How to make a book trailer

It’s not just movies that get trailers these days. Book trailers are a popular tactic, and a powerful one, especially if you’re self-publishing. In fact, according to ComScore, readers are 64% more likely to purchase a book after seeing a book trailer that effectively promotes it.

To make a great trailer for a book, you don’t necessarily need a huge budget and you don’t need a full orchestral score to accompany it. There are a few things you will need, however, to make a trailer that will compel people to buy.

To begin, not to toot our own horn or anything, but we’ve got some pretty cool, ready-to use book trailer video templates already in Biteable.

The first is a straight-up book trailer we’ve used to promote a fake book (a sci-fi novel we made up), but it could be adapted to promote any non-fiction title as well. All you need to do is write your own text and upload your own pictures (every picture in this template was sourced from the amazing free photo site Unsplash).

The second is more suited to a magazine promo, but it could be easily adapted to suit a book as well. Take a look.

How to make a book trailer in minutes

Ready to get started? Here’s how to create your first book trailer in no time flat.

1. Start with a template

Click Edit Video on either of the templates we shared above, or choose a different one (the Promo category is a good place to start your search.)

2. Log in to your Biteable account

Click Edit Video on your chosen template and log in to your account. Or create one if you haven’t already, it takes just seconds to get signed up using your Facebook or Google account, or with an email and password.

3. Start editing!

If you’ve selected one of our pre-made templates, here’s where you can make it your own.

Add your text. You have up to 80 characters on most scenes (some are 25 or less because they’re title scenes) — use them wisely to set the scene and build intrigue. Make your copy enticing so readers are compelled to buy your book and read more.

Choose your fonts. Choose a font that matches the tone and feel of your book. You probably wouldn’t choose a playful handwriting-style font for a science fiction book, or a super modern one for a Victorian period piece.

Keep your font consistent from scene to scene by selecting Apply this font to all scenes once you’ve made your selection.

Add, delete, and reorder your scenes. Have more to say? Click the arrow on a scene to duplicate (or delete) a scene. You can also click the green plus sign in the lower right corner to add a different scene from our library. If you need to rearrange, just drag and drop a scene to put it where you want it.

Add your own images or footage. If you’re already working with a scene that supports custom images, you can change the image by clicking Upload in the content area. From here you can also choose an image that you’ve previously uploaded to your account.

If you need to add a scene, click the green plus sign, then click Upload on the left hand side. From here you can select a new scene that supports custom images or video and add it to your video timeline. You’ll then be able to upload your image, or your own footage if you have a Premium account.

Choose your color palette. When you’re satisfied with your scenes, click Pick Colors. Choose from our pre-coordinated color schemes, or click Custom colors to select your own.

Add some audio. Next, click Audio to choose your music. Select from one of our tracks, or click Upload a track to add your own. If you want to add a voiceover to your book trailer, you can record one (here’s our article on how to do it) and upload it here. FYI, you can upload almost any sort of audio file, including mp3, wav, ogg, wma, and plenty more to Biteable.

Preview your video. When you’re finished editing, click on Preview, then Build My Preview. If you need to make any tweaks, you can always go back to a previous page, then rebuild your preview.

Publish your video. When you’re satisfied, click on Publish My Video.

Add a call to action. Make one final pitch for your book. From this page, you can add a custom screen to the end of your video, along with a link and call to action button. This is a great place to link to your website — or even better — a purchase page where readers can go to get their hands on a copy!

Download and share. From here you can share your video on YouTube, your social media pages, or embed it on your website. If you want to download your book trailer and remove the watermark, you’ll need to upgrade to Premium. A Premium account will also give you many more features, including access to thousands more video clips and the ability to upload your own footage.

Book trailer examples, hints, and tips

Tell the story. In marketing circles, everybody’s talking about story. The thinking goes, if you tell a story instead of offering a deal, people will find themselves emotionally invested in your brand or product and therefore more likely to support it. With a novel, this is particularly easy because the story of the product is a story, so introduce the characters, set up the world they live in, and introduce the challenges they face.

Star Wars: Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown

Create an emotional bond. The primary aim of story is to create an emotional bond, and one of the best (but not only) ways to do this is to have a single protagonist who is likeable or interesting and that the audience can relate to. This doesn’t mean the character (real or fictional) has to be exactly like the viewer, just that they have one or more universally relatable characteristics such as hope, fear, elation, or curiosity. This emotion can then be heightened by using music or sound that reinforces that emotion. And don’t forget, the character doesn’t have to be a character from the book — it could be the author!

Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart

Don’t be afraid to be inspired. Before you start, it’s always a good idea to have a look at other people’s work and figure out what you think works and what doesn’t. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time you do something creative, so cherry pick the best parts from the research you do, look at the ideas underlying how they work, and use them. Don’t lazily copy something word for word but take the essential idea and re-mould it to do the job you need it to do. If you’re really thinking about it and making creative decisions along the way, chances are your final version will end up looking nothing like your sources anyway.

Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige

Don’t waffle. Get all your ideas down on paper before you start, then start a process of editorial refinement. Gradually remove everything except the parts that are absolutely essential to getting the story across. Don’t be afraid to ‘kill your darlings’ and you’ll end up with a far more watchable video.

Keep your design harmonious. Use the same colours and fonts throughout to keep it visually consistent. If you’re using stock images, try to use ones that have a similar look and feel. If you can’t help but use images that don’t look alike, you may be able to achieve consistency by running the same Photoshop or Instagram filter over them. Nothing says ‘cheap’ more than a confusing mix of different styles.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Use a call to action at the end. At the end of your video, generally you’ll want people to take the next step and order or purchase the book. There’s no point being coy, just come out and tell them what you want them to do next: “order your copy now”, then make it as easy as possible for them to do so.

If you use Biteable to make a book trailer, we’d love to see how far you can push it, so when you’re done, please hit us up on Twitter (@teambiteable) or on our Facebook page, send a link, and show us what you can do!