your blog, presentation or to share? Imagechefmay be the answer to your needs. Creates anything from personalized notes to word mosaics to so much more. And it's all free! And this site has a companion app, so either way you can create and share.
Video creators, web-based and app-based: Gotta love Animoto! If you haven't used it for awhile, you're in for a nice surprise. The reconfiguration now includes different video styles, awesome CC music, and instant social media sharing. As always, you can include video and text into this. Worth the price (but you can get an educator discount!) No wonder this is a cornerstone of technology for education! Animoto has an app but search in the iPhone section. Currently there isn't one for the iPad.
If you want to try something new without the headache of learning a difficult platform like Adobe or Sony, make your way over to ProShow Web. Their free account allows users to create a full-on video or trailer with a lot of the intuitive bells and whistles of other video programs. The only caveat is the free version will only allow 15 photos, but text is unlimited. I made a full trailer using Proshow with really excellent results! There's an app for that as well
And the fun continues with those powerful little creatures called apps... This is what I have in my photography folder on my iPad, and I use these for personal and educational use. The sky's the limit on these!
Image Editing Tools ColorBlast!Lite: allows you to upload and create a beautifully modified picture that contains color within a black and white photo.Post it on social media or email to yourself. It's addicting!
Instagram: enough said. Contains several filters to give you boring picture pizazz and pop! When you create an account, you can also view it online but only if it's a public account. Allows sharingand email
Photofunia:Take a pic and instantly make it into so many other items, including billboard signs, book pages, magazine covers, and so much more. Also includes many filters you can use within categories. Save, email or share via social media. This is SUPER fun!!
Pho.to Lab: does the same thing as Photofunia and is an excellent alternative. Just have fun with this and the creativity and imagination will begin to flow.
Snapseed: The ultimate in photo editing on your iPad. Contains many tools to edit and diversify your photo. The best way to learn this is download and play with the image already provided. You'll be hooked. Hands down my favorite image editing app.
Pixlromatic: take an image, choose from the many options of filters, backgrounds and frames, and you've successfully modified it into something gorgeous!
Video Apps Vine: Got six seconds? That's all you get with this nifty video app. Video what's most important to you and Vine creates a collaged video worthy of sharing. You can share or embed them as well as create your own account. People are doing some pretty cool things with this app!
VidRhythm: Okay, I don't use this when creating book trailers, but I had a blast creating one! You pick the song, style, and follow the directions while recording. The end result is, well...just see for yourself :)
Picture Collages Frametastic: You decide what frames, theme and images to use, the app will put it together for you. Simple as that.
PicCollage: like frametastic, you can build a collage from your pics, Facebook, or camera. Then put in some text, add stickers and your collage is done. Even more than that, with creativity, you can make a quick infographic to send out and share.
I love this trailer for The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen. The first time I watched it I was very impressed by the voice talent and then learned at the end that it was Neil Gaiman reading, so that explains that.
Everything works together on this trailer - the reading, the use of children to show the demographic, the fact that it's clearly a beautiful book in terms of both text and illustration, the music, and the brevity.
I've got a board on Pinterest called Trailer Park where I am collecting some of my favourite children's book trailers. Suggestions more than welcome!
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
ARC provided by publisher
Marissa Meyer fans will not be disappointed in Scarlet, Book 2 in The Lunar Chronicles. It has all the heart-pounding action, humor, and touches of romance that Cinder has.
Scarlet centers on Scarlet, the granddaughter of Michelle
I drag my feet when it comes to marketing my books. The exception is when it comes to making a book trailer. Book Trailers don’t take a ton of work, they aren’t expensive if you do it yourself, and it feels like play, not work. I’ve just finished making my third book trailer, this one for the newly released DOGGONE FEET! Here’s a short synopsis of how I did it.
Research. In order to convince myself what I wanted to undertake was possible, I watched a bunch of book trailers online. It reassured me that many of them were very simple and still worked well. I read up on the subject—blogs, articles, and Darcy’s fabulous book, The Book Trailer Manual, full of helpful information and reminders.
Finally, a friend showed me a few basic moves on i-movie — which was already on my Mac laptop. (Note: For Windows users, look for the free Movie Maker software.)
Mood. I know that choosing music often comes after creating the content but in some cases, finding the right music helped me decide how to proceed. (Like when I came across a great chicken squawking song that fit the craziness in BIG CHICKENS.
So what mood did I want to convey with DOGGONE FEET? I knew I wanted to use zydeco music—zippy playful music from my Louisiana heritage that went along with an underlying music theme in the book. I even used the term ‘zydeco shoes’ in the book as an homage to artist Earl Hebert who has a book about his paintings by that name. It comes with a CD of zydeco music by The Lucky Playboys. With a phone call or two, (I knew a relative of his) I got permission from Mr. Earl’s estate to use the term and the music. The music set the fun snappy mood that I felt matched the book. I loaded the song I chose into i-tunes and then from i-movie, I imported the music into my project.
Content. I made lots of little scratchy thumbnail storyboards with 10-12 panels. As with all forms of rough drafts, several ideas were pretty bad, but one thing lead to another and eventually, I came up with an idea that I thought worked. I wanted to showcase the fun art and give an idea what the tension in the book was about. In this case, I decided I did not want to use text directly from the book but rather a short summary of what happens instead. I decided on two main ideas I wanted to bring in. (Don’t try to smush in more than that!)
A dog is adopted by two feet and takes up residence under their table.
More and more feet show up at the table escalating tension for the dog.
I scanned several images from the first half of the book and dropped them into i-movie. The program assigned a few seconds to each image.
Cheat. If you are a techie and want to spend time learning to play with i-movie, I promise it isn’t hard. But I used my teenage son who mastered the basics in an hour with the promise of tripling his allowance. He used a tool called the Ken Burns effect to move the camera across the art in each segment so the images didn’t appear too static. Then we went back and dropped a line or two of type on each scene. We used black so that it did not conflict with the colors of the art and mimicked the look of the book itself.
Fine Tuning. We adjusted the timing in the music to be sure shifts in music coordinated with the images and to be sure the reader had enough time to read each line that came up. Trailers that are too long try my patience, so I kept mine close to one minute. I did not want to give away the ending or tell the complete story anyway, so short was good. Once I had the tension cranked up with the text adding more and more feet to each scene, I left the reader wondering what the dog would do next. Then, I tacked on an image of the cover and was ready to roll credits.
Credits. The closing was another place we had fun. Think of going to the movies when the producers do something clever to make you sit through the credits. I initially wanted to use dogs reading my book in the trailer but ran into trouble with the voice-overs. (See chapter one in Darcy’s book.) I settled for a clip of my dog reading the book while wearing glasses. My son filmed it on a flip video, which plugged right into the computer and could be dragged into i-movie. We rolled credits over the dog footage and faded the music out in the last two seconds.
Done! Next we loaded the video onto youtube and to vimeo (directions are online) and other sites that teachers or librarians might access. I now have a handy promo when I guest blog and when I send emails to friends and bookstores etc. It’s a great way to promote my book without feeling like a salesman.
A few weeks ago a friend recommended I read I Haiku You, by Betsy Snyder. I haven't been able to procure a copy for a full review yet, but the book trailer really enticed me. The cover alone would make me read this book - but I had to share how beautifully done the book trailer is. It struck me as just what a good trailer should be - appealing in sound, motion, and image and a tease of the whole book. I want to see more, don't you?
I am not really the biggest fan of book trailers, but a few have caught my eye recently. I have my own opinions about which ones are good or not but I will keep those thoughts to myself. I wanted to show them though because they are all for books I am really excited about. Prodigy actually just came out this week, so you don't even have to wait for that one. I think my favorite is the trailer for Etiquette & Espionage though. I am a sucker for the English accent. :)
Take a look below and let us know in the comments which book you're most excited about. And warning, most of these are sequels so they may contains spoilers. Watch at your own risk.
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Prodigy by Marie Lu
Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead teaser trailer (kissy face!)
Who is your best literary friend? In the book trailer embedded above, three pairs of literary friends talk about their relationships. The interviews include Nate Silver andArikia Milikan;Kate Bolick andDaniel Smith; and Jenny 8. Lee and Eric Lee.
Discover the unexpected ways friends influence our personalities, choices, emotions and even physical health in this fun and compelling examination of friendship, based on the latest scientific research and ever-relatable anecdotes. Friendfluence surveys online-only pals, friend break-ups, the power of social networks, envy and the dark side of amiable ties, and many varieties of friendship. Told with warmth, scientific rigor, and a dash of humor, Friendfluence not only illuminates and interprets the science but draws on clinical psychology and philosophy to help readers evaluate and navigate their own important friendships.
"I'd make a kick-ass beauty queen."
November was a good reading month for graphic novels. I read Cardboard by Doug TenNapel, and a review is forthcoming, but let me tell you now, it is fantastic!
I also read Tune: Vanishing Point by Derek Kirk Kim. Another review forthcoming, and again, it's fantastic. (But a head's up, it is for older teens and adults.)
In audiobook news, I listened to
I’m excited that my new YA fantasy Parallel Visions is now out in the world! To celebrate, I’m having a contest. Help me get the word out about Parallel Visions, and you’ll be entered to win bookstore giftcards and an ebook reader. It’s $2.99 ebook, and $7.99 print. It’s up on Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords (where you can get it in every ebook format, including for Nook), and will be up on B&N in a few weeks.
Parallel Visions deals with being different, domestic violence, attempted suicide, rape, and asthma, all in a fantasy setting. Like all my books, it’s also written with suspense and hope, and some of my own trauma and abuse experience.
Evelyn Fazio, the same editor who edited my books Scars and Hunted, edited Parallel Visions. I care a lot about Parallel Visions, just like I do all my books. I hope you’ll help me get the word out.
Check out the book trailer!
Help me get the word out about Parallel Visions, and you can win:
1 of 2 bookstore giftcards for $10 (at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, or any other online bookstore)
1 of 2 bookstore giftcards for $5 (at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, or any other online bookstore)
The trailer for Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman features one of my favorite songs, "Try," by the (now-defunct) folk rock duo Billy Pilgrim. (These days, one is a wonderful solo singer-songwriter and the other is part of another talented band, Sugarland.)
Another top choice for the trailer was "Lousy Reputation" by We Are Scientists, one of whom I've had the pleasure of meeting at the Union League Club Book Fair.
It's a propulsive song and the lyrics sound as though they could have been written by Bill Finger about Bob Kane...or possibly the other way around.
Real life galley cats star in the book trailer embedded above, promoting the release of I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems By Cats.
The poems were written by Francesco Marciuliano, the storyteller behind the syndicated Sally Forth comic strip. Chronicle Books brought the poems to life with voiceover and videos of some cute cats. Check it out:
Cat lovers will laugh out loud at the quirkiness of their feline friends with these insightful and curious poems from the singular minds of housecats. In this hilarious book of tongue-in-cheek poetry, the author of the internationally syndicated comic strip Sally Forth helps cats unlock their creative potential and explain their odd behavior to ignorant humans. With titles like “Who Is That on Your Lap?,” “This Is My Chair,” “Kneel Before Me,” “Nudge,” and “Some of My Best Friends Are Dogs,” the poems collected in I Could Pee on This perfectly capture the inner workings of the cat psyche. With photos of the cat authors throughout, this whimsical volume reveals kitties at their wackiest, and most exasperating (but always lovable).
Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
Reading copy via library
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein has gotten so much buzz since it was published that it took me awhile to get my hands on a copy.
It's the story of two young women during World War II, one a pilot and the other a spy,
Are book trailers new enough that my making a single one qualifies me to dispense advice about them? Probably not, but then again, most of us sling opinions about things we’ve never done and never will do (play pro football, sing at the American Idol finals, be the leader of the free world).
And for what it’s worth, I did put in twice as much time on my trailer than I'd planned.
So…the following list of book trailer conventions worth breaking is not comprehensive, not ranked, and not likely to shatter the core of what you thought you knew, but will hopefully be helpful nonetheless:
#1 – keep it short
Generally speaking, I agree. But when someone says “It was too long,” what he probably means is “It’s not interesting enough.” Something longer and engaging is better than something short and forgettable. So rather than focusing on keeping it short, focus on keeping it watchable. (Book people tend to have longer attention spans anyway.)
#2 – show book interiors (picture books only)
If you have a clever way to do so, by all means. But if it will be just a pan-and-scan variation of the same samples that will be on Amazon, why bother? As with your book itself, take the trailer as an opportunity to give readers/viewers something they haven’t seen before…and won’t see elsewhere again. If you do include interiors, I encourage you to include something else as well.
#3 – explain the premise in detail
Surely your book is resplendent, but sell it with a tease, not a torrent. Think back cover, not inside front flap.
#4 – (related) use intertitles plentifully
Yes, books are read—but book trailers don’t have to be. Every project should take ample advantage of its medium. Therefore, in making a trailer, pay attention to words, yes, but also to sound, pacing, composition, and other aspects of filmmaking. In fact, a good challenge: use as few intertitles as you can.
#5 – avoid material that is not in the book
What for? You’re not studying for a test! Actually, an interesting tidbit that for whatever reason did not make it into your book could be the hinge of a good trailer! In ‘80s TV parlance, such a tidbit was often called a “blooper.” On DVDs and downloads, it is called a “deleted scene.” And in this case “deleted” is a positive; “deleted” = “I want.”
#6 – do not have Batman in your trailer
No, do. If your book allows for it, and you stick to fair use, and you can bribe someone to don the costume, you will confirm what Gotham City has known for 70+ years: it’s nice to have the Dark Knight on your side.
Somtimes, I feel like my booktalk on a particular book wouldn't justify how good it is. Such is the case with Elizabeth Scott's newest book. So, what to do instead? Tell it by book trailer :) Here's the newest one I've created:
You can also view it on Schooltube: http://www.schooltube.com/video/86e342502b3b4f408916/Miracle%20by%20Elizabeth%20Scott
And download it from the NHS Library homepage book trailer list (under the Mighty Red N!) http://www.nisdtx.org/Page/3587
The wonderful folks at Islandport Press made a book trailer for Sled Ride! I'm so impressed with the amount of care and attention they give all of their books. Take a look:
Also, if you're around on November 10th, I hope you'll join me and author Becky Rule for the book launch party at the New Hampshire Farm Museum in Milton, NH. There will be treats! And the world's longest sled! (Can't wait to see that.) It will be a ton of fun. More details here...
Title: Long Lankin
Author: Lindsey Barraclough
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
ARC provided by publisher
I started reading this book just before Halloween, right when I was in the mood for a good scare.
Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough tells the story of Cora and her sister Mimi. They are sent to live with their crochety Auntie Ida in
I should've read this when it first came out, and I don't know why it slipped through my radar. I'm just glad I did! And what a great time to start this!! The sequel, Froi of the Exiles came out this year, and the third book, Quintana of Charyn, comes out April 2013. Excellent timing on my part :) I looked through youtube and found a few trailers on Finnikin, but decided I couldn't let this one sleep....it was screaming at me to make a trailer. So here it is!
If you don't get Youtube, it's also on Schooltube: http://www.schooltube.com/video/caccbb2128b1456f98b1/
It can also be downloaded from the NHS library website (look for the Digital Booktalk section): http://www.nisdtx.org/Page/3587