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Top 10 Tips for Creating A Stellar Book Trailer

Updated on February 9, 2013

A Book Trailer I created for the book Deeply Hidden Desires by Patricia Richardson

I made my first book trailer a year ago, and have never looked back! Anyone with a copy of Windows Movie Maker which comes with any computer that has Windows XP can make their own book trailer.

Book trailers are an ideal way to get the word out about your book. I know of at least 10 places that you can post your book trailer once you have created it. The more places you post to, the more people will see your book trailer and hopefully the more books you will sell.

Here are 10 tips for creating a stellar book trailer:

1. Add music to your book trailer that matches the theme of your book. For example, let's say it's a romantic suspense, then you should consider using music that is gives the flavor of suspense. Movies use this technique all the time, you know what I mean, right when the girl is about to open a door she shouldn't and the music sort of has a build up and then a crescendo. If your book is science fiction, you might consider using a piece with synthesizer music that gives sort of a futuristic flavor. A contemporary romance, could use a romantic piece with strings or piano.

2. Find stock photos of people who resemble your characters. We've all read books where the heroine on the cover had brown hair, and but in the book she's a red head. That can be really annoying to a reader because the picture on the cover doesn't fit with the picture they get in their heads while reading the book. A book trailer is no different, even though a person viewing it probably hasn't read your book yet, they will remember when they do, and they will notice if you don't at least attempt to choose subjects in your stock photos that resemble your characters.

3. Consider adding pieces of royalty free stock footage when they fit. I saw a video book trailer recently that had two, maybe three pieces of stock footage that just fit in so well with her book's theme that I was really stunned. Since I don't like to pay for stock photos if I don't have to, and rarely do, I decided to see if there was a website that had free stock footage. Low and behold there is one, and while I haven't made a book trailer with some added stock footage yet, I intend to do so with my next book. Just be aware that just as with the stock photos you need to use footage that works with your book.

4. If you are an artist, consider doing the pictures yourself. I'm a Poser fan, and have been using Poser for over a year now. My very first book trailer I created all the art in Poser for it. The only problem with doing it was that it was so time consuming! But if you have the time and enjoy creating art whether by drawing, painting or digital means as I did, then consider doing this instead of using stock photos. Any extra angle to you can use to sell your book should be used, and who knows you might find customers for your art!

5. Don't be afraid to use metaphors in both word and picture form. I recently created a video book trailer for a close friend of mine for an erotic love story she had written. I used pictures of both a roaring campfire and a fire pit that was out to show that the sexual tension had fizzled between her characters at one point. This is just one example where you can use metaphors to create a little story with your book trailer.

6. Always give credit where credit is due. Make sure that you have credits at the end of your book trailer saying where you got your stock photos, stock footage, and music from. It is only fair after all if you are using them to credit those who created them. As authors we would hate it if someone took our book and put their name on it, or quoted our writing and then didn't give us credit, so it's important to remember to do that. I've seen several book trailers where credit was not given for the works of others that made the book trailer possible and this is just not cool.

7. Don't go overboad with the special effects. Windows Movie Maker allows all sorts of special effects, you can actually add effects for each frame, but there is such a thing as going overboard with them. While a few special effects is fine, keep them simple and don't overload the book trailer with them, otherwise as with any piece of art, your book trailer can look too busy.

8. Keep your book trailer short, no longer than two or three minutes. Any longer than that and your viewer may lose interest and decide not to finish viewing the book trailer. Just like with a website that doesn't get to the point, if you don't convince the viewer to watch the whole trailer by keeping it short, and to the point, they will decide to leave. This can be a death sentence for an author, because if you put the purchase information at the end and the viewer doesn't finish watching the trailer, then you lose sales.

9. Put your book cover in the first frame, and in the last frame before the credits. This is a good technique to get into the habit of doing. You know what they say, people have to see something 7 times before they remember it. While this isn't going to give them that seven times, the two times they see your book cover, coupled with the other times that you put your purchase information, and the title is mentioned will probably be seven times or close to it.

10. Write out the script ahead of time. Do this before searching for the photos to match the script. Just grabbing a handful of stock photos and hoping that you can figure out a way to come up with a script for them isn't going to work, and is instead just going to make you crazy with trying to figure it out. Keep in mind that there is more than one picture to match each part of your script, you might have to search for a while to find the one you want, but you will find one as long as you are open to using different types of pictures to get your point across.

If you keep these 10 tips in mind when creating your first book trailer, your finished product will draw readers to your book, and viewers to come back more than once to see your trailer! I can attest to the fact that I have viewed good book trailers more than once.

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    • tsfc profile image

      Jason Fox 

      5 years ago

      Using stock media is a good idea for creating interesting presentations for your book or anything. For stock footage, you can try http://thestockfootagecompany.com. And of course, you need to find the shot that fits your story best.

    • denise mohan profile image

      denise mohan 

      8 years ago from California

      You info is very usefull to me & I'm sure many others. Thank you dear

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