Sunday, February 26, 2012

How to Make a Book Trailer

Okay, I’ve been meaning to do this for awhile now. It’s my guide to making a book trailer. This is just a rough guide to get you started. Do it however works best for you.

5 Step Guide to Making a Book Trailer

Step 1. Start with an idea. You need a concept going in. Think about your book’s tone and genre. A tagline is a good starting point. You can also use a short description about your book, or quotes from other people to give viewers a feel for what your book is about. Please Please Please keep it short, though. No one wants to sit through a 5 minute book trailer, no matter how awesome it is. I think 30 seconds-1 minute is a good goal.

Step 2. Once you have an idea, you are going to need video, photos, and music as well as any cover/promotional art you want to include. There are some great sites out there that sell royalty free music and videos. You just put in what you are looking for in the search box and it will give you lots of options. I use Pond5 for music (songs run around $2 and they also have lots of videos to choose from) and MotionElements for animation and video. Some of their 3D animation is amazing. Prices vary depending on the length and quality of the video. Dreamstime has royalty free photos available. There are also sites that offer free music, and photos if you do some google searching. Make sure you get music and images that work well together.

Step 3. After gathering the material you need for your trailer, you will need some sort of movie editing software. I use Windows Movie Maker-it’s free and comes installed on a lot of PCs. I’m pretty sure MACs come with a similar program. You can also purchase or download movie editing software online. I’m using WMM for this guide, but use whatever works for you. Most of them are really pretty similar. Now you need to import whatever files you download into your editing program. There’s an easy to find Import Media button at the top on WMM. I did hit one road bump during this step-some video files are quicktime-and WMM can’t read them. But don’t freak out! There’s a free and easy to use program called WinFF that will convert Quicktime files into files WMM can read.

Step 4. Now comes the fun part. You need to put it all together. Simply take the bits and pieces you want to use and drag them into the timeline at the bottom. The timeline is divided into 3 parts. Video, Audio/Music, and Title Overlay. (See image.) I think it’s easiest to put the video in place first, then add the music and text, but the order isn’t super important. The best way to get a feel for Windows Movie Maker is to just play around with it. There are tons of interesting transitions and effects you can add to videos and your text tiles. To add text to the video, click on Tools and then Titles and Credits. Every time you do this, it creates a new slide that can before added before, during or after a video clip. Once you have things in place, you can slide them up and down your time line, make them overlap, or cut them (by clicking the split button on the right side of the screen. Also use this button at the end of your video.) WMM is designed to be user friendly, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Just be sure to save if there’ something you want to keep a certain way.

Step 5. Once you get your video exactly how you want it, click the Publish Movie button at the top. This will save your project and you will be free to upload it all over the internet!

I’m no expert, but if you have a question about how to do something, feel free to e-mail me and I will try my best to help. Making a book trailer can be a lot of fun and can help you market your story-so don’t be afraid. Just go for it! Oh, and if you haven't seen it yet, here's the link to the trailer for my upcoming book, Nightfire.


  1. Oh, I forgot to mention- Some site will let you download watermarked versions of their videos for free so you can see what your project will look like before you buy. It's great to be able to do mock-ups for free!

  2. What a helpful blog post Alyson. I might have to give this a try. Thank you so much.

  3. For more Video Footage You can check out the link - green screen footage!