Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How To Make a Book Trailer—Getting Started

People have asked my advice on how to make a book trailer, so I will do my best to spell it out here. There are many sources on the Internet that you can read, but until you actually make one for yourself, it probably won’t make a lot of sense. I read several sites first, and then, deciding, “How hard could it be?” I dove right in! Experience is the best teacher; at least, in my case.

1. Decide on a book:
First, choose a book that is really INTERESTING that you think kids will respond to. If I read something that I think I can recommend to a particular reader or group of readers—those kids who loved Twilight, for example, I know it will make a good review and trailer.

As I am reading the book, I write down observations or feelings or descriptive adjectives that I am “feeling” about the book. This helps me when choosing images, music and making title overlays—more about them later.

2. Let me give you an example: I was reading The Compound by S. A. Bodeen. It is a dystopian fiction novel in which the father creates a compound underground that would guarantee his family’s safety for fifteen years in case of nuclear war (fifteen years being the period that would make it safe to come out, finally).

I wrote down these words:
Locked in
Nuclear war
Internet scam
Science gone mad

You can tell what the book is about! I used these words when I chose to write about the book first in a review on my blog at
And then in a trailer I uploaded to and

3. Once you have read the book, begin thinking about images. You can use images from the Internet if they are royalty free, or if you have prior permission, or if you have purchased the images. If you are unsure, read the site’s policy on images. If it says you can use the images, right click on the image. Choose “properties.”This will open a new window. See the code that is address (URL). Copy this code and paste to a word document.

I open a new folder on my desktop for each trailer I work on. Then I copy property codes to one document. I usually put a name next to the URL address, like “locked door” for example. This way, I know which code belongs to which photo. If I dump that photo later, you can also dump the code. You can also put the code with each photo, if you prefer.

I usually chose images while I am reading the book. It may come to me that I want an image of a locked steel door—while reading The Compound, I chose images of steel doors and locks first. Copy the images to a folder on your desktop. You may use all the images you copy, or if you find others later, you can just dump the ones you don’t use.

I usually save ALL the images I download to another folder titled “unused images” and bunch them together by subject. An example would be “beach sunset” and have images of beach pictures. This way I can search my folder before I have to go to the Internet. I may have the perfect image to use that I previously downloaded.

4. To begin your search, do a Google search using the words “royalty free images” and you will get many links. Look at for example.

Prepare yourself to spend some time looking for just the right images. There are so many out there. I tend to “overshop”—I download maybe 25-30 images per trailer, knowing that only 10-12 will make the cut. This way, you have choices. Directors of movies and documentaries take many hours of film, knowing that most of it will end up on the cutting room floor.

5. Once you have plenty of images, you are prepared to begin putting your book trailer together.

See my posting “Making a Book Trailer-Downloading Images and Choosing Music”--coming soon, I promise!!

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