Pirate Booty

August 11, 2008









Visit http://www.emilybryan.com/Contest.htm to enter my PIRATE BOOTY CONTEST. The winner will receive their choice from my backlist and a signed copy of one of my guest, Kathryne Kennedy’s books as well!





On my local RWA loop, one of the other writers asked what types of promo actually work to introduce an author to new readers. Wow. If I knew the answer to that one, I’d be able to retire to Maui next week. I sort of use the shotgun method myself. I spray the news about my newest release, DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS in every outlet I possibly can and hope that some of it hits the targets.

And one of things I use is book trailers or bookpeeks, as they are sometimes called. Now I know some authors spend beaucoup de bucks having their trailers made professionally. Since I’m not sure they work, I can’t see investing in one since I’m able to put together my own for under $25. But wait you say–What kind of trailer can you make for that piddling amount? Well, check mine out and you tell me. http://www.veoh.com/channels/emilybryan

Ok, I know the music isn’t too hot. There is a way to download professional music clips, but that requires more money and lots of people, like me, regularly turn the speaker on their computer off. Besides, I’m not related to my father for nothing. He’s been known to pinch a penny till it squeals. But cheesy music notwithstanding, the pictures give a hint at what the book is about. And hopefully sparks some interest, which is all a book trailer is expected to do. And for less than $25, I can afford to have it out there even if it doesn’t sell a single book.

So how did I do it? I’m glad you asked. First I downloaded Photostory3 FREE! This is a very simple program that allows you to put pictures together, create captions to tell the story and generate your own music for the bookpeek. I’m the anti-techno queen. Ask anyone. But Photostory is easy and intuitive. My uber-techie husband tells me that means it’s designed to be used by people who can’t even buy a clue. So even the wishiwasa-geek can do it. Like me.

Where did I get the pictures I hear you ask? Google: royalty free photos. You’ll find dreamstime and istock and a host of other sites where folks offer their photos for a very small fee. Some authors like to take their own pictures, but that requires talent with which I have not been gifted. I have a lovely collection of photos of headless family members if anyone’s interested.

One of the things I’ve noticed about book trailers is that they are sometimes too long and give away the entire story. Before I went looking for pictures, I thought about the elements of my story, trying to pick out the most enticing, of course. Then I wrote 10 phrases that tease my book. There isn’t room for complete sentences without covering the picture. Once I was satisfied with my copy, I went in search of 10 pictures that would fit my phrases. Plan to spend a couple hours. Ten frames will give you a trailer that’s about a minute long, which is long enough.

Then I enlisted my techie husband’s help in saving my finished product as a file type that would be accepted by the video sites. To my sorrow, I can’t get YouTube to like my DUCHESS. That site won’t take the upload, but Veoh and MySpace took it without a blink. Dirty rotten YouTube.

One of the benefits of doing a trailer is that it’s sort of like doing a pitch. We need to be able to tell people what our books are about in extremely short form. I’ve heard some authors browse the photo sites before they even write the story as an exercise in brainstorming. If you’re a visual person, like me, you might find it useful.

Wonder if I can do a whole synopsis on Photostory? Might beat the little sticky notes plastered all over my mirror that I use now. Hmmmm . . .


A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you pass it on, you are enriched threefold.”–Henry Miller

With Mr. Miller’s words in mind, I thought that instead of listing my New Year’s resolutions (how many times can one lose the same 50 pounds?) I’d share my favorite book with you. My reading tastes are so eclectic, it’s hard to choose just one. But if pressed, I’d have to name THE FAR PAVILIONS by M M Kaye as the book I return to again and again.

If you’re looking for snappy dialogue and a breakneck pace, you’d be disapointed. At over 900 pages, this doorstop of a book is a rich, meaty epic set in Victorian India. It chronicles the life of Ashton Hilary Akbar Pelham-Martyn, from his birth in the shadow of the Himalayas to young manhood. We follow his dangerous childhood as companion of a young India ruler, his first heartbreak, his tragic real love for an Indian princess whom he can’t have. For adventure and romance set against the clash of cultures under the British Raj, I don’t think there’s another story that can touch it. I think they made a mini-series movie of it a few years ago, but I couldn’t watch it. None of the actors could possibly become the characters I already knew and loved so well.

I wore out the copy I had, so my dear husband bought me a new one this year for Christmas.

So now it’s your turn. If you could only have one book, which one would you pick? I’ll look forward to reading about your favorites. Who knows? I might discover a new favorite thanks to you.

Every month, I put recommended reads on my websites. You might want to check out www.dianagroe.com and www.emilybryan.com for interviews with hot authors and their new releases. Hope you stop by.