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Make Your Own Book Trailer

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on December 19, 2013

Would you like to create your own book trailer in Windows Live Movie Maker? It’s a way to save money and to maintain control over your project. If so, be prepared to spend time on a learning curve. The first effort is the hardest, but then you’ll know what to do for subsequent titles. Just follow these steps for Windows 7, and you’re on your way. Most likely, if you have a PC, you already have this program on your menu. If not, Go Here and download it for free. (I also use the Windows Live Photo Gallery to store and edit my photos.)

My recent trailer for Hanging By A Hair cost me $58 for the images and music from 123rf.com. The images are perfect for the story, and the music adds tension. Click below if you haven’t seen it yet.

There are some companies that will do trailers for you on the cheap, but their work is similar to mine with a slide show. As the author, I’d rather pick out the photos and music that best suits my story. If you’re a big moneymaker, a bestselling author, or perhaps a thriller writer whose work demands a broader canvas, then you can go for the moving videos, the productions using real actors, or the voiceovers. But if you’re the average writer who wants to give your readers a taste of the story without making a big splash, this will work for you.

Do Your Homework By Watching Book Videos

Go to author sites or YouTube and find trailers for books in the same genre as your work.
Write down the text on each slide and note the type of image accompanying it.
Listen to the music. How does it make you feel? Does it create a certain mood?
Does the story move quickly while giving you an idea of the plot and main characters?
How long is the trailer?
What do the credits say at the end?

Write Your Text

Now write your own text in verses to fit on each slide. Remain brief, offering your story points in as few words as possible. The text should give the reader an idea of what your story is about, the tone of your work, and an introduction to your main characters.

Ask your critique partners for input. You’ll need other critical eyes to help you hone down your plot to a few jaunty sentences. It’s not an easy task.

Remember the adage: Short and Simple. Try to keep your video under 2 minutes.

Search For Images

These are the main three sites that I’ve used:

http://www.123rf.com Medium-sized image is 565 x 847 px and are 2 credits each. You can by 20 credits for $20 or 40 credits for $38. Music is available here too. I bought mine for 30 credits. Make sure you read the fine print on the terms. I bought standard licenses. If you want to use an image as a book cover, you’d need a print only extended license.

http://www.bigstockphoto.com/ Small-sized images are 600 x 900 px and are 1 credit each. You can buy 10 credits for $35 or 25 credits for $49.

Reading the fine print on the terms for this site, you’ll see that you cannot use images as part of an online album or collection. I’ve interpreted this to mean you cannot pin these images to your boards on Pinterest. Since I like to make an image board for each book, I won’t buy my trailer images here unless they have one I can’t find elsewhere.

If you see a photo you like, look at the description under it and go to your preferred image site. Put that same wording into the search box. A similar photo might pop up there. You can also click “similar images to this one” if you want more pictures with the same actor.

http://www.istockphoto.com/ Small is 567 × 847 px. 10 credits cost $19.99; 30 credits costs $49.99, but you may be only getting 6 images at 5 credits each for this price.

Credit package prices are current at the time of this blog post and may change, so check for yourself. Figure out how many credits you’ll need per photo for the above mentioned sizes and what the packages cost. Also check the licensing terms to make sure they meet your needs.

Here are more sites I’ve collected:

http://browse.deviantart.com/resources/stockart/
http://www.canstockphoto.com
http://www.corbisimages.com/
http://www.dreamstime.com/
http://www.epictura.com/
http://www.flickr.com/
http://us.fotolia.com/
http://www.fotosearch.com/
http://www.freestockimages.net/
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
http://www.freefoto.com/index.jsp
http://www.freephotosbank.com
http://www.fontplay.com/freephotos/
http://www.jupiterimages.com/
http://www.gettyimages.com/creativeimages
http://www.gettyimages.com/photolibrary
http://photopin.com/—Images for your blog with proper attribution
http://www.reflexstock.com/
http://www.sxc.hu/

Whichever site you choose, register for an account so that you have a Lightbox, or a Likebox as it’s sometimes called.

In the site’s Search feature, put in keywords for the type of picture you want (i.e. romantic couple, beautiful redhead, man with gun, airplane over island). Scroll down until a photo catches your fancy. Click to add it to your Lightbox (at 123rf, you click the little heart). If you like the model, click where it says Other Images Using This Model or Similar Images. You can search this way for Photos, Video Clips, and Music.

Keep collecting images until you have enough to match each line of text. Then purchase enough credits to buy the ones you want. Click on each image and then on Download. Save it to your computer. I keep mine in a folder labeled Cover Images.

Whichever site you use, check the licensing requirements before you make your purchase. As mentioned above, some may require an extended license to use the image as a book cover, in a collection such as on a Pinterest board, on a coffee mug you offer for sale, and so on.

Tip: All of these sites have periodic sales. After you’ve set up an account, watch your emails for discounts on credit purchases.

Search For Video (Optional)

Live action can add spice to a video but it also takes up time and increases the size of your file. Many of the sites listed above will also have royalty-free video clips, but here are some more.

http://www.alunablue.com/
http://www.alwayshd.com/
http://www.archive.org/details/stock_footage
http://www.artbeats.com
http://www.footagefirm.com/free-footage
http://www.gettyimages.com/Footage
http://www.gotfootage.com/
http://www.stockfootageforfree.com/
http://vimeo.com/groups/freehd
http://worldclips.tv/

Search For Music

Searching for the right music can be a time-consuming task. Decide upon the tone of your video and put keywords into the search feature on these sites. Is your story dark and scary? Light and funny? Upbeat and bouncy? Intense and mysterious? The music is important because it elicits an emotional response in your viewers.

Check the length of the music clip against the length of your trailer, and make sure it’s long enough. You can repeat the music if necessary to extend its length on your video. Likewise, you can clip it to start where you want if it’s too long.

These are the two sites I’ve used:

http://www.123rf.com Music tracks vary in cost. Buy a credit package and use extras for photos.
http://www.stockmusic.net/ $39.95 per track; Pay once, use forever.

Here are more:

http://www.audiomicro.com/

http://freeplaymusic.com/

http://www.freesoundtrackmusic.com/

http://www.gettyimages.com/Music

http://www.ibaudio.com/

http://incompetech.com/music/

http://www.istockphoto.com/audio.php

http://www.opuzz.com/

http://www.stockmusic.com/

Now What?

Open a New Project in Windows Live Movie Maker (File; New Project) and click Add Videos and Photos. Add one photo at a time, and the program will produce slides. If you want a blank slide to add text only, click the Credits button.

Once you have your pictures added, go back to the beginning. Click on Add Caption for each slide and add your text in the text box. You can drag this box to wherever you want it placed. You can also change the color of the text. If it’s a light background, choose a dark text. If you have a black or dark background, make the text white. Alter the font as needed.

You’ll now see Video Tools and Text Tools. These have little boxes where you can see the Duration. I try to have the duration of my text shorter than or equal to the video. So a video slide might run for 5 seconds, and the text for 4.50. Some slides you’ll want longer, if you have more text or if you have an image like the book cover that you want to linger on screen. Under Text Tools, choose Effects. This gives you options for how you want your text to scroll or appear on the slide. Click on Edit if you want to make changes.

Under Video Tools, click on Animations. Here you can add Transitions between slides. Position your cursor in front of each slide. Then hover your mouse over each transition effect to see what it does. Click to select. Keep in mind that the transitions cut some of the time out of the slide before and after. Each time you want to view the effect, put the cursor in front of a slide and click the Play button. Next do the same for Pan and Zoom. Make choices there so your pictures aren’t static.

When you have arranged your pictures and text to your satisfaction, click on Home and Add Music. Browse for your music file and click Open. The program adds it to your slide show. You can adjust the track as needed, like timing it to start further in by changing the Start Point. Also, hit Fade In at the beginning or Fade Out at the end if desired.

Add credits at the end by clicking Credits. This will be a text only slide. Here’s where you put the sites where you found your images and music. You’ll also want a slide to show your book cover. Either add text there or on a separate slide with your book info: Title, author, publisher, etc. The same Text Tools apply to these slides as for the others.

Remember to save your project often. Hit File and then Save Project.

When you are totally done, click File, then Save Movie and choose the Widescreen/HD version to Your Computer. I save them in a folder called My Videos. Your trailer is ready to upload to YouTube and elsewhere. Don’t hit the YouTube button on Live Movie Maker, or it’ll upload a smaller version. Save the version you want and then upload it from YouTube itself. For a site like Linked In, you will need the smallest version available, so you’ll want to save it different ways as needed.

The idea is to offer your readers a bit of insight into your story, to maybe tease new viewers into buying your book. A book video is another tool in your promotional arsenal, but since many readers don’t even watch them, it’s not worth breaking the bank over one. Doing it yourself or hiring a low-cost company is the ideal way to go. Here are some companies who offer inexpensive trailers. Many other sites offer them and so do virtual assistants, graphic artist companies, promotional sites.

Where To Post Your Book Video

Amazon: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/
Book Goodies: http://bookgoodies.com/contact-us/video-trailer/
Book Trailer Central: http://booktrailercentral.co/
Book Trailers: http://booktrailers.ning.com/
Book Trailer Theatre: https://www.facebook.com/BookTrailerTheatre –Promo on Fridays only
Daily Motion: http://www.dailymotion.com/us
Livewriters: http://www.livewriters.com/video.php
Preview the Book: http://www.previewthebook.com/previewupload.php
Shelf Pleasure: http://www.shelfpleasure.com/contribute/
Veoh: http://www.veoh.com/
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/
Watchthebook: http://www.watchthebook.com/

Remember to add your video to all your social networking sites plus your website and blog.

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Watch my Trailers

Mysteries
Hanging By A Hair: http://youtu.be/gv5ldn9uw7I
Shear Murder: http://youtu.be/ePpShWy3Wbw

Romances
Warrior Rogue: http://youtu.be/cjV-PRVGoVs
Warrior Prince: http://youtu.be/aVm2FIumw0o

Follow Me Online

Website: http://nancyjcohen.com
Blog: http://nancyjcohen.wordpress.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nancyjcohen
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy-J-Cohen/112101588804907
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/91508.Nancy_J_Cohen
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/njcohen/
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nancyjcohen
Google Plus: https://google.com/+NancyJCohen

12 Responses to “Make Your Own Book Trailer”

  1. […] Make Your Own Book Trailer (nancyjcohen.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Michelle said

    Reblogged this on Chronicles of a 40-something Former Nurse Wannabe and commented:
    Nancy provides inexpensive and relatively stress-free steps to creating a marketing video for your book. Please pay special attention to the fact that you should PURCHASE the licensing rights for music, video and photos they use in their book trailers. I have seen entirely too many that use other people’s copyrighted and/or trademarked material, which amounts to stealing. Kudos to Nancy on a great post.

  3. Thanks for this. It’s very useful.

  4. […] Make Your Own Book Trailer. […]

  5. Polly Iyer said

    I’m bookmarking this post, Nancy. Thanks for the tutorial.

  6. This is super useful! The only word of caution I would give is to do several Save As checks before you finish. I put 6+ hours into making a training video for work on Windows Movie Maker last Friday, then exported it only to have it pixelate all of the action sequences. It was unwatchable. The problem seems to be missing codecs but none of the tools we downloaded would fix the problem. The preview looks fine but the finished version never looked good no matter what settings we used (frame rate, bit rate, etc.) I tried every save setting, uninstalled/reinstalled the program, repaired it, etc. After all that time, I downloaded a whole other program – lightworks – and have restarted the entire project. I have 5 more videos to go, but man was it heartbreaking. Just be sure to do a test after a couple of edits to double-check everything looks fine. My still frames were all great — it was only the footage with motion in it that had the extreme pixelation problem.

    • Absolutely hit the Save button as you go along! There are still some items I’d like to fix in my videos but don’t know how. Like, how to widen the pictures to eliminate the black borders. But this is the economy version. Maybe somebody with more experience in graphic design would know how to get around this or deal with your problem. I also realize the pictures don’t move in my romance videos, but YouTube doesn’t accept revisions. You have to upload an entire new video, meaning your viewers and comments wouldn’t transfer.

  7. jamieayres said

    My publisher created the first one for me for 18 Things, but I’m going to try doing my own for 18 Truths tomorrow using this program. Thanks for the info :-) Love your trailer!

    • Good luck creating your own! You are lucky if your publisher does it for you, but it’s nice having control over what’s in it. The only negative factor is the time element.

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