Book Trailers: A DIY Guide for Starving Authors

the dead city
The Dead City: Another Post-Apocalyptic Blockbuster by Dylan J. Morgan
September 5, 2016
A Writer’s Guide to Fiverr
September 18, 2016

Book Trailers: A DIY Guide for Starving Authors

book trailers

Book trailers are so much fun to do, and they needn’t cost you a fortune, either. My new book, Salt in the Blood, will be out in a month or so, and I wanted to add something fun into my bag of marketing tricks. I’ve always loved book trailers, and a quick search pulled up quite a few companies who’ll happily do one for you — for $500 or more. Even for that price, some of these seemed a bit lacking in some ways.

Being the intrepid jack-of-all-trades that I am, I decided to try my hand at creating one myself. I figured a nice DIY could save a heap of money and my bottom line. Here’s my very first attempt, and the one I’ll be using:


While it’s not the best book trailer I’ve ever seen, it’s an acceptable one that I believe does its job. Book trailers are designed to attract attention and generating intrigue and interest in the story. Even a simple trailer done well can achieve this.

In all, it took me around three hours to complete, start to finish. It cost about $40, since I did purchase two film clips to use, but the rest of the clips and images I found on free sites or created myself. Here’s how you can, too.

Resources to Make Amazing Book Trailers


First, let’s start with equipment. I use a Mac computer, so I’ll be coming from that background.  iMovie, a simple software resident on a Mac, was used to create the show.  I also have Camtasia software, available for Windows or Mac, so you could start there if you have a PC or want more complex effects. Camtasia offers more flexibility than iMovie, but I’m not ready for the big time, yet. Windows Moviemaker is a free option for you PC fans, and Wondershare is another paid choice for both platforms. I don’t have any experience with these, though, so explore at your own risk.

So, once you get your software, it’s time to start making your movie. iMovie has wonderful movie trailer templates you can edit. I used the “EPIC” theme for the Salt in the Blood trailer, but you can use whichever fits your needs.

Images and Footage

To make book trailers that are reflective of your story, you’ll need images or film clips of specific scenes, characters, or actions. Finding good fits is easy, although it is time-consuming. Check out sites like pixabay, pexels, unsplash, gratisography, morguefile or Creative Commons for choices. Many of these have both images and video, so look through each. You can also get free stock footage on Youtube by searching “free stock footage of (your subject)” in the search bar.

If you have trouble finding footage, consider combining an image with a green screen effect, or shooting your own. In the example, above, I used green screen smoke (free) over the image of the flayed man to mimic action. I shot the salt clip myself with an iPhone in slo-motion mode.

Sound, soundbible, or this list of 55 free sound websites are great places to look for sound clips. You can also record your own on your phone or with recording equipment if you have it. My movie template already had sound that I liked, so I just stuck with it, but you can edit all the components to fit your story.

Ultimately, book trailers can be a quick and easy way to generate interest in your book, whether fiction or non-fiction. Have you created your own trailer? I’d love to hear how you did it!

See you on the next page!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *