When I first heard about video trailers for books, I thought the concept sounded odd. We’re talking books, right? Words on a page. Why advertize a book with a movie? But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. Then I watched a few—and I was sold. We all love movies, and video trailers offer a great way to use images and music to create teasers for our books. Plus, they’re a lot of fun to make, giving us authors yet another way to exercise our creativity.
Check out this Halloween appropriate example, the trailer for Ransom Riggs’ Hollow City, the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Kind of creepy, huh? Makes me want to read the book.
Software like iMovie (iPad), Windows Movie Maker (PC), Microsoft Photo Story or applications like Animoto make it easy to create your own videos. (See this post for additional information.) I’ve used Animoto for the trailers I’ve created—and while it takes some time, the hard part is choosing/creating the materials, not using the application.
So what do you need to make a book trailer?
- Pictures and/or video
I suggest starting with your text, your teaser. When I made the first trailer for A Gift of Wings, I started with pictures. Mistake. Once I got the teaser hammered out, I realized I could only use a few of the pictures I’d chosen, and I also needed others I hadn’t thought to look for. So, yeah, start with your text. Once that’s written, you can decide what images you want to go with it.
You can use your own photos or video, find inexpensive stock photos or videos, or use images in the public domain or licensed for free through Creative Commons. Wikimedia is a great source of images—just be sure to credit the source as indicated. Also make sure to include your book cover among the images you use.
If you are using an application like Animoto, once you have your text and images, you’re ready to go. Simply tell it you want to create a new video. Then upload your pictures, choose a style, choose your music, and you’ve got a video. You can add your teaser text as captions to the photos or insert the text separately. And you can preview the video as often as you want, with different styles and different music selections, until you find the ones that fit. You can also change the settings to slow the video down or to speed it up, as needed.
Animoto offers several different options at varying costs. With the free option, you can create a 30 second video. If you subscribe—and you can subscribe for as little as $5.00 for a single month, if you want—you can create longer videos and choose from a larger selection of styles and music.
Once your video is created, you can download it, upload it to YouTube and Vimeo, post it on your website, Goodreads, and your Amazon author page. It provides one more bread crumb that can help readers find your book. (Check out this blog post for other ways you can use your book trailer.)
Here’s the trailer I created for A Gift of Shadows, which will be released in December.
What do you think about book trailers? Do you like to watch them? Have you created your own? If you have created your own, how did you do it?
Connect with Stephanie Stamm:
Stephanie Stamm is the author of the New Adult/Young Adult urban fantasy A Gift of Wings. (The sequel, A Gift of Shadows, will be released Dec. 10, 2014.)
She has also contributed stories (one fictional and one true) to the following volumes: