Monday, April 11, 2011

How to make a book trailer.(Computer Business)(online marketing videos).

I'm sure you've seen video advertisements for books distributed over the Internet. A book trailer can be like an action-packed, heart-pumping movie trailer, or it can be slower and more comprehensive, like a literary infomercial. Either way, it's yet one more method of advertising your book to your prospective readership.

Some agencies out there will produce a book trailer for you at a cost of several hundred to several thousands of dollars. But with inexpensive digital cameras, smart phones, and friendly drag-and-drop video production programs like Windows Movie Maker and iMovie, you can create your own trailer on a very low budget.

Step 1--The Essence

The first step is to boil down your masterpiece into its primary essence. Is your book exciting and action packed? Is it informative? Is it a literary classical painting? Is it sensual? Ask yourself what mood you want the person looking at your trailer to be in while watching it and whether that mood fits the mood of your book. Remember that a trailer is a sales tool; a mismatch in mood between the trailer and the book is like false advertising. Don't promise Anita Blake and deliver Harry Potter.

Step 2--The Purpose

The purpose of your trailer will help determine the length. Is it meant to be a thirty-second blitz, or a more in-depth look at the book as well as the author? Each has its place in the advertising arena, and it's possible you'll desire both. Just understand that they have different uses and potentially different audiences.

Your genre and audience will also help determine length. Generally, older readers and more literary fiction fit well with a longer author-interview format, whereas younger readers and those looking for an intense experience will be more interested in a shorter format.

Step 3--The Storyboard

Well, it is a movie, and movies use storyboards. Take a few minutes with a pad and a pencil and sketch out the key frames for your video. Yes, sketch. Stick figures will do, but roughly plan out the progression of imagery for your video--close-ups, book cover shots, highlighted words, graphics, etc.

Make sure you include a sales pitch. This may be your closing shot, or it may appear along the bottom of the whole video like a television crawl. Include the full title of the book, book cover image, author, ISBN, domain name, and where your book can be bought.

Step 4--The Script

You need this, too--even for trailers focused on an interview with an author. Map out the questions and answers ahead of time and know what you're going to say. Even an in-depth infomercial-style trailer needs to be under three minutes. Treat this like a pitch and know what you have, why the reader wants it, and how your book delivers. For more intense trailers, channel Don LaFontaine's voice if you have to, but make the text punchy, intriguing, and to the point--thirty seconds, tops.

Step 5--The Audio

I hate to break this to you, but not everyone's voice records well. For interviews, you can cut the questioner if necessary, but if the visual is of you talking, it's going to have to be your voice. Practice out any nervous twitters or even take a few lessons from a voice teacher. Take a deep breath and do the best you can. For the noninterview style in which the voice doesn't have to be yours, consider hiring a voice actor to record the voice-overs. The audio track determines the length of the trailer and the type of visuals needed.

Mood music can take your trailer to the next level. Keep the essence of your book firmly in mind when choosing, but don't let your selection overpower your message. Music that has been digitized and put on the Internet is not inherently rights free; musicians feel the same way you do about copyright infringement. Red Ferret offers a directory of sites offering rights-free music ( Be sure to read carefully the terms of use for each track in which you're interested. sells a wide range of audio tracks at very affordable prices. Don't be afraid to use your personal networks to score an original soundtrack.

Step 6--The Video

Audio is only half the picture. The imagery for your trailer can be any mix of video, stills, and text. Digital video of you doing things--interviewing, writing, teaching, whatever--is only a smart phone away. For a better quality, invest a few hundred dollars in a flip cam with a tripod. Take shots of you giving readings and of the audience's reaction to you--just make sure that the people you are shooting have agreed to be filmed or photographed before you do it. Release forms may be needed.

In the absence of video, slide shows of stills intermixed with text can be very effective. Images on the Web are also subject to copyright, so make sure you have permission to use them.

Step 7--Assembly

Depending on the video program you choose, you may need to construct and adjust the soundtrack, using an audio program like Audacity ( before installing the track. Open up Windows Movie Maker, iMove, Quicktime Pro, or Finalcut Pro, and import your audio tracks, text, and images. Drag and drop to match the visuals with the audio.

Step 8--Saving and Distribution

Each program offers a huge variety of saving options, and you will probably end up saving in more than one format. If a place you intend to send your video demands a specific format, save a copy to its specifications.

Otherwise, consider how you intend to let people see your trailer. Creating a YouTube account and uploading video there can make it easy for you to embed the trailer in your blog or Web site. This ease of embedding extends to allowing others to pass it around. YouTube has the added advantage of making your trailer available to its users. YouTube has instructions and video specifications available on its site ( ITunes is another great place to offer your trailer. It has its own specifications (

Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and numerous other social media sites also allow video uploads. In many cases, it's easier to put it on YouTube first, but you might upload it directly as well.

Engage your audience in a whole new way. Get creative and have fun!

Angela Render is an author who has been editing and developing Web sites for over a decade. She teaches regular classes on Internet marketing. She is creating the second edition of her Internet marketing workbook, Marketing for Writers: A Practical Workbook. Find her at

Source Citation
Render, Angela. "How to make a book trailer." Writers' Journal May-June 2011: 12+. General OneFile. Web. 11 Apr. 2011.
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