How to Make a Book Trailer by Rhiannon Paille

My most awesome twitter friend Rhi is stopping by today with some awesome tips on how to make a book trailer! Whoo hoo!

I’m not a pro, let me just put that out there before you start reading this thinking that I’ve done all of this and stuff. I’ve been part of the book trailer process, the writing, directing and producing part, which is the fun part. I was lucky enough to have a film student take care of the filming, editing and captioning parts, and adding music parts.

All I know how to do is shoot things on my camera . . .

But that’s why this is fun because there’s LOTS of ways to do book trailers! And we should go into all of them! (I should find and post examples too right?)

And we can argue that you don’t need to have a book trailer for your book, you don’t, but they are cool to have, and sometimes they’re fun to make, especially when you get to be creative!

The Text Trailer:

This is simple. If you have Windows Seven, open up Windows Movie Maker. There, blank black screens, some special effects and caption options. You can create a whole book trailer in text only, and you make it fade in and out, you can make it sparkle, and you can make it awesome.

Really, just go play around with it, it’s a lot of fun. You can even add music to it, but if you don’t know how to edit songs, you’ll only get the beginning.

Also YouTube will call you on it if you use something that isn’t free domain. I learned the hard way.

 The All in 1 Shot Trailer:

If you have a camera with a movie making function, you can do this. Get creative and draw something on cards, or show different things in succession. You can talk in the background, but it’s better if it’s quiet, and if you have captions you’ll need to have them in print so your camera can roll over them.

Again, this is cool and it works, but you have to get it all in one shot because well, if you don’t know how to edit video and you make a mistake you’ll mess the whole thing up.

And sometimes these work very well!

 The Photo Bomb Trailer:

Go to one of the free photo sites and download photos that fit the characters / plot / settings for your book. Then go back to Windows Movie Maker, add photos, captions, music, special effects and voila!

Also be sure to add the cover of your book, and when it’s out and where it can be bought, etc. etc.

 The Animated Trailer

This is out of my range of expertise, but it can work if you know someone who can draw and do CGI and animation. You’d have to get them to use stuff like Final Cut Pro to do this, and if you have friends who take those courses and know how to do it, all the power to you!

Me? I can’t draw . . . and I can’t animate stuff . . . so this would have me totally lost.

The Stop Motion Trailer

This just makes me go bug eyes. Maggie Stiefvater makes these and she’s amazing with them. Honestly, some of my favorite trailers. She also write her own music for the trailers and records it in a studio with her sister. I think her trailers are some of the most amazing ones I’ve seen, even though the process to stop motion animation is something that I could never do.

 The Cosplay Montage Trailer

You might know some super awesome people who cosplay. What is a cosplayer? They are people who dress up in costumes and pretend to be characters, usually at events or during cosplay shoots in which they pose the way the characters would pose and they pretend to be said characters in their own cool and funky way.

I’m friends with a lot of people who do this, and I think they’re cool.

And if they think your book is cool, they might decide to cosplay YOUR characters. (Okay now you see why they’re cool? Wouldn’t you geek out?) And then you can take pictures, and throw THOSE original photos into the Windows Movie Maker and make up something cool . . .

This is one of my favorite options because it’s just so original, and that’s what you want right? You want your vision of your book, portrayed properly.

Best thing ever? Lots of these cosplayers know how to sew . . . and they often hand make their own costumes. So again with the originality, they are the coolest people I know.

The Landscape Trailer

This is another idea, to take pictures of places that would fit into your book and put those in the Windows Movie Maker (I swear I don’t work for Windows, this is not a commercial for them, I just have Windows Movie Maker and I use it a lot when I’m bored.)

Post Beautiful Creatures Trailer


The Whole Shebang Trailer

This is where you get a cast and crew together, get costumes made up, get someone to compose music, get a script, act out scenes, film them in HD, cut, edit them, dub voiceovers, add special effects, the whole deal.

You’re right that sounds expensive, and it is, but again, if you know the right people . . .film students are the best for this, because they always want something for credit. If they like your book, they might be willing to help you out, and you might end up with something that’s semi professional and crazy, sexy, cool.

The book trailers I’ve done in the past have turned out really well. The people I work with are some of my very best friends and they are incredibly talented, and somewhat related to me (well the girl that cosplays Kaliel is related to my husband’s family) The others just love the storyline, love being able to take these original characters and bring them to life in front of my eyes. All of them are super passionate about what they do and they get uber excited when they talk about different scenes. We’ve even discussed doing blooper reels (yep, we’re gonna spoof my book before anyone else does.) I’m not sure if I’ll release the spoofs yet, but they have some ideas. Of course I’ll be posting the behind the scenes and the outtakes.

I probably wouldn’t have book trailers without these awesome people so finding them and having them on board has made me forever grateful. Honestly, most awesome people in the world.

For all the authors out there, what’s your favorite book trailer? Your favorite method? How do you create your book trailer? Are you for or against them?

I hope I’ve given you some ideas, if you have an awesome book trailer you want to share with me, shoot me the link at rhiannonpaille at gmail dot com.

And stay awesome!



Author Bio
Rhi was never a normal girl. She tried, but she couldn’t get rid of the visions, the voices in her head, and the hallucinations. When she was on the edge of crazy someone pulled her back and explained it all. She wasn’t insane. She was psychic, really psychic, too psychic. Her life was an urban fantasy wrapped in a paranormal romance and served with a side of horror. To escape her everyday weirdness she began writing fantasy. She frequents twitter and facebook, but if you really want to get to know her you should visit her site:

Her book FLAME OF SURRENDER (The Ferryman and The Flame #1) Comes out November 1st, 2011. Check it out here:


About jlwylie

Stay at home mom of 2 boys, avid reader and writer. Published by Untold Press

One thought on “How to Make a Book Trailer by Rhiannon Paille

  1. jlwylie says:

    Awesome post! Thanks so much Rhi!!

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