How do I make a book trailer?

This week I decided I would have a crack at making a book trailer for the release of 'HIDDEN NEW JERSEY'. How hard could it be, after all?

Check out the finished trailer on youtube ... 

Well, as it turned out, it wasn't too hard at all. So if your a beginner at this (like me) here's what I did.

I wanted a fast solution that wouldn't take me a lot of time.
Looking at what other author's and illustrators were doing I saw many use imovies. I am PC based, so I bought Very reasonable and available online.

The help files are excellent and the software itself is very easy to navigate and make changes.

I made a storyboard ... what did I want to say, which images did I want to use? As I'm the illustrator of the book, I had the image files on hand. If you don't then perhaps your publisher can help, or alternatively you could scan from the book.

Then I put together the 'text' images. (The program calls them slides). I used photoshop, but any program that lets you save as an image file will do. I saved everything as 300dpi RGB jpegs. Remember the text needs to be clear and legible to be read on small screens too. I used Garamond bold, one of my favorite typefaces. Classic and familiar. I wanted a clean look, not too cluttered and keep it professional looking. Tip: don't mix typefaces, two maximum. Use dark colours ... or reverse out on a dark, solid, background.

Here are a few of the slides ...

I also made a screen that gave all the copyright info and credit to the music at the end.

OK, so I had all the slides and I loaded them into my slide show. I started to look at the effects I could add - pan, zoom, out, in, over and up! You can also fade in and out and flip and all that sort of thing. But to me that can make something look cheap and like a bad 70's wedding video.

So I kept it simple and in keeping with the illustrations, panning across (which makes it look like the slide is moving) and zooming in and out alternately on the images. When it came to the 'Hidden Objects' I wanted them to 'flick' through quicker.

It's very easy to change the duration that the image shows on the slideshow. Right click on the slide and set duration, in this case 1 sec per image. Most of the other slides are 2-6 sec.

It was getting pretty quiet. I needed music! And this can be an issue ... obviously you can't use any old tune - copyright rears it's head. So you either need to
a) compose your own. (I can play the tin whistle kinda sort of, but no time for this) or
b) find a piece of royalty free music.

Not as hard as you might think. Google search for 'license free' or 'public domain' music and all sorts of sites come up. Many musicians have lists of music you can use free (and yes on commercial projects too) as long as you give them credit and/or a small donation. $5 in the case of the toon I found from Kevin MacLeod at I listened to a lot of music, this was the must suitable (old time piano and simple). It sounded like someone on a happy journey, which is exactly what I wanted.

It's a cheery little number, but heck it's a killer after an hour or so. It's in 4 time, so I had a lot of fun setting the duration of the slides to the beat.

I watched the trailer many times, adjusted the time to make sure it could be read and the images looked at properly, but not so long that the viewer gets bored. The music is a minute long and I added the final image of the book so it all finished together.

Then I saved the trailer as an MP4 file. You can save in many formats, this one is fine for posting on YOUTUBE.

I posted it online I ran it by the publisher (Charlesbridge in this case) to make sure the marketing department were happy. So much so, they are linking to it :-).

Then I opened Youtube, logged in (you need an account) and uploaded. You can add a description and most importantly TAGS that will direct search engines to your trailer.

Voila! Press and play!

Like I say ... it was fun. When your trailer is out there you can send it to all your friends and annoy the heck out of them! Seriously - it's a fab tool. Email it to your author (so she can annoy all her friends!). Post it on all your social networking sites, but most importantly of all (and I am already seeing results!) send it as a link in any emails to newspapers/schools/libraries/radio/tv ETC ETC ETC when you are doing publicity.

I'm looking forward to the next book trailer! I am already thinking about the bells and whistles you can add ... video clips, voice overs, interviews, animations. Wot a lot o' fun!

I'd love to see your favorite book trailers ... it will give me some ideas, drop a link in the comments.

Meanwhile - I hope this has been of help to the book-trailer-challenged.

OH! and there will be a New Year Giveaway!

Join the FB Hidden New Jersey page HERE



On the bedside table this week:
Superfudge - Judy Blume (because I HAVE NEVER READ ANY JB!!)
Stuck - Oliver Jeffers (funny and excellent)
If you give a Dog a Donut - Laura Numeroff and Felica Bond (more cuteness from this formula)
Marcel the Shell - Jennifer Slate/Dan Fleischer Camp (wierd and yet memorable)
The Wildwood Chronicles - Colin Melo/Carson Ellis (didn't grab me)