Chicken Scratches and a Trailer

I’m not sure what compels me to make book trailers. They aren’t very effective as far as advertisements go, not mine, at least. Like who really says, “I think I might want to read a book. Perhaps, I should watch some book trailers to decide which one.”

No one.

No one does that.

And yet, I persist. I think part of me just wants to prove to myself that I can do it…again?

So I did put together a trailer for Desmond Winters in the Realms of the Caged Sun. I really wanted an animated trailer; it is a book for kids, after all. Not crazy Disney-level animation but some variety of drawings moving on the screen.

I found some free animation software. The concept looked really great, but it was endlessly complicated and didn’t save my file properly one night after I’d worked on it for hours.

I also looked at using Flash. I actually have that software already. I can’t remember why it didn’t work out. It might have been due to my extremely rusty Flash skills. What I did end up using is PowerPoint. It does a few things with animation and worked okay.

But first, as with most of my projects, I started out with some chicken scratches. Step one was writing the words, and then I decided what images would go with those words.

Here’s a picture of what my semi-coherent notes look like.

trailer notes

Pretty, right? 🙂

I cranked up the contrast to try to make my chicken scratches stand out a little better. You might be able to bigify the picture if you click on it.

So we have 3 columns on the first 2 pages: script notes, animation notes, and timing of each component. I tried to allow adequate time for people to read the words on the screen.

Then I drew up the images in Fireworks, except for the sun at the beginning of the trailer. I did that one in Photoshop because I wanted to paint it.

Each moving part is a different drawing. There’s a beastie that’s a combination of a mole and a bat, and that drawing is a combination of 4 different image files if you count the fireball.

Animation in PowerPoint is pretty limited because it’s not really built for that sort of thing. There is an animation panel that you have to add to the interface through a setting. Here’s what the pane looked like for one of the slides.

animation pane

Once I had the animations finished, I picked some music. Then I hired a guy on Fiverr to do the voiceover. He was super nice.

Oh, I also edited the video in Windows Movie Maker. With PowerPoint, you can export slideshows as videos. I had to add the music and the voice separately, and I think I added them both in Windows Movie Maker.

The whole project probably took a couple of weeks of evening work time (maybe it was 3?) and I only spent $5 on the voice guy.

Here’s the finished product.

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And the day improves

I know. Two blog posts in one day. This is crazy, but I’m super excited. I came home to both a Stranger Things shirt and a box of books!

First, the shirt. It came in my LootCrate. I LOVE Stranger Things. I can’t wait for Season 2.

stranger things shirt.jpg

Now, the books! These copies are going to various individuals and organizations. Library of Congress gets one. A couple of local libraries get them. A couple of people who helped me out immensely with feedback get them.

Bleu the buttface helped me with the unboxing. Here he is going nyoom over them when I was trying to take a picture.

cat picture 1

This was the first chance I had to be at home for more than a few minutes today, so I think he may have been trying to get my attention.   🙂    Big baby.

Here he is next to the box, being slightly less of a blur.

cat picture 2

He is a wild and crazy guy.

Anyway. The book is finally available in both ebook and paperback! There may be a hardcover eventually. Here’s the link to the book on Amazon.

Additional book related posts on the way.

Argh.

I made the mistake of reading a review of one of my books. I usually don’t because it makes me obsess even more about what I might doing wrong with my writing. And trust me, there’s enough of that already.

This one was pretty bad. The number of stars was okay but they tore apart everything from my story pacing to my dialogue to my apparently ineffective use of pronouns. It was just bad. I felt like I was being graded by a really crotchety creative writing teacher.

Sigh.

I won’t be reading more reviews anytime soon. I just need to stay away from them, or else my motivation will be in the toilet. Positive energy only!!! Cue cheesy motivational photo.

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#ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear

These were making me laugh and cringe today!

Writing Stuff

Hey-o! A paperback release is imminent. I will post a link once it’s available. The sequel to that release is nearly finished, so I’m trying to decide what I need to work on next. I have 2 other books in progress. One is a rough draft I finished about a year ago. The other is a rough draft that I stopped working on right in the middle for some reason or another. I hate it when I do that, by the way. It’s really the best method I have for annoying myself.

Anyway, so I picked up the half-written thing today, thinking that might be the next project. I really like what I wrote so far. Most of the time, writing feels like I’m trying to run backward uphill. It’s kind of awkward, and I can’t always see where my feet are going to land. When I picked this story up to look over it, I was pleasantly surprised.

Sometimes, despite the awkwardness of the process, things click into place, and they flow just the right way. That was today, and it was a really good feeling. I’m looking forward to getting back to it, now.

The only bad part of having a project that I really love is that I have more trouble seeing what’s wrong with it when editing time arrives. I’ll have to be careful with this one.

In unrelated news, have I mentioned that I like popcorn?

popcorn

Toy Collection 6: License Plates

I’m posting at a weird time today because I’m: 1. not currently present at the day job (vacation day) and 2. avoiding various responsibilities like checking voicemails, etc.

Today we have movie and tv license plates! We just finished this part of the collection. There actually aren’t as many to choose from as one might think.

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On the left, we have Smokey and the Bandit, Ecto-1 (Ghostbusters), and Jurassic Park. On the right, we have Knight Rider, Back to the Future, and Jeepers Creepers. That last one needs some distress. It’s a little battered in the movie.

But, you ask, what is that tucked behind the corner of the Back to the Future license plate?

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Why, it’s a copy of Marty McFly’s driver license! This came with the license plate. It may have been a surprise; I don’t remember for sure. This is made out of metal like the license plate.

TTFN

Pub Notes

So I’ve been trying to get this whole publishing beast to fly and mostly, with the exception of extreme delay on the first print book release, it’s going pretty well.

I’ve been reading a bunch of queries from authors lately. This is the first time I’ve ever been on this side of the query business, and I have some thoughts.

If you are an author, please pay attention to what the publisher accepts. I have seen this advice from literary agent blogs, etc and I can tell you that it’s really annoying when you open your inbox and you see a bunch of emails that do nothing but waste your time.

Also, please don’t try to query through a comment on a blog. Just…no.

Please don’t send books you already published, especially if they aren’t killing the game. Asking someone to pick up your slack after the fact is a no-go, for real. People are interested in new releases because they’re new.

Lastly, keep your book description brief and bare-bones simple. I keep getting these queries that I can barely finish reading, not because the writing is necessarily bad, there’s just way too much information. Seriously, I’m practically cross-eyed by the end of it. Whoever reads your query does not need every subplot and its cousin crammed into one email.

That’s all I have for now. I may have a new collection post tomorrow. We finished our movie and TV license plate collection, so it seems like an appropriate enough time to post it.

Now please enjoy this picture of a very long Bleu.

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