Monday, June 14, 2010

Make Your Book Trailer Today--Even Before You Write Your Book

It’s been a whole two weeks since I released my book trailer for Better Than Perfect and I have to say it’s been a blast. Thank you so much to everyone who’s viewed and commented. Besides appearing on, the trailer is now also on,, and
Producing the trailer has definitely opened a brand new world for me, one I’ve enjoyed so much than I’m now making trailers for three more of my existing books, with more trailers lined up for next year based on my current WIPs. Sites I want to thank in particular include:  The Savvy Book Marketer for “how-to” info, for their great image library, and for not only providing an excellent selection of music, but also for being so ultra-helpful when I had trouble downloading the piece I chose (my fault entirely).

I waited a long time to make my trailer, mainly because I was worried I could never master Windows Movie Maker and I thought I’d be wasting my time trying to learn. Now I’m so enthused about the whole process that I think it’s a waste of time to not start on your trailer as soon as possible—maybe even before you write your book. Here’s why:

-  Editors are always telling us to “show, don’t tell.” Making a trailer is about the best way I can think of to “show” your story with a minimum of images and words. Having those images/words clear in your mind will keep your plot—and your pitch—on track.

-  Making multiple trailers will keep your creativity flowing. For final production purposes you want to keep your “real” trailer under two minutes in length; but there’s no law that says you can’t make draft trailers just for fun and for as long as you want them to be. Create a new trailer draft for every chapter or important scene you write.

-  While I was looking for pictures of my characters, I often found collections of other, unrelated pictures using the same models. To really know your characters and their body language, try creating individual trailers showing just your story people in a variety of poses. 

- Your music choices can become “theme songs” for your books, giving you a unique way to express your theme when both writing and/or discussing your books. 

- While you’re writing your drafts, you can use your trailer(s) to design and build your synopsis: simply write your outline image by image and the whole thing will be finished before you know it.

-  Same thing for your query letter paragraphs. Ask yourself what “feeling” you want to convey to an editor or agent. Having the right pictures and music in your mind can help you describe that feeling.

-  Making your trailer before you start submitting or selling your book means you can begin your marketing before your book is on the shelves. Having something readers can actually see—and become excited about—can create an instant buzz.

-  Digital publications and e-book readers are creating a reading revolution. I have a strong suspicion it’s going to become commonplace for all books to be illustrated with videos and other graphics—and you don’t want to be left behind. Even if your trailer is eventually professionally produced by your publishing company, having a ready-made example of the direction you want can hasten the way to a successful production.

Tip of the day: Regardless of whether you know how to use Movie Maker or any other program, start your image library before you do anything else. Brainstorm a list of pictures you think could illustrate your story, e.g., images of your characters, settings, and scenes, as well as a list of emotions: "confused," "angry," "excited." Then visit a site such as and start digging.

Added tip: While you’re searching, be open to happy accidents; key words tagging the photos can lead you to search areas you might not have considered but which turn out to be absolutely perfect—better than perfect! (Sorry—couldn’t resist that one!) Don’t forget to bookmark or save links to your favorite images; you don't want to lose what might turn out to be your very best shots.


Rachel Fenton said...

Congratulations on the trailer - it's a brilliant idea.

I've had an imaginary one running in my head the whole way though writing my current WIP and it's been an immense help.

Koreen said...

I've never thought about making a trailer before I finished the book, but it might be a help if I get stuck. I also agree with you that videos, pictures, etc. will be a part of book publishing in the future. Best to be ready for it.

Rachel Fenton said...

Blog article in the online today about book trailers - interesting read.

D.M. SOLIS said...

Dear One,

This is really great! It's a good way to practice writing a synopsis and would very likely go a long way toward keeping it lively for an acquisitions editor. I very much appreciate this and am eager to see how folks use it and learn from it. Way to go! Thank you for posting it. Peace and continued good things for you. Sincerely,


A Pen In Neverland: Angela Peña Dahle said...

This is so so helpful! Thanks a ton! I never thought of making one before the book was finished either but it makes sense now. First representation though. LOL. Whew!

Julie said...

This is a lot of really great info.! Thanks for sharing these tips!
I have also been worried about learning to master a program like Windows Movie Maker. You've really inspired me now.