Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blog Tour: Elizabeth Arroyo

Today, Elizabeth Arroyo guests on the blog with a post on how she created the trailer for her new book, The Second Sign, which is now available to purchase from Amazon, B&N and all good online bookshops.

There's also a giveaway for a free book on Rafflecopter.


Thanks for hosting me Martin!

I want to talk a bit about book trailers. As someone who loves watching the making of movies and trailers, I jumped at the chance to make my book trailer.

Book trailers are great because they help you reach a different audience. Remember book trailers are a visual representation of your book. Like your query, it should lead the viewer to action--to want more. You can use still photos/images, live action, and even animation for your book trailer.

Here's how I did mine.
  1. I started with the storyboard. How do you want viewers to feel and what's the overall tone you want to show in the video? It's best to know exactly what you want before you begin filming, or looking for images. Match the visuals with scenes in the book. Remember, like a movie trailer, it doesn't have to be linear. 
  2. Look at the storyboard and match it with your resources. Can you find a visual, or can you recreate that specific scene? I knew I wanted a live-action book trailer, but knew my limitations. I didn't have the resource to hire a professional film crew. What I had was my niece, who has acted in front of the camera before. I had a video camera, location, editing software, and the motivation to do it. 
  3. How to film. Being a novice at filming, I learned filming tips and tricks online. Here are two techniques I used during filming. It was hilarious, but it worked.
    1. - Running in the woods
    2. - Running in place
    3. I also purchased some stills of images I was unable to reproduce.
  4. Film Editing--putting it all together. I watched a lot of book and movie trailers. A lot! I studied those I liked, paying attention to transition time, fade effects, fonts, special effects...everything. Then I started putting the storyboard together on the software.
  5. Writing the synopsis. The book trailer is more of a visual representation, moving the viewer through visuals and music. You don't have to rewrite the back of the book synopsis. Just give the viewer a taste that'll make them want more.  
  6. Sound editing. This is the last thing I added. Though I had music playing in the background while doing the film edits, I wasn't able to use it due to copyright laws. But I used it as inspiration and it gave me a starting point for the type of music I wanted. Sound made a huge difference and adds the spark to a trailer. 
What are your thoughts on trailers?

About Elizabeth:

Elizabeth has worked in the community for the bulk of her professional career. She enjoys quiet moments, action flicks, and dancing with her four-year-old.  THE SECOND SIGN is her debut novel. You can find more information about Elizabeth at:





Watch the trailer at http://youtube/omcmt6q8PIw

Dark YA Paranormal Romance
Sapphire Star Publishing

Bred to believe in the war between angels and demons, Gabby has come to the conclusion that love is responsible for war, jealousy, and all the other deadly sins she can think of. So when she’s exiled to the middle of nowhere for getting kicked out of her fifth school for fighting, she doesn’t expect to meet Jake. Much less fall in love. But Jake is quickly drawn to the eerie beauty of her violet eyes while Gabby is unsettled by their undeniable connection.

When a demon guardian comes to collect her soul, she refuses to give it up. She’s not a demon. She can’t be. Her father and twin brother are angels. The demon gives Gabby twenty-four hours to decide her allegiance, and then starts killing her short list of friends, leaving a message behind: She is the Second Sign.

As Gabby and Jake begin to unravel the mystery behind the Second Sign, she learns Jake may be the key to saving her soul. But it means a sacrifice has to be made that will change their lives forever.

The Second Sign


With that I bid you adieu and hope you'll purchase Elizabeth's book. Remember, I'll be watching you.

Monday, February 25, 2013

An Author's Business Plan

Do you have a business plan for your 'authoring'? Neither do I, but I'm thinking about doing one.

The first question is 'why have one', to which the answer is 'it'll help me focus on what I want to achieve with my writing'. The second question is 'what should go in it?' Here's my list.

Part 1 - Basic Details. Who am I, what email address will I use for correspondence, my pen name, genre etc. My identity as an author.

Part 2 - Aims. Will I go the traditional route, self-publish, how much will I write, novels or short stories or both, articles etc.

Part 3 - Marketing. What services will I use to promote my books? Adverts in magazines, bloghops, twitter promotions, book signings, launch party. Everything I can think of.

Part 4 - Market. What I know about my chosen genre and what I need to research. A list of questions and answers. What is the short story market like etc.

Part 5 - Routine. When will I write/edit etc? How much time do I allocate? Should I set a weekly target or a daily one? What problems will I face in reaching those targets?

Part 6 - Partners. Who will I need to help me achieve these goals? Editor, proofreader, critique partners, professional blackmailer to help me get an agent.

Part 7 - Finances. How much will all the services I need to hire cost? How much money will I be able to put into this? What can I expect to earn over the next few years? What can I expect to earn from each article/short story/novel? What will it cost to promote each book?

Part 8 - Appendices. Lists of relevant items such as useful websites, SWOT analysis, personal writing philosophy, nice people to deal with, why Martin Willoughby is such a fantastic person to know.

The best way to view a business plan is as a book you'll never finish editing and never publish. It gets updated as you get new information or insights, and is the one place you can refer to when you need to remind yourself why you do what you do. On top of that, the outline above is just that, an outline. You can adapt it to your own needs, adding or removing sections at will.

As for the SWOT analysis, it's a list of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. What are you good at, what are you bad at, what doors are open to you and what could prevent you from achieving your goals.

A strength could be your editing skills, a weakness could be dialogue, an opportunity would be a new bookshop opening up or knowing the manager of a local store, a threat would be a store closing down.

Speaking of promoting books (neat link eh), Elizabeth Arroyo will be guesting on Wednesday as part of her Second Sign blog tour and I look forward to reading what she has to say...okay I've already read it as I scheduled the post. She's writing about the creation of her book trailer and what she learnt from the process.

Till then, adieu.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Fun

Ah, another working week over. Time to let down you hair and laugh like a maniac, but first, some good news stories.

Firstly, a video story about a man who can now talk for the first time in 27 years due to some modern technology.

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Also from the UK, Brecon Beacons has been awarded Dark Sky status as you can see the stars at night without any interference from artificial lighting.

If that doesn't bring a glow to you heart, about the anonymous donation of gold bars to the Japanese fishing port of Ishinomaki, hit by the Tsunami in 2011.

Finally, just to prove that modern medicine doesn't know it all, a sugar remedy is being tested in hospitals to treat wounds.

Odd stories were a little thin on the ground last week, so I've only come across two. The first one is a now annual send up of the Oscars called the Toscars. They're awarded to fan-made parodies of films.

Finally, a slow burner. A 12 hour program on Norwegian television showing wood burning. It comes with commentary from experts on wood, as piles of the stuff burn.

And now, a bumper selection of pictures.

On that note, I bid you adieu and I'll see you next week. Have a great weekend.