Some people hire a professional videographer and pay actors to make a really cool, movie-style book trailer.
I’d rather save the money so I can buy a house.
There really isn’t a need to shell out so much money. You can make an awesome trailer while spending very little. It’s just going to take a lot of creativity and some recourses.
Plan It Out
If you’re going to have narration or text appear on the screen, write the script. It should be similar to the blurb of your book. You may want to sketch some simple storyboards and decide which imagery you want to go with the text. Decide if you’ll be using still photos or videos. Photos are easier to find, but videos will make your trailer more interesting. I wouldn’t recommend mixing the two, as that might come off as unprofessional.
Gather Photos, Videos, and Music
Pixabay is a website with lots of beautiful free stock photos and videos. They don’t have everything, but it’s a good place to start.
Videezy and videvo are good places to look for free stock footage.
Youtube now has free audio tracks
Shutterstock, iStock, Bigstock, 123rf, Envato, Dreamstime have huge collections of just about everything. (These sites carry a lot of the same stuff, actually.)
(Just by the way, if you go to videohive and do a search for ‘trailer’, you might find something that works for your book. The downside of that is that other people probably used it and you need Adobe After Effects to edit it.)
Pond5 and Audio Jungle are my go-to places for music.
I use Premier Pro, but it’s expensive. You can use Movie Maker, which is free and simple to use. These two programs are at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of professionalism and price. There’s other software you can find online that’s in between the two.
Find a Narrator (If you need one)
Fiverr has a lot of voice artists and the price is great. Make sure to look through the gigs carefully to find one that is high quality.
Keep it professional
- Try keep all of your captions the same – same color, same font, same place on the screen. If most of your video is dark, make the text light. And vice versa. If some of your footage is light and some is dark, switch between two colors (and two colors only), or make your text white and add a slight, unobtrusive text shadow.
- Keep your transitions simple. A regular, old-fashioned fade works really well. Fading to black or white between images can also work. If you get too fancy with your transitions, it can get really distracting and annoying.
- Don’t be too literal in your imagery. If the narrator or the captions are telling me something, I don’t need to see the same exact thing in the image. I’m not dumb. I can read the caption and learn one thing, then look at the image and learn another thing, and put the two together all by myself.
- Don’t tell the entire story. You don’t need to stick exactly to the book. You can tweak details, such as the order of events, if it makes your trailer more intriguing. The main point is to convey a mood and to get people to be curious enough to buy the book.
- Choose music that fits your genre well. Sometimes a song with lyrics is better than instrumental.
Don’t be afraid to explore. Make something cool. Create a mood. Give me a little glimpse of your amazing novel so I want to know more.
Here’s a post where I list some of my favorite children’s book trailers.
Here is my latest book trailer, which I put together for less than $30.