Why should you create book trailers? The answer is easy:  They help to promote your books! More importantly, they get children curious about your book, which is our goal as writers. We want to encourage children to read.

Think of it as giving the reader a visual concept, just like movie trailers do for the big screen. Some readers need that encouragement because they haven’t yet fully developed the mental acuity of translating words into pictures, especially emergent readers. A book trailer helps spur their imagination.

Entice your readers by spending an afternoon building a trailer. It will be worth the effort.

Getting Started

You need to ask yourself two questions:

  • What is my book about?
  • Who is my target audience?

With these two pieces of information, you can begin to create your storyboard. This can be as simple as jotting down notes on a piece of paper on how you want your video to progress. Let’s look at the video for the first book in the Dani P. Mystery series, Dani and the Haunted House, and break it down from there.

Music:  Creepy – Bensound.com

Gathering Your Components

I knew for this video I wanted a bit of a “creepy” feel for it. After all, the premise of the book is a haunted house. With that in mind, I needed trigger words to inspire my viewer to want to learn more.

To construct my images, I used a program called Canva. This program is indispensable! (Warning: You will find it addictive!)

It also helps to type up a rough draft of your narration script.

Creepy

Next, I had to consider the music. Even though I knew the video was going to be narrated, it still needed background ambiance. The creepier, the better! One of my favorite places to find royalty-free music is bensound.com. It is free if you give credit and follow their licensing rules.

Finally, I gathered up the images from the book that I wished to use. Be careful not to give away too much of the story. You don’t want any spoilers that reveal the ending.

Putting It All Together

Now comes the fun part! I love building videos. Perhaps because I become so immersed in the project. I like the detail aspect of it and the instant gratification of being able to see the little nuances. What nuances, you ask? In the above video did you notice the timing? When I narrate the segment and say danger the video is on the word, danger. When I say the word time, the video focuses in on the old grandfather clock. These are creating mental pictures that coincide with either the visual word or what the reader is hearing. That is making an impression, whether the viewer realizes it or not.

Also, don’t forget your teaser!

There's No Turning Back Now...

Now, doesn’t that just make you want to know what happens next?

I won’t go into the different programs you can use to create a trailer because the options are endless, and it really depends if you are using PC or Mac. Although, I will say I’m a bit fixated on iMovie at the moment.

When assembling the video, I first lay down my background music knowing that it will have to be trimmed to fit after the video is completed. Next, I start laying down the individual photos and placing transitions between them. If you forget this crucial step your video will look choppy. Bear in mind that you may end up switching the photographs around to suit your narration script, which will require you to re-insert the transitions. The final image should be your website, or if you prefer, where they can purchase your book.

Now it is time to record your narration. Make sure you are using a good quality microphone. I am in love with my Blue Yeti. It’s fantastic. I have used it for videos and podcasts. It is a reasonably priced microphone for a beginner. If you need professional narration, I highly recommend Jill Cofsky Voice! She is the narrator for the Dani and the Haunted House audiobook.

Your narration is on a separate track from your background music. It’s up to you to decide where you want narration to start. It doesn’t have to be in the beginning. Check out my second video sample below. The narration doesn’t begin until almost halfway through the content.

Music: The Duel – Bensound.com

Back to Those Nuances

Now is when you begin “tweaking” out your video. Listen to your narration. Do you need to shift the images? Now is the time to do it! You may need to add a second or two to one of the clips. Perhaps your narration is just too long. If so, you can either truncate it or add more content. The choice is yours.

You may also want to play around with the video’s filters. Most programs will give you options. In the first video, I used a filter which gives the video a bit of a dream-like appearance and luminosity. In the second video, I used a simple vignette. The results may be subtle, but they do make a difference.

In my opinion, nuances are the most important step so don’t neglect them! It really makes a difference in the quality of your video.

Finally, be sure to trim your background music to the end of your final clip and fade out for a smooth ending.

Where to Post Your Video

Now that you’ve created your video, you may wonder where to use it. I have listed some suggestions below, but the best answer is… as many places as possible! 

  • Website
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Book sites
  • Blog
  • Author Central

In Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this outline of how to put together a children’s book trailer. Please note that these are videos you can make while adhering to a strict budget. If you really want to be impressed, type in children’s book trailers in a YouTube search and you’ll see high-quality videos produced by the big publishing houses that rival any movie trailer.

I can’t wait to see your creativity in action! Please be sure to post a link in the comment section for your book’s trailer. Also, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.

Best wishes,

K. Lamb

UPDATE:  Here is an alternate version of the same video that you might enjoy that has more animation. Your creativity is only limited by your imagination and program. Have fun!