Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Writers' Wednesday: A New, Fast, Free Way to Make Book Trailers!

Hey writers! You know those book trailers that some people say are cool, others say don't sell books, and still others spend a lot of time and money to make? Well, if you haven't heard of the website Animoto, stop right now and go check it out. I just became familiar with it about a month ago, though it's been around for longer than that. It's basically this oh-so-cool way of creating videos that takes literally minutes.

All you do is upload your pictures, text, and video clips if you want, and Animoto arranges them into a short video for you. That's it! You can play with the organization of your items and change the music too. Best of all, the basic version is FREE and allows you to create 30-second videos that you can download or share on the web or through email.

Awesome, right? Now, the downsides are that you don't have a lot of control over the background/slides/transitions (although you do have some; play around with how you order your items, and the background and transitions will change), and if you want a video that's longer than 30 seconds, it will cost you $. But the next version up is only $5/month. Still a great deal! And in my opinion, 30 seconds is enough time to give readers a taste of your book and leave them wanting more.

Want to see the one I made for my upcoming Cocktail Cruise novella series? This one took me probably an hour total to make, because I didn't know anything about the website and because I wanted to change the music, so I took some time to go through their library of music options, which is pretty extensive. Other than that, it was painless.

Copy of Cocktail Cruise Trailer

Have you used Animoto? Give it a try if you haven't - and share your video if you end up making one! I'd love to see it :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Mentionables: A Trip to Iceland!

Every once in a while, a girl has to take a break from the usual and the familiar and just get away from it all. So last week, during our spring break, Hubby and I took a trip to Iceland.

Yes, that's right, Iceland, the land of fire and ice, wayyyy up there near the Arctic Circle, where about 320,000 people live on a landscape that is constantly shifting and erupting and cracking. And you know what? It was beautiful. We took probably 100 photos, at least, but I'll only post a few here, to give you the highlights :) My advice: GO, if you ever have the chance. It's about a 5-hour flight from the Northeast United States, the flights and tours are very reasonable (check out TravelZoo for ongoing deals) and it's a beautiful place, peaceful and quiet with super-nice people and hot springs/baths to die for. If it wasn't so darn expensive to live there, I might actually consider moving to Iceland one day...

It's called "the land of fire and ice" for a reason - there are geysers, hot springs, and glaciers everywhere! 

Downtown Reykjavik

One of the many massive waterfalls  

Iceland sits on 2 opposing tectonic plates, which means it's actually separating at a rate of 2 cm/year. Crazy!

We got to spend an afternoon hiking on a glacier - one of the high points of the trip

Guilfoss Waterfall, one of the most beautiful sites there!