Make a Book Trailer in 10 Easy Steps

28 Dec


(This is for non-profit book trailers only)

Have you ever wondered what the movie trailer of your book would be like? I’ve done it countless times. And one day, unable to wait for the unlikely future where Warner Brothers would make a trailer for me, I decided to take the matter into my own hands. In the time frame of a week I managed to create my very own book trailer. I had no past video-making experience, but I figured it out after hours of mouse-clicking and hair-tugging. To make the process much easier for you guys I’ll give you a step-by-step instruction on how to create a book trailer.

However, before I move on to these ten steps, allow me to point out the major benefit of investing a few hours into this project. Having a book trailer is a great promotional tool. Back when I had The Runaway Courtesan posted on FictionPress, I uploaded my book trailer onto YouTube, and ended up having a flood of people visiting my story. Why did my trailer spark the interest of so many? First of all, a book trailer in itself is a fascinating concept, because it is relatively new (correct me if I’m wrong, but this is my educated guess based on the fact that book trailers weren’t well-known until the creation of YouTube just a few years back). And newness intrigues. Second of all, while a FictionPress’ summary is limited to 254 letters, a book trailer, through its visuals and music, can say a lot more.

You may think: Hey, I’m far from getting published, so I’ll promote my work when I’m nearer to that day. But I would strongly recommend you to start NOW. Sadly, even though you might be a brilliant writer, in the end, becoming a bestseller all comes down to Business. This is a fact that was restated once and again by the senior editor of Harlequin Blaze, the well established agent Amy Moore-Benson, and bestselling author Deborah Cooke, in a conference I attended a few weeks ago (‘The Business Behind Romance Writing’). So if you’re determined to become a bestseller, not only must you write a great book, but you should think ahead, start planning, and begin promoting yourself.


Note: Everyone with a computer/laptop most likely has the basic movie making program (like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie). If not, you can download it for free; all you need to do is surf around.

1) Decide on whether you want to make a book trailer comprised of photos or scenes from movies. If you prefer the first, scroll down to step 9. BUT if you want to make a movie-trailer-like video…

2) Watch a lot of movie trailers before making your own. Choose and study trailers that embody the same mood and genre of the book trailer you want to create. If yours is a romantic comedy, check out some romantic comedy trailers; if it’s action pact, choose an action trailer, etc.

3) Write an outline for how you want your trailer to enfold. For example, in the beginning of the trailer, you want Jane to meet John, then show how they fall in love, then how John learns of Jane’s terminal illness, then a major conflict that occurs, and end the trailer there with a bang. Basically, a trailer is like…using visuals and music to represent your book summary. Make sure you don’t spoil the ending of your story!

4) Jot down some powerful lines/words that will catch the audience’s attention. For example, a phrase like “Jane had a secret…” will add more intrigue to the scene of a pale-faced woman dashing through a dark, foggy forest, constantly glancing over her shoulders.

5) Surf YouTube and save the links of all the interesting videos (snippets from movies are the best) that you can envision representing your story.

6) In order to convert the YouTube video into the right format to work with go to

7) Once you’re on this site: (i) click on “Enter a link”, (ii) paste in the YouTube html link, (iii) once you do, and you click on ‘OK’, a green arrow will appear that will allow you to go to the next step, (iv) Under “select an output file type” choose WMV, or whatever video formatting your program works with, (v) once you click on “OK” it’ll start to download, and you’re done this stage!

8.) only allows you to convert five times. So, either select your videos carefully, or span out the converting to a few days so you can have many videos to work with. The latter is what I did. I chose five of the videos I REALLY needed to work with on the first day. I converted other videos as I progressed.

9) The next step is really up to you to explore. Find your movie making program on your computer, import the videos onto it, and then play around with it. Add photos, affects, add transitions, cut, paste, etc., For more information on how to work with your program, those with Windows Movie Makers can check this site out, and those with Apple Notebooks can click here.

10) When you’re satisfied with the trailer you’ve made, save it onto your computer, and then upload it onto YouTube! Make sure to add a link of your trailer to your FictionPress profile. And don’t forget to share it with a certain blog…*clears throat loudly* You can leave a link to it on the comment section below this article.


Tip #1: Don’t make your trailer too long. The average attention span of an individual is 30 seconds. So you really need to intrigue them within these few seconds. The max should be one minute. Hence, do not make a trailer using the whole five minutes of the music you selected. What I did was cut out the most climatic few seconds of E.S. Portsmouth’s Nara.

Tip #2: You’ll notice in my trailer that the first two lines that follow the other make it seem like the “Viscount” and the “Rake” are two different characters. But I meant to describe the Viscount AS the rake. Unfortunately for me, I ended up deleting the videos I cut scenes out from, so there’s no going back to fix this up. So be wiser than me and save everything; that way you can go back whenever you desire to fix any errors up easily.

Tip #3: Try to represent your protagonist in the trailer with one actor or actress. This is an issue I struggled most with, because I didn’t want the audience to get confused thinking that I had a whole jumble of characters rather than the one character the ten different actors meant to represent. You will notice that I mainly stuck to one actor (Richard Armitage) throughout my trailer. Even though the actor playing my hero changed at times, it was very brief, allowing for no confusion. The heroine changed often, but because the hero remained the same, and because the words I added like “Love” and “Desire” gives the sense that he has a romantic interest in this one woman, it helped the actresses seem like the same woman. Or so I like to think.

Tip #4: As mentioned above, I’m going to stress it again, because it’s super important. The phrases you choose to include in your video are required to indicate the players of your trailer. Two good examples where, unlike mine, there were multiple characters introduced in Covet and Prada and Prejudice.

Tip #5: Don’t forget to acknowledge the sources (movies) you used to make this video.


June Hur is the author of The Runaway Courtesan. She is currently awaiting the responses of two agents that requested a partial of her manuscript. When she is not working on her next book, she can usually be found at a book shop, searching for a Great Love Story to read and analyze. You can follow her on Twitter or through her blog.


26 Responses to “Make a Book Trailer in 10 Easy Steps”

  1. sara December 28, 2009 at 10:12 AM #

    soooooooo cool!!! I am definitely going to try this! *bookmarks site and hops over to youtube immediately* THANKS!!

    • junebugger December 28, 2009 at 10:32 AM #

      I can’t wait to see what you’ll create! *Squeels* This is SO exciting. I was searching YouTube for book trailers by other aspiring writers…but there weren’t that many. Well, not as many as I imaged there would be

  2. C.M. Holst December 28, 2009 at 11:45 AM #

    VisitYouTube to check out my attempt at my first book trailer. It was time consuming, but I’m rather pleased with the result.

  3. C.M. Holst December 28, 2009 at 11:47 AM #

    It wouldn’t allow me to post a link (or I just don’t know how). Just click on my name and that will take you to my website and there you can view the book trailer for ‘The King’s Knight.’

  4. Stephanie December 28, 2009 at 11:53 AM #

    I’m definitely going to have to play around with this when I get back up to school. Thanks for providing me with another means of procrastination =)

  5. junebugger December 28, 2009 at 11:54 AM #

    @C.M.Holst- ohhhh so that’s the title! When I was searching for your trailer I typed “Knight’s Knight”. Oooops. Anyway, readers! The “King’s Knight” is another great example of a trailer with multiple characters!

  6. junebugger December 28, 2009 at 11:57 AM #


    Ah, I can’t find the reply button on this page. (I’m typing this through my phone). Anyway, thanks for dropping by! I really do hope you’ll make a trailer.

  7. Lynn Heitkamp December 28, 2009 at 3:48 PM #

    I have always wondered how to do that. Thank you for the step-by-step instructions. I think it will be fun to try.

    • junebugger December 31, 2009 at 12:22 AM #

      oooh your trailer would be–epic

  8. Kim December 28, 2009 at 4:31 PM #

    I’ve made a number of book trailers in my time. 😀

    • junebugger December 31, 2009 at 12:22 AM #

      what?!?!?! how come you never told me??!?!?!

  9. Rowenna December 30, 2009 at 2:21 PM #

    Thanks, June! I’ve been jealous of all the fab book trailers (yours included!) that I’ve seen!

    • junebugger December 31, 2009 at 12:23 AM #

      and so you should make a trailer of your own book 😀

  10. Landon December 31, 2009 at 8:17 AM #

    Nice article! But I don’t understand how to acquire the clips themselves…?

    • Junebugger January 5, 2010 at 2:24 PM #

      Step number 5, 6, and 7 tells you. You get the link of the YouTube video you’re interested it in, take it to the site, and convert it. Hope that helped!

  11. Maybelle January 1, 2010 at 11:13 AM #

    That’s amazing! I’m impressd by all the thought and effort you put into this. I’m going to watch your trailer as soon as I can. It seems like a very clever idea too, but a lot of work! I’ve never made videos before, only dinked around in Photoshop, so this should be a real experience… maybe once I get a bit closer to finishing El Bravado 😀

    • Junebugger January 5, 2010 at 2:23 PM #

      Try to make one before the contest ends !!!!! We want to see yours.

  12. Emily January 3, 2010 at 3:45 AM #

    Just wanna correct…I think… Isn’t it E.S.Posthumus?? Or am I *really* wrong?? :S-and aren’t they brilliant for climatic scenes??! Fricking heart them!! 🙂

    • Junebugger January 5, 2010 at 2:22 PM #

      Too lazy to sign in.

      But anyway, you’re right Emily. It’s E.S.Posthumus. It seems that my ipod had the incorrect name down, because I copied it off the soundtrack on that devise 🙂 thanks for the correction

  13. whereistheluv January 12, 2010 at 8:39 AM #

    This is a great idea and an informative post, but I just wanted to say, that as an editor and former vidder (someone who makes fanvid for tv shows and movies) one of the absolute most offensive things you can do is take someone else’s video, download it, and use it in your own. PLEASE don’t do this. The person who made the original video usually spent hours cutting the shots together in a specific order, adjusting the color and adding special effects.

    Also, many music, film, and tv companies consider it illegal to re-edit or use their footage for the purpose of promoting something for sale. Fanvids are a gray area (one of the reasons I stopped) but promoting your book is not quite so gray. The best way to make a book trailer is to shoot the video or photographs yourself, or to use royalty free pictures that state they can be used in video promotion.

    • junebugger January 13, 2010 at 1:25 AM #


      Thank you for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. I can see why you might have been offended by this article. But rest assured, this (as I mentioned at the start of my post) is for non-profit book trailers only. So I am not encouraging writers to create trailers of their book in order to profit off the works of others. The purpose of this post is for aspiring writers to have fun making a fan-video of their unpublished fiction. Also, we did ask, in both the article and the contest, to give credit to the movie or soundtrack in which the writers use to create their fanvid.

      I am sorry if this article offended you! This is just supposed to be a fun non-profit activity 😀

      • whereistheluv January 14, 2010 at 10:48 AM #

        I wasn’t offended, I know you’re just trying to help other writers. I think that you’re still not getting what I’m saying though. It’s not about whether or not you profit from your video. It’s about going around youtube, taking videos you like (that were not meant to be downloaded – that’s why you have to get a special program that hacks into youtube to take them), and then cutting them up and putting them into your own work without asking permission. Doing that is called “clip theft”. Someone took the time to collect those video sources, color, crop, and edit them together to make a piece of art. It’s not about crediting the movie the images came from, it’s about who put them together and uploaded them to youtube.

        Video editors think of their work the same way writers think about their books. If someone went through a bunch of books, took some text from yours that they liked, mixed it up with a few others they found and liked and then said “Look at this shiny new book I wrote!” you would be upset. Downloading and re-editing someone’s videos is the same thing.

        • Sarah December 12, 2012 at 8:18 PM #

          Ok, so this was over 2 years ago, but I would just like to say that people do this all the time on youtube. They take clips from movies and create ‘fan-made’ movie trailers. There are plenty of other examples as well, like people re-uploading videos, but the point is, lots of people do it all the time, and a lot of it is for fun. Also, how are we going to film scenes all by ourselves? Especially since I have a pirate book with sword fighting scenes.

  14. roze July 12, 2013 at 4:09 PM #

    Here is my trailer:

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