Making Good Book Trailers Great

For the longest time, I resisted making videos. They were a time suck, I reasoned. They don’t sell books, I’d heard. I’m here to tell you that the first is definitely true. I’m not sure about the second. But either way, it’s worth it since it takes an average of ten exposures before a customer is motivated to make a purchase–something true of books and Cadillacs alike. So I decided to increase my exposure–couldn’t hurt, right?–and make book trailers. Now I’m on roll.

I posted the trailer for Doom & Gloom in an article a month ago. But I recently updated the video to give it a comic book feel. I won’t embed it, but you can take a look at it here. Pretty nifty.

Then, I created a second trailer which I will embed. It’s only 50 seconds long. It won’t hurt to watch. I promise.

To create it, I used iMovie on my Mac. So I won’t talk software here because you may be using something else. But I can talk about the little extras that make a good trailer great:

  • Video Footage: Book trailers created from a series of stills are nice (see Doom & Gloom), but nothing says “professional” like video footage. The moving clips in both the Doom & Gloom and Season of Lies video were free. FREE. If you have the patience, you can comb through a number of good sites like Videezy and xStockVideo and Videvo and Beachfront B Roll to find just what you’re looking for. If you don’t have the patience, you can always pay Shutterstock. I’ve found them to be reasonably priced.
  • Sound Effects: I found the gunshot in the Season video above on a fabulous website called Soundscrate. I also found the suspenseful music there as well. While you’re visiting them, take a look at their sister site, Footagecrate. They offer really cool visual effects for free.
  • Awesome Music: On the subject of music, I have another great site for you: Free Music Archive. I got the Doom & Gloom music there. It’s refreshing to be able to pick from a bunch of great artists from different genres. Midi music is fine, but everyone uses it, you know? Stand out!

I’ve heard from experts that voice-overs on book trailers work well–books are a written format and readers want to hear your words. This may be true. But if your voice has the pitch of a leaky tire or you read aloud like a second grader, then I would either pay someone or just skip it and go with music. (If you’re wondering, my problem is the first, not the second. It’s not exactly ‘leaky tire,’ but I have no future in radio.)

Well, there you have it. Let your inner Tarantino loose and create a visual masterpiece worthy of your written one.


Your turn. If you have a particularly compelling book trailer, share a link below. Or, if you have comments or questions about the process, I’d love to discuss.


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