Our book trailer pick for this week is for Jennifer Gooch Hummer’s YA coming-of-age novel set in the mid 1980’s, Girl Unmoored. It gives us such a warm feeling, and we hope it gives you one too. After you watch, read on for a behind the scenes peek into the making of the trailer from author Jennifer Gooch Hummer and trailer creator Karen Chase.
Karen Chase: Book trailers are short, often between one or two minutes at most. Any longer and you stand to lose the attention of viewers. With that length, it’s hard for authors to know what to put in and what to leave out. The main concept, for certain, must be included. For your book, I had my thoughts for your story, but what was integral for you to include about your book?
Jennifer Gooch Hummer: There’s more going on in my book than the cover lets on, so in the trailer I wanted to get a little more of the story out there.
Girl Unmoored is set in the mid-80s so I needed a 1985 sensibility about the trailer. Music was perhaps the first thing we needed to figure out. (And I think we nailed it!) My character is thirteen years old, but she is dealing with someone who is dying of AIDS. You smartly used flash words to bring out some of the themes of the story, and one of the words was “AIDS.” I think that was a good and quick way to deliver some of the exposition in the very short time we had to use. You also smartly used a few quick sentences to further tell the story.
Karen: I like to include words versus a voice-over in trailers, because ultimately we are appealing to readers here. So with words, music becomes a key component to instilling energy. With trailer creation, I think it’s also my job to convey the main point an author had when writing it. So, first I read your book from cover-to-cover. I laughed. I cried, I really did. Then we spoke about your intent, your impression, your vision for the trailer, but also about your character, Apron, so I could get some sense of her in the video version.
Jennifer: First off, there’s nothing more fantastic than watching your character come to life through a reader’s eyes. Your interpretation of Apron was
spot on and you were able to get the mood exactly right. It’s paramount that the designer really gets to know the characters in the book, which means
that the designer has to take the time to read the story and “sleep on it” if you will. After that comes the dialogue between author and designer. I could tell that you sincerely adored Apron from the beginning, and that made me trust your vision completely.
Karen: Trust is very important, as is the dialog. Beyond the characters is the importance in building a consistent brand. In building your trailer, we both knew it had to feel like the book cover and website. Thankfully you had access to all the artwork. But how did the additional visuals and music we selected add to what you had already done?
Jennifer: My book cover is an illustration of a sailboat with the sail made out of a key line in the book. It was obvious to both of us that the boat needed
to move in the trailer. But then you came up with flowers swirling and swirling until they became the illustrated girl’s thoughts. Anyone who has read the book knows how well it represents Apron. I’ve watched it over and over, and still I’m mesmerized by how the flowers become something completely different. And as for the music, that was tricky. I certainly didn’t want to pay for the usage of, lets say, “Girl’s Just Want to Have Fun” but the eighties time period demanded legitimate sounding music. Choosing the music with you was fun fun fun!
Karen: The music can greatly alter the impression of the book. It can help show it as dark or cheesy, serious or sweet. The music you selected and your book trailer are part of a larger group of marketing materials you now own. They coordinate with cover art, the website, blogs, and more. Which is important, because you’re using the trailer in more than one place, but along with your other materials, right?
Jennifer: I’ve posted my trailer to my own website, and to the Amazon page for my book, but it wasn’t only for my use. Another great reason to have a trailer is so your publicist can send it out in another press release. Mine sent out another “hit” to the media tooting the new video we had created. I also put it on YouTube.
Karen: Good point. I think authors are just beginning to tap into YouTube, building their own channels, and that helps them be in more places online, which helps with SEO stats and Google rankings. Trailers are often an extra expense, so knowing the costs and the process we went through, would you build a trailer for your next book?
Jennifer: 100% yes. And I plan to, too.
Jennifer Gooch Hummer is the author of Girl Unmoored.
If you’d like even more behind the scenes info, this version of the trailer includes Karen’s “director” commentary.
Is there a book trailer that you can’t stop watching? Send it to us and it could be featured as a Shelf Pleasure trailer of the week!
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