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royalty free images
emotional connection
copyright issues
several steps
time fee
free tools
How To Make A Book Trailer
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Learning how to make a book trailer sounds like it would be complicated. While there are several steps in the process, it’s really not all that difficult.

If you like, you can save yourself some time and hire someone to produce your book trailer. When I looked into this option, I found prices from $200 up to $2000. If you are like me and have limited marketing funds to work with, learning how to make your own trailer is a good idea.

Fortunately, there are lots of free tools available that can help. Slick, dazzling effects aren’t important. Instead, you want to establish an emotional connection with anyone who watches your book trailer.

Step 1

Check out other book trailers. YouTube and Vimeo are good places to start. Search for books similar to yours. Which book trailers grab your attention and make you want to read the book?

Step 2

Summarize the key message of your book. If you write non-fiction, you could put this in terms of the problem you solve for your readers. If you write novels, define the major conflict and message of your story. It’s not easy to condense a 300 page work into a 90 second video. Your summary will help you focus on what is most important.

Step 3

Write the script for your book trailer. The easiest way is to format it into two columns, with the text for each slide on the left and a brief description of the image(s) that go with that text on the right.

Step 4

Collect the images you will use. To stay out of trouble over copyright issues, use your own photographs as much as you can. Don’t think you can just copy images off the internet unless the site specifically says you can.

The results of a quick search for royalty-free images will list several websites that sell royalty-free images. You’ll just pay a minimal one-time fee and the photos are yours to use (within the terms and conditions).

You don’t always have to use the exact image of what you want to show. For my own book trailer, I needed a prison shot. Not wanting to pay for one, I found a shot of some barbed wire among my own pictures. The barbed wire image was enough to convey the idea of being in prison.

Step 5

Use software like PowerPoint to create a slide show. Text colors and fonts should be easy to read. Use the same colors and fonts that are in your book cover, or at least are similar.

Use the Animations options to set your slides to automatically advance every 5 seconds. Watch the results, and tinker with the timing, speeding it up or slowing it down as needed.

How long should a book trailer be? Most book trailers last between 90 and 120 seconds.

Once you have the timing figured out, you are ready to move on.

Step 6

Now for the music. You guessed it, you’ll have to be careful about copyrights.

My favorite site for royalty free music is iStockphoto as it seems to be a little cheaper than many other sites.

After you have found and paid for your music, link it to the slide show and review it. Adjust the timing until you are satisfied.

Save your slideshow one more time. This time, save it as JPEG File Interchange Format, every slide.

Step 7

Now you are ready to open Windows Movie Maker. After clicking on “add videos and photos” you can add the files you saved in the last step. Use Video tools to set the time for each slide. The animations options can create motion or other effects.

Keep playing with it until you are completely satisfied. Save your movie and you are ready to share it with the world.

Creating a book trailer may take a bit of work, but you will be able to use it over and over for your book marketing efforts.

Street Talk

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