How to make a book trailer

The Birth Of a Book Trailer

I knew I needed a book trailer to help promote my debut YA novel Winnemucca. First of all, I love movies. Heck, I live in Los Angeles. And, I worked in the entertainment industry. I knew the power of the trailer. Plus, how much fun would making my own trailer be?

But still, I didn’t know how to make one. Hmmm. I’d incorporated videos in my designs for years at E! Entertainment Television and at The Los Angeles Times. But they were provided to me by amazing teams of award winning videographers. And the photos I worked with were shot by Pulitzer Prize winning photographers. Who did I think I was trying to do this all on my own?

Well, that’s the best part. We aren’t on our own! Writers are some of the most generous people. And so I kept my eye open for trailers that I loved. Enter the wonderful writer Rebecca Rasmussen [@birdsisters] author of The Bird Sisterspublished by Crown/Random House. I was surprised to find out she made her own trailer. Rebecca was very generous with her support and advise. Thanks Rebecca!

So after a load of conversations I managed to conjure up a recipe for book trailers:

  • iMovie application.
  • A killer soundtrack.
  • stock videos.
  • stock photography.

and WaaaaLaaa! You have your book trailer.

A Recipe For Book Trailers

iMovie is a very easy application to work with. It’s drag and drop so no worries there. And it comes with every Mac.

A killer soundtrack is so important. I don’t mind book trailers where the author reads their work. There is something very pure about that. But, like I said, I love movies. Music that evokes your story is compelling and can draw a viewer into the trailer in a unique way. I used Most of the audio clips are very reasonable priced. [I splurged on this and purchased sound for $60 because I loved it and am a music junkie.]

Stock Videos. I’ve seen a lot of trailers that try to tell the story with static images and scrolling or rolling text. It’s a great effect. But, the medium is meant for video. And, if you don’t have any that you’ve shot yourself, stock video sites are great ways to add some punch to your trailer. Sites I like include Both have great selections and great ways to save multiple videos for your consideration so if you are busy, like who isn’t, you can come back later and make your final cut. Again, most videos are very reasonably priced, but watch it, some aren’t. And don’t worry if your video has a soundtrack with it. iMovie let’s you separate the audio channel out and you can use whatever audio you want with any video. My average purchase for a video was $15.

Stock Photography. I use the same sites I recommended above to find images for book covers and for book trailers. Again, stock photography is reasonably priced. But be sure you check prices.

As always, have a budget in mind and stick to it, mine was under $90. It’s really important to get the word out about your book, but what’s more important is how much fun you have doing it!

The Book Trailer

Winnemucca is a young-adult small-town fairy tale about a teenage girl awakening to her own intuition on an enchanted road trip. One lie will change Ginny’s life forever. The truth will will set her free.

Over To You

Did I miss anything? Do you have any tips or tricks from making your own book trailers? If you have anything to add to this article, or even just want to share your own book trailers, then please add it to the comments below…

Trailer park Thursdays — What I learned making 13 on Halloween’s book trailer

The trailer for 13 on Halloween was the second trailer I produced. I learned a lot when I produced my first book trailer for Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale. Winnemucca’s trailer was a bit long. The standard seems to be right around a minute and a half at the most. It’s crazy how long two and a half minutes can seem. The minute difference really matters to readers/viewers. I’ve been doing a lot of presentations lately on my trailers and wanted to share this one with you because, as you know, I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to Halloween. I love it. I always have. And 13 on Halloween is free everywhere, so if you like reading about a girl who gets a birthday gift that’s literally out of this world, on her 13th birthday which just happens to be on Halloween, you might want to check it out.  When I produce trailers, they help me see my stories in new ways. My process so far involves writing the novel, then designing the cover, then producing the book’s trailer. I love this creative process because it reminds me of a crescendo in music. I begin with all the characters in my mind, then I get to “meet them” visually for the first time in the process of designing the book’s cover. And finally I get to experience the world in a bigger way when I add music and live action footage to breathe even more life into the story.

When my girls were little, I liked to serve dessert or breakfast for dinner sometimes. I loved it when their schools had upside-down days, or inside-out days. I’ve been thinking it would be fun to do the same type of thing with my creative process. Take that crescendo and reverse it. Start with a trailer, then a cover, then write the story. It’s fun to think about. Mixing things up. Trying something new creatively. But, whatever I do, I need to keep it under a minute and a half! LOL!

Johnny Cash inspired Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale

I thought I’d share one of the inspirations behind Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale, where fear’s as blind as love. There isn’t a better day to do it than today, what would have been Johnny Cash’s 81st birthday. It’s hard to believe he was only eight years younger than my Dad.

Everyone always asks me about the title. “Winnemucca? Where’s that?” Most of the people who’ve been to Winnemucca ask if I’ve ever been there, especially when I tell them that Winnemucca, NV is the Emerald City of the novel. When I heard Johnny Cash’s version of the song, it inspired me to write about an enchanted road trip. “I’ve Been Everywhere” is Ginny’s father’s favorite song. She has no idea why, not until the end of the story.

But Johnny Cash did more than inspire the plot of the story.

Ginny, a seventeen-year old girl who’s happily ever after has gone bad, meets a truck driver who is more like a fairy godfather. He’s a fairy truck driver, and his character is also inspired by Johnny Cash. He not only teaches her guitar but also speaks to her soul. This story of a girl listening to her intuition for the first time, no matter where it leads, is a story of faith. Along the way she meets many characters that help her find her own path in life. Even if it takes her where she never expected.

Happy Birthday, Johnny Cash!

Here’s one of my favorite quotes of Johnny Cash:

“The Master of Life’s been good to me. He has given me strength to face past illnesses, and victory in the face of defeat. He has given me life and joy where others saw oblivion. He has given new purposes to live for. New services to render and old wounds to heal. Life and love go on. Let the music play.”

Shadow Slayer trailer reveal & more giveawayS (win a paperback of Shadow Slayer/Swag)

I’m so happy you’re part of the tour today. The fabulous blog The College Crawl is hosting Shadow Slayer, click here to check out her review! Also, it’s book trailer reveal day for Shadow Slayer on Laurasmagicday. I hope you enjoy it. Giveaways & yesterday’s winner are listed at the end of the post. Good luck!

Thanks for sharing in the reveal!

Do you need to know how to put a book trailer together, or do you want to try to make one for a class project? Click here to read an article I wrote on how to make your own book trailer. Happy trailering! Do you have a story about putting your trailer together? I’d love to hear about it. Continue reading Shadow Slayer trailer reveal & more giveawayS (win a paperback of Shadow Slayer/Swag)

Shadow Slayer (Shadow Series #2) Book Trailer Reveal & Giveaways!

a scene from shadow slayer

YAYYYY! Thanks for being part of the tour today. Today is the Shadow Slayer trailer reveal! But you won’t catch it here, you have to click here to go check out the fabulous Breathe in Books blog, today’s stop on the tour! Thanks so much to Breathe in Books & My Seryniti for the fabulous reviews 🙂

“Book one was good but unlike most series, book two got even better! It is really fun to watch Roxie grow and by book two you’re not sure exactly who to trust which is even more fun!” — My Seryniti

“The Shadow Series is fantastic! … I wasn’t sure throughout the entire book who was a good guy and who wasn’t. There is so much suspense and intrigue. And top it all off with your typical teenage drama makes this book awesome.” – Breathe in Books 5-star review

Click here to find out where the Shadow Slayer tour will take us tomorrow! I’m happy you took some time to join the tour today 🙂

GiveawayS? Did I say giveawayS? Well, yes. Yes I did!

Click here to enter the tour giveaway today!

The prizes include:

2 – $10 Amazon Gift Certificates

2 – paperback signed series copies of 13 on Halloween & Shadow Slayer

5 – ebook copies of Midnight Surrender, a paranormal romance anthology that includes a lost excerpt of Shadow Slayer.

Want MORE?

Every day on Laurasmagicday there’s a new giveaway.

What’s for grabs today?

 An ebook copy of Shadow Slayer. 

What to do to enter? Since today is trailer reveal day, all you need to do to enter to win your ebook of Shadow Slayer is comment here with a link to one of your favorite book trailers! It’s a great way to enter to win & get the word out about some great reads! Easy peasy.

CONGRATS to yesterday’s WINNER of an ecopy of the Shadow Slayer Suzy Turner!

Transfer Student Book Trailer!

I hope you enjoy the TRANSFER STUDENT book trailer! I’m learning a little bit with every trailer I make. Producing book trailers is part of my writing process and I really enjoy creating them because I get to see my stories in new ways.

Winnemucca Is A Book Trailer Contest Winner!

I’m so excited that Winnemucca’s trailer won Books In Sync August 2011 Book Trailer Recognition Contest. Squeee! I loved making the trailer and am thrilled it’s been recognized in this way. Thank you! You can read their announcement here.