A Different Kind of Book Trailer

Fan Book Trailers

Writers, we all know book trailers (When done right and tight) can bring readers a thrilling tease for their book, and we commonly think of book trailers for books we’ve written recently, trailers for books a little long in the tooth can be a great way to recharge and renew interest in backlist titles.

Authors (Such as Katie Davis, who we profiled during Picture Book Month 2013, and created “Video Idiot Boot Camp” where I learned to tackle and eventually embrace the power and reciprocity of video) uses this tactic to great effect.

But for readers, or writers who are pre-published or struggling to build a platform, making book trailers for your favorite books can be a great way to show the author your support and show your potential readers what you’re like through what you love to read.

For authors and illustrators, it’s a great way to support your colleague’s work and helps your visibility as well, especially if you write in the same genre. It’s also a great way to crossover to a new audience and show your current audience and platform in a new light.


Recently, I did a trailer for a book I didn’t write, but love and want this first book in a four book series to get more love and attention-

[sz-youtube url=”http://youtu.be/cJIIAcJubZs” userdata=”Taury” /]


It’s a way to “promote” T.A.A. and my author brand without it being directly about me or my writing specifically.

Today, I share yet another fan-made trailer for a book close to your Literary Rat’s Heart-


[sz-youtube url=”http://youtu.be/dQDJe2b_teY” userdata=”Taury” /]

I’ll soon be writing a feature series on how readers and authors can support the unsung authors and books that don’t get “Bestseller” attention by creating book trailers of books you love, especially if they’re older titles that don’t have ones of their own (In the “Old Days”days when trailers were only for movies)

While I love doing book reviews on T.A.A. and plan to do more in 2014, fan made book trailers are another way to engage your audience and (For authors and/or illustrators) build one’s platform (I prefer to call it “Community”) without pushing yourself in annoying or uncomfortable ways.

This is also positive way we can share our love and fandom to authors and our circle of avid book lovers, be they fellow writers or lay readers.

Since most authors don’t read any comments or reviews of their own books (For varied and personal reasons), this is a way we (Be it author or lay reader) can share our love for their work without the critical factor reviews (Even positive ones) can have.

What do you think of my newest fan book trailer? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. T.A.A. loves hearing from its readers.

That’s all for today. Until Next time, may the fantastical fauna be with you

Picture Book Month – Author Spotlight #2: Katie Davis

Today, as Picture Book Month Continues, I’m happy to introduce an author who’s helped me as much as I now hope to help her now, and made the word “Business” less of a dirty word for me. (It used to ber a MAJOR “Hulk Trigger” to hear that word), but while I’m not cured, I’m at least in rehab. author-illustrator (And all-around “Writerpreneur”

[Writer + Entrepreneur] Katie Davis.



(Meet Katie, Author, Illustrator, Video Marketing Maven and unofficial “Soothsayer of Reciprocity”)


Katie is the author/illustrator of 8 (Soon to be 9!) Picture Books, from her debut classic “Who Hops?” (1998) to fan favorites, “I Hate to Go to Bed”*, “Kindergarten Rocks” and “Little Chicken’s Big Day” which also marked Katie’s first collaboration with her husband, movie producer/author, Jerry Davis, who has his a hand in many well known animated films, most notably the first “Toy Story”, “Ice Age”, and (Katie’s Fave) “The Iron Giant.”

Jerry’s most recent film “Epic” debuted in theaters back in Spring 2013, and is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, or digital download.

Fans of Little Chicken (L.C. as I like to call him) will be glad to know a holiday follow-up is soon to launch, making this Katie’s 9th picture book, and 2nd collaboration with her husband, Jerry-




(*Though “I Hate To Go To Bed” is sadly out of print, it will be re-issued in ebook format with remastered art by Katie, eventually…If you can’t wait, you might be able to hunt out a used copy or find a library near you that still has a copy in the stacks)

Katie has also written a middle grade novel, “The Curse of Addy McMahon” that also sadly is out of print, but again, some books are worth hunting for used, and again, utilize your local library if you can…

On the upside, Katie will soon grace the YA literary landscape for first time with her upcoming (Long Overdue) novel, “Dancing with The Devil” (Title subject to change) scheduled to be released by Diversion Books sometime in 2014.

In addition to her picture books and novels, Katie has also released various nonfiction, such as the ebook guide, “How to Promote Your Children’s Book: Tips, tricks and secrets to create a bestseller” (Which will eventually release in a second edition packed with new content and revised changes to previous info), and in May 2013 (Your Literary Rat’s Birthday Month!) launched “Video Idiot Boot Camp”, an on-demand, 8 lesson course designed to teach authors and other professionals how create engaging videos without needing tons of money, fancy equipment, and the camera skills of Hollywood Cinematographers.

As part of the First Generation of VIBC graduates, who had ZERO experience creating video this time last year, I can personally tell you, with Katie (And her alter-ego sidekick, the Fairy “Vid-Mother”) as your guides, you will succeed in the emerging shift to video-centric content.

YouTube gets a billions of views a day!

Why shouldn’t authors like Katie and myself get a fraction of those views for the content we work hard to provide?

Those of my long-time readers who are also authors, you too can and should grab a slice of the video viewer’s pie, there’s MORE than enough to go around, unlike the pies we can eat…

But don’t just take my word for it, this is a recent video I made to help Katie promote her upcoming release of “Little Chicken’s Big Christmas”-

[sz-youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c_OXGnDo-s” cover=”https://i1.ytimg.com/vi/0c_OXGnDo-s/2.jpg?time=1384398380350″ userdata=”Taury” /]

(I know the cover in the video is white, but I think the final cover will be Green, but I chose the white cover Katie posted on her blog when she hadn’t decided yet and the white contrasted better for the video)

I recently joined Katie’s “Launch Team” to aid in getting the word on on this book. For those of you who listen regularly to Katie’s “Brain Burps About Books” podcast (The No. 1 podcast geared specifically to the craft and business of children’s publishing) know Katie’s (Self-proclaimed cynic as she is) BIG on reciprocity, which is key to not only her success, but that of other writers such as myself who she’s helped reach the next level in the writerly skillsets thanks to her ability to break things down into steps that foster the hope to do better, know better, BE BETTER.

In that spirit of gratitude and reciprocity I learned from Katie (And Julie Hedlund who I spotlighted for my T.A.A. CARES initiative) I joined the team to aid Katie in the Thanksgiving launch of “Little Chicken’s Big Christmas”  and here’s why-

While “Little Chicken’s Big Day” was traditionally published by Simon And Schuster imprint “Margaret K. McElderry Books”, L.C.’s Big Christmas is going the indie route, and this being a holiday release, hence the reason for the concentrated launch, and it was a cool way to get some marketing experience and insights to help make the launch of my debut middle grade novel GABRIEL (pub. date still unknown to me, but I’ll have a BIG UPDATE to share in the near future) that much stronger, and for those of you who gave me so much support and imparting whatever advice you gave me, I’ll do all in my power to be worth the wait.

Plus, this book fits my “Animal Story” theme, and now that I’m addicted to doing video, this just gives me more ways to practice what I’ve learned from VIBC.

The teaser video I did for “Little Chicken’s Big Christmas” was just the FIRST step, I will also be reviewing the book (After getting a review PDF copy from Katie over the weekend, should all go well on her end) and do a review on Amazon at a later date at or just before launch, and later re-post on T.A.A., alongside reviews of other holiday books (Already in my private library) I’ve been LONGING to re-read and review for T.A.A.

You can check out the teaser videos I made for my upcoming middle grade novel, Gabriel from yesterday’s blog post: http://talkinganimaladdicts.com/video-remixing-2

Julie Hedlund (Who I highlight yesterday to support her “Epic Adventure” on Kickstarter) has also taken VIBC (She was the “Original Vidiot” back when VIBC was still in beta) and she herself admits to owe Katie an insurmountable debt and gratitude (As do I) to gain knowledge to something that is now key for writers and other content creators to learn, because while book trends come and go, the demand and need for video is a FINITE game-changer, and no writer wants to be “Left Behind”-

[sz-youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JF-PVpFH3Lg” /]

But UNLIKE another “No [Rhymes with [“Mild”] Left Behind” program/mandate that has been bane the bane of many parent, teacher and non-traditional student’s existence, as writers, we can take video wherever we want, and like the best parents, teachers and mentors for kids and teens, video can “Meet us where we are.” Here’s a quick example-

When a teacher or parent has a child (or teen) who is struggling to read at grade level, or just doesn’t like to read, or they struggle with math, or have social problems. The best teachers find ways to meet students where they are right now, even if that’s WAY far off where the student needs or even WANTS to be (Even struggling students can be Type A overachievers, you know, if a bit disguised)

Creating video (Like writing) is the same way. While I’d LOVE to do the kind of tight, engaging videos like many of my fellow VIBC colleagues, I need to remember that like me, they learned this over time and much trial and error (Just like me), and  throughout the course and in the VIBC Facebook Group (Which ONLY students can join and access) Katie always instills this constant: “It doesn’t have to be ‘Perfect’ but needs to be as professional and tight as you can make it technically, so any imperfections are minor and don’t detract from the overall experience.”

I struggle a bit here as while I’m not a perfectionist regarding video (The I am with say, QUERY LETTERS, which can be onerous and drive me screaming into H***!) I do want it to be professional enough so it represents that I as author take my work (While creative and fantastical) seriously, and not to jerk off the viewers I want to have, some of who will someday buy my books as they’re released.

That said, in my re-do of my welcome video for T.A.A., I had to use a photo of myself, not because I’m paranoid of being on-camera pseudo-real time, but because recording myself via phone or laptop webcam is too low for my standards, plus the fact I talk like a stereotypical chipmunk auctioneer, and people can have a hard time understanding what I’m saying, something those who of you that watched my original welcome video know all too well (Sorry about that, but I will be better next time.)

Now that I’m committed to video, I’m going to eventually invest in some better equipment, because I do want to be on camera for some of my videos and want to be clearly seen, no matter if you’re viewing it on a phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

 (Katie’s a pure Apple devotee, but while I love my iPhone and the iPod Touch [3rd Generation] I used to own before it, and iTunes and QuickTime, PCs have their advantages, too. That said, if I can EVER afford or win a Macbook, I’d get one for Screenflow, I think I’ll navigate it FAR easier than Camtasia [The only known equivalent to Screenflow for PC users], which is only on Macs, why Apple?! You let us PC folks use iTunes and QuickTime but not Screenflow?!)

Katie, if you ever read this, know you aren’t alone in the “Babbling” habit.

This is part of why my videos never hit that 30 second to 1 minute “Sweet Spot” because I’m such a chatty, detail freak, and I’m really more afraid of potential viewers going “Huh?” than “This is a tad too long” as much as I don’t want to go on for longer than necessary, but I’m getting there.

That said, I thank cheddar I find this fun, since the videos I’ve done so far have taken hours to time everything just right, finding legal to use content and music is the easy part (Thanks to the resources and links provided and recommended in VIBC) and what I’ve found on own, it’s bringing the content together that’s the time-consuming part. Some of it’s learning curve, but also just what they take on average.

But it’s worth it when you finally get what you envisioned/scripted to work. Something you know as well as I now, right?

Anyway, that’s all for today.

Check tomorrow for a special spotlight on great authors and/or illustrators who’re sadly no longer with us. Until than, may the fantastical fauna be with you.



Video Remixing



As the T.A.A. faithful already know, I took Video Idiot Boot Camp, an online-based course in making video (Created and taught by Author-Illustrator, Katie Davis, who’s also the creator and host of the “Brain Burps About Books” podcast) back in May 2013, you can click the link below to learn more about my experience-




(You might be convinced to take the course yourself, and I highly recommend you do so)

While I’m proud of how the initial cuts of the videos came out, they still were a bit long, and while I didn’t get them down to the sweet spot of 1 minute or less, they are all now under 2 minutes. The extended versions of the videos can still be found on YouTube and Facebook, but On Pinterest and mobile-centric avenues, these mini versions will be used-

[mvob group=1]

Well, that’s it from me today. I’m working on reviews and author profiles to celebrate “Picture Book Month” on T.A.A.


On that note, I’ve already got 20 picture book ideas listed for PiBoIdMo 2013 (National Picture Book Idea Month) and while I’m not making much headway on my NaNoWriMo 2013 book, I will get it drafted.

(If you haven’t yet subscribed to T.A.A. on YouTube, I hope you’ll consider doing so, we’re also on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+)

Until next time, may the fantastical fauna be with you.




A Different Kind of Editing…


Sorry for not having new content up yesterday, I had some last minute “Life Happens” stuff. But at least my site didn’t blackout again (Knock on Wood!)

But I’m back, and am taking a break from my usual posts to share something I hope those of you with blogs and/or websites can learn from

As you may remember from last week’s post on my staycation to VIBC (Video Idiot Boot Camp) in May, I created a welcome video for my site during the 8 lesson course.

Well, after completing the course, you get a coupon to redeem within five weeks of finishing your initial welcome video for Katie Davis (Creator/Instructor of this course) to review and give pointers on what to clarify or cut. I got my critique yesterday, after my initial effort uploaded a couple weeks ago, and it confirmed three things I suspected-

-Too Long (While nearly 2 1/2 minutes is SHORT for me, it’s not short enough to hook new people to the site, slow transitions and not enough clarification and key info overall)

-Too unclear about my site’s message (I thought it was clear through the visual slides and context of what I said within the slideshow, but I need to be more clear, that’s the trouble with being a pioneer in your field, it’s hard to convey it to others in a concise, non-cliché sounding way.

-My muddled C.T.A. (Call to Action) – I didn’t better show what I want those who come to my site and like it, what they can do to grow the community.

The reason I’m sharing this is twofold. One, to show that just like writing, videos need to be redone when either the content or quality isn’t doing what you intended, either at all, or not enough.

Second, because while it’s true that one of the main hallmark points of VIBC is to help people like me (Who are anal about clarity and giving our best effort) to relax a bit and realize that “Get it Done!” sometimes is more important than “Get it done right.”

That said, some videos (Just like books, for that matter) are worth extra effort and time. Different videos need different things. A book trailer for my upcoming middle grade novel needs to be ideally under 30 seconds, and let me tell you, that kind of brevity is not my strength, but that’s also why I spend more time on Twitter these days, since you’re limited to 140 characters, including spaces, so I’m trying to get more accustomed to showing more with less. I can’t promise shorter blog posts, but I can promise my videos will be tighter going forward.

All that said, I don’t regret my first attempts. It taught me a lot and took the fear away, and the fact that I did engage some new people means I wasn’t way off the mark. But I do need a shorter, more user-driven, welcome video.

I do have some ideas on how to tighten up the length. But I’d appreciate any ideas in the comments below. How would you, current readers of T.A.A., invite some new faces into our community?

If you haven’t seen my original welcome video yet, you can find it at the links below-



Thanks to those of you (In and outside VIBC) who checked out my welcome video. I will get this tighter so the community can grow and flourish.

Until next time, may the fantastical fauna be with you.

I’m Back From Camp!

[sz-youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebYgE97-kwg” /]

Hi All, 

Sorry for the downtime, AGAIN.


I was having one of those “Tech Happens” periods.

As such, I needed to move the site to a new sever (Landlord Maintenance for websites 

for you non-techies) among other things…


I also had to take a break from blogging last week because I was at camp-


7736437820_f55cd78a55_o CAMPING 1


No, not Summer Camp.  


4583505380_0871677cde_o CAMPING 2


Definitely NOT a family camp-out!


(It’s hard enough to engage with my more emotionally reserved

relatives with the comforts of home,never mind in untamed



Besides, Pepper (My canine alter-ego) is in no shape to protect

me from a bear in his golden years.

(12 human years = Older than 70 in dog years, I think…)




 -My  Sweet Pepper, Photo by Me-

(Doesn’t look “Geriatric” does he?)

That said, he snores now, but I’ve adjusted easier

than the relatives I live with to that development this




Anyway, the embedded video at top of this blog post is my new welcome video for



If any long time T.A.A. readers ever doubted what my site was about after

three years, now you know for sure. (LOL!)


Seriously though, this video is what I learned to do at “camp.”


But I didn’t have to head to some shoddy cabin hideaway in the mountains,

where the breeze has to be just right to get a strong internet connection or

cell phone signal, and lots of luck to avoid unwanted guests-


316240_364169667028049_1160620348_n - WILD BEAR

Hey, Hey, Hey! Yogi, that’s not…



This camp I could do at home and where I learned to create my welcome

video for T.A.A. I’m talking about “Video Idiot Boot Camp.” An online, on-

demand training course that teaches even the most tech phobic souls how

to create videos.


Whether you’re a writer like myself, or another type of entrepreneur, you

NEED video as much VITAL as having a  professional (But NOT sterile)



That said, for those of you  who find just moving your site from Blogger or

some other more kitschy blog or site platform to WordPress (Whether that’s the curated, less customizable WordPress.com, or self-hosting your WordPress site like I am) is/was a battle all by itself, the idea of making video sounds like yet another task that asks WAY to much of you.

I get that, and while I’m more tech savvy than some of my relatives, I

couldn’t, for example tell you how to “Master HTML 5.”


Or ANY form of HTML period.


I don’t know HTML or CSS as intimately as I do a book I

love reading (and RE-reading…) or preaching my gospel on the variety

and depth animal fantasy offers beyond picture book land.

(Much as I love and respect picture books as a reader, even if the writer in

me can’t yet give the skill and brevity those books demand…)


But let me tell you, folks, with Katie as you guide, all you have to do is show up

and do your best.


You WILL get a decent video at the end of this 8 lesson

course. But don’t just take my word for it, let Katie give you the lowdown,

in her own words below-


[sz-youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9gsAE-IkS4″ userdata=”Taury” /]

You’ll also find out how to take the first lesson of V.I.B.C. FREE before you decide to buy! (Take advantage of that sample, it hooked me enough to slap my money down) and I’m glad I did.


While there’s always more to learn in life, you CAN reach a level of competency that works for you, I FINALLY believe that for real, after a decade of trying to get my writing career off the ground, and while I’ve sold my first book, that’s not where I can, and most importantly, WANT to stop. Keeping in mind I‘m also trying to get my new novel drafted, on top of running T.A.A.

 Making sure my blog reasonably up to date, launching my e-mail newsletter (Which I hope you’ll subscribe to for fun and exclusive content you won’t get elsewhere), and learn how to make videos, which put a lot of other things I need/wanted to do this month on hold, often looking overly flaky to my family, but that’s what I had to do. But keeping busy was important, so I could patiently wait to hear back on edits for my upcoming middle grade novel, GABRIEL (Title subject to change), and I did that and still doing it.


Well, that’s all for me today, and I’m taking yet another hiatus, this time it’s onMY terms (As opposed to outside interference, like my site giving me headaches every other week this month!)


As long as “Tech DOESN’T happen again” I will be back Monday.


Until then, please subscribe to “Bites From the Cheese Shop” the official newsletter from T.A.A. (Talking Animal Addicts) Also, by subscribing, you’ll also be the first the learn when my novel is set to release, and have a chance to win a personalized, signed copy, by your lovingly frazzled literary rat, trying to hold me dreams, responsibilities, and sanity together, one day, one blog post at a time, among the other writer-centric things I do.


Your frazzled literary rat (and 1st gen VIBC graduate)

Taurean (Taury) 



P.S. Please comment on my welcome video when you can. I’ll be revising it s

on and I may use your suggestions. Be honest, but kind. That said, for my

first serious attempt at video, it’s okay.


Revisions aside, I EARNED this badge-









P.P.S. (I’ll share my diploma picture later…)