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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Don't make your books into trailer trash

Welcome to Rachel Bostwick, the designer of all my book trailers and also an author in her own right, who's accepted my invitation to share some tips for authors on making pro book trailers.

Rachel's website

Graphic designer by day, aspiring novelist by night, R. L. Wicke explores the fullness of life set against the compelling beauty of a post-apocalyptic Earth. Her writing has been described as rich and filled with reverence for the characters who struggle and fight at the end of one world and the beginning of the next.

She lives in Amish Country, PA with her husband, a million cats, and four feral children. She seeks to help out fellow writers and lovers of fiction by offering her pro design skills and her natural talent for encouragement.

I need intro music for Rachel and she is just the right person to choose it. What would you like as your theme, Rachel, and why?

My husband would choose Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong by the Spin Doctors. He always gives me that wicked look in his eye when it comes on the radio. I would choose Hallelujah by the Newsboys – it’s about having faith when life gets tricky and it’s the one song that I’ve always felt was actually written for me.

The first trailer you made for me, One Sixth of a Gill keeps to your basic template ( which can be ordered from Rachel at fiverr for only $5 ).  

One Sixth of a Gill

Can you talk us through your creative process?
Well, working with you has been amazing, Jean, because as a photographer as well as a writer, you have an eye for beauty. 
(I'm blushing here but thank you for the compliments!)

I try to get a feeling for the tone of the book – is it funny or dramatic or sad or compelling or adventurous? Then I choose music and images that will communicate that directly to potential readers.

What can authors do to help you make more compelling trailers?
Communication is key. Tell me what feeling you want to pass on to the reader so I can work with the right ideas in mind. For example, yesterday a client told me that his book appeals to the Sex and the City crowd. That gave me the exact right idea for choosing music. But even simple things like 'My book is humorous and appeals to women in their twenties,' is helpful.

What makes your work more difficult?
The hardest thing to work with is images that are too small. I can have a basic book trailer done in a single day if I start with the right images. Free images of highest quality can be found on or on Better yet, if you want to make a striking impression, you can buy images on one of many stock photography sites out there. If you feel like that’s too much of a time investment, I am able to choose and even license professional images for you.

Authors can ask you to customize trailers for a few dollars more. In our work together, I’ve really appreciated the way you see the story and show it, using my images and your choice of musical theme. You were especially pleased with this trailer: why? 

Faithful through Hard Times

How did you get into making trailers?
I’ve been a professional graphic designer since my late teens, but I never did much video. When I decided to pursue writing, I made friends with many other authors and was exposed to some book trailers that I felt were poorly done. I started making my own for fun, just to inspire me in writing my drafts. A good friend mentioned that he thought it was something I could do professionally, so I started making them for friends, just to see if I could. And I could :)

Rachel's fivver link for trailer design
You’re a writer too. How do you combine working at home with looking after young children?
Flexibility is the key. My kids are young enough that they still need me all the time. I set my deadlines so that I always have extra time to put something off a day or two. I know that my time with my children is limited, so I try to make sure it’s always ‘yes’ to them and ‘later’ to work. I fail at that sometimes, but it’s my guiding principle.
Tell us about your own writing. 

I am currently penning the first novel in a young adult post-apocalyptic series, titled The 7th Judge, set a century in our future. Three decades past, mankind was wiped to near-extinction overnight by a fatal sleeping sickness. Now a thriving civilization blooms in the ruins of New York City. Lux is one of the Undergrounders, a single father trying to raise his daughter in one of the poverty-stricken subway barrios. When Lux is conscripted by law to be the consort of a high-ranking official, he becomes involved in a series of murders that threaten to shatter the tenuous peace of the Boroughs and destroy his new family.
amazon link
A prequel short story Fairy Tales for the Very Young set in the world of the 7th Judge was published in The Dragon’s Rocketship scifi anthology, The Ship’s Log, available here and a popular free story prequel, titled The Last Firefly and featuring Lux’s daughter, Summer, is available on my website here 

Another story I’m very proud of is Her Betrayer, a horror short with a twist.

What are your plans for 2015?
In the last half of 2014, I helped approximately 40 authors create gorgeous trailers for their books. I’d like to help at least a hundred in the new year! I’ve also added book covers, Kindle formatting, and Facebook banners to my Fiverr store, so I’m looking forward to helping my fellow writers make a great impression in the new year. 

Rachel's book jacket design service on fivver
I also hope to put the finishing touches on the first draft of The 7th Judge and have it professionally edited while raising each of my children to individual brilliance, helping my husband find his true calling in life, and becoming an independent millionaire who owns her own island castle paradise. But I’ll be perfectly satisfied just to keep my children safe and happy and get a little writing done on the side. 

Rachel, thank you so much for joining me on my blog and for making these wonderful trailers for my books. Good luck with all your projects!

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