Friday, November 1, 2013

How I Made My Book Trailer in One Hour, for Free



I invite you to view the book trailer for Valley of Thracians and get your impressions of it. Not of the book, but of the book trailer itself. What do you think?

Viewers of the trailer have told me that it gives a good sense of Bulgaria, a country that they have never visited, and one about which they know very little. Also, viewers have said that the trailer is very suspenseful, highlighting the mysteries that await readers of the book.

So, take less than two minutes of your time to view the trailer, and then I'll tell you how I made it in one hour, absolutely for free. I'll tell you upfront that I have no experience editing videos and I've never done this before. If I could do it, so can you.



Feel free to comment and tell me what you think of the trailer, but that's not the point of this blog post. Instead, I just want to tell you how easy it is to create a book trailer for your book. I am convinced that if you prepare a good trailer, potential readers will quickly, and most importantly visually, understand what your book is all about.

To prepare the video for my book, I used a program called Stupefix, with which you can "mix photos, video, music, and create stunning videos in seconds". The program is really simple to use. You can choose the most appropriate themes, soundtrack, and type of transition between images. You can upload your own music, add text and subtitles, and even use Stupefix's built-in robots to read your texts aloud if you don't have voiceover audio bits on hand.

Did I mention that you can use Stupefix absolutely for free? There are also monthly subscription plans which allow you to create and download as many videos as you want every month.

Before you start to make your book trailer, here are some points to help guide you:

1. Prepare an outline of what you want to tell the viewer in the video. This could even be a detailed storyboard depicting the "action" frame by frame, or you can make your video on the fly.

2. Don't tell the entire story of your book in the video.

3. End with a sense of mystery, with the viewer asking, "What will happen next?" This is true for any genre of book, not only mysteries and suspense stories.

4. Prepare your pictures in advance, so that you're ready to upload them when creating the video. My advice is to only use pictures for which you have full legal rights, either your own photos, or those you have purchased through stock photo agencies. Stay legal!

5. Don't transition too quickly between images/texts. The video should flow at a pace that is easy to view.

6. Don't use too many texts. After all, this is a video, not a book.

7. Use voiceovers if you want, but have them ready when you start making the video.

8. Keep it short! No one wants to watch a five-minute book trailer. (I suggest no more than 2 minutes).

9. Don't forget to clearly list the name of the book, the name of the author, and where it can be purchased.

10. Include an image of the book cover. Oops! I forgot to do this. If I had to redo the trailer, I would have ended with the cover.

Obviously, just as no two books are alike, the same is true for book trailers. You have to experiment a bit to get the right look and feel that is appropriate for your book. It can be a trial and error process, but if you do it right, you will end up with an excellent marketing tool to help promote your book!

36 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this Ellis. I have been meaning to produce some trailers myself but have struggled with the wrong programmes. Your trailer looks great. Thanks for your help!

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  2. Hello, I found your article very interesting! I couldn't watch the video though, it keept loading and loading and nothing... Can you upload it to youtube and share in facebook?
    Thanks!

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  3. You have certainly captured the Bulgaria that I know :o)

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  4. Yay, of course. THAT's an idea!!! Thank you so much, Ellis.
    (You re-tweeted something for me, and so I found you ☼ )
    I am producing videos for small (and bigger) businesses anyway.
    I use a PRO program and can do a lot. Now I am going to offer it as a service for authors too!
    And I LOVE to be creative.
    The first one will be about my own book: www.TheIvoryCarversDaughter.com
    Coming out in 3, 4 weeks. :-)
    Kindly,
    Johanna

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  5. Wow thank you for making this sound like anyone can do it.I felt the suspense and I was transported to Bulgaria. Good job.

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  6. Excellent advice, Ellis! Your video was the perfect blend of interesting pictures and just enough of a teaser about your story that if I hadn't already read it, it would make me want to. Thanks for so generously making your experience available.

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  7. What a great idea, It was fantastic. Made me want to know more. Thank you!
    excellent job!

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  8. I recently did a trailer for my book and learned how to by reading an article like yours. Great idea! Thanks for sharing. I used Microsoft Moviemaker and I did remember to put the cover in it. lol Check it out. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=19&ved=0CEgQtwIwCDgK&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DPfWSuJcAOPc&ei=0j92Ur2uE9HfsATEhoHIBQ&usg=AFQjCNEb1acqOwydOnJsm4bCdzx9fm3mEg&sig2=WGHU6Z6DHAfU9xVqNI72FA

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    1. Abby = that is quite an impressive trailer! The music fits perfectly! Good job!

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  9. Wow, love the trailer. What a good idea. Seems easy? Good pictures, pitches and music. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Beautiful video with alluring music and scenery. What a remarkable marketing tool. Thank you fo sharing. All the best!

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  11. Very nice. Thanks for sharing this!

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  12. Hi Ellis. I enjoyed your trailer. Maybe it's a generational thing, but I would prefer a shorter trailer (people's attention spans these days!). You can compare it with my own 30 second youtube book trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aoaxj8_DjYA, or visit my twitter page Raymond Steyn‏@GeorgeLyon73. I used Windows Movie Maker. In my experience, it's not just a marketing tool, but also forces one to think differently about your own book (and therefore helps with the writing). Just don't use it as a procrastinating device!

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  13. This is brilliant. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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  14. Thanks, useful info and tips and lovely images

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  15. Thanks for sharing. Gives me food for thought; or, something to try until my book comes out in a few weeks.

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  16. Good example of what the program can do, I am of the mind that less probably would have been more with the trailer. Great info, glad we connected.

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  17. Beautiful shots of Bulgaria. Good points about usage rights etc. What about the music - where did you find it?

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    1. You need to be careful with the music you select for your videos. The music here was supplied by Stupefix, and I thought it was a perfect fit for what I wanted to show in the trailer. What do you think?

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  18. Beautiful book trailer. Had no idea Bulgaria was so lovely. Great work Ellis. I'll check out Stupefix. I'll mention too that you need to be legal with the music you use. The first book trailer I had done was flagged on Youtube because the music the person had used was copyrighted and she didn't bother to get permission from the artist. Her Youtube channel was shut down because there were too many others like that. I did not use her again and instead, learned to make my own book trailers with Windows Movie Maker and found it's very fun to do and another way to use my creativity.
    You can see mine here:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClUN0_LgXtc13JYVD1RFCtQ The Spirit Song books are mine.

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    1. Sherry, I liked your trailer for "Cape of the Red Jaguar" - haunting music. The last 30 seconds could have been cut off to make it a bit shorter though.

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  19. Ellis, Thanks for sharing. I'm getting ready to do my first book trailer and appreciate your insight. I'm starting with iMovie on my Mac, The new version of iMovie is set up to plug and play movie trailers. I will check out Stupefix though. Love your trailer. I agree a cover of the book is essential. I'll let you know how I do.

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  20. I can't thank you enough Ellis for the precious well of information you have given to an aspiring writer, I haven't written a novel, I write poetry, I have always been told to do something with it and to publish them!! So I've decided to do it and I think DIY publishing is the best chance I have of "seeing my dream become a reality" watching your video, which is beautifully put together "by the way" then reading through your extremely informative and helpful tips, has given me something I would never have thought of doing. I have always wanted to write a fantasy book so now I just might. Thank you so much again for sharing your knowledge freely. Cheers Mandi

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  21. I'm not this far along yet with marketing, although my novel is finished, so thanks so much for your generous sharing of this invaluable advice.

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  22. Thanks for the advice. I enjoyed your trailer. The only nit I have is that the size of the letters kept changing, and that distracted me. Otherwise, perfect!

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  23. Thanks for sharing. I watched using safari on a mac and it looked really good. I love making book trailers. I think they add a lot of value to a potential reader. It's like a movie trailer. Whets the appetite for the big event.
    Kim Smith, http://www.kimsmithauthor.com

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  24. Thanks for sharing this - great to know about a useful, free tool for my promotional toolbox! Will have to start tinkering...

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  25. It was really fun to do, but the finished product changed drastically from the preview. Grrr. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10204051400991841

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  26. This looks like so much fun! I'm giving this a try! Thank you!

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  27. Your trailer is great. I'll buy your book. More importantly, I will give it a try and make a trailer for my own book Easton Summer. Thanks for sharing and the instructions.

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  28. I like your trailer & this is very useful information. It helped me make my 1st trailer. Thanks!! Go to www.crossroadsbookseries.com to see it. Thanks again!!

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  29. Probably needs something like transitions and a bit of frame pause for effect. No idea why the squares extend into the scenery, but maybe it fits your intended message. Nice to see this advice here, though. It may look the barest bit unskilled, but I think it would pass.

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  30. Great, wonderful article. Thanks a lot for the tips!

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  31. Thanks for sharing how to create a book trailer. The visuals and words worked well. I just wonder if the music gave the flavor of your novel.

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  32. Don't beat yourself up for leaving out the cover. EVERY trailer shows the cover; yours can set itself apart from the rest by omitting it. It's a high quality trailer. If you do add the cover, start with it, then open the cover to a shot of Bulgaria and zoom into it.

    It's too long. Tighten the "Bulgaria, land of [too much scenery]" part. I'd suggest showing the protagonist, even as a still, against a B.G., then the B.G. without him/her. Similarly for the artifacts: Show them, then show the same photo with them Photoshopped out.

    Quite a bit of redundancy. "But, [no commas after 'but'] he has gone missing." = same as "He has disappeared." Ask, instead "Where is he?" "A search is launched" = same as "The search continues all over Bulgaria." Ask, instead, "What has happened to him?" Make the viewer wonder.

    Well worth the two minute look. Well done.

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    1. Thanks for your very detailed suggestions! Very helpful in guiding me to preparing an even better book trailer!

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