My Book Trailer Experiment

Ever since my first book was published I’ve been wanted to try creating a book trailer. My motivation wasn’t because I thought it would increase my sales, because everything that I had read said it wouldn’t. But when I got my cover for my upcoming release of Forever in My Heart, I decided it would be a fun way to tell about the story and reveal the cover.

So I took an online course sponsored by RWA, and looked at trailers from fellow romance authors. Here are some key takeaways I learned.

  1. Script – start with your blurb, and create a script of approximately 20-25 short phrases.
    • Focus only on the main conflict between the hero and heroine
    • Capture the essence of their goals and the conflict that’s preventing them from achieving the goals
    • Write short and engaging phrases that will entice the reader to want your book
  2. Fonts – use the same font throughout the trailer. If you keep changing it, the viewer will start to focus on the changing fonts and not the words. Here are some sites I looked at for free fonts:

http://www.1001fonts.com/    – I like this site because I was able to look up fonts by category. It helped me narrow my focus.

http://www.fonts.com/FindFonts/freefonts.htm

http://www.dafont.com/

  1. Music – choose music that reflects the tone of your book. For me, I found this difficult since my story is a Contemporary with a Romantic Suspense element. Here are a few sites you can check out. There are lots of others if you do a Google search.

http://incompetech.com/m/c/royalty-free/

http://vimeo.com/musicstore

http://www.partnersinrhyme.com/

  1. Photos – I really struggled with this because searching for photos takes time and often costs money. I opted to use clips from my book cover and slowly reveal the entire cover at the end. Not the most sophisticated approach, but my goal was (a) to share a version of my blurb and (b) reveal the cover. So I felt I’d accomplished this. Regardless of your approach, make sure you use photos that are of the highest quality (300 dpi or more). And in my opinion, more pictures aren’t necessarily better. Here are some sites you can look at for photos:

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/

http://www.pdphoto.org/

http://www.istockphoto.com/

http://www.depositphoto.com

http://www.dreamstime.com/

  1. Putting it together. I used Microsoft PowerPoint to build my initial slideshow. I put each phrase on a page using the font I’d purchased along with the pictures. I added transitions from slide-to-slide. When I was comfortable with this, I uploaded the slides to Windows Movie Maker and finished the editing.
    • Make sure there’s enough time on each slide to read the words. I set three seconds per slide. In some cases, I had to adjust the words on a slide because it couldn’t be read. Going through this exercise forces you to be concise!
    • Movie Maker has some different transitions that PowerPoint didn’t have and I experimented. But be careful to not have too much motion and jerky transitions.
    • Make sure you end with your book cover, your website, buy links (if available), or release date (or coming soon)
    • My trailer is just over 30 seconds. I’d suggest not going more than 90 seconds for fear of losing viewer attention.
  2. Get opinions. I showed draft versions of what I did and got feedback. This was especially helpful in understanding if it was going too fast.
  3. It’s a wrap! When I was finished, I created a channel on YouTube and uploaded it. Make sure you change the settings to public before you start sharing the link. Don’t forget to add it to your website and post a link on Facebook.

Here’s a link to my finished product. Let me know what you think.

Hopefully you got some helpful tips. Please share if you have other resources you found helpful.

Hugs and best wishes for a healthy and happy holiday season!

Maria

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26 Comments

  1. Nicely done, Maria! This is really easy in iMovie, for those Mac folks.

    Curious to learn whether you think it gains any attention, promo-wise. Best of luck with the upcoming release!

    Reply
    • Thanks. Joanna. I’ve noticed some new followers. But I also haven’t promoted it a whole lot. Maybe once I get an official release date. It’s also difficult since I don’t have buy links. I did notice a slight change in my ratings for Untangle My Heart, so who knows?

      Reply
  2. Great creativity. I hadn’t realized there was so much too it until you explained all the steps. So many different things to consider. Whether or not it increases sales, I still think you’ve gained some valuable experience, plus it will be easier next time. Additionally, maybe it will be service you can offer other writers, those more technically challenged. Well done.

    Reply
  3. Hello Maria,

    You rocked the trailer. Teasers, videos, etc. are not my thing. If I’m ever publish I plan on going to my niece for help. Mine would never come pretty and I know if you can’t do it well it’s better not do it at all.

    Can’t wait for your release. The cover is beautiful.
    Mia

    Reply
  4. Ashantay Peters

     /  November 17, 2014

    Great trailer! I recently made one for my latest release, and feel it was worth the time and effort. I worked directly in Movie Maker and found the process easy once I’d messed up a few initial tries. (smile) A suggestion – adding your prior titles to the script or credits may help new readers find your backlist.

    Reply
  5. JB Schroeder

     /  November 17, 2014

    Nice job Maria & it’s so handy to have your step by step list as well as all these great links! Thank you!!!

    Reply
  6. Well done, and thanks for sharing all your hard earned knowledge with the rest of us. I’m a firm believer that nothing we do is in vain. This experience will come in handy. Enjoyed the trailer.

    Reply
  7. Okay, I’m impressed. Your trailer is great, and I love the way you did only snippets of the cover to reveal the whole thing at the end. Now you make me want to try. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Judy. I’m glad you liked the slow build-up of the cover. I toyed with finding photos but since it was also intended to serve as a cover reveal, I thought this made sense. And was more financially feasible! Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  8. Great job with the trailer Maria! Thank you for all the great links too. I’m looking forward to your next book.

    Reply
  9. RoseAnn DeFranco

     /  November 17, 2014

    Wow! What an informational post. Thanks for the info on free music sites, photos and fonts. I’m secretly in love with the site called dafonts. Maybe it’s an Italian thing! Great job. I love the finished product.

    Reply
    • Hi RoseAnn. I think dafonts is where I downloaded the one I used. It was a lot of fun experimenting with them. There are SO many. I’m glad you liked the finished product, especially since you saw some of the early ones!

      Reply
  10. Abigail Owen

     /  November 17, 2014

    Very helpful tips for those of who haven’t tried one yet. Thanks!

    Reply
  11. Fantastic…no other description. It is a post you make a notebook from. To continue would be taking away from this 8 paragraph workshop.

    Reply
  12. Great job, Maria! This is great information to have when I finally get published. I love the snippets. They tell just what the book is about. I can’t wait to read the final product.

    Reply
  13. Great job, Maria. I think the trailer really says a lot about your wonderful storytelling. Thanks for sharing how!

    Reply
  14. Diana Quincy

     /  December 1, 2014

    I love your trailer, Maria! I’ve always been a little intimidated about making one myself but maybe it’s time to give it a try using your tips and resources!

    Reply

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