Grooving into the vast book universe with a book trailer

If you’re a small press author who has virtually no name recognition, how do you get attention for your new book (your third) because shouting Look, I have a book! Again! into the void that is Twitter isn’t the answer. So why do I think shouting Look, I have a book trailer! will be any different?

Because pictures and music bring Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories out of the pages and onto the small screen to make the case that these stories are worthy of your attention.

And, hey, I did the voiceover. That’s my voice channeling the hopes and dreams, the ache of humiliation, the roil of growing awareness of a young brown girl deserving of a place in the world. I loved doing that part. In fact, I loved imagining the whole thing into being on paper, adapting the text written for the book cover and press kit, and interspersing it with the words of praise from other authors that gave context for and insight into the story.

Kristen Millares Young’s words about society’s role in “seeding self-effacement into the body of a young brown girl” open the video.

Next, is Sharma Shields’ warning about the protagonist Angie Rubio’s effect on the reader: “…prepare for Angie to steal your heart.”

Kathleen Alcalá sets the time period, calling Angie “a smart girl of color in a world gone mad during the 1960s.”

Later, after a series of illustrations depicting angst-filled moments in Angie’s life, Ivelisse Rodriguez’s words about such moments appear on screen – “These stories say with love and sincerity: I see you.”

A few more scenes from Angie’s life follow and words from both Grace Talusan (“You will root for Angie…”) and Soniah Kamal (“… you’ll be rooting for her, for all the Angie Rubios out there.”) reflect my own goal to evoke empathy and identification with Angie in these stories.

Photo of artists Daniel Ramirez

Follow Daniel on Facebook: @DannyDanielEC · Artist

At the end of the trailer are Nancy Pearl’s words, a finale of sorts: “I adored Angie Rubio.”

But the purpose of a video is to feature visuals. At first, I merely noted in the script a general description of what each picture might portray. I figured I would allow the artist I would hire artistic freedom to arrive at their own interpretation of the scene I merely hinted at.

But I realized when I eventually hired the artist – Daniel, my daughter’s partner still in Ecuador awaiting a visa (for that complicated story, see “Leaving Ecuador and a Loved One During a Pandemic“) – that I was the one who knew the stories and character intimately. So I sketched in my non-artist way what I had in mind for each scene. I give you an example of my crude attempt, alongside Daniel’s art.

Rough sketch for Living Color book trailer illustration          Illustration by Daniel Ramirez

It’s one of seven drawings he did for the video, all of which I think capture the essence of Angie’s situation of quiet otherness and, as Kristen Millares Young describes it, her “gradual awakening.”

To add to the vibe, I found music on that has a groove of the 60s, upbeat but soulful as if concealed in its effervescence there is the steady drumbeat of something just a little bit dark. To pull it all together, I searched on Fiverr for a video artist and found Flo, whose sample work was whimsical and charming, but also thought-provoking.

I can’t wait to share the book trailer with you, this combination of creative modes – my book, Daniel’s illustrations, and Flo’s video talents. When I shout it out on Twitter, will it echo in the void, or will anyone in the Twitterverse respond? Anyone? Or do I just let it groove in its own private coolness?


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