Book Trailers: 11 steps to make your own

Book trailers are videos posted online and distributed via video networking sites like YouTube. These can be big budget blockbuster movie clips, or budget MovieMaker slides to music. You can make it an advert or a social media fun clip that people want to watch. It can be a human interest story made more like a documentary. It can be a cartoon. Essentially, it is anything you want it to be. Anything that catches people’s attention. You can get a professional to make you one or you can make your own for little or no money.

I made this one today with Windows Movie Maker (which is on on most PCs). It took me several hours but was essentially free, and you don’t have to be too techy to make one too. Instructions after the movie! (comments and feedback welcome!)

  1. Research other book trailers that are similar to what you would like to do. Just search for book trailers on YouTube. decide what you like and don’t like (and what is within your capacity and budget)
  2. Write a brief script for the trailer so you can get it straight in your head and understand what images and text you will need ( I just did this on Microsoft Word)
  3. Find and download images to match your words. You can use your own or get free ones online by googling “royalty free photo”. I use iStockPhoto which I find easy to use with a variety of pictures and I did pay a small amount for some photos. You can also use movie clips (which I am still learning about!)
  4. Import the pictures into Windows MovieMaker (File -> Import Media)
  5. Order the pictures. Drag them into the movie bar at the bottom of the screen in the order you want. Right click and Cut to remove again. Basic drag and drop functionality. Remember to save regularly!
  6. Add script by clicking on the picture in the movie bar and then clicking Edit -> Titles and Credits. You can add text in various styles, colours and transition effects here. You can add text before, on top of or after your picures.
  7. Edit. Once you have got the basic pictures and text setup, see how long your movie is. Most book trailers are no longer than 1 minute 30 seconds. Edit as necessary by clicking and dragging the size of the boxes to shorten the time frame they show on the screen.
  8. Find music to match the length of your movie (or cut to fit). I used but you can google “royalty free music” to find other sites. I searched on audio length within classical music and listened to a few before choosing.
  9. Check you are happy with everything and then Publish your movie to your computer.
  10. Find tags. Now you have a file you can publish it to the internet movie sites to get some viewers. You need to know what tags you want to add to your video when you upload it, so I suggest you also research what people are searching on in your genre. I use Google Keyword Search which has a number of tools and recommended related words.
  11. Upload your video to appropriate sites. I have loaded mine to YouTube and Google Video so far. It takes some time per site, unless you use a video submission site like XXXX or TrafficGeyser which is expensive and really only for companies with lots of video. You can submit manually to sites like Revver, MySpaceTV, Metacafe, Yahoo Video, Book Trailers, AuthorsDen. No doubt there are many more! Remember to also use the embed links to post to your own website, blog and social networking sites.
Have you had any promotional success with book trailers? Where do you post them online?
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  1. keikomushi says

    For Creative Commons Attribution-only tunes then go to You can also pay a small fee to fully license tracks from the large library of music.
    Magnatune also offers ahuge selection of music that you can license for a reasonable cost as well, though the website offers permission to use on sites like YouTube and Google Video in exchange for buying an entire album. You only need to post attribution information on the video. (

  2. Sheila English says

    You can use for free too and upload your video to several sites at one time.
    You need to have profiles on those sites, but if you manually upload you have to create a profile anyhow.
    Also think about sites like GoodReads and RedRoom.
    If you upload to Blip you can use their distribution dashboard and forward your video to itunes and facebook as well.

  3. keikomushi says

    If you intend to create a bunch of different promotional stuff, then the art at Shutterstock is absolutely gorgeous. The only problem that I can see with using this service is how expensive it is to subscribe on any of the plans currently available.

  4. says

    Wow, some really great information here. Having just written my first novel, I’m totally new to the world of self promotion.

    I’d seen a couple of book trailers and had been wondering how to go about making one.

    Thank you so much for this.


  5. says

    Great article! I have a few books I need to market and found this post to be just what I needed. Thanks so much! Also, if you are looking for photos to use, a site I use for my book covers is I know it sounds bad but believe me it has nothing to do with cemeteries or anything like that. Now I just need to figure out how to write a script for a book reading. Ah, the fun of book promotion!

  6. Surangika Senanayake says

    My first book,” Help Me Learn Music” is with the publisher now. It is for children from 5-7 years; written in such a way that a parent without any music knowledge is able to help a child at home with his/ her music education, just like helping them with their school homework. It is simple and straightforward and applies not only for keyboards but for most string and wind instruments as well. An important feature of the book is that it encourages to compose from a very early stage.

    Your information is good and helpful. Hope it is not too difficult to follow; thank you for posting it.


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