How To Make Your Own Book Trailer

Book trailers

Book trailers are rapidly becoming a major pillar in many self-published writer’s marketing campaigns.

The book trailer’s ability to communicate the essence of a book in a short and entertaining manner can be a real boost to sales.

In this article BubbleCow writer Laura Elliott explains how you can make your own book trailers without breaking the bank. Her tips will also show that even the least tech savvy writer can construct a video that will promote their book.

The Birth Of a Book Trailer

I knew I needed a book trailer to help promote my newly released debut YA novel Winnemucca. First of all, I love movies. Heck, I lived in Los Angeles for twenty-four years. And, I worked in the entertainment industry. I knew the power of the trailer. Plus, how much fun would making my own trailer be?

But still, I didn’t know how to make one. Hmmm. I’d incorporated videos in my designs for years at E! Entertainment Television and at The Los Angeles Times. But they were provided to me by amazing teams of award winning videographers. And the photos I worked with were shot by Pulitzer Prize winning photographers. Who did I think I was trying to do this all on my own?

Well, that’s the best part. We aren’t on our own! Writers are some of the most generous people. And so I kept my eye open for trailers that I loved. Enter the wonderful writer Rebecca Rasmussen [@birdsisters] author of The Bird Sisters published by Crown/Random House. I was surprised to find out she made her own trailer. Rebecca was very generous with her support and advise. Thanks Rebecca!

So after a load of conversations I managed to conjure up a recipe for book trailers:

  • iMovie application.
  • A killer soundtrack.
  • stock videos.
  • stock photography.

and WaaaaLaaa! You have your book trailer.

A Recipe For Book Trailers

iMovie is a very easy application to work with. It’s drag and drop so no worries there. And it comes with every Mac.

A killer soundtrack is so important. I don’t mind book trailers where the author reads their work. There is something very pure about that. But, like I said, I love movies. Music that evokes your story is compelling and can draw a viewer into the trailer in a unique way. I used Most of the audio clips are very reasonable priced. [I splurged on this and purchased sound for $60 because I loved it and am a music junkie.]

Stock Videos. I’ve seen a lot of trailers that try to tell the story with static images and scrolling or rolling text. It’s a great effect. But, the medium is meant for video. And, if you don’t have any that you’ve shot yourself, stock video sites are great ways to add some punch to your trailer. Sites I like include and Both have great selections and great ways to save multiple videos for your consideration so if you are busy, like who isn’t, you can come back later and make your final cut. Again, most videos are very reasonably priced, but watch it, some aren’t. And don’t worry if your video has a soundtrack with it. iMovie let’s you separate the audio channel out and you can use whatever audio you want with any video. My average purchase for a video was $15.

Stock Photography. I use the same sites I recommended above to find images for book covers and for book trailers. Again, stock photography is reasonably priced. But be sure you check prices.

As always, have a budget in mind and stick to it, mine was under $90. It’s really important to get the word out about your book, but what’s more important is how much fun you have doing it!

The Book Trailer

Winnemucca is a young-adult small-town fairy tale about a teenage girl’s enchanted road trip to her true self no matter who or what tries to stop her. One mistake will change Ginny’s life forever. One answer will set her free.

I’m thrilled that my debut YA fantasy Winnemucca was just released on One edition is digitally signed by me with a donation to The Wounded Warriors project, in honor of my nephew. You can check out my books here:

Over To You

Did I miss anything? Do you have any tips or tricks from making your own book trailers? If you have anything to add to this article, or even just want to share your own book trailers, then please add it to the comments below…

About the Author

By Gary Smailes - Co-founder at BubbleCow, helping writers to write, get published and sell more books. Google+ Twitter

  • Jennifer

    Hi Laura. Great job. They are fun to make! Congratulations on your novel! I like your use of stock footage and video to tell the story. I wondered if you considered narrating instead of on screen text? I like the writing and I was enjoying watching but found I had to rewind to read some of it because I was engrossed in the action and music! I just did a post yesterday about book teasers on my blog. Its at the Amazon link below…Actually I’ve done a few posts talking about trailers and my books :)

    Most trailers I see are for fiction. I write both fiction and non. The trailers I’ve done were for 3 non-fiction, 1 brand concept video, and 1 for for a webtv show. I did 5 different variations to see which worked best and I enjoyed playing around with them. All with Rock type music, 1 retro, 1 a combo of images, text, and me in a lime green wig LOL, images only, text only, and a voice over video with footage shot from my webtv show!  Here’s the webtv vid

    The others can all be found on my Amazon author central pg.

    I love gathering ideas, resources, and learning about other authors and their books so thanks for posting your video and the tips and sites you found helpful!


  • Carolyn O’Neal

    Do you have a suggested software if you have a PC instead of a Mac? Still iMovie? Great post! Thanks

  • CPSennett

    If you have a bit of money to spend I got this one done very cheap by GlassBox Media. For me the narration is a stronger medium than text alone. This wasn’t expensive at all but the finish and effects give it a more polished look. Keep up the good work guys :)

  • tintwotin

    I did an example of an ebook trailer for an imaginary book(just for the fun of it):

    I used the opensource/freeware DVD slideshow GUI(Windows only):

    I had a lot of fun to try to tell an interesting story in a fast way.

  • Gary Smailes


  • Laura A. H. Elliott

    Hey tintwotin, I love your book trailer. One of things I love about book trailers that work is that the music is so much a part of setting the scene of the book, the era, the story. IMHO, you’ve done a wonderful job of picking the music for your video. Love the topic too. Now write that book! Thanks for sharing what software you used to make it too. Very helpful to those folks wanting to know more! Good luck with your writing and trailer making :D Laura

  • Laura A. H. Elliott

    CPSennett, great work on this video. GlassBox Media does a good job. I agree with you, the narration is a powerful element in this book trailer. Thanks for sharing your video and your book. The video really captures the intensity and emotional rollercoaster of the novel IMHO.

  • Laura A. H. Elliott

    Carolyn, No I don’t bacause I’m a Mac Gal…but it looks like TinTwoTin used I used the opensource/freeware DVD slideshow GUI(Windows only): I hope that helps! Good luck and let me know if you need any help :D

  • Marilyn Johnson