3 Reasons You Need to Make a Trailer for Your Querying or Soon-To-Be Released Novel and How to Make It

The last movie I saw in a theater was Where the Crawdads Sing based on Delia Owen’s widely popular debut. By the time the movie started, I had a mental list of at least five movies I had to see next. Why? Trailers.

A well-done trailer satiates the appetite of its viewer. My seven-year-old son has watched the trailer for the upcoming Mario Brothers movie at least ten times. I’m sure we’ll be seeing that one opening weekend.

If you are a querying author, or soon-to-be-debut, Here is why YOU should make a trailer for your book.

  1. Statistics tell us to. According to a study by Cisco, more than 80% of internet traffic is video consumption. Another study showed that video on a landing page increases conversions by as much as 80%. YouTube boasts more than 2 billion users and TikTok is closing in at more than 1 billion. There is no reason not to take advantage of the single most robust way to promote your book.
  2. Marketing. You can share your book trailer across your social media platforms, link it in your query and post it on your website (if you don’t have a website that post will be coming soon). Additionally, viewers can share your video trailer with the click of a button.
  3. A Professional Touch to Your Author Brand. As you work to build your author brand through your social media platforms, website, etc. a book trailer is an additional place to showcase that brand via colors, fonts, mood, etc.

So Now That We’ve Established Why, Let’s Get to the How

I taught middle school TV Production for ten years. But you don’t need a career in the industry to create an effective book trailer. All you need is a little direction.

Step 1: Images

Search online for inspirational images that represent the setting, main characters, and hook. You can find no charge and nominally feed royalty-free images on Pixabay, BeFunky, and other online sites. I recommend saving several options for each image and collect more than you think you need. Save these to a Book Trailer folder on your desktop. Please only use free images or pay for ones you like that aren’t free. As a content creator yourself, you wouldn’t want people stealing your book from bookstores. 🙂

Step 2: Music

Now that you have selected images, it’s time to choose music to set the mood. Audio Jungle is my top choice. Lyric-free instrumentals create the most cinematic effect. You can listen to the songs online, then download a sample at no charge. Be sure to check the duration of each and select tracks in the one to two-minute range. I recommend not purchasing it until after you’ve made your trailer in the event you change your mind. Most tracks are less than $20.00. Please do not use copyrighted music, again, you wouldn’t want anyone stealing your book. 🙂

Step 3: The Script

Now that you have images and music it’s time to draft a script. I say draft because I promise you this will change. Write short phrases and one-liners that convey the mood of your images and soundtrack.

Step 4: The Software

If you’ve never made a video, don’t get nervous—you wrote a book! You’re a superstar. Below you’ll find my favorite two software applications to create your trailer, but there are tons of other options available.

  • iMovie. My iMac users already have built-in video editing software. iMovie allows you to drop and drag images, add music, titles, transitions, etc. I recommend not using one of the book trailer templates. The templates offer limited capability for customization and those templates are already all over social media. So just don’t. Your original words deserve an original trailer.
  • Wondershare Filmora. Filmora is my go-to video editing tool for my PC users, The software is available as a free download but any videos you create will have a watermark until you purchase it. An annual subscription is only $50.00. It’s a very user-friendly application and offers enough options to create a customized trailer.

Step 5: The Process

  1. Upload the images.
  2. Drag and drop them in the order you think makes the most sense. When editing images, I often use b/w or sepia to indicate a dark scene, and color to indicate a brighter scene. But be careful not to over-edit or over-use filters. Stick to one or two.
  3. Upload your music and drop it underneath the images. Play it while you work for inspiration. Try to place images at points in the song that capitalize emotion. You’ll see when you watch the examples below.
  4. Add your text on top of the images. I recommend not using solid colors with long text. Images with short phrases are more visually appealing. Also, pick an easy-to-read font and use it consistently throughout.
  5. Add transitions between images, but don’t get fancy. I usually prefer to have images fade into one another.
  6. Add a title slide and credits with your contact info. These can be on solid color slides. Adjust the duration of the slide so the reader has time to read it.
  7. Revise until you are satisfied. Then purchase the music, and the software if needed, so you can download your video without watermarks.

What to Do After

Now that you’ve made your book trailer, what do you do with it?

  1. Create a YouTube Channel and upload it. By doing so, you’ll be able to embed the link in emails, on your website, etc, Be sure to also drop your query in the video description.
  2. Share the link on your social media accounts. Pin it to Twitter, share on Facebook, IG, TikTok, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and any other accounts you have.
  3. Add a link to your email signature. You never know who someone you are emailing knows!
  4. Share your book trailer in relevant conversations on social media. Don’t be spammy, but your trailer may inspire others to make one or they may know someone who knows someone who wants your book!

My biggest takeaway is this: believe you will get an agent, a publishing contract, and a movie deal. Live as if those things have happened, and friend, you’ll be one step closer to your manifestation becoming your reality!

If you have any questions, or need any help please feel free to reach out. Below I’ll drop the trailer I made for my book and for my critique partner’s. Best of luck. You got this!

Published by Amy Nielsen

Amy Nielsen is a former children's librarian of nearly twenty years. She now spends most of her time obsessively pounding on a keyboard. She is the author of It Takes a Village: How to Build a Support System for Your Exceptional Needs Family, Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her upcoming YA Worth it debuts in May of 2024. She is also a freelance writer for The Autism Helper. When she's not writing, she and her family are most likely crusing the waters of Tampa Bay.

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