Having a video trailer for a book might seem as odd as having a paper bookmark for an ebook, but in recent years, the book trailer has blossomed. Modern readers are tech-savvy and have come to expect various forms of media related to everything–even their reading.
Granted, a do-it-yourself book trailer might not be a
professional production, but it’s a lot cheaper, a lot of fun to do, and can
come out looking a lot better than a lot of what you see on Youtube! Mine each
cost less than $50 to create.
To do it, you’ll need several things:
movie compiler program – I used Windows Live Movie Maker, which came free with
script – basically a very succinct summary of the most exciting points of your
to go with the script – you can use photos, drawings, videos, or animated gifs
to back it up
That’s about all you need to get started. As noted, if
you’ve got a newer version of Windows you probably already have Windows Live
Movie Maker. I’ve tried a couple other free programs, and WLMM is the easiest
in my opinion.
Write up the script first. A book trailer should probably be
around a minute and a half: long enough to give the viewer the feel of the
story but not so long that they get bored. At an average of 5 seconds per
panel, that’s 18 panels. One of those will be your opening and one will be your
credits, at least. Not every panel needs text. So come up with about eight
sentences or so to hook your audience.
How about pictures? I used some I took myself and some I
scanned in from old photos in my albums. But I also bought a number from
Bigstockphotos.com. There are other similar sites. You don’t need the highest
resolution for a Youtube video; I bought mostly small for $2.99/ea and some
medium that I knew I wanted to modify for $4.99/ea. Be prepared to accept
photos that don’t quite match your imagination. As long as they get the point
across, that’s okay. Remember, each one will be seen for about 5 seconds.
Music is the last part. I got mine from Incompetech; for a
donation of $5.00 you can download music in a variety of genres. There are also
other similar sites. I listened to several hours of music clips before picking
the ones I liked for my trailers. I think the music really sets the mood.
You can also add text effects and transition effects, like a
fade-in between panels, and pan effects. These make things look smoother but
can also chop parts of your text or gifs off, so be sure to view and re-arrange
things as necessary.
Some other extras you can add are video clips of your own
and animated gifs. I really got into making gifs and enjoyed it, but it’s
definitely for someone with patience. I’m getting faster at it now, but if you
want to create one or more and you’ve never done it before, count on taking
some time to learn the techniques. A gif must be exported or saved as a video
file before it can be uploaded to Windows Live Movie Maker.
So after you’ve put it together, now what? Go to Youtube and
create a channel for yourself. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Also check out other
free video hosting sites like Vimeo. Next, if you’ve got a Facebook fan page,
you can put a tab on your page linked to the Youtube channel. I used the cueler
ap. Search for it on Facebook. Remember to note your trailer url so you can
post it elsewhere – link to it on your website, personal Facebook page, author
page on amazon, and anywhere else that allows you to link videos or Youtube
Here is mine for Stolen (out now):
and Crypt of Souls (upcoming):
To learn more about Kathy and her writing visit her websites:
To read my post this week visit Kathy’s site where I’m Battling My Baddies.