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A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed young adult author Meredith Zeitlin about her book trailer for Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters.

Today, I’m pleased to interview Cori McCarthy about her trailer for her YA debut, The Color of Rain, which comes out May 14th!

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I was already excited to read Cori’s book, but this trailer made me rabid. I’m excited to look at another effective trailer that’s so different from Meredith’s trailer in both process and content.


 
Here’s what I asked Cori:

Did you have any collaboration with your publisher in making the trailer? Did they have conceptual input at all or feedback for you while it was in progress?

I decided to make the trailer because I was having a fun conversation with Amy Rose Capetta. I believe I said something like, “I have iMovie. Maybe I’ll just make one.” I fiddled around with it and made something that afternoon and sent it off to my publicist to hear her thoughts. She gave me some great feedback about shortening it (it went from one minute and ten seconds to fifty seconds, which actually made a big difference). She also suggested that my Kirkus quote should reveal during the voice over to engage the audience while they’re listening to the (rather long) text.

I should also note that Amy Rose is the one who thought it would be cool for the screen to go black when the voice over says, “For now.” She’s quite brilliant.

How was your trailer made? What software was used? Did you make it yourself? Hire someone?

I made the trailer all by myself! I used iMovie, which is extremely basic software that comes on all Macs. I find it to be effective while infuriating.

Trailers can be an investment. Did this cost you a lot or a little?

My trailer didn’t cost me anything but time. Here’s the breakdown: the original trailer took me an afternoon, about three hours, to make. However, finessing it and making the changes that my publicist suggested took a whole weekend.

Did you consider other approaches, and if so, how did you rule them out and land on this one?

Nope. Too poor to consider paying for a trailer.

The main image is from the cover, right? It’s very simple, yet the movement makes it feel like it was designed for this purpose. Did you have to modify that image to make it work for this?

I really wanted a space image for the background. I looked at some things online, but the problem is, you can get in a lot of trouble using something you find on the internet—you never know whose artwork you might be accidentally stealing. I knew that Running Press had purchased the background image for the book, so I used that fairly exclusively. I didn’t have to change it, per se, although I stretched it in places and colored it for the “gone scarlet” effect.

Is there any particular choice that really pleases you after seeing how it turned out? 

I really like the way I blended two images to make it seem like the sunburst is actually happening around the side of the planet. I have to admit…that one was an accident that I just ran with.

You chose a really arresting piece of text for the voice over. What were you looking for in choosing it?

I wanted something visual, very specific, and not too science fictiony since I’m trying to entice non Sci-Fi fans with this book. (My agent calls it light Sci, heavy Fi.). Amy Rose helped me choose the passage concerning the bracelets, and I edited it down to keep it simple. I’m glad it’s, as you say, “arresting,” because the book contains graphic violence and sexual, emotional and physical abuse. While I want to engage readers, I also want to warn them that the subject matter is not for everyone, and definitely not for readers under the age of fourteen.

I think that is your voice? Correct me if I’m wrong. What was the recording process for that like?

I scribbled out what I wanted to say and sat on my bed with my iPhone. I recorded it using the Voice Memos app, and then emailed it to myself. I tried it many different ways…some more dramatically ridiculous than others, and ended up choosing the one where I was basically whispering. In fact, if you listen careful, you can hear my husband call my son’s name right before the planet turns red. Ha, I tried to edit that out, but Garage Band software angers me.

Where did you find the music for the trailer?

I played my guitar for the music. I tried a few lovely melodies and then realized that simple was best, strumming out a few harmonics.

Now that you have the trailer, what will you do with it?

I shall put it everywhere and hope that people share the link! I’m hoping that the trailer reaches unexpected readers and also helps people decide if they want to read it or not. Like I said before, my book is not for everyone.

Do you have any advice for an author who’s considering making a trailer for their book? Anything you wish you’d known going in?

I would say that you can make a trailer if you have a Mac, although I would never attempt such a thing on a PC—the freezes and subsequent information loss could be devastating.

As I reread my responses to your questions, it occurs to me that simple is best when it comes to trailers. There were lots of text-swoopy options that I tried that just looked too flashy, and in the end, I let the most dramatic aspect be the book text, which I hope makes it own statement.

If any writers out there are considering making a trailer and would like my input, please feel free to contact me. I might even be in the business of building them for friends for the low low price of a manuscript swap!

Thanks, Cori! And congrats on your upcoming book! I can’t wait to read it.

Don’t forget to visit Cori’s website, and you can follow her on Facebook or Twitter as well!

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