My name is Hanna Sandvig, and I love books.
Seriously, I love them. I was a total book nerd as a kid and even with two small children I manage to consume a shocking amount of books. I clearly come by this honestly, and I couldn’t be more excited to have an author for a mother (and you know what? She’s pretty good. I’ve read a lot of books, I can tell). My creativity may come from her, but it made me into an artist, not an author.
Lately, I’ve started doing cover illustration for books and I have to say, it’s pretty much the best thing ever to be using my art to help people get excited about great books. I love it so much that I’ve started a new website, just to focus on cover art, The Book Cover Bakery.
(Valerie: Yes, those are my beautiful granddaughters with their lovely mom and dad!)
While I was working on the cover art for my mom’s upcoming book, Wild Mint Tea, we were discussing how tricky it can be for books to find their audience, even when they are really great, without a large traditional publisher behind them. It’s amazing that anyone can sell books on Amazon, but that leads to soooo many books to sift through! My mind kept coming back to book trailers. There was just one problem: I didn’t really like book trailers.
As far as I could tell, there were two kinds of book trailers for novels. The first type is kind of like a Powerpoint presentation, a bunch of still photos with some text. Some music. Sometimes these are okay but usually I have to admit that I get super bored watching them.
The second kind, which seems to be catching on more lately, are cinematic book trailers. These are like movie trailers, or even short films. They can be really well done, but making short films is not in my skill set. Plus, you have to hire actors, write a script, have a working video camera…that’s not in the price range of a small publisher or self-publishing author.
So I thought about it for a while. How could I use my skills as an illustrator to create something fun enough that people would want to show it to their friends? Something simple enough to create that it could be within the budget of an indie publisher?
I realized that I had forgotten something. I had seen quite a few book trailers for nonfiction books that I really loved. And I had seen how these trailers had gotten passed around blogs, mainly based on how cute and entertaining they were (seriously, check out this trailer for Blog, Inc. or this one for Paper to Petal. Love them). Okay, so the book trailers I liked were light and cute (perfect for a farm lit book), had fun music and were…animated! Now, a lot of them were paper cut, which isn’t what I do (yet?), but I realized that this was just the inspiration I was looking for.
First I came up the idea and a script. Then I drew a storyboard. This is kind of like a comic strip that shows what will happen in each section of the animation. Mine was a hot mess, as is usual for me at the idea stage.
Next, I pulled up the finished cover art and made cute little versions of the main characters, Claire and Noel. Aren’t they sweet?
I then created the animation frame by frame in Photoshop. Some moving things around, some drawing things in. I was very excited. I could tell that it was going to be super cute. When all the frames were done I chose some royalty-free music and spent a few hours shaking my fist at the computer while I attempted to teach myself how to animate. I haven’t animated anything since high school. That was a while ago. But I prevailed.
Presto! My first (of many, I hope) book trailer. Interested in hiring me to help sell your book with my powers of illustration and cuteness? Visit me over at The Book Cover Bakery!