Making your own book trailer is much like making your own cover- if you can afford it, hire a professional. Me, while I’ve been writing for years, I’ve just started publishing as an Indie author. At this point, I don’t have the budget for a professional to do my book trailer. I’m a problem solver, so I did my own.
Can you, awesome reader, make your own?
Maybe. I’m not a computer whiz, though I am a fairly competent computer user. If you can use a program like Paint, Paint Shop Pro, or Photoshop to make a jpeg that has words on it, then you can probably make your own book trailer.
What’s a book trailer good for anyway?
It’s a great thing to put on your website, author Facebook page, and Amazon Author page to start with. I also sent it out as a tweet. If you boost Facebook posts, it’s a great one to boost. I think it’s worth it, even if you just use it for things like putting on your author pages.
So, how do you do it?
What you need to make your own book trailer:
1- A blank panel to put words on. Here the one I used for Teatime of the Living Dead. I made a blank, colored panel and then took it over to Pixlr.com to put the border on it. Then I added some red color to the border to make it look bloody. I made mine 1024 pixels wide and 512 pixels high, because I wanted it to work well on Facebook and Twitter, and that size seems to have worked great.
2- Words! Keep it simple. What will kill your book trailer the fastest is having too many words. Don’t try to cram the entire summary in there; pick what’s most important to get the idea of your book across. This isn’t meant to be a video summary or even a video blurb. It’s a teaser. Say just enough to make folks want to go and find out more.
3- Pictures! You need some pictures other than your book cover to make it interesting. You must also make absolutely certain the pictures you use are copyright free for commercial use, or you can get sued. You can use your own pictures, or check out some of the free for commercial use websites like Pixabay or Picjumbo. You can put the pics on your blank panel, or make them the same size and alternate words and pictures.
4- Music! Again, you have to be very careful to use music that is copyright free for commercial use, or risk getting sued. Also, sites like Youtube and Facebook might not let you upload a video with copyrighted music. This isn’t worth taking chances with. Use copyright-free music. There is a site I love that has great music and effects. FreeSFX You have to make an account, but it’s easy and free. They have a wide variety of music and sound effects and all they ask is that you credit them in the video. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Take your time finding the right music. It took me a while with the Teatime trailer. I needed something creepy, sure, but the horror music was too serious for my book. Psycho Waltz ended up being perfect. Playful yet creepy. It reminds me of some of Danny Elfman’s music.
5- A slideshow program. All you need to put these pieces together is any program that will let you make a slideshow with music. There are some online options, but I used Windows Movie Maker. It’s pretty user friendly and there are tons of “how to” posts and Youtubes to help you figure it out. Basically you load your pictures, add your music, and it’s done. To help things go smoothly, I named my pics teavid1, teavid2, etc, so that they would load in the correct order. That way you don’t have to move them around post-loading.
There are fancy bits you can add as well. I had the music fade in and out. The fade out is important as I didn’t need the entire song. I also set the time each frame takes, some shorter if they had few words, none longer than 7 seconds. Length is important. A short video has greater effect. Also, sites like Twitter have length limits (2min, 20 secs.).
Then there are visual effects. Both my book trailers have random movement, which I think makes it look better. You can even choose a specific movement for a specific frame. Teatime has one frame that spins slightly, for example. I also used a slightly nutty fade between slides. It wouldn’t be right for all projects, but it works for this one, I think.
That’s pretty much it. I’ve made two book trailers in slightly different styles. The one for my children’s book is pretty straightforward panels with words -vs- panels with pictures. In Teatime’s I added the pictures onto the panels with the words. I think either one can be effective, but the words -vs- pictures is probably easier.
If you want a trailer for your book but can’t afford a professional, I hope this post helps you out. Until next time, keep being awesome!