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Teresa Edgerton For discussion of the works of Teresa Edgerton, also known as Madeline Howard.

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Old 1st February 2007, 07:20 PM   #106 (permalink)
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Re: Promoting My Book with a Video

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The book already earned out its advance before the video was even completed. (My first royalty check gave our budget a nice boost.) And any extra readers the video brings in could help the next book get off to a nice start.
Now that's got to be satisfying! Congratulations. My agent rang me yesterday, delighted with my sales figures for the first year. It appears that my net figures for the first year with S & S totalled around 25 000 books - small fry in the US, I'm sure, but apparently it's more than respectable over here. Not earned out yet, though, so I've more work to do. Royalty checks are still the stuff of dreams.

Still looking forward to Hidden Stars part 2.
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Old 1st February 2007, 07:47 PM   #107 (permalink)
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Re: Promoting My Book with a Video

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It's an interesting video by the way. Who did you work with for the production of it?
My husband and I produced it ourselves, philo. Our daughter Daisy is listed as Executive Producer because she did most of the scheduling and was invaluable in other ways as well. She also recruited Charles, who ended up bringing a lot of his equally talented friends into the project.

We were surprised to find so many wonderfully creative people who were willing to donate their services for the love of their art and a chance to do something different and fun. One of our actors (Mark) turned out to be a makeup artist who also did prosthetics. Another (Daniel) turned out to be a talented musician who composed an original score for us with a friend. (It's all electronic music, though it doesn't sound like it.) We ended up with five different performers who were accustomed to working with fire in their acts.

(You go for years and years without meeting a single fire-eater, and suddenly you know three, plus a young woman who does fire-poi and a guy who blithely tells you he can set his arm on fire if you'd like him to. Unfortunately, there were no instances of fire-eating in the book -- obviously a serious oversight on my part -- so we couldn't make use of that particular skill. The fireballs, however, were real.)

The money we spent went into costumes, props, editing software, a better video camera, and things like that. Also into feeding our volunteers on the set, that being the least we could do for them. Some of the costumes and props we already had or could borrow, but a lot had to be bought or made especially for the project.

My husband did the video-taping and we both did the editing and special effects. (He did the bulk of the special effects, though.) We used imovie and Stupendous. We made a lot of mistakes out of ignorance -- some we could fix, and some we couldn't, because we filmed outside and the light got worse and worse as winter advanced -- but we learned from every mistake. Lesson #1 being that the next time we try anything like that (supposing we ever do) we'll do all the taping in the late spring or the summer.

It took a little less than three months start to finish -- during a time of year when scheduling was particularly difficult. (We did have the advantage of being able to buy a few things at the Halloween stores, though.) Another thing we would do differently would be to spend more time on pre-production. Most of the costumes we made were finished only hours before we needed them, which is not the best way to work.
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Old 1st February 2007, 07:53 PM   #108 (permalink)
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Re: Promoting My Book with a Video

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My agent rang me yesterday, delighted with my sales figures for the first year. It appears that my net figures for the first year with S & S totalled around 25 000 books - small fry in the US, I'm sure, but apparently it's more than respectable over here.
Nope, those are good numbers over here, too. Enough that any publishing house would be happy to keep you around.
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Old 1st February 2007, 11:18 PM   #109 (permalink)
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Re: Promoting My Book with a Video

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Nope, those are good numbers over here, too. Enough that any publishing house would be happy to keep you around.
So why can't we convince a US publisher to take me on? Seems crazy to me. I guess I'll just have to keep getting the numbers bigger until they can't ignore me any more!
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Old 2nd February 2007, 12:33 AM   #110 (permalink)
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Re: Promoting My Book with a Video

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So why can't we convince a US publisher to take me on? Seems crazy to me.
Maybe for the same reason that even in the days when I was moderately successful British publishers never picked up anything of mine.

But perhaps our ability to promote our own books across international borders will eventually convince them to reconsider their foolish, foolish ways.
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Old 2nd February 2007, 04:38 AM   #111 (permalink)
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Re: Promoting My Book with a Video

To avoid a possible threadjack... Teresa, I've sent you a PM.
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Old 2nd February 2007, 06:33 AM   #112 (permalink)
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Re: Promoting My Book with a Video

No need to worry about that, really, since all questions about the video are welcome.

But I'll answer your PM in the same way, because I'm too lazy to copy it over here.
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Old 2nd February 2007, 08:12 AM   #113 (permalink)
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Re: Promoting My Book with a Video

I just took a look at the video, and as somebody who tried to do blue screen stuff in amateur filming (ok, ten years ago, and we failed miserably) I have to say, not bad at all. I sure hope this helps your sales, or future sales.

The problem about taking something to film is, people (me included) have grown accustomed to professional film editing and special effects, so the trailer does seem a bit quaint at times. For future trailers, I think you could raise the perceived quality quite a bit, if you concentrate on scenes with less action, and with less obvious effects shots. The latter also makes filming and post-production easier. For example, the scene where the group is ascending that cobble road, and the girl refuses to let the guy help her, tells a lot more about the story than many of the action scenes. Or the scene in the end, where the people are lying in the water.

If there are sensible close-up shots and your actors are comfortable to do them, I'd go for more of them, because if most of the screen is filled by a reasonably well made-up, well lit actor, you don't need (m)any requisites to make the background believable.

Also, in most shots, the camera is static. If you use a steady-cam (a heavy hang-around-your-shoulders mount for the cam), you can do fairly good pan shots (like, from a close-up to watching the sea), and possibly moving shots. You could probably construct a makeshift one from an old tripod and something heavy, to absorb the little motions everyone makes while moving. Or deliberately go for a Blair Witch effect with close to the ground shaky shots (a wolf hunting someone, maybe?), just run through the forest five times and pick the best one.
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Old 2nd February 2007, 07:28 PM   #114 (permalink)
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Re: Promoting My Book with a Video

All good suggestions, Daniel, looking at it only as a film, but as an advertisement for a fantasy novel we figured (and I still think) that the action and effects are what will catch the readers' interest. I have to admit, though, that the scene on the hillside you mention is generally a big hit with the women.

I've seen a number of trailers for fantasy novels, and most of them rely on paintings and beautiful (pirated) music. I wanted to see if it was possible to do something different. Now that I know that it is, I believe we could do everything better another time, considering all that we learned. This was our first ever attempt at compositing or special effects of any sort. We were filming it and learning how to do all these things at the same time.

As for the static camera, with the green screen it pretty much had to be, since the screen wasn't all that large. With the location shots there was often something just outside of the frame that we were trying to avoid (like graffiti on the rocks). If we'd taken more time to scout for locations, that might not have been a problem.
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Old 3rd February 2007, 03:21 AM   #115 (permalink)
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Re: Promoting My Book with a Video

I just watched the final trailer tonight- I didn't realize how different it would be from the first one I watched!

I do think your trailer is fundamentally different than other book trailers I've seen, Teresa, fantasy or otherwise. For one thing, it's longer than a lot of the others. And, it actually gives some indication of what the book is about <g>. Actually, it seemed to me to be a fairly good refresher of what happened throughout the book- it definitely jogged my memory. A lot of the other trailers I've seen just kind of have a lot of smoke and shadows and a voice-over that talks about the author's previous success and then shows a close-up of the book. Which is fine, of course- but like I said, a very different approach from the one that you've taken.

For what it's worth, I thought that the trailer was very good and it was clearly one that had a lot of personality involved and I think that would also hit potential readers more than some of the others- it seemed to me, at least, that the people involved had at least =read= the book. I did find it a little long, but I've long thought that I have attention problems :-)
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Old 3rd February 2007, 04:03 AM   #116 (permalink)
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Re: Promoting My Book with a Video

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It seemed to me, at least, that the people involved had at least =read= the book.
Since one of those people was me, I would hope that it would convey that impression!

Although, to be perfectly honest, even with the author on hand we did have to make some choices about what it was possible to do versus an absolutely accurate rendition of what goes on in the book. We couldn't get people who matched my descriptions of all the characters, for instance, and they did an unrepresentative amount of walking compared to what they did in the book, because the logistics of borrowing horses and getting actors who could ride them (not to mention bringing all the appropriate equines and equestrians together on the same day) ultimately defeated us.

As I've said, it was an experiment. And one reason why I started this thread (aside from the obvious and blatant one of promoting the video, and therefore the book) was the hope that others might, through seeing the video and reading about how we made it, be inspired to try something of the same sort themselves. If book trailers are going to be the next big thing (by no means proven as yet), I'd like to think that this form of promotion is open to writers (like myself) of modest resources as well as the big names who have their publishers' money behind them.

I know that many writers get their first big push to sit down and write by looking at something somebody else has written and thinking "I can do better than that." If a brand new writer or a midlist writer looks at my video and thinks they can do better and goes out and does it -- I will be thrilled. It is what I hope will happen.
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