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Book Trailer How-To

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 1, 2011


Would you like to create your own book trailer in Windows Movie Maker 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 books. Just follow these steps for Windows 7 and you’re on your way.


Find trailers for books in the same genre as your work.

Write down the text on each slide and note the image accompanying it or if the text is alone.

Listen to the music. How does it make you feel? Does it create a certain mood?

Does the story flow smoothly and hold your interest? How long is the trailer?

What do the credits say at the end?


Now write your own text in verses to fit on each slide. Try not to go over six words per line, keeping in mind that any longer may tax your reader’s ability to keep up. The text should give the reader an idea of what your story is about, the tone of your work, and a hint about your main character(s).

Let your critique partners offer their suggestions for improvements. Often another critical eye can help you hone down your plot to a few sentences, not an easy task.

Remember the adage: Short and Simple. Keep your video under 2 minutes if possible.


I used:

Establish an account so that you have a Lightbox. In the Search feature, put keywords for the type of picture you want (i.e. romantic couple, office colleagues, man with gun). Scroll down until one catches your fancy. Click to add it to your Lightbox. If you like the model, you can click where it says Other Images Using This Model.

Keep collecting images until you have enough to match your lines of text. Then purchase credits, select the photos you want to keep, buy and download them to your computer. Whichever site you use, check the licensing requirements. Some may require an extended license to use an image on a book cover, coffee mug, etc.



This is the hardest part. 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? Intense?

I wanted a playful note with a more sober ending. Luckily, I found just the perfect piece and it went along with the wedding theme of my story. Check the length of the music clip against the length of your trailer. You can clip the music or repeat it if necessary.

I used $39.95 per track; Pay once, use forever (pay in English pounds) Inexpensive but hard to sample Costly: $100 and up


Open a New Project in Windows Movie Maker (File; New Project) and click Add Videos and Photos. Add one at a time and the program will produce slides.

Once you have your pictures, Click Add Caption for each slide and add your text in the text box. You can manipulate this box wherever you want it. 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.

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 the video. So a video slide might run for 5 seconds, and the text for 4.75. 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 Video Tools, click on Animation. These choices will allow you to add transitions. Keep in mind that the transitions cut some of the time out of the slide before and after. Each time you want to view your slide, put the cursor in front of it and click the Play button.

Under Text Tools, choose Effects. This gives you options for how you want your text to scroll or appear on the slide.

When you have arranged your pix and matching text to your satisfaction, click on Home and Add Music. Browse for your music file. The program adds it to your slide show. You can cut the music to start later, or if it’s too short, to start all over again. Also, hit Fade In at the beginning and Fade Out at the end.

Add credits at the end by clicking Credits. This will be text only slides.

Remember to save your project often. Hit File, then Save Project. Don’t hit the button on the right that says Save Movie or it’ll be finalized (although you can delete it from your files in that case and retrieve your saved project to continue working).

When you are totally done, Save Movie to your computer. It’s then ready to upload.

If you want to check out my video, go to :

Please tell me what you think. Your feedback will help me make improvements next time.


8 Responses to “Book Trailer How-To”

  1. Jeanne Meeks - said

    Congratulations on creating your own trailer. This is a great how-to. I’ve printed it out so I have it when I’m ready. What did your total cost end up to be and how did that compare to having a professional creat the trailer?

    Jeanne Lowery Meeks
    Author of Backcountry Mysteries

  2. At the most I paid $70. At the least, I paid $55. I paid $39.95 for the music, and I found one charge I’d paid for $15 in images. I’m thinking I may have bought more images another time, too. But even if I bought $30 worth of image credits, that comes to $70 total with the music.

    Here’s a new place that’s popped up with relatively inexpensive publicity packages if you don’t want to do it yourself:

  3. Nancy, thank you for sharing this fantastic information! I appreciate the way you explained everything in a step by step guide. I love your trailer for Shear Murder. It’s entertaining, eye-catching and looks very professional.

  4. Sundulers said

    wow great blog, very informatif,
    thanks for share nancy 🙂

  5. Vicky, nice of you stop by. Thanks for the feedback! You, too, Sundulers!

  6. Nancy,
    thanks for this wonderful, informative post. I’m saving it!

  7. rasanaatreya said

    Terrific resource, Nancy. I pressed this to my blog.

  8. Yes, please share with your friends! Thanks.

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