Blog Post

Creating A Book Trailer

By guest blogger Maria Henriksen
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“Whoa! I can’t wait to watch that movie now!” You’ve seen movie trailers. They are captivating and feature the most exciting parts of the movie. That short snippet has you wanting more. The next thing you know you’re watching the movie at your local movie theater.

Book trailers work in a similar fashion. They create the mood and provide a glimpse into the book. Ideally, you’re so hyped from watching the video that you order the book. “This book looks amazing! I can’t wait to read it! I’m ordering it now.” With a few clicks on your phone, you can have the book downloaded or have it mailed directly to you.

Before I ever watched a book trailer, the idea to create one struck me. I didn’t even know if book trailers were a “thing” at the time. Nonetheless, knowing my target audience is teens who constantly watch videos, I set out to produce my own mini-movie. I wish I knew then what I know now when I set out to make my trailer. Hopefully, this will benefit an author who wants to make their book come alive to help them sell more copies.

Despite not having much experience in the realm of videotaping, I was determined to make this happen. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone by filming footage while doing the shots for the book cover. This required planning.

First, I had to select a cast of actors/models. Fortunately, this wasn’t difficult because my boy/girl teenagers had friends willing to help, and fit the physical descriptions of my characters. Having my daughter participate in the shoot was extra special, and her scene in the book trailer is an absolute fan favorite. Many book trailers don’t even feature people which can be even easier to produce, but might not be as much fun.

If you have actors/models, you need to draft a release form and have them sign it. In my case, the parent/guardian signed the form since I used minors. Look to the internet as a guideline for the verbiage and structure of the form. Also, everyone’s schedule had to mesh for the photoshoot to happen, and that took some coordination.

Choosing a venue came next. I wanted to make a cover relevant to the storyline yet be appealing to the younger crowd. In my case, I held the photoshoot at an ice cream shop as a milkshake theme is consistent throughout my novel. The owner of the café was gracious enough to host the shoot at no cost. In return, I expressed my appreciation to the owner in the acknowledgments section of my novel. Their milkshakes really are to die for! There was a benefit to having a photoshoot at an ice cream shop as we all indulged in the most scrumptious milkshakes. In fact, the teens couldn’t resist the tasty treat during the shoot, but I digress.

I also took some photos outside the café in addition to the two other times I did photoshoots to ensure I had enough variety for the book trailer and beyond. Luckily, I had enough foresight to use the photos from the various shoots for social media graphics. Not too bad for a novice.

Since I took the pictures myself, I own them and have total access to all the video and photos. However, since I don’t have professional editing software or possess editing skills, I decided to farm out my book trailer to be edited. Free and inexpensive editing software is available, but I felt more comfortable leaving it up to the experts. An author friend of mine provided the referral and I spent way more than I expected. With that said, it’s important to know your budget and get a quote for the cost of services upfront.

A great site to consider using to produce your video is fiverr.com. Many people on there offer very inexpensive book trailers starting as low as $5.00. In most cases, a book cover and book description is all that is required. Be sure that your producer uses royalty-free music, so you don’t have to worry about being sued for using music without permission. In my case, I co-wrote the background song for my book trailer with a talented local teenager who sang and put the lyrics to music. The song I wrote came to me after realizing I couldn’t use the iconic songs from the 1980s I planned on using due to copyrights.

You can also have a voice overlay, usually, that will be an additional cost should you contract it out. I provided captions throughout the clip along with the song to tell my book’s story. Make sure your text is easy to read and not too verbose. Keep the storyline going to keep the attention of the viewer, your potential book buyer. Use transitions to keep the trailer fluid. I researched the different types of transitions and had them inserted by my editor specifically by name. Don’t be afraid to use brief excerpts straight from your book to capture the essence of it. Remember that this is your baby. Take ownership and be sure to make any necessary changes.

At the end of the trailer, I included my social media accounts and my logo along with my author portrait that was taken by a professional photographer. My selfies just weren’t going to cut it.

This process took months to complete but was worth it in the end. I now have a book trailer I can be proud of, and you have the guidelines to create one! Have fun!

Here’s a look at the finished book trailer

About Maria Henriksen
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Maria T. Henriksen is a lover of reading and writing and hopes that people will enjoy her novel as much as she enjoyed writing it.
Helping others in any capacity is what drives Maria.
Maria has a passion for health and fitness and exercises on a regular basis. She can be seen running on a track, trail, or along the road several times during the week, especially in the summer. Her favorite place to run is down the shore, along the bay.

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