Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Now For a Word From Our Sponsors: Booktrailers

A movie trailer is designed to make you want to go see a movie.  If they do it right, they show you just enough of the movie to get you interested so you’ll shell out your $14 bucks on opening night. A booktrailer is the same thing, except for books.  If you search online you can find booktrailers for a wide variety of books; some of them are made by publishers but many others are fan, and librarian, made.

You can use booktrailers in a wide variety of ways:
Put them online in your blog, websites and more to help stir interest in the books,
Push them to your FB fans by sharing them on your teen services pages,
Download them and loop them in your teen area,
Use them when visiting schools or in programming to supplement booktalks

Booktrailers are also a great way to get teens involved in learning about technology tools while learning creative ways to do book reports and presentations if you get them involved in the creation process.

Also, you can use all the information below to make trailers (or commercials) for your library, teen area, or teen programs.  Use your teen patrons or tab members as your focal point and then you get teen generated marketing and as we have discussed before, it really increases interest and personalizes the library.  I have made a couple of TSRC ads using photos of my teens in the past and they really respond positively to it.

So How Do You Make a Booktrailer?

Naomi Bates is a school librarian from Texas and she has an emphasis on making and sharing booktrailers.  She has put together a tutorial which she has shared at ALA for you to refer to.  Her blog, YA Books and More, is a great place to find book reviews and booktrailers.  Bates also has a Prezi presentation available that you may want to check out.

Other booktrailer creation resources:
Teacher/Librarian Michelle Harclerode shares a tutorial of her own at Book Trailers for Readers.
Author Nathan Bransford has a guest blog post at his page with an informative tutorial.
Wanda Richards has a youtube tutorial that you may also find helpful.
Joy Millam also shares information on how she makes booktrailers at Booktalks and More.
Judith Graves also has a discussion of booktrailers at Booktrailers to Die For.
Idaho libraries has also done a good book trailer project and you can get information from it.

Finally, here is an online book trailer manual by Dary Pattison that you don’t want to miss.  This site is chock full of tips and refers you to a ton of other good resources.  If you want to really look into booktrailers you must visit here.

And it is always helpful to have someone tell you what NOT to do, which they do at YA Book Shelf.

What Can You Use to Make a Booktrailer?

To begin a simple approach, you can try using Animoto.com.  You can sign up for a free account to make a quick, short video trailer, but the free account provides you with minimal choices.  If you find that you like Animoto, you may want to consider paying for an upgrade account.  In the past I have made a few of my own booktrailers in Animoto using the basic free account and they definitely get the job done and are a good starting place, but they are nowhere near the quality of many of the booktrailers that you find being produced by others online.  Also, Animito is limited to using still photography as opposed to video photography but it is a good place to start.

Many creators of booktrailers use Windows Movie Maker.  A free online project called JayCut can also be used.  A Flip camera is a great tool for making booktrailers.  And if you have an iPhone you can use iMovie or one of several Super 8 apps.  Some other resources used include Photo Story and Masher.

You want to apply they same tips of booktalking to making booktrailers.  And you never, ever want to give away the ending.  Your goal is to hook readers!

A Note About Design (and Rights)

When making trailers of your own, you’ll want to keep in mind some basic design tips.  You want to create a unified, consistent look throughout your trailer.  You want to choose a color scheme (no more than 2 to 3 main colors), font scheme (again, no more than 2 to 3 fonts) and an image type to weave the images together and make a whole.  Too much, or an inconsistent palette, is jarring and takes the viewer out of the moment and spoils your effect.  Remember that a movie trailer is typically 30 to 60 seconds; you don’t want to make it too long or give away too much information.

The right music is key to making a good trailer, but you want to be very careful about copyrights.  Animoto, for example, provides you with choices of music and has the rights built in.  When making a trailer on your own in formats such as Movie Maker, you want to make sure you search free music sites or clear any music rights necessary.  Many of these sites will tell you specifically how they want to be acknowledged in your piece so be sure to read and follow those instructions.  You can look at sites such as Freesoundtrackmusic.com, freeplaymusic.com, and creativecommons.org.

The other key element in creating good trailers is having good images, which are also subject to copyright.  The best way to avoid this issue is to create your own images using your own digital camera.  Be sure to check out TLT’s previous post on using iPhone apps to create some powerful images.  If you feel you can’t create the images you need for your trailer, you can also search online for free or pay the fee to use a wide variety of images at places like 123rf.com.  As with the music, you’ll want to make sure to read the terms and include any proper citations.

iPhone Hipstamatic + Word Foto

Where Can You Find Good Booktrailers?

Doing a simple search for “teen fiction (or young adult) booktrailers” at YouTube will produce some results.  You want to make sure when looking at the trailers to see who produced the work; as mentioned earlier some of them are fan produced so you’ll want to make sure to review them for quality and content just as you would the work it is representing.

Many author and publisher pages have booktrailers for their books so if you have a book in mind you can go online to see if there is a trailer to go with it.  Amazon.com also has booktrailers with some of their book listings.

At YA Book Shelf they have a recurring feature called Book Trailer TalksHere you can find a post about the 5 best animated booktrailers.  They briefly discuss the trailer for Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala, hands down one of the most amazing trailers I have ever seen.  This blog is both a good source of book trailer info and book trailers to share.

Booktrailer channels:
Bonner Springs City Library
Booktrailers for All (lots of links to other booktrailer sites)
HarperTeen channel
No Wicki Productions
ScholasticTeen channel
TrailerSpy Young Adult Trailers Page
2011 Teens and Technology Booktrailers by libraries.idaho.gov
YALSA 2010 Teens Top Ten Nomination Booktrailers

And a little bit of research for you:
Cool Kids Read – Recruiting Young Readers with Book Trailers
ALA10: Lights! Cameras! Booktrailers!
The Book Trailer: Engaging Teens through Technology

If you find you enjoy making booktrailers, you may want to consider creating your own YouTube channel to share them on.  Teen librarians are always looking for good booktrailers to share with their teens so make sure you make them easy to find with thorough and accurate labelling.

Please share in the comments your favorite booktrailers, booktrailer channels, and booktrailer creation tips.

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