Though you can make fantastically effective trailers for your book with free stock images, simple slide show animation, some text, and no sound, you’re better off having a little bit more than that. Naturally, the quality increases exponentially with the amount of money your throw at it.
Such is the case with sound. Mood music is what makes your nerves tingle, your hair stand on end, and goosebumps rise on your skin in the theater during an exciting trailer, or have your emotional heartstrings tugged during a dramatic one. Music is where it’s at, baby!
Now, you can’t just use music from your favorite artist in your promos. There’s this pesky thing called rights and royalties that prevent that from happening (well, with enough money almost anything is possible, but I’m going to assume that’s not the case here), so you won’t be using a Rolling Stones song anytime soon.
But there is plenty of free music out there or you can get some for, well, a song (yeah, I know, terrible pun).
Where do you find such music? A simple internet search “free stock music” will give you an adequate list of sites, but your are always best querying those in your community who have personal experience with such things. I posted a question on the forum of my writers group, Northwest Independent Writers Association (NIWA). I was certain that many of the authors there had previously used music in promos and they didn’t disappoint by the skads of suggestions they gave. Some of the more useful ones included:
Freestockmusic.com: A decent collection of quality works in a variety of genres. As the name of the site implies, it’s all free. A common quote for each sample often says, “100% royalty free license that allows you to use the music in all types of productions, for worldwide distribution, forever. There are never any licensing fees.” It’s hard to beat that.
Soundcloud.com: A ginormous collection of music and sounds showcased by a community of talented artists. If Facebook and CDBaby had a love-child it would be Soundcloud. The challenge of this site, however, is sifting through the shear volume of awesomeness and trying to narrow it down to what you are looking for. It seems to cater mostly to up and coming performance artists (heavy in R&B), but there is plenty of other offerings as well. I didn’t spend enough time to figure out how you download the music, how “free” (if at all) it was, or what the licensing agreement was. But I did hear mostly good things about it.
Incompetech.com: A one man extravaganza of music by artist Kevin McLeod. He offers a substantial collection of a variety of music and sounds of great quality. Though he asks for donations, music is free so long as you credit him in any work that uses his music. If you can’t or don’t want to credit him, then there is a “Non Attribution” license you can download starting at $30 for one piece, and then incrementally increases for additional music. There is a list of similar artists on Kevin’s website.
Purple-planet.com: Probably the smallest collection (that I could tell) of the sites listed here, but still good. It’s a free collection of royalty free music available for download, composed and performed by Geoff Harvey and Chris Martyn. All music can be used free of charge for web-based projects e.g. YouTube in exchange for a link to their site. Donations are welcomed. They specialize in music production and sound services for games, multimedia, TV and film. Specialists in Surround Sound 5.1 production. Large additional track catalogue available for licensing.
Stockmusic.net: A huge library of royalty free, diverse, and pro-grade music and sound effects for all occasions. You do have to pay, though. Depending on your needs and the depth of your pocket book, you’ll pay anywhere between $29.95 (individual pieces and small collections of sound effects) and thousands of dollars (for huge libraries of entire genres). This isn’t as scary as it sounds. I found the most perfect music for a project, a collection of 18 works, for $129.95. Each work alone otherwise would have cost $39.95. A relatively easy to understand blanket-license agreement accompanies each purchase for use in personal projects (TV, film, podcasts, etc), or you can license for more public use (restaurant background noise, elevator muzak).
I spent many a night just sitting with my laptop with headphones, sampling what was out there. I found lots of cools stuff, much of it free, but purely by coincidence or fate I found a collection at Stockmusic.net that fit like a glove. Every element I was looking for was in the package. It was too perfect to pass up, so I didn’t mind paying the fee, and the fruits of which can be seen in the movie trailer for my book, Echoes of Avalon.
Here is a sample of the intro to the trailer: FilmEdge2_Epic_Z262-TheWorldAwaits-Schatz