Hi, all! I have recently had several requests for this, so I thought I’d post it here again.
How to Create Your Own Book Trailer
Indie authors know that it’s often important to minimize costs surrounding advertising. And while it’s possible to spend hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on a book trailer, with a little time and effort, it’s possible for an author to produce his or her own book trailer.
1. Write your script. Knowing what words you are going to be using over the images can make a world of difference once you start looking for appropriate images. Think in terms of text that is about the same length and style as the back cover of a novel.
2. Break the script into small chunks. You won’t want to over-load your screen with text. But make sure that the chunks make enough sense by themselves to be left alone on the screen for a few moments.
3. Once you have your script ready, take a look at it and decide on the tone of the piece. Romantic? Eerie? Terrifying? Regal? Comic? Check your script to make sure it can be adapted to that tone.
4. Begin gathering images to use. I cannot stress this next bit strongly enough: make sure the images you use are not only free to use, but also (unless you want to clutter up your trailer with attributions) do not require you to acknowledge their source. I suggest gathering 3-4 images per phrase (and maybe a couple extra); you might not use all of them, but I always prefer to have a strong image base and not have to search for new images in the middle of the program. http://www.Morguefile.com is my favorite, but there are others.
5. Once you have your wording and your images, find music that will help set the tone. Again, find music that is not only royalty-free, but also licensed for free commercial use. I like http://dig.ccmixter.org/, but there are other sites, as well.
6. Put it all together. Many computers come with Movie Maker already installed. To use it, you should put the pictures in order, copy the script blocks onto individual images, and add music. Finally, you can choose a movie effect—“Pan and Zoom” to create the illusion of motion, for example, or “Cinematic” for a filmic look.
7. Start cutting. If you’re anything like me, you will have gathered up tons of images and will have long stretches without any words –or will leave the words on the screen too long. Be ruthless in your editing!
Additional things I have learned along the way:
• Don’t try to do a long trailer; people have short attention spans! It’s best to keep it under 2 minutes; even better to keep it under 90 seconds.
• Don’t be afraid to cut out images you thought you wanted—don’t let the image stay on the screen for too long, or you might lose your viewers.
• Be sure to include a title slide and an ending slide with the information about the book, including where to buy it.
• Make sure your movie doesn’t cut off too abruptly; let it fade to black
• And finally: have fun! Be creative! The more you practice, the better your trailers will be.
I’m including my first attempt at a book trailer below. It’s not perfect; there are things about it I would change now, but I think it makes a great example because of its flaws. Overall, though, it conveyed what I wanted it to convey, and doing it taught me a lot about how to create an inexpensive book trailer video!
And this is a re-post of D.M. Sears‘ guest blog on using Animoto to create a book trailer:
Hi everyone! I am relatively new to the author scene so I have been trying to find ways to promote my upcoming release efficiently and cheap. I am always searching author websites for book trailers, and I have found there are just not that many out there. People underestimate the effectiveness of a book trailer. I know I have purchased several books just off of a good trailer.
It can be a little scary at first trying to create one for yourself. Not to fear! I found a great website that can help you make as many as you want for…free! Yup, free, no cost to you. Now, they have other options to make longer videos, which unfortunately do cost, but doesn’t everything at some point? If you can keep your trailer in the 30 second mark, it is no cost.
First , you need to come up with some photos to use. Make sure they are royalty free! There are a lot of cool sites out there. Here are a few I use:
Next, you will want to organize your photos and decide what kind of story you want to tell. I like tell small things about my characters to bring interests and connection to them.
Now you can go to http://www.animoto.com to begin creating your book trailer. It will have you create an account, do not worry, they don’t spam. Then it will bring you to a page where you will see a lot of video backgrounds. You can choose whichever you want and click “Create a free video”. You will then be sent to a page where you can upload all your images to the video.
Now comes the fun part. You can add text to the images directly, add pages of only text, etc. Once you have figured out the order for your photos and what you want to say, you are now able to add music. They have music already in their system that is free to use set up in genres. I prefer to upload my own music. I use a cool site that has royalty free music free to use:
You can search by feeling or tempo. Download any that tickles your fancy and you are ready to upload to your video.
At the top of your video screen, you can click on the song they have already assigned and upload your new music. Once that is complete, you can preview your video and edit some more. When you are happy with your trailer, you can publish it! They have a social bar so you can share the finished product to twitter, Facebook, and even load to youtube!
It is a great site for beginners! The best part about it, it has a tutorial to show you how to use it! Have fun!
Now, check out D.M. Sears’ own book trailer for Eden’s Mark:
For more trailers, see D.M. Sears’ website: http://myrissaeden1.wix.com/ellethnyseries#