Book trailers: Arranging & Compiling Elements to Get Effective Results

There are many promotional avenues available in book marketing. There are many avenues for book marketing, including Facebook, media interviews and book signings. These methods are straightforward and require communication skills that most writers have. A book trailer is a different animal. This requires a variety of skills and resources. The main focus is to condense the story to its most compelling elements, and then embellish it with photos, videos and voice overs. This is a time-consuming, complicated task that can be costly if you hire someone. You can still produce a professional video with very little to no cost if you follow these simple guidelines and have the right resources. This is because you already have the tools and software to edit your video.

Determining your Goals

Let’s first look at the goals of your book trailer. You want to increase book sales. You can be more specific and hook the viewer with interesting and compelling information to keep them watching the whole video. You will lose your viewers if you don’t finish your pitch. You need to provide them with interesting and new information throughout your video. Information that will not only keep their attention but also move them towards buying your book.

You should also make your trailer shareable so that your viewers can pass it on to their friends. It’s possible that your video will be shared by other people if it resonates. You might see it in the afterlife on social media. If you ask, you get. It makes sense to ask. Please share this request at the end of your video.

Compiling Elements

What are the contents of a book trailer? Trailers usually answer questions like “What’s the book about?” and “What’s its genre?” plus some information about the author. These information are typically found on the inside flaps or back covers of the book. Nat Mundel, producer, used the following template to help him create loglines that land TV and movie deals.

TITLE OF BIBLE is a GENRE that includes NAME of PROTAGONIST, age, and ONE or TWO VIVIDWORDS DESCRIBING the CHARACTER WHO wants to achieve his/her IMMEDIATE goal. When THE INCITING INCIDENT happens and ONE MAJOR PLOT POINT, he/she goes on a journey to ACCOMPLISH GOAL and discover/realize/find THEME.

This template can be used as a guide to help you reduce your book to just two sentences. This template clarifies the genre and gives readers a captivating shiny object to grab their attention. It also provides enough information to keep them wanting more.

A logline is a brief description of your story in one to two sentences. It summarizes the basic idea of your book in a concise way, but evokes emotion. The logline highlights the unique aspects of your book. The logline allows the author to concentrate on the three main anchors in their writing.

Who is the protagonist?

What do they want?

What’s at stake?

After you have the storyline outlined, it is time to look for escalation that raises the stakes. This could be a conflict or a complication that leads the story in a new direction. It should not be clear what the outcome will be. The outcome could be new evidence, a red herring or a hope that leads to the goal. This section provides an emotional argument to buy the book and hooks the prospect before they are hooked in. It also raises questions in the viewer’s minds about the story’s continuation.

The next section is more detailed. This could be a discussion on one main character’s character and how it reflects on the story. It could include character flaws, misplaced dreams, and foibles of heart. It answers the question “Why?” It could also refer to the setting or time of the story and its effect on the characters. The social and moral context of the story is another consideration. This section draws the viewer into the story emotionally and literally by asking the question “Why did it happen?” This section can be used to create a love/hate polarity, which further draws viewers into your story.

The final section deals with closing the sale. It could be used to describe the benefits of your book. You could also include testimonials, reviews, or awards. It is also worth mentioning that you are on any top seller list. The section also includes acknowledgments for the use of photos, music and videos. This video should be shared if requested. This section should clearly state where you can purchase the book. This section should include several images of the book to imprint the cover art and title.

Each section contains new and interesting information. It draws the reader in and makes them want to invest in the different parts of the book. It raises the question “How can this story go on?” This is the hook that hooks your reader and makes them buy your book.

There are many other formats, but the one above is ideal for fiction books. It answers the questions that book readers have and presents the information in an easy-to-remember format.

Your script writing will be difficult because it requires a different style of writing. It should be dense and compressed. The script should include both the narration as well as the graphics or card displayed on the screen. It is easier to process narration over graphics than the graphics. The words displayed on the screen are usually short, concise phrases or individual words that are memorable, imperative, and engaging.

Narration, on other hand, depends on the human voice to emote and phrase, emphasize, resonate, and develop deeper meanings. It is responsible for telling a complex story in a concise and compelling manner. Your writing must be concise and persuasive. It should highlight the most important aspects of your story (such as characters and conflicts) and hint at possible outcomes. You might also use it to convey the tone, style and quality of your book.

Narration should be based on a familiar vocabulary, accepted language, and figures of speech. Avoid long sentences and complicated ideas. The viewer’s attention will be split between narration, graphics, and images. Allow the narration to explain a story point through dialogue. For greater impact, place the dialogue on a white screen.

Avoid boring viewers with wall-to-wall narration. Mixing in sound effects, graphics, and/or music can take its place. You can also use live video with sound to enhance your presentation. You can use narration to highlight key points in the closing section.

Your trailer’s end is a sign of its success. Last impressions, like the first ones, are more important and memorable. What impression would you like your prospect to leave? Which indication of finality could work? This could be a musical ending that is placed over your book cover or tagline. You could also use an earlier sound effect that creates a certain mood. Another option is the sudden and startling view of the killer’s silhouette with a knife poised ready to strike, accompanied by a woman screaming. No matter what your choice is, you want viewers to leave literally wanting more.

After you have written your book trailer, it is time to add visuals and sounds. These visuals could include text, photos or videos, as well as visual effects. They could also be sound effects, music, or dialogue. These elements should be used to tease the viewer into imagining the trailer in their heads more than on the screen.

Before you begin searching for images, you should define the specific embellishments you are looking for and where they will be located. This will help you reduce search time and keep your video’s focus. Keep a record of all inserts so they are clearly identified and marked in your script. There may be alternates for some embellishments, which could work if the right sound, image or music is available. These alternative would be identified with suffixes a,b,c, etc.

The following is a list of possible embellishment inserts that could be found in a 60-90 second book trailer.

Voiceover: 60 seconds, 100 words max; 90 seconds, 150 words max

Text, titles and captions: 85 words

Photos: 12 photos plus various photos of the book cover used four times

Videos: 2 Videos, 1 Stock, 1 Live Action (About 5 Seconds each).

Sound Effects: Three sound effects and transitions are available

Music: 3 tracks (could come from the same selection).

Visual Effects: 2 to move text; 8 to photo & video transitions

Many of these media inserts are available online. High-resolution images can be downloaded for free from sites like and Another site for free music and sound effects is offers free video clips. offers music. To download music, you will need to create an account. Other media resources can be found on Google by searching for royalty free photos/videos/sounds. Copyrighted material should not be used.

You can find professional voiceover artists online if you are uncomfortable using your voice. There are many voices to choose from and demos of each artist are available. On sites such as, voiceover narration for the 150-word example would cost about $25. An outside narrator should have a script that explains how the dialogue and narration should be read. These instructions should be in parentheses before the words are spoken.

You may be interested in creating your own media inserts. For example, your book cover may be shot from the spine angle and upright/slanted. Your script may be more relevant if the book cover’s artwork is closer to you. These book photos should have a background of neutral or white posterboard with some photos that allow for text.

You can also create other images that capture the essence of the scene using photos or video. These inserts should be vague to allow the viewer to fill the gaps. One example might be a terrified eye looking behind her wondering what is happening, footsteps approaching and two hands lovingly intertwining. Another insert might include a scream coming from an open mouth or a hand grasping a knife. Two lovers are moving through a park. A backlit image of the threat, and a shadow of someone holding a gun.

These images and sounds can encourage the viewer to think outside the box. They are also more convincing than realistic images. A majority of video cameras can record sound well, particularly when connected to an external microphone. Consider using your camera to record sound and only connect the audio.

A behind-the scenes section of video might be useful for research, character creation, setting a story location or identifying the target audience. Images with voiceover could include author at computer, medium side shot, fingers typing and author looking at the screen.

How do you get your trailer elements together? Let’s first look at how to set up editing programs before you begin the editing process. Time lines will be the main feature. Here you can place audio and video clips. Additional time lines are available below for music, sound effects, and narration. Additional time lines are available in more expensive editing systems to add and sync additional media material.

Source materials can be downloaded via the internet or taken with your camera. These items can be stored in a project folder and include audio clips, photos and sound effects. These items are placed in the timeline at the correct location so that text and titles can be added to the visual elements. You can also adjust the audio levels, color balance, and transition effects to give the cut a professional look. These elements together make your book trailer.

There are many video systems that you can choose from, with varying capabilities. Prices range from free to very expensive. Movie Maker is available for PCs and iMovie can be used by Mac users. They can also be downloaded from Apple and Microsoft if they are not already installed. Movavi 14 can also be downloaded for free at, while the Movavi14 plus version costs $39.95. Pinnacle 21 editing software is also available at, starting at $49.95 Higher-end Pinnacle systems can be purchased at a higher price. offers Corel PaintShop(r), Pro 2018 and VideoStudio(r), which can edit photos, create graphics and make movies.

Tutorials are included with these editing systems to help you understand their capabilities and how they work. The free system has basic editing capabilities, but spending more can allow for more creativity and more media resources. It all depends on how complex your trailer is and what quality you desire.

Arranging Elements

Once you have your media and script, you can start the editing process by copying them into your timeline. You may be wondering where to start. It would be the element that is most consistent. This could be narration, visuals, or music. In my example, narration would be considered the least likely element to change. This would be the one you would place first. You may need to add pauses, or speed up the pace. You can either add room ambience or cut out the pauses between sentences. Record a minute of the ambience in your room and then use it to increase pauses.

Next, add visuals to support or enhance your narration. These visuals’ length will vary depending on how complex they are and how long it takes to read the text. The visual time can be cut if the text is used in conjunction with the narration. Don’t overwhelm the viewer with too many details. Space the narration so that the viewer can concentrate on long or important texts.

Duplicating text and narration on a plain background is a common technique used in infomercials. This increases comprehension and makes information more memorable. This can also alter the flow and increase the viewer’s attention. This works well when text is displayed one word at time. It’s also possible with more complex editing systems.

It is easy to exaggerate the text and images. Exaggerating the details can make it difficult to understand. You want the reader to be able to picture a lot of the story. You can let the reader’s imagination develop by hinting at the book’s subject matter. Use the notion that book readers are imaginative and love filling in the gaps. To allow viewers to form important ideas and images in their minds, it’s a good idea slow down the pace.

A couple of short video clips should be included in your trailer. Although they are not sound-based, the motion on the screen can stir up emotions and thoughts that aren’t possible with still photos. These screens increase attention span and make the information subsequent to it more interesting.

Book trailers need to be fast. Too slow, you lose your viewer. Too fast and you risk losing your viewers. There is a happy medium. It depends on how you relate new and interesting material that engages the viewer. It’s important to sketch out your script. This forces you to view your trailer as a book talk on video. You can see how your story is developing, drawing the viewer into a fictional world with your script.

Avoid distracting from your message with cheesy effects. Simple transitions such as fade-in/fade out or cross-fades help keep the attention on the trailer’s goal, which is to raise awareness about your book and encourage people to purchase it. Your book trailer’s success depends on how clear you keep this goal in your mind. Sometimes people get too attached to a particular phase or image, which if it were lost could make the trailer stronger. This is a serious error that should be acknowledged and rectified by an outside consultant.

You can use the same font across the board, but change the font size. Your text will be visible on both mobile and computer screens. This means that font size is important and may affect the text length. Instead of reducing the font size, you can extend the text to the next screen by using ellipsis (…. It is important that the font size be indicative of its significance. The acknowledgements for the use of images and music in the last section would be smaller than those where the book can be bought.

If you are superimposing text onto an image, it is a good idea to delay the entry of the text so that the viewer’s attention is first on the image and then the text. This will increase comprehension because you can control the focus of the attention.

There are guidelines for selecting music. Your potential book buyers have already been exposed to music on TV and films. Your taste and sensibilities regarding music might be different from those of your prospective audience. You should choose music that is appropriate for the genre you are writing. Music that supports a horror story like a murder mystery is the best music. Music can serve many purposes. Music can be used to create mood, atmosphere, and emotions. It can also refer to a period or time, or create unreal situations. Music can be used to enhance the story or affect the emotions.

Wall to wall music can reduce its impact. You can remove your music from various places and replace it using sound effects. To elicit an emotion or new perspective, bring the music back at the right moment. This will allow you to make the music more effective and enable it to support a new concept.

Allow the sound to precede the visual slightly to smoothen your cuts. This allows the mind and brain to process each element one at a time, creating suspense about what the sound is. These micro overlaps lead to the question, “What’s next?” This mentality subconsciously draws the viewer in deeper.

Sound effects can be used to create the right atmosphere or instill fear. The sound effects of wind blowing through leaves and footsteps from a mugger can help stimulate the imagination, making the story a constant focus. Sound effects can also break up the monotony of media elements and help to create greater expectations about the book’s contents.

You will notice that you need to make adjustments as you go along with the assembly. You will also notice that some sequences are not working and don’t help you achieve your goals. This is part of editing. This is similar to writing a book where much of the time spent rewriting.

Save your file before you make any major changes. Before making any changes, save your file. This will ensure that you have a backup in case your file is corrupted. You can also keep the original if you decide you like it better or only need minor adjustments.

This is the final section. The last section is where you make the sale. These could include a statement that explains the benefits of purchasing this book, using common adjectives found in reviews, and a list of testimonials, quotes, and/or awards. This section also includes acknowledgements for the use of photos, videos, and music. This section should clearly state where you can purchase the book. This section should also include images of the cover/book. You can also place a sticker-like graphic reading “Share This Video” in this section.

After you are satisfied with your final version, leave it for a while and then return to it with new eyes. It is best to view it as a buyer of books. If it does not, it will encourage you to buy it. Make corrections if necessary. If it is not, make corrections and pass it along to others who can give you an honest assessment. Do not try to influence their decision by giving them additional information. You can simply state that you would like their reaction to your video book trailer. Ask them specifically what they liked and disliked. Once you have reached an agreement, adjust as needed.

Distribution of book trailer

Once your book trailer has been published, you will need to create copy. You should prepare a description for YouTube that includes the title and author of your book as well as what it is about. Make your video stand out by writing a unique description that includes a catchy headline and author’s name. Add tags as well. You can link common words to your video to allow users find it. This copy will increase the chances of your video being found on Google or YouTube searches and your link being opened if it is done correctly. You can also use this description and information on Vimeo and Facebook. For a complete list of video hosting providers, visit

To upload your video to YouTube, follow the instruction found at Online instructions for similar tasks can be found. There are programs available that make it easier to upload.

Video syndication services are available, but their fees can be prohibitive for most authors. Once term payments are exhausted, your video will be removed. Although posting them yourself can be time-consuming, they are free and will remain online forever.

There are many other ways to get your video noticed. One way is to post on Facebook or Twitter with links to your video and a short description. LinkedIn updates can also be used to reference your trailer and its location. Reader forums are another place that can be used to discuss your genre or target audience.

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