Thursday, July 28, 2016

Let’s have fun creating & promoting book trailers! by Donna Galanti

Book trailers can be a great teaser for your book. Necessary? No. Fun? Yes! 

Video watching continues to rise. 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute and almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day. Here are more mind blowing YouTube facts

Last year I created my first book trailer for book one in my Lightning Road series. Trailers can run you from do-it-yourself bare bones price to thousands of dollars. I set a budget of $500 and came in around $400, all-inclusive. Most importantly, I wanted a trailer that had quality even within a small budget. What do you think?

I originally thought in creating this trailer that I could (ahem, meaning my techie husband could) create my trailer in a movie making program. But we had a learning curve and the clock was ticking with the book release, so I decided to create what I could and enlist a designer/editor to put all the elements together.  It worked out great! I had control of content and design and she put it all together with tech glitz.

With book two in my series releasing August 30th, Joshua and the Arrow Realm, I decided to re-visit the same process but go a step further with promotion and have a book trailer reveal. You can signup here for my book trailer reveal with giveaway on August 15th. But first, let’s talk creating.


Write a script and make it brief. Under two minutes. Read it out loud. Some experts say even less than one minute. View two well done examples here of a shortbook trailer and here, and an example of a longer book trailer. To see great book trailers done on small budgets by two of my friends, check out the booktrailer for Kathryn Craft and the book trailer for Kit Grindstaff.

Thrill viewers in the first few seconds.

Introduce the main character and setting and focus on their problem or goal by creating a series of scenes that quickly show the story without summarizing it.

End with a cliffhanger. Don’t give away the ending!

Script it with the theme of the book in mind. Time each slide with the copy and music. My trailer for Joshua and the Lightning Road is 100 words. Think of how to show the story while keeping excitement levels high. Less is generally more.

On a budget? Simpler can be better. In Joshua and the Lightning Road trailer I used one video and one song. My editor added in a few other animated elements.

Purchase affordable video clips and music (or find for free. See resources below) to incorporate after you’ve scripted. Keep in mind the approximate length of your trailer before purchasing any clips. 

Practice reading the script aloud with the music, allowing a few seconds for each slide. Purchasing a longer music track is fine as you can use what portions fit the trailer best.

Include your book cover, blurbs, and publication information at the end of the trailer.

Bottom line: go for simple and classy vs. complicated and cheesy.


Music I use: 300Monks.
Can search by genre, mood, or setting. Most under $50.
For free music check out Free StockMusic.

Video/photos I use: iStock. For my recent trailer in production now, I purchased 3 video clips from Essentials Videos (lowest priced). The Signature Videos are more expensive. Total was $170 in credits purchased but I found a 20% off coupon and it cost me $136.
Other resources: ThinkStock, VideoBlocks, and Fotolia. For free photos search Unsplash and Gratisography.

Editor/designer hired:  Depends on time involved. It pays to have all of your elements, copy, and vision prepared before working with an editor as more revisions can mean higher cost unless you agree on a set amount. Feeling techie? Than try a movie making program like iMovie or watch a tutorial on Windows Movie Maker. Or tryFiverr!

Here is a great Pinterest board with 1,000 book trailer ideas and tips. Check outfour well done book trailers that are professionally done but provide great examples of what works well in a book trailer as far as timing, suspense, and music.

I highly recommend my designer, AmandaFroehlich. She also created my bookmarks, business cards, and poster!


Host an onlinebook trailer reveal. Ask bloggers to participate in revealing your book trailer on the same day. Include an excerpt and a Rafflecopter giveaway (participants can gain more entries by following you on social media. Extra bonus for you!). Here's an example of a giveaway in my book trailer reveal. All products I already have on hand for many uses, except for the gift card. See what you have on hand already of value to include!:

Upload your book trailer to  Vimeo and YouTube (it’s the #2 search engine in the world because Google owns it. Yup, that’s the world’s #1 search engine).

Link your trailer in these places:
Website home page (having it embedded on your home page boosts your SEO which increases searchability for your website)
Thunderclap campaign (see example of mine)
LinkedIn Profile
Twitter profile
Amazon author page
Email signature
Other social media!

Promote your trailer in your social media outlets, author newsletter, and on your blog.

Play your trailer at book events and school visits, if a children’s author. From my experience, including your trailer in your presentation is a BIG draw at school visits and inspires students and librarians to purchase your book. Tip: request that the teachers/librarians coordinating the school visit play your trailer before your visit to introduce your book to them and get them excited about it! 

Research video distribution services. I haven’t used them but hereis an article reviewing services, some free and some paid. Here’s one company, COS Productions, that focuses on book trailer production and you can purchase video distribution separately if you create your own trailer.

Video has longevity. I still get mileage out of my trailer at school visits, re-posting on social media, and at book events.

Have fun! 

And don’t forget, if you have a blog, I'd love for you to signup to be part of my trailer reveal for Joshua and the Arrow Realm on August 15th! 

There is so much more to know about making book trailers and promotion out there. Authors and designers, share your tips here! Readers, what do you like in a book trailer? Share a favorite! 


  1. One of my favorites is for The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. I always enjoy the pairing of music with the book and tone of this one. With Joshua and The Lightning Road, it's the lightning, very striking :)

    1. Brenda, thanks for sharing this amazing trailer! It was a movie all by itself. Love the animation and the action. I also love that we live in an era where we can combine multimedia with the words on the page.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!