Today I’m delighted to welcome Maria Savva to the blog to talk about book trailers. This is an area I’m really interested in, so I invited Maria to talk us through the why and how of a book promotion tool many successful authors are using. Take it away Maria …

Maria Savva

Book Trailers – why I like them, and some tips if you want to make your own

When I started seeing book trailers appearing on YouTube a few years ago I wondered why people bothered. I could understand film trailers, because you’re seeing clips from a film that you can choose to watch if you enjoy the trailer. But a book trailer? I couldn’t really get my head around the concept. I mean, books are words, not pictures or moving pictures.

Then, I started to quite like the idea. People were saying it’s a good promotional tool, you can use it to get more exposure for your book. It tells people what the book’s about and someone might watch the trailer, enjoy it, find it intriguing, and decide to buy the book.

I was inspired to try to make my own book trailer after seeing other authors make their own.

I had no idea where to start, but I had iMovie on my old computer and decided to give it a go. I’d already discovered a wonderful website where you can get royalty free photos to use for creative projects, so I used that site to get my photos. If you’re thinking of making a trailer, be careful to check the terms of the licence for use whenever you choose photos from royalty free sites because some of the photographers will require that you add their name or website details to your book trailer. There are also sites where you can pay a one-off fee to use a photo for a specific project. I’ve always used morgueFile for my photos and have found all the pictures I need there.

iMovie is very easy to use and if you get stuck there are always tutorial videos on YouTube that will tell you how to do something. I used one of those instructional videos to teach me how to upload to YouTube. The updated version of iMovie that I have on my new computer makes it easier to upload; it’s just a matter of clicking a couple of buttons.

To make the video (if you’re using iMovie), you just drag your photos to the position you want them, then you can add words, and even various different transitions between the frames e.g. fading out and fading in.

I have a lot of fun making my book trailers and am learning something new about how to fine-tune them every time I make a new one.

Book trailer for 3

If you want music for your book trailer, there are (like the photo sites) lots of royalty-free sites where you can download free songs. Most websites will require that you at least add a link to the site in your trailer if you’re using content from that site. Many of the artists will also require that you credit them in the book trailer.

For some of my book trailers, I’ve used music by independent artists that I’ve met online: Jason Achilles Mezilis, Matt Keil, and WVM. Most indie musicians will be happy to have their music used for such a project as it gives an extra bit if promotion for their work; but make sure you ask them for the right to use the music. If you find a tune that you really like it’s definitely worth asking the musician if you can use it. Some of them will charge a fee for use of the tune.

For other trailers, I’ve used royalty-free music from the following sites:

Some tips for good book trailers that I have picked up over the years:

1. Tell a story with the words that you use in the trailer, try to keep the reader interested
2. Try to find pictures that say something about your book; images that evoke something from the story
3. Use instrumental music rather than music with words, unless you have only pictures in your video with no writing
4. Keep it brief. Try to make it under 2 minutes. I think the best time to aim for is 1- 1.5 minutes.
5. In my most recent trailer I’ve used short excerpts from the book. I read this tip somewhere recently, and thought it would be a nice idea. It gives the viewer a taster of your writing style
6. Include your website name in the trailer so interested viewers can look you up.
7. In the ‘About’ section, just under the video, add a couple of paragraphs about the video. I usually put the book blurb there. Also in this section, add links to where people can buy the book—that’s good for the impulse buyers.

If you’re not confident enough to make your own trailers, there are many services out there offering professionally made trailers. Check out their YouTube channels to see whether you like the trailers they make before you part with any cash.

One that I can recommend is Black Wolf Books, which is author Magnolia Belle’s website: This trailer tells you more about the service and how you can get in touch.

She’s made a few nice book trailers to help promote the BestsellerBound Anthologies, which are short story collections from various authors from (I’m an administrator on that writers’ forum along with Darcia Helle and Stacy Juba). Here’s the latest trailer she made for us:

I thought it would be nice to showcase here some of the best book trailers I’ve seen, and these will also give you ideas as to what makes a good trailer.

13 – by Julie Elizabeth Powell
What I love about this one is that Julie has used her own designs and created something very original. It makes me want to read this story.

Oblivious – by Neil Schiller
Neil has used actual excerpts from the book, and has chosen the sound of a typewriter in the background, rather than music. Again, original, and something that gives the viewer a real feel for the book. This is longer than the average book trailer, but because there is a lot to read, it doesn’t seem that long when you’re watching it.

33 Days – Bill See
This one uses original music which is relevant to the book, as it’s a memoir about a touring band. The author also speaks on this trailer, which adds something to the personal aspect of the story. It brings the book alive showing photos of events that are written about in the book.

Musical Chairs – by Jen Knox
This is one of the trailers I’ve watched that made me buy the book. This is also a memoir. The author reads excerpts from the book.

The Kiwi Series – by Vickie Johnstone
I’m posting this one because it made me buy the first book in the series. It gives a good idea what the story is about. I would say this one is a bit too long; I didn’t actually watch it to the end, but what I did watch was enough to make me want to buy it. I suppose the length of book trailers is a matter of taste. But ideally you want to aim to make it shorter so that people watch to the end because that makes your ‘views’ figure goes up on YouTube and the video is probably promoted more by the site then.

Here’s my own YouTube channel where you can find all my book trailers:

Book trailers are definitely here to stay and are getting better and better. One professional book trailer company I found out about recently, Red 14 Films, makes cinematic book trailers. They’re quite expensive, so probably not within the budget of the average indie author, but I love their videos. They offer a very polished product. The idea is innovative. They use actors to create almost a mini-movie from the books they promote. Take a look at some of the trailers on their site:

It’s definitely worth having a book trailer, whether you’re making it yourself, or hiring someone else to do it for you. You can post it to Amazon Author Central, Goodreads, your website/blog. The ‘share’ options on YouTube have expanded so you can now very easily share your trailer to many different websites in just a few seconds. I think it’s also a reader-friendly way to promote your work. You’re offering them something to look at, a bit of entertainment, as well as telling them a bit more about your book instead of constantly sending out links to your book and asking them to buy it.

A few years ago I was cynical about whether anyone would buy a book after watching a book trailer. Now, though, I’ve bought books after watching a trailer, so I know it can be an effective marketing tool. I enjoy making my own trailers, and would encourage other writers to have a go.


Wow, thanks so much, Maria! I’ve always fancied having a go at making a trailer, and now I’m full of ideas for one for Murder at the Maples. You can find out more about Maria below, and take a look at her books on Amazon here.

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Author Bio:
Maria is a writer of short stories and novels. She has always been a storyteller, and an avid reader, and is now having a lot of fun in her adventure with the creative art of writing. She has published 5 novels, including a psychological thriller, a family saga, and a fantasy/paranormal/time travel book. She also has 5 collections of short stories, the latest “3” has been described as an “Innovative showcase” of her short stories. If you like stories that will take you deep inside the characters’ hearts and minds, and you like twists in the tale, you will probably want to try these stories.

As well as writing, Maria is a lawyer (not currently practising law). During her career, she worked in family law, criminal law, immigration, residential property law, and wills & probate, among other things. Many of her stories are inspired from her own experiences and the experiences of those she knows or has known. Chances are, if you get to know this author it won’t be long before you are changed forever into a fictional character and appear in one of her books. If she likes you, you may become a romantic hero/heroine; if she doesn’t… well, she writes a good thriller I hear.

Maria currently divides her time between working as an administrator in a university, and writing/reading/editing/blogging. She maintains the BestsellerBound Recommends blog helping to promote fellow indie authors. She’s also a music blogger for UK Arts Directory where she helps promote independent musicians.

Connect with Maria:
Official website:
Goodreads Blog:
BestsellerBound Recommends:
UK Arts Directory Blog: