Australian Author of Children’s Books and Teen Books: May 2015

Saturday, May 30, 2015

How to Make a Book Trailer

Before I began writing children's and teen books I worked in film and TV and I love the crossover between books and motion pictures. I've been making trailers for my books for the past seven years. I've made some stinkers and some that have been really effective in bringing the story to life.

In this post I'll share some of my trailers, a few that I love from other authors and my top five book-trailer-making tips.

First up, here are the three My Life book trailers that I have made over the past three years. They use simple techniques to bring the books to life. Watch them and consider the elements that were needed to make them - things like images, music, voiceover, video editing software, video transitions from shot to shot, actors, false teeth and slime.

Here's the trailer for Two Wolves (published in the US as On the Run). I wrote the story and asked a newsreader to record it for me...

And here's a behind-the-scenes on the writing of Two Wolves / On the Run, a very different kind of trailer.

Here are two of my favourite trailers for other authors' books...

And a couple of my favourite student LitVids book trailers from last year's competition. Check out the LitVids Vimeo channel for more.

My Top 5 Tips for Trailer-Making

1. Choose a book you've written or one that you really love. Your trailer is a tool to get other people excited to pick up a book.

2. Write a 30-second to 1-minute trailer script. Two minutes max! Remember: Short is good. Long is bad.

3. Pre-visualise your trailer, gathering images, music and other videos for ideas. Try using Story Scrapbook, my free transmedia story brainstorming tool at

4. Shoot and edit. Or, if you're using still pictures, gather your images and music and edit. (Make sure you own the copyright to the images or search for Creative Commons or Royalty-Free images and music.)

5. Share it on YouTube, Vimeo, submit it to book trailer-making competitions and screen it live if you have a chance to speak in front of a class or another audience.

You can also check out Anatomy of a Book Trailer at Sydney Writers Centre for more tips.

Good luck!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Room to Read World Change Challenge 2015


Join forces with Room to Read's stellar team of writer-ambassadors to help raise $40,000 (AUD) to buy 40,000 local language books for kids in Nepal. Start by watching the video we created, showing how easy it is to raise more than $500 in just one day!

In 2015 we want to harness the positivity, energy and crazy ideas of students in Australia and Hong Kong to give children in Nepal access to books in their own language. After the devastating earthquake our aim is to help Nepalese children return to their normal lives, including getting back to school.

The Project:
2015 World Change Challenge

Our Goal: 
To raise $40,000 (AUD) to buy 40,000 books for children in Nepal by 31 October, 2015.

How to Get Involved: 
Students, classes and schools all over Australia and Hong Kong are encouraged to create their own wild and wonderful challenges to help raise money towards our goal.

Barker College in Sydney raised the most money last year by running market stalls as part of their Year 9 economics curriculum. Second-hand book stalls at schools are also lots of fun. Children can swap their pre-loved books with other children, and for just $1 per book, everyone walks away with a new story to read, and Room to Read can fund a local language book for a child in Nepal. There are lots more ideas in the Fundraising Pack and the video above.

Download the Fundraising Pack:
Classes and Schools can download the Australian Fundraising Pack or the Hong Kong Fundraising Pack to get started now.

Individuals, Students and Businesses can also donate securely via our Everyday Hero page.

The classes or groups who raise the most money for the Challenge win a free author talk or writing workshop with Oliver Phommavanh (Thai-riffic) or Jacqueline Harvey (Alice Miranda) as well as being eligible for awesome book packs from publishers Hardie Grant, HarperCollins, Penguin Books, Random House, Scholastic and Walker Books. The highest fundraiser on Everyday Hero wins a Skype talk with Tristan Bancks (that's me). Download the fundraising pack above for full prize details.

Around 5000 students at the 2015 Sydney Writers Festival watched the World Change Challenge video. Writer-Ambassador Jacqueline Harvey and I were lucky enough to engage with their extraordinary enthusiasm.

Room to Read Writer-Ambassadors Supporting the 
2015 World Change Challenge
Deborah Abela, Tristan Bancks, Jesse Blackadder, Sarah Brennan, Sarah Davis, James Foley,
Kate Forsyth, Susanne Gervay, Gus Gordon, Jacqueline Harvey, Libby Hathorn, John Larkin,
Frané Lessac, Melina Marchetta, Sophie Masson, Bhakti Mathur, Belinda Murrell,
Oliver Phommavanh, Alice Pung, Sally Rippin, Nury Vittachi, Dianne Wolfer.

Post a Comment or Question Below. We'd Love You to Share Your Challenge Ideas and Inspire the Tribe. 

Or Email Your Questions.

Read About the Inspiration For, and History of The World Change Challenge on Everyday Hero's Wonderwall


Friday, May 15, 2015

Inspiring Kids and Teens to Read and Write

How do you get teenagers interested in reading and writing things other than text messages?

This is the question posed to me by ABC Brisbane Drive host Rebecca Levingston. And, above, you can click and listen to what I had to say.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Book TV

I've been touring recently and doing lots of TV interviews about Two Wolves' CBCA award shortlisting and the release of My Life & Other Massive Mistakes.

I think TV is a really important way for authors to bring our stories to life and get books out there in the world, so I thought I'd share some of the clips from The Daily Edition, Studio 3, NBN News and Kids' WB. Just click on the picture or the link above to play the clip.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Book Week 2015

The Children's Book Week theme for 2015 is Books Light Up Our World. Book Week runs from 22-28 August. Here are 10 ideas and links to help make it the best Book Week ever. [Thanks to and the amazing kids featured for the pic above.]

1) Discover books that will get kids fired up about reading – the CBCA Awards shortlist  as well as the YABBA children's choice awards lists. I have been lucky enough to have Two Wolves shortlisted for both awards this year and My Life & Other Stuff I Made Up shortlisted for the YABBAs.

2) Join our 2015 Room to Read World Change Challenge and win free author talks from Jacquie Harvey, Oliver Phommavanh and myself as well as books from all the major publishers. Children's and teen authors are partnering with schools and students across Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong to raise $40,000 for 40,000 books for kids in the world's poorest countries. Make a difference in Book Week 2015.

3) Enter the My Life Short Story Competition. Write a 500-word funny short story and enter my new short story competition for the chance to win $1000 cash and $1000 worth of books for your school. :)))

4) Here are some Book Week activity ideas on the Children's Book Council of Australia site. And some more on The Book Chook blog.

5)  You could book an author (or harass your teacher-librarian to book an author) to speak at your school. Here's a list of agencies. Most authors are already booked for Book Week but if your celebration falls outside the official Book Week dates, you might get lucky.

6) Run a Book Trailer-Making Competition. Each year I am the ambassador for the LitVids Book Trailer Competition for Mackay Council and each year the student entries get better and better. Here are my tips on making a great trailer over on the Australian Writer's Centre blog.

7) Use my Story Scrapbook transmedia brainstorming tool to find bookish inspiration, explore videos, images and music based on the theme, 'Books Light Up Our World' or dream up a new story of your own.

8) Jump-start writing and creativity. Try some activities in the My Life& Other Stuff I Made Up teachers' kit and lots of visual / aural creative ideas in the Two Wolves kit.

9) Check out the Teacher-Librarians' Children's Book Week wiki or Audrey Nay's Book Week Pinterest pageLots of good ideas for Books Light Up Our World activities, and a chance for you to share what you are doing.

10) Connect with me on FACEBOOKTWITTER , INSTAGRAM and YOUTUBE. Let's talk stories, create things and share the best books we've ever read.
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