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Oct 24, 2013

#Howto Make Your Own Book Trailer: Guest Post

Posted by Wendy Ewurum  |  at  12:30 PM


You may remember that late last month I featured a chilling excerpt from Waking Up Dead on the blog for the release. I didn't have the author over then because I was saving her for something really great and today she is delivering on her promise to give me a special post.
Without further ado let me hand you over to one of the finest writing creatives: Margo Bond Collins

Indie authors know that it’s often important to minimize costs surrounding advertising. And while it’s possible to spend hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on a book trailer, with a little time and effort, it’s possible for an author to produce his or her own book trailer.

1. Write your script.  Knowing what words you are going to be using over the images can make a world of difference once you start looking for appropriate images. Think in terms of text that is about the same length and style as the back cover of a novel.

2. Break the script into small chunks. You won’t want to over-load your screen with text. But make sure that the chunks make enough sense by themselves to be left alone on the screen for a few moments.

3. Once you have your script ready, take a look at it and decide on the tone of the piece.  Romantic? Eerie? Terrifying? Regal? Comic? Check your script to make sure it can be adapted to that tone.

4. Begin gathering images to use. I cannot stress this next bit strongly enough: make sure the images you use are not only free to use, but also (unless you want to clutter up your trailer with attributions) do not require you to acknowledge their source. I suggest gathering 3-4 images per phrase (and maybe a couple extra); you might not use all of them, but I always prefer to have a strong image base and not have to search for new images in the middle of the program. is my favorite, but there are others.

5. Once you have your wording and your images, find music that will help set the tone. Again, find music that is not only royalty-free, but also licensed for free commercial use. I like, but there are other sites, as well.

6. Put it all together. Many computers come with Movie Maker already installed. To use it, you should put the pictures in order,  copy the script blocks onto individual images, and add music. Finally, you can choose a movie effect—“Pan and Zoom” to create the illusion of motion, for example, or “Cinematic” for a filmic look.

7. Start cutting. If you’re anything like me, you will have gathered up tons of images and will have long stretches without any words –or will leave the words on the screen too long. Be ruthless in your editing!
Additional things I have learned along the way:
Don’t try to do a long trailer; people have short attention spans! It’s best to keep it under 2 minutes; even better to keep it under 90 seconds.
Don’t be afraid to cut out images you thought you wanted—don’t let the image stay on the screen for too long, or you might lose your viewers.
Be sure to include a title slide and an ending slide with the information about the book, including where to buy it.
Make sure your movie doesn’t cut off too abruptly; let it fade to black
And finally: have fun! Be creative! The more you practice, the better your trailers will be.

I’m including my first attempt at a book trailer below. It’s not perfect; there are things about it I would change now, but I think it makes a great example because of its flaws. Overall, though, it conveyed what I wanted it to convey, and doing it taught me a lot about how to create an inexpensive book trailer video!

And what a stunning book trailer this is. I can't see the imperfections can you?


When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, when she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex, she went to Alabama. Now she's witnessed another murder, and she's not about to let this one go. She's determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up dead in Alabama?

As Molly straightened up, the man slipped the wire over her head and twisted it around her neck. She struggled, but he pulled the garrote tighter and tighter.

I was screaming at the top of my ghostly voice, for all the good it did me. I moved up behind the man and beat at his back with closed fists--fists that slipped in and out of his back without ever making real contact. He shuddered a little--clearly he was one of the very slightly sensitive ones--but he didn’t loosen his hands.
I reached up and tried to grab the wire, tried to pull against the pressure he was exerting on the wire and it did loosen for an instant. But only for an instant. The living have more control over solid objects than the dead do. I never resented that fact more than at that moment.

But I kept trying. I kept trying as Molly’s face turned purple, then blue, then black, kept trying even as she drooped in the man’s grip.

Then he loosened the wire and it was too late. I watched that wispy, light-on-fog life force slip out of Molly and move on to wherever it is that other people go when they die. I was glad she didn’t show up next to me as a full-blown ghost. At that moment, I wouldn’t have wished my impotent half-existence on anyone. 
I couldn’t help thinking that if I’d been alive, I might have been able to save her.

If I could have cried real tears, I would have. As it was, I was sobbing hoarsely and calling the man every dirty name I could think of.

I was still cursing as I followed him around the kitchen. First he opened the pantry and pulled out a box of Hefty garbage bags. Then he grabbed a knife out of the block on the counter. And finally, he picked up Molly’s body and carried it to the bathroom.

About the Author

Most know me as the author to Fabulosity Reads and in actual fact, that is the previous name of this blog. I have since then moved my books to a Wordpress self-hosted blog so that I can have a place to show a different side of me which I am equally passionate about and that is marketing and personal development. I hope you will love being here, watching me grow as I share and learn. My highest hope is that we will grown and learn together in all disciplines affecting our lives. I'd LUUURRRVE to hear from you, so don't be shy...


  1. Great post. A useful, well-written and easily understood guide to a useful marketing tool. Many thanks.

  2. Thank you for this post! I found it very illuminating. I have been procrastinating in making my very first one....but now, after reading all these wonderful step-by-step instructions, I have run out of excused to myself! Also, in case anyone benefits from this information, an author friend made hers easily on the Animoto site for free. My pc also has Movie Maker so I am spoiled for choice! Thank you once again, I feel more confident now to go ahead and do it! Very useful pointers on where to find images and music and I thought the trailer for Waking Up Dead was fantastic!

  3. How fantasti Frostie. I'm so glad this will make a difference to you.

  4. What a fantastic post! This information is useful and well written! It has inspired me to get myself organized and get started on my very own book trailer for my own book. I'm super excited now instead of being super anxious :) Watching Margo's trailer for Waking Up Dead certainly made me take notice and add to my TBR list.

  5. I'm happy you loved it Sheila and that its of use to you. Awesome. cant wait to see your trailer.


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