Want To Make a Book Trailer? All You Need to Do is Think Outside the Box


Have you ever considered creating a video to market your book? Videos are so easy to upload and share online. After all, big blocks of text never go “viral” in the way that a cute cat video or awesome movie trailer will.

You might think that you need fancy editing equipment or an expensive camera to make a great video, but that’s not the case! Sometimes you just need a really great, creative idea that will set your trailer apart from all the other videos online. Here’s a few tips and tools you’ll need in the meantime:

Make sure it’s not too long.

Do you remember the six-second book trailers on Vine that we covered back in April? They were quick, catchy, and fun — and part of their charm was how short they were! Like this one for Downfall by Jeff Abbott that Grand Central Publishing put out:

You don’t need to make your trailer that short to get attention, of course. However, it can be tough to hold a person’s interest with a longer Youtube video. The first sixty to ninety seconds are crucial to getting noticed — and if a viewer sees that your video is longer then three minutes, they might decide early on that it’s not worth watching any of it!

Sound and video quality is important.

Again, you always don’t need a fancy camera or expensive microphone, but if your video is too fuzzy or if it’s hard to hear what anyone is saying, then people will stop paying attention much sooner than they would otherwise. Don’t be afraid to redo things over and over again until they’re perfect. If you’re able to record and upload your video in HD, that also helps the clarity considerably. Try uploading your video at 720p quality — it will take much longer to upload, but it will be worth it!

Make sure your idea is interesting.

While you are advertising a book, you don’t have to be completely literal with your video. The best book trailers aren’t necessarily the ones that that straightforwardly explain what the book is about — instead they might tantalize the potential reader and make them want to learn more about the book for themselves.

This trailer by the New Zealand Book Council for Maurice Gee’s Going West, for example, depicts the scenery of 20th century Auckland emerging from the actual pages of the book.

While clearly the Book Council hired an animator to do this amazing piece of video, you don’t need to hire anyone yourself in order to take away an important lesson from this trailer — sometimes all you need is a strong central concept that will grab someone’s attention.

Check out this other, easier-to-imitate trailer for Chuck Wendig’s Blackbirds and Mockingbirds, which was created by filmmaker Alan Stewart.

There’s no description of the plot or characters, no incredibly fancy imagery — just two and a half minutes of text that’s been ripped straight from the book, along with some very simple animation by Alan.

If you want to know more about how important video can be in creating a web presence, you should check out Betty Sargent’s column in the September issue of Publishers Weekly Select, or on their website. We just happen to know that in her upcoming column she. too, will be writing about video–not book trailers, mind you, but about how to create all kinds of video content to help you promote your own brand as a writer.

(featured image via Mel)


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