Making Your Own Digital World  By Russell J. Sanders
March 07

Making Your Own Digital World By Russell J. Sanders


We live in a digital world…texts instead of handwritten letters, emojis instead of words, videos instead of print news stories, e-books instead of hard copies. We’re tied to our devices. And we’re attracted to the visual. So one of my favorite things to do is create the book trailers for each of my new releases. I consider myself almost computer illiterate, so anything I do on a device has to be super-easy. And I can put together a book trailer lickety-split without working up a sweat. 

I figured out long ago I didn’t want to get mired in court cases, nor did I want to spend a fortune that I don’t have. So any book trailer I create absolutely must use only free images—except for the cover designs provided by Dreamspinner for publicity. Those images must be free use, public domain, no copyrights attached. Likewise, the music I use must be the same.

So—I Google something like “free, public domain photos” and then search databases for subject matter. If I need a teen boy, I search “teen boy.” If I need, in the case of my novel Titanic Summer, I search “Titanic” or “iceberg.” I don’t need very many pics because I keep my book trailers to 30 seconds. Remember that digital world we live in? I believe folks like things to be concise, as well. I know I balk at online videos that make me watch for five or ten minutes.

Next I go to Amazon, to the digital music category. I put in “free use, public domain music.” Now this is tricky because you have to scroll through a lot of options, listen to a lot of samples, before you find the perfect clip. And you have to look for a clip that is longer than 30 seconds plus choose one that you can afford. Most are ninety-nine cents, so that’s not a problem.

Now I have my pics and music downloaded. I go to my handy-dandy Picasa photo program. Any photo program you’re familiar with will do. I like Picasa because it is easy, and there aren’t a lot of choices to make. I can crop the pics, turn them to black and white if I want, add special effects, and make them into collages if I want a slide of several images. This is when you add the copy to the slides. Condense your story into just a few choice, enticing phrases, because remember: someone not hooked on your brilliant writing yet doesn’t want to read a lot of words in a book trailer. Once they’re wowed by your trailer, they’ll eagerly and willingly devour your 1000 page tome.

Then it’s on to Windows Live Moviemaker. What an easy, easy thing this is. It even saves your work for you so you don’t lose anything. You load in your pictures, put them in the order you want, and then add your music. Use a few of the special video and music effects, and before you know it, you have a professional looking book trailer, costing very little and with nothing that those pesky lawyers can object to.

The last step is to load your video on to YouTube. Windows Moviemaker has a load to YouTube option, but I can never get it to work. So I go direct to YouTube, where easy-peasy steps are given. Once you get the response link from YouTube in your email box, you’re ready to share with the world!

By the way, these steps can be used to show off the new baby in the house, too. And you don’t even have to search for free use pictures because you took so many in the delivery room, you have your own of the new precious. Or the new puppy.

What does that trailer look like, you ask? See for yourself: