Do-It-Yourself Book Trailers

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ATLANTA – Written by M.L. Childs

For many years, film advertisers have enticed us with movie trailers.  They seem to know how to juxtapose the right scenes together in a very theatrical sequence that leaves us wanting more.  In recent years, book authors have been dabbling in what is now known as book trailers.  These are a marketing tool that authors are using to market books in the same way that film marketing teams market movies.

This trend is not as popular as film trailers, however.  Very few authors take advantage of this marketing tool and likely because it is relatively new and also because it can be quite expensive.  To have the dramatic effect that films trailers have and the maximum level of suspense needed to interest an audience enough to purchase and read your book can cost a lot of money, especially if actors are included.  If you are a self-published author or a traditional author and you have the financial means to get a professional book trailer for your book, by all means, invest in this option.

A few years ago, there was a wave of companies springing up assisting with creating book trailers.  The cost used to range from $1500-$2500.  Maybe companies didn’t see any real profit potential in book trailers and discontinued this option because I don’t see many options in Google searches anymore.  If there are any companies still doing this, I’d say go for this option.

Another option that could be more economical is partnering with aspiring student filmmakers in your local area who may be able to assist you with creating a book trailer.  They are usually eager to build their portfolio.  Thus, your book trailer could be one of their many directing opportunities creating a win/win for both parties.

If both of these options seem too costly or cumbersome, another option is the option for the “starving artist” or guerilla book marketer who doesn’t have a large marketing budget but happens to be quite creative.  That is the do-it-yourself option.  Even if you aren’t very creative yourself, if you have a graphic design buddy who could work with you on this project, then this could work wonders for your guerilla marketing efforts.Startup Stock Photos courtesy of

The first thing you would need to do is create a PowerPoint presentation.  I would avoid the standard templates that PowerPoint has and opt for a made from scratch design.  You could get your graphic designer or photographer friend to develop cool backgrounds or if you don’t have such friends, find some stock photos online that relate to your book’s subject area.  You could even call up your musician friend to develop some music for your trailer so that you avoid copyright infringement issues. No musician friend?  I’m sure you probably have a friend with a great reading voice that could narrate for your book trailer similar to the way voice over actors narrate for Hollywood film trailers.  Just be careful with the sound because you don’t want to capture heavy breathing or overly loud talking in the recording for the trailer.

If you want to go all in and try your hand at indie filmmaking, you could video record and embed the video into a single PowerPoint page.  However, this option will require some great filmmaking and editing skills a because a horrible video recording and sound could hurt your efforts.  But if you want, be the next Stephen Spielberg of book trailers if you like for Christ’s sake. Heck, you might do so well with your own book trailer that you could develop your own small side business to help other writers in addition to your book writing.  Just a thought.

Once you create the PowerPoint presentation to your liking,  record the presentation in PowerPoint.  I would stick with1 min 30 seconds or less and short, snappy phrases on screen because this is an ad after all and people’s attention span is short when it comes to ads.  Get right to the point ASAP.

Once you have the PowerPoint presentation perfected, you will need to convert it to a video in .wav or mp4 format.  Then take this video format and upload it to YouTube.  The conversion process takes a while so be patient.  Once it is loaded, embed it into your website, social media, or start encouraging clients to visit your YouTube page and subscribing.

Again, I’m not saying that do-it-yourself book trailers are the option you should choose.  If you have better options available to you, choose those.  But DIY book trailers can certainly be a good alternative option for those who have a tight book marketing budget.  I think you should always seek out professionals when working on designs of any kind.  But if you are a designer yourself or have friends or family that can help you make this book trailer be as professional as possible, then I’d say go for it.  There are no guarantees with anything.  Afterall, look at all of the dazzling film trailers that Hollywood has released only for the film to be less than stellar.  Look on the bright side, anything is possible.

Your book is your dream and if you want your dream to become a reality in spite of the doors being closed to you, then try, and try again until you become the best-selling author that you are striving to be.

I hope you enjoyed this article and look out for more guerilla marketing tips from me in upcoming posts.  Do you have some DIY book trailer tips to add?  Be sure to comment below and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @mlchildsauthor for more writing and publishing tips.


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Book Trailer courtesy of YouTube

Here is a simple book trailer for my novel that I created using PowerPoint, converted it into a video and uploaded it to Youtube.  Check it out:


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