Monday, January 7, 2013

Trailers: Not Just for Movies Anymore

Lots of authors and publishers now create video trailers for their books. As movie trailers do for movies, these book trailers also serve as promotional tools. They are meant to inform potential readers and encourage them to buy and read the authors’ books. As a short video file, it can be placed on an author’s website, a blog, bookseller sites, and other venues in which the author/publisher wishes.

There are plenty of businesses that will create book trailers for authors, but costs can vary greatly depending on the complexity and length of the video. You can, however, do the work yourself with a couple of computer programs and a few hours of your time.

Basically, all I did for my book trailer was create a slideshow using text and still images, added music to the slideshow, then ran the slideshow through a program that converted it into a mp4 video file. It took me several hours and several drafts before I was satisfied with the finished product, but that is partly because I enjoy tinkering with such things, and because I was learning as I was going.

The Trailer Slideshow:
For the slideshow I used Microsoft PowerPoint because the program was already available on my computer. If you have a Windows based machine with Microsoft Office programs, PowerPoint may also be on your computer. If not, other slideshow programs are available that will work for your trailer.

Many of the images in my book trailer are personal images, but I also found photos through the NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) site, which are free to use as long as you give NOAA credit. I also purchased a few photos from the Bigstock Photos website, which cost $1 to $3 each. Several websites offer free clip art and photo stock, but make sure your anti-virus software is up to date before going to sites you are not familiar with.

The text in my trailer consists of text boxes placed on a slide in the slideshow program.

In my trailer I used royalty-free music. You can search the web to find royalty-free music that is made for this type of use. One example of a royalty-free music site can be found at:

Video Converter:
Once my slideshow was complete, I ran the file through a program called the Moyea PPT to Video Converter that turned the PowerPoint file into a mp4 movie file. The program can be found at:

You Tube:
When your video file is done, post it on You Tube. From there, it is easy to embed the video file on a website, blog, your Author Page on Amazon, and other places, plus your trailer gets views from You Tube visitors.

As examples of book trailers, I have included four below. The first is the trailer I made for my book, South to Alaska, which is nonfiction. I have also included trailers for a historical fiction book, a fiction book, and a children’s book by other authors. Although I’m not sure of what process was used to create the other three trailers, they also appear to have been made using still images and blocks of text, so nothing too fancy here that can’t be done with a slideshow and video converter.

If you are interested in creating a book trailer, go to You Tube and key in "book trailer" to see more examples.


Historical Fiction






I hope this is helpful to some of you who may be considering creating a book trailer as a promotional tool. Having a trailer for your book is useful and fun...and you can do it yourself with a couple of simple programs, plus some time and effort.

Have you thought about making a trailer for your book?


Jennifer Rova said...

Lots of useful, first hand information. Thanks!

Mary Jane Honegger said...

Wow, Nancy! Your trailer is beautiful. You share the story through well considered words, gorgeous photos, uplifting music and a truly cinematic touch. What great advice and examples. I hope some producer sees it and takes a chance. You've worked so hard on marketing your book, you deserve it. Thanks for sharing more of your marketing expertise with us. If I ever do write a book ...

Elizabeth S. Brinton said...

I thought the trailer was beautiful. I want to see the movie. Its a great idea to keep in mind while telling a story in the first place. What would the movie trailer look like? A brilliant friend said that to me a long time ago and I thought it was good advice. Thanks Nancy.