Making a book trailer

The last week or so I’ve been working on making a book trailer series for my short story collection The Wicked Wolves of Windsor and other fairytales. Here I’ll share some of the process.

The Wicked Wolves of Windsor 34 second trailer

The last week or so I’ve been working on making a book trailer series for my short story collection The Wicked Wolves of Windsor and other fairytales. Here I’ll share some of the process.

BTW if you like the trailer – go like it over at Youtube 😉 I’d appreciate it!

1.) Determine how you will be using these trailers and where. This impacts some design decisions such as the length of the trailer (15 second works for Instagram stories) and positioning of images (most need to have a centered focus since the IG square format cuts off the edges).

For myself, my plan was to use my book trailers on my website (which imbeds through Youtube), on Instagram (which has 1 minute video on feed and 15 seconds on stories), and on Facebook. These will also be used in my book promotion on IG and FB with paid ads as these are the two social media platforms I favor.

2.) Length of trailer: more then 1 minute is way too long. Personally, I think 30-45 seconds is probably the sweet spot for a compelling, intriguing video that doesn’t give away too much of the plot. People have amazingly short attention spans – don’t go long.

The Wicked Wolves of Windsor, 15 second trailer

3.) Using photos versus video. It will be less expensive if you just go with photos because stock photos can be purchased ready to go from online sources.

Don’t go overboard on picking lots and lots of photos. For a 15 second video I used an intro (more on that later) shot, a credit shot at the end and 3 photos in-between to tell my story. A total of 5 images. For the 35 second video, I used a total of 9 photos.

What worked best for me is I played with the photos in my photoeditor before I purchased them. Experiment with placement and your storyline FIRST. This way you don’t buy photos you won’t be later discarding.

4.) Use your intro for branding. My thought was that I could use this over and over again for my book trailers and send a consistent message to my viewers.

For my branding, I used 2 photos for a custom 3 second video animation. I found an artist on Freelancer.com who did the work for me at the cost of $150 (not including the purchase of the photos for my use).

Before jumping into working with a freelancer, know what you want. Making revisions or changing your mind in the middle of the project will cost you more money. Keep it simple. Know if what you want, is possible to do on the budget you have before committing yourself.

5.) Use your outro to give credits. Use a simple background and give information about yourself and credit for music, voiceover, images etc… to align with copyright permissions.

If you are a Youtuber, you might want to consider ending your video with a Youtube end card template.

6.) Make a story in the middle – just don’t repeat your book word by word. When I was going through a lot of book trailers, I heard and saw a lot of BORING line by line readings.

Videos are a visual medium – use it! Make your book exciting, mysterious, romantic, intriguing and do it with images and tag lines. Keep your script simple – let the images guide you – don’t give away your story! Tease your story!

Some helpful links to get you started:

I found Primal Video very helpful as a resource. Especially their pdf on how to set up for your video and their recommended equipment list.

I used Magix Photostory Deluxe to create my slideshow and exported it as a video. It does take a learning curve but it is not as hard to figure out as their Magix Movie Edit software.

Most of my time was spent looking through photos for the right ones (there are many sites out there, I generally use istockphotos). Start collecting images into a file folder until you get at least 20 and then start cutting them down. Photos should be bought with a license for your use in video.

Choosing the right music is essential! Check out Bensounds.com and Incomptech invaluable. Other music sites were too expensive for my budget. BTW if you use music or images you haven’t obtained a license for or don’t use according to the creator’s guidelines that will flag your video and get you into a heap of trouble. Please don’t even attempt that.

I used Kapwing to re-size my video for Facebook landscape and Instagram Story. For Instagram square, I used this online video editor.

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