A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
My rating: 1 of 5 stars, DNF
I read the description for this book and I was really anticipating it, it sounded like a unique and very interesting way to tell a romance!
Nope. I made it through Chapter one by sheer dint of will. Chapter one consists of no less than ten different, first person POV, including the fucking park bench. And frankly all the voices sounded so much alike, it was hard to tell who the hell "I" was without going back up to decipher the name from the curly font (whoever picked that typography...).
I was expecting each chapter to be a different -- and for the love of all that's wordy, there are mechanics to writing! -- third person POV on the love story, which would have been cool.
There is little worse than anticipating a good, unique story and finding out it's the dog's breakfast in terms of style and voice.
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Today I'm going to tell you about a blog that is not my blog, because I'm a snarky bitch and when I try to think of things to write in my blog, that aren't snarky, I usually draw a blank. Hijinksblog is by a wonderful person and, unlike my blog, offers useful writing tips for writers of all skill levels. Julia discusses everything from the ultra newbie dilemma of "How to Begin" and covers important topics like how to handle backstory and avoid the dreaded Mary Sue. I just mock those things. She helps prevent them. She is a hero.
Also, every time she posts a link, the image from her blog comes up--it's a delicious, enticing mug of rich, hot chocolate. However, as generous and heroic as Julia is, she does not offer a hot chocolate recipe. So my dear readers, I am offering a hot chocolate recipe you can savour as you read her blog.
A few people asked me about the hows of making a book trailer--I know, right?! [interrobang love].
First, let's talk about "free". It's true we can make book trailers with no outlay of cash, but our time is worth something, too. If you put in twenty hours on a book trailer and it still looks like something drunken swamp monsters made, you have saved nothing. Pay someone. (That applies to book covers, too.)
With that disclaimer out of the way, here's the "ingredient list"
Windows Movie Maker
Video loops (links at end of post)
Music (links at end of post)
images of your book/cover
quotes from your book
reviewer quotes (if avail)
Other wordy things you want to communicate.
It saves time to have all the wordy things (quotes, website addresses, etc.) organized and easy to access, maybe put 'em all in an .rtf file. Picking and choosing what to include can be the most time consuming part. The second time consumer is poring over the video loop and music sites to pick the just right ones to use. Once you have all the "ingredients", we approach the third time consumer: putting it all together.
1. Open WMM and drag all your video, images, and music in. WMM will automatically link it all into a "movie" in the order you've added them, but that's okay, that's where we start. Now, many people "add titles" -- don't do that, that creates the amateurish look we want to avoid. Instead, move your video loop to the beginning (if it isn't already there) and use "add caption" that will put words on your loop. You can pick your font, point, position, and then decide on the animation. WMM has quite a few to choose from. You also have options to control how long the effect lasts, and it will run faster if you choose a shorter time. That matters because it should match the speed of your music. If you've chosen a slow majestic piece of music and your words move too fast... The words also need to be onscreen long enough to be read. The fewer the words, the less time they need to be there. These times can be adjusted at any point in the process. Use the preview button often.
2. The video loop might be a full minute or more long, so you'll need to use video tools to split it. I'm not going to go too far into stylistic details like how soon to flash your book cover and all that because I've made two book trailers and I'm only slightly less in the dark about the mysteries than you are. I wanted to get my cover up right after running a flashy title sequence, so that's what I did. WMM has some transitions you can play with, fades and swipes, so it's a smooth process. In my second trailer, I made a .jpg of the cover to the right on a black background (the same one WMM uses) so I had space to add words ("add captions") --I'll include my second book trailer at the end so you can see what I mean. Again, under video tools, you have an option to control how long the image displays, and that time will depend on if you're just showing your cover, or if there are additional words. Watch the preview to ensure you can read it. Basically, you're interspersing stills with your video loop (you can use your own video, if you're that skilled and resourceful, of course).
3. The last part of the trailer should be acknowledgements for the video loop(s) and music and any other talent you need to credit (like your cover designer, if it wasn't you). Note that adding or changing transitions often moves your captions, so watch for that in the preview to make sure there's not a lot of blank screen or looping video with no words. Once the visuals all work to your satisfaction it's time to think about that music.
4. Many music tracks are two-three minutes long, so you want to listen to the whole thing to know which part you want to use. Just as you can split video, you can also split music (music editing tools). Now you start looking at the beats of the music and the transitions of your video and images and caption animations. Ideally you're matching them, while not messing up the length of time it takes to read the words. This, for me, is the hardest part, and I suppose it doesn't need to be done, but look at a video where it's been done and one where it hasn't. It's subtle wow factor.
Watch it over and over to make sure you got all the timing as right as you can then you can save it directly to YouTube or to your computer (so you can upload it on your Amazon author page, haven't looked to see if Goodreads allows uploading of videos). Don't forget to save your project in the WMM work file, in case you misspelled your main character's name or some other goof that you completely missed because you were focussed on other things. Not like that happened to me. Nope.
So here is my second trailer, for A Line Drawn in Quicksilver. Which is not available at all find ebook retailers, in spite of what the trailer says, This is a sneak peek for your eyes only.
http://www.partnersinrhyme.com/video/_ (music clips, too)
(you can also Google "free video loops")
Many of these free loops are available under the Creative Commons attribution license (CC-BY) meaning you must give credit where credit is due. Read the the copyright information!
Again--Read the copyright information! Some, especially from the YouTube audio library, need no attribution at all, others do.
If you're having trouble figuring out Windows Movie Maker, just Google WMM tutorials, there's lots of help available online!