QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

11 Tips For Making A Book Trailer

by Stina Lindenblatt @stinaLL

©Stina Lindenblatt

There are a multitude of ways to promote your book, book trailers being one method. Whether you need one is up to you. They can be an effective method to promote your book, or they can be a waste of money with no returns. If you do decide to make one, here are some tips for making the most out of yours.

1. Decide what the purpose of the trailer will be. Most trailers don’t sell books. But they might get a potential reader interested in your book…if you don’t bore them with your trailer. I know a few people who decided NOT to read a book after watching the trailer. When I recently made one, I wanted a teaser trailer that was short. My goal was to get people interested enough to check out the blurb.

2. Check out book trailers both within and outside your genre. Make a list of what you liked and didn’t like about them. This will help you when it comes to creating yours. 

3. Set a budget. Book trailers can range from cheap to super expensive. If you decide you absolutely LOVE movie-style trailers, expect to pay A LOT of money. We’re talking thousands of dollars. If you do decide to go this route, don’t cut corners. A cheap looking trailer will hurt you not help you.

4. Create your script. Jot down keywords, moods, images you want to convey. This will help you create your script. Based on these, write the sentences that will be printed (or spoken) in the trailer. Keep them short and to the point.

Once you’ve got the script written (or the rough version of it), look for pictures and videos that represent the story.

5. Don’t rehash your blurb in the trailer. Blurbs are too long for trailers. Short and to the point is better than long and rambling. If your trailer grabs the reader’s attention, she’ll check out the blurb on Goodreads, Amazon, or your website.

6. If you don’t know how to put together a trailer, hire someone to do it for you—or recruit someone willing to help. If you create one yourself, make a mock version before committing to the pictures, videos, and music. The mock versions will be watermarked with the company’s name (i.e. Shutterstock). 

7. If you don’t own it, you can’t use it. Just because Bon Jovi’s latest hit single works perfectly in your trailer, that doesn’t give you the right to use it. And just because you bought the single from iTunes, that doesn’t mean you own it. You have to pay for copyright privileges (and hint, Bon Jovi will be very expensive). Make sure you pick royalty-free music. 

8. Watch out for that alpha channel. If you select a video with an alpha channel attached to it, be aware that not all video software can handle it. The older version of my son’s Video Studio Pro couldn’t. The outcome was messy until we tried the new version of the software, and then it worked like magic. The video stock website should warn you if the video does have an alpha channel. Unfortunately I didn’t know what the word meant at the time when I downloaded the video.

9. Make sure all the pertinent information is in the trailer. Don’t forget the title, your name, and your website at the end, and make sure they are visible. 

10. Get Feedback. Just like with your book, have beta testers view your trailer and give you feedback. If they’re honest with you, they’ll let you know when your video is confusing, boring, or needs a little tweaking.

11. Have fun! This is the most important tip.

Have you created a book trailer? Do you have any other suggestions? If you haven’t created one, are there things you liked and didn’t like about the ones you’ve watched?

Stina Lindenblatt @StinaLL writes Young Adult and New Adult novels. In her spare time, she’s a photographer and can be found at her blog/website. She is represented by Marisa Corvisiero, and finds it weird talking about herself in third person. Her debut New Adult contemporary romance, TELL ME WHEN, will be released Jan. 20, 2014 (Carina Press, HQN).


Julie Musil said...

Oooh, great tips, Stina. This isn't something I've thought about creating because I wouldn't know what the heck I was doing. Maybe I'll have my son play around with it. Thanks!

Mart Ramirez said...

Awesome tips, Stina! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I just made a book trailer, had to trim it down and repost to YouTube after my publisher suggested it was too long. Probably still too long. Anyway, I used animoto.com . . . totally easy and FREE! You can pay for upgrades for more options, but the nice thing is all the images, video and music that is not copyrighted on their site for you to use. Here's mine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7oCLAb62O0