Publishing 101: Book Trailer

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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Book trailers are interesting, they’re fun to watch and can be fun to make. In the past few years they’ve become all the rage with publishers and authors. It’s as if your book has hit the big screen even though it’s still on paper.

How important are book trailers to book sales? I can’t answer that. The only information I’ve read is ‘unknown’. Like many marketing ideas, it’s difficult to say which one entices readers to buy a book.

Still, book trailers are an asset, and if you can make one, they certainly shouldn’t hurt sales.

I create my trailers in Windows Live Movie Maker that came with MS Word 2010. Here are the basic steps:

  • Decide on the words that will appear in the trailer. In this case I used one of my back cover story summaries.
  • Look at each block of text and think about the image that conveys the message you want to send.
  • Gather the images from your own photographs, public domain sources or stock photos.
  • Line up the image with the text and decide how each one will do the other justice, but do not embed the text into the photograph. Edit and crop photos to fit into the movie screen. I used the 4:3 ration which translated to 12 inches wide (4×3) and 9 inches wide (3×3).
  • Open Windows Live Movie Maker and start a new project.
  • Insert images (or video, if you decide to go that route) into the program. Don’t worry if they are in the wrong order. You can drag and drop them wherever you want.
  • Add a title page and the text for the book name. You can add the author name here too, or add another title page. Font types, size and colour can be edited.
  • Add the specified text to the images. By NOT embedding the text into the picture, you can give the text movement.
  • Add a few pages at the end for credits, the book cover and web site addresses.
  • Each slide can be animated to fade in or out, panned or theatrically edited. It’s up to you how much or how little you want. If this is your first video, I recommend making a short test video and playing with the options.
  • Play through the video several times to see if you’ve achieved the desired effects.
  • This is when I add the music, but others add it before adding the animated effects. If need be, I can tweak the animation afterwards.
  • I play it through a few times at full screen to see if there are any mistakes.
  • Upload to YouTube. Add a proper title, description and tags, and you’re video is public. Then you can embed it onto your website.

Although the trailer for Fowl Summer Nights is okay, I don’t feel it properly conveys the silliness and light-heartedness of the story. I might change it in the future.

The words in one or two slides disappear quicker than I intended for them to, so that will be fixed. I had worked on the trailer for about seven hours and believed it was ready, and then I played it through and the text was all messed up. I did my best to align it to the proper slide, but I couldn’t get it perfect.

NOTE: Available Everywhere.

This isn’t exactly true. My book is not available everywhere, and I’ll have to edit this to read “Available in many locations online”.

The first trailer I created was for Shadows in the Stone. At the end of the video I listed several places where readers could purchase the book. This was a mistake. When I set up my author page at Amazon, I discovered I couldn’t post the trailer because iTunes, Chapters and a few other outlets were mentioned.

To solve this problem this time around, I simple stated: Available Everywhere.

Fowl Summer Nights Trailer



Children’s Waltz by Lee Duane FitzSimmons

Link to Home:

Link for Music:


Street View



Subdivision 01







Edited #1








Edited #2








Edited #3








Lady by Window by Chalmers Butterfield



Elderly Woman 03 - Elderly_Woman_,_B&W_image_by_Chalmers_Butterfield

















Elderly Lady by Hugó Poll (1867 – 1931)



Elderly Woman 01

















Elderly Man



Elderly Man 02

















Portrait of an Elderly Lady by Mary Cassatt (1844 – 1926)



Elderly Woman 04

















This completes this step in the Draft to Book in 30 Days challenge.

Next Post Publishing 101: Read One More Time

13 thoughts on “Publishing 101: Book Trailer

  1. I want to experiment with a book trailer. Have recently acquired a camcorder and am desperate to find time to see what I can put together. We live in a visual age so want to see how I can tap into that.


  2. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know. I really enjoy your Tweets (and you’ve got goats…I love goats). I’m looking forward to reading “Fowl Summer Nights”. I have been ever since you put up the chapter, switching the gender. Thanks again.


    • You’re welcome, Bea. Thank you for your kind words. Goats are very unique. They always keep us guessing. We have four: two bucks and two does. We’re hoping to have two or four new additions to the herd in about a month’s time.


  3. Hi Diane,

    I follow you on Twitter and thoroughly enjoy and appreciate everything you write (well, since I discovered you). I wanted to contact you via email or some more private way just to ask you a question. Since I follow you I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen your Tweets show up on my Twitter list in at least three weeks, except for your summations (Twitter results). If for some reason I’m blocked, please let me know. I’m unaware of having done or said anything offensive, and I’ve always appreciated what you’ve got to say. If it’s not intentional, I have to admit I’m awfully new to Social Media in all of its forms, so I’m sorry. I honestly have no idea what I might have done, but this is the only way I can find to contact you. Please feel free to delete this comment as and if you feel appropriate. Oh, and if you’ve blocked me from following you on Twitter, no problem there, either. I still haven’t quite figured out how it works.


    • Bea, gosh in no way are you blocked. I’ve been so busy preparing “Fowl Summer Nights” for publication, writing the blogs to record the publishing process, writing my genealogy column and taking care of the animals (we raise goats; and shovelling snow) to tweet. I’ve written a few things on Facebook, but when I run out of time, Twitter suffers.

      Bea, I enjoy your thoughtful comments to my post. I guess I should take a few minutes and tweet. Sometimes I think about it, and then my mind gets going on something else.

      But a big NO, you are not blocked. I am only busy.


  4. Your trailer is cute and whimsical. I use Animoto and have been happy with it but then I’m not as technical as you are. I think a trailer is good to have, not sure if it actually sells books though.


  5. I think a book trailer is a fun addition to an author’s website. It’s not something that I would say is required. It’s like sprinkles on top of a cupcake–optional. I will have one on my blog soon 🙂


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