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How to Make a Book Trailer

Updated on December 21, 2012

What is a Book Trailer?

Essentially, a book trailer is just like a movie trailer, but for books. With the outburst of technology in the past few years, people have discovered the usefulness of writing their own books and self publishing online.

With such self publishing online platforms as Smashwords and CreateSpace, the most ordinary person can create a very nice self published book. Authors are trying to find more and more ways to help them get the word out about their books, ways that are innovative and creative. Creating a book trailer can help you do both, and it can give you a great pride of self accomplishment.

Make sure you take heed to all the advice described in this article below, also remember to have fun, this is definitely a creative way to get the juices flowing and more readers to your book. I specifically wrote this to help out Wattpad writers learn how to make book trailers as that is a very common question on the site, but these methods applies to anything.


Tainted by Shermia Trueheart

Why a Book Trailer is Important

You're sitting in the movie theaters with your friends, or loved one, and the lights start to dim. The announcer on the screen starts in his generic deep announcer voice, "Coming soon to a theater near you..." and a preview of a movie that will show some odd months from then starts. As the movie preview comes to a close, you turn to the person/people that you're with and whisper, "I am so watching that when it comes out!"

Now, imagine that on a slightly smaller scale. Someone is surfing YouTube for movie trailers and happen to come across a video entitled, 'My Book's Trailer'. (Of course you wouldn't name it that, but for this hypothetical story let's just call it that.) A story you've written and made a book trailer about is being watched and after the trailer that someone watches, they decide to read your book, all because your book trailer looked interesting and they want to read it now to find out more.

To some, it can seem a little farfetched, but this situation actually happens a lot more often than people realize. When you decide to do something, and you want people to see it, the only way you can do that is if you self promote. When you're writing a book, a book trailer can help you promote your book, and when people see your book trailer it can make or break if they decide they want to read your book or not.

What Makes a Good Book Trailer?

You can't just throw a few pictures, words, and sound clips together and post it on video sites everywhere. Well, technically you could, but I doubt you get many views on your book after what they've seen on the book trailer.

Things to Consider when you're Making a Book Trailer:

  • Make sure you use original and/or copyright and royalty free images.
  • Keep the book trailer between 30 seconds and 3 minutes long.
  • Make sure you use original and/or copyright and royalty free sounds.
  • Plan ahead and create a storyboard first!
  • Gather your tools ahead of time.

What You Need to Make a Book Trailer

When creating a book trailer, be sure to gather your tools ahead of time. Everything should be on your computer, besides for paper and a writing utensil. This is what you need to gather together before you decide to start making your book trailer.

  • Copyright and royalty free images - Ideally you want to use original images for your book trailer, but if you can't the next step is to gather Copyright and Royalty free images. Search on your favorite search engine for these things, and you will find a plethora of sites that can help you out with that.
  • Video Editing Software - You may or may not realize this, but if you have Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, or a Mac then you should already have some form of a video editing software pre-installed on your computer. Whether it's iMovie, Windows Movie Player, or Windows Live Movie Maker these are adequate enough to create a very nice book trailer. If, however you don't, for some odd reason, you can download free movie editing software.
  • Copyright and Royalty Free Sound Clips - Add a little oomph to your book trailer with a nice little musical score in the background or sound clips that expresses the heart of your book.
  • Paper and Writing Utensil - You will be creating a storyboard for your book trailer, before you begin creating it.

Gather your utensils, and start your engines!
Gather your utensils, and start your engines! | Source

How to Make a Book Trailer

Now we get to the core of this article, making a book trailer. Follow these steps, and you can't go wrong! You'll be making your own book trailers in no time!

1.) Gather your supplies - Like I've said before, gathering everything you need before hand is very crucial, for saving time, and for great organization. When you gather your supplies before hand, you don't have to keep getting up and searching online for what you need. You can just concentrate on the book trailer at hand.

A drawing of The Little Red Riding Hood from TheQueenSerena on DeviantArt.
A drawing of The Little Red Riding Hood from TheQueenSerena on DeviantArt. | Source

2.) Think about your Book's Key Points - With the paper and writing utensil in hand, jot down key points about your story. Who is the main character? Do they go through adventures? Does your main character fall in love? What's the story's climax? What's exciting about your story?

Figure out all the key points, and then write them down along with some key words to search for when you're looking for sound clips and images. We'll use a favorite children's story for reference. Say, for instance, you were doing a book trailer on Little Red Riding Hood, you would jot down words like:

  • Picnic basket
  • Red cloak
  • Little girl
  • Wolf
  • Cottage
  • Grandma
  • Trail in the Woods
  • Woodsman

Would all be awesome keywords for this story. If you aren't familiar with the story, look it up online for a better reference.

3.) Create a Story Board - On a separate piece of paper, draw out each key point you want to show in your book trailer. Show the text you want to use in the video, possible music selections, and remember to write how long you want your book trailer to ideally be. A book trailer is essentially 30 seconds to 3 minutes long, give or take a few seconds. People's attention spans aren't very long, and they tend to want everything in a hurry. So, if you can make your book trailer about two minutes long, with very interesting pictures, text, and music, you should be just fine.

Windows Movie Maker Book Trailer Tutorial

4.) Compiling - There are various tutorials online, preferably YouTube, of how to operate various video editing software. Typically there is a timeline where you can import photos and sound clips and arrange them the way you want. Virtually easy actually, it doesn't take much to import a sound from your computer, or to import images, once you fiddle with it a little, you should get the hang of it.

I say add you background music first, so you can get the tempo of the book trailer first, then add your photo's, and last add the text and special effects to your book trailer. This way, you'll be able to better understand how you want your book trailer, and how you want to make it look.

Virtually Easy Way to Make a Book Trailer With Microsoft PowerPoint 2007

5.) Edit - Add any special effect that you want to add, watch the preview of your book trailer, and tweak it as necessary.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • Is your book trailer too fast or too slow?
  • Does it give away the ending?
  • Does it have key points of your story that might interest the viewer?
  • What demographic is your book geared towards?
  • Does the whole book trailer flow?
  • Is there any room for improvement?
  • Is the sound of your book trailer relevant? (Heavy metal backgound music with a romance story isn't typically ideal.)

Follow these little hints and tidbits, and there's no way you can go wrong! There's even a way to create a book trailer using Microsoft Office PowerPoint! (See video to the right.)

Book Trailer for Tainted by Anaydena

Fool Over Love Book Trailer


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    • profile image

      Stargrrl 3 years ago

      Wow, I really want to do this! I never knew book trailers existed! Thanks for this hub, and I will be back to use it as my guide!

    • profile image

      princess123809 5 years ago

      how do i make a movie trailer on paper and i am doing it in class at hines middle school also it is cat burglar black

    • WattpadHelp profile image

      WattpadHelp 6 years ago from Richmond, VA, USA

      You could say that, I can see your point, but at the same time it's all about making your book yours. For instance, do you think Twilight was original? Or Harry Potter? Yeah, they were, in their own right, but at the same time the authors got inspiration from other sources. Whether it be television, video games, or another book. So, I think it's safe, you aren't telling everything about the book, just little bits and pieces enough to get your readers hooked. So, even if you have already published a book, you know people can get inspiration from your ideas as well! And that, my friend, is why you MUST, MUST, MUST copyright whatever you do.

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      basil4lyf 6 years ago

      interesting work n i lyk d effort u hv put here in creativity. But i think using a book trailer for an incomplete boook makes it relatively easy for a creative mind to steal basic parts of your idea and use it.

    • WattpadHelp profile image

      WattpadHelp 6 years ago from Richmond, VA, USA

      @Watford110 It is definitely a great marketing tool for any author, whether they're publishing traditionally or if they're self publishing. I appreciate your feedback and comment!