How to Make a Book Trailer

Book trailers are very popular right now, because you can upload them to YouTube and have them seen by hundreds. But if you have a small publicity budget and/or are self-published, you might not be able to hire someone to make a trailer for you. If your computer or laptop comes with Windows Live Movie Maker, you can make an eye-catching trailer yourself--for free. Unless you're a graphic arts whiz, it probably won't be the same quality as a professional video. But with the proper arrangement and the right images and audio, you can make an attractive book trailer. Here's how:

  1. Search for copyright-free, public domain images. Wikimedia Commons and Public Domain Images are good sources. If you want, you can also purchase the rights to high-quality images from other websites.
  2. Search for copyright-free, public domain audio/music clips. Pdsounds and Wikimedia Commons are good sources. You can also buy one-time rights to some audio/music clips.
  3. Create an outline of your book trailer. Use enough text to capture viewers' interests, but not so much that you bore them or give away too much of the plot. They key is to intrigue rather than inform.
  4. Open Windows Live Movie Maker.
  5. What you do now is up to you and your vision. Play around with the program and see what you can do. There are several tabs at the top of the screen. Under "Home," you can add pictures, music, text, and even video. Under "Animations," you can choose how one slide will transition to another. Under "Format," you can choose any color, size, and font you want for the text you use. You can also choose how the text will appear on the screen.
  6. You'll need to save your trailer as a WMV file. YouTube doesn't accept the file type that Movie Maker uses.
You might want to create a practice trailer before making your final one, just to get comfortable with using the program. Have fun!

Here is a video tutorial I created that repeats the points above:

And here is a sample book trailer I made with Movie Maker. It's not the greatest trailer in the world, but hopefully it gives you an idea of what you can create. I didn't spend any money making this, and all the images and music are public domain:

Here is the trailer for Dori Jones Yang's novel Daughter of Xanadu. I don't know for sure if it was created using Windows Live Movie Maker, but I think it might have and anyway it's a great trailer.

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