Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Making a Book Trailer

Recently I attended a conference called LTUE, short for Life the Universe and Everything. It was great. One of the classes I went to was on making book trailers. Here's what I picked up:

Why hire someone to make a book trailer when you can make your own. Windows Movie Maker and i-Movie on the Mac are two brilliant applications you can use to do your own movie. You can even make a book trailer with power point. Well they said you could. Come on, I dare you.

You can hunt for photos like a mad man . . . or you can find oodles of stock photos for free. Go to places like and to find free photos. Sometimes even 'royalty free' photos come with a price, but it is usually reasonable, and hey do you have the time to go out and take a photo like that. These guys are professionals.

The Benefit of a good book trailer is that people can see a visual medium on line. Make your trailer the best it can be. It's a reflection of how good your book is.

Music is powerful. Use music that will pull people in and make them want to keep watching. You can find royalty free music. Do a blog search with 'royalty free music' as the subject. As with photos, some of this free music may be the kind you have to pay a fee for. was suggested as a good source.

Remember that a book trailer is for commercial use. You have to obey copyright law. You can't use music or photos without permission, but sometimes you can get permission if you ask nicely.

Prepare for our book trailer by writing good copy. Use your elevator pitch, then find the music and images to go with it.

Don't watch a book trailer to make a movie trailer. They are not the same beast. Emphasize the title of your book and the cover. You want people to recognize it when they see it. Make sure you show the authors name and contact information. They can't purchase if they can't find it.

Blog tours with a book trailer do better than those without. Find book bloggers and send them your trailer. Get them enthused about promoting your book. Put your trailer in places people will see it. Post it on You Tube, face book and twitter. A place they suggested that I'd never heard of posting was It claims to post 'What's new online'. You can even put your book trailer in theaters, but it will be expensive.

Make your trailer unique. In the "I Am Not A Serial Killer" trailer, the scene was shot using the voice of the principle character in the story. For the "Partial" trailer, they used a 'found footage' idea. Archives and files were reviewed leading you into the story. Basically, figure out what you want to sell and how you want to sell it.

A book trailer should be thirty seconds to one minute, two minutes max. Make sure it fits the music and the story you are telling. The average edit is two to three seconds. Make your storyboard very brief. Watch that your text doesn't go by too fast.

If you just don't want to go there, you can sometimes find theatre kids at universities who might be willing to do a book trailer for a price. There is also a company called that makes video using pictures and images you supply.

A book trailer is a great way to introduce readers to your book. It may help readers find you, but it won''t necessarily help you find a publisher.


Renae W. Mackley said...

Thank you so much, Cathy! I feel like I just took the class. I hope you will post more LUTE gems.

Cathy said...

Thanks Renae. I have more LTUE to post.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Oh, I was in that session. It was excellent. I'm seriously dying to make my own trailer now. I've been researching music and pictures already. So fun!

Alice said...

Sounds like a very interesting class. If I ever, I mean, when i have a book published I may try making a book trailer. Thanks for sharing. Also, I've tagged you on my blog for the 7-7-7 challenge!

Jessica L. Foster said...

Great advice. I've found a couple of awesome books because their book trailers were so fascinating. Like any thing in promoting, make it so the reader HAS to get the book because they are dying to read it. Thanks for the tips.

Leslie said...

I have to admit that I only recently learned about book trailers. But now that I know about them, I've enjoyed watching them a lot!

i'm erin. said...

I hope that one day I have a chance to make a book trailer!

Also, i LOVE whack a mole. I peed my pants laughing. Thank you for your suggestions.

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