How to Make a Book Trailer

My new book Night Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark comes out in a little over a month, and last night I put the finishing touches on a book trailer.

For those creatives interested in the process by which I created this amateur, ad hoc trailer, here are some steps. For those who could care less about the how, feel free to just scroll down and take a look!

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Step 1. Whine to your friends/spouse/significant other about how you have no idea how to make a “book trailer” and that the book industry expects too much of its authors. Why can’t we go back to the good old days when writes could just writeyou’ll say. Now we have to know how to use Twitter and make book trailers.

Step 2. Repeat Step 1 for 1-3 weeks until you’ve exhausted all the self-pity.

Step 3. Make a decision. While drinking your coffee one morning, realize that no one is going to force you to make a book trailer. But neither is anyone else going to do this work for you.

By this time, you’ll have already realized that you cannot control how your art goes into the world or how it is received… But you can control whether or not there is a book trailer.

Step 4. Scour the internet for existing book trailers. There are not tons to choose from, and some will be so outside of your (basically nonexistent) video-making skill-set and so well-resourced that you’ll be tempted to go back to Step 1 for a week or two. Resist this temptation.

Keep looking until you find a few simple, beautiful ones. What elements of these could you steal? What simple concepts are at work here that would be useful in marketing your own book/product/idea?

Step 5. Create an artistic vision. Make it as simple as you can. What themes does your work tackle? Is there something unique about the setting? Is there a significant object? You don’t need a cast or a production — you just need a simple way to tap into the heart of your book. Think small. 

Step 6. Gather your materials. With smartphones, getting good video clips is simpler than ever, and it’s easy to ask friends and family for help getting shots that you might be unable to get. (For example, for this video, I enlisted friends along the route that I drove in Night Driving to take clips of the road as they drove through their towns.)

You need to make sure that everything you use is royalty-free and that you site the source. This sounds complicated and possibly expensive… but it’s not. There are plenty of places online to get free royalty-free video clips and music, usually just by citing the author and the Creative Common License. (I found lots of great stuff on videvo for this project; the song I used came from incomptech.com)

Step 7. Figure it out as you go. There are plenty of free movie-making apps and software available. Choose one, and learn as you go. Don’t be intimidated by a new interface. There are so many resources to help you figure things out. If the app/software is intimidating to you, it might be worth doing a quick search on youtube for an introductory video. And if you get stuck, check the online help or simply Google your question.

Step 8. Let it be imperfect. Do your creative best with this video, but remember that the trailer is not the thing. The book/product/idea that it represents is the thing. This is simply a way to help the world know that it exists.

Do your best, put it out there, and let it go

Night Driving comes out March 15, 2015, but you can pre-order it now from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million, or an independent bookseller near you!

40 thoughts on “How to Make a Book Trailer

  1. You made a book trailer! A beautiful one that made my insides a little achy for the Light. I’m driving 7 hours each way for one full day at the beach next week and the one day I’m there? The one day of rain in a row of sun in my weather app. My husband says it’s not personal. It feels personal. With your line about it being a disappointment, I felt like it’s okay if my little escape is too. (But c’mon, sun!!)

  2. I have found nyself trying to recreate/relive my mountaintop experiences I had when I was “on fire”. I expected to feel closer to God by returning to the mountaintops where they happened. When that didn’t happen the first time, I felt like something was wrong with me, I must have done something wrong. It took several years before I finally realized that God didn’t reveal Himself to me again on that mountain, because He was calling to me from the valley. I just wasn’t listening to His voice. Other times, He had clearly spoken to me and was silently waiting for me to respond to his instruction, But the hardest was when He invited me to sit with Him and simply be still.
    Thank you for sharing the darkness you have experienced. We night drivers know we’re not alone on the road. I’m so excited for the release! Congrats!

  3. Oh my word, Addie, I love that so much.
    1. I love hearing your voice. That’s the big problem with inter-friends, don’t get to see their faces or hear their voices.
    2. I just loved everything about it, the longing, the tension, the way those things are just so true.
    3. I’ll say again, your book is the book I’m looking forward to this year.
    4. “you cannot control how your art goes into the world or how it is received… But you can control whether or not there is a book trailer.” lol.

    1. Glad you liked that. I hate recording my voice. And listening to it. I feel like that’s mostly normal, though, right? Thanks so much for your encouragement and excitement about the book!

  4. Man!! I thought it was done by a professional company! It’s so good. The music and images go so well together. And I loved hearing your voice.

    I’m SO excited about this book

  5. I am so impressed because it turned out so beautifully 🙂 Also, I loved hearing your voice!

  6. It’s lovely, Addie. And I love step 1 and that you got PAST step 1 which gives us all hope when we’re stuck in our step 1. 🙂

  7. Wow. I was totally moved by your trailer~ it really is beautiful and I definitely want to read the book. Great job!

  8. Addie, this trailer. “Scrape at the emptiness…trying to feel a spark.” That’s when I got teary. “…last ditch efforts to find the light.” That’s when I smiled. I ADORE this trailer. I also struggled with what I wanted mine to be…and was thinking…”I wanna do something different that means something to me…that feels…honest.”

    I was mentioned in the tweets alongside you and some others in Steve Carter’s tweet yesterday. I’m a pretty (really) unknown writer but have a book coming out March 1st. I’ll def pick up your book. But your trailer tho…so good.

    Here’s mine…I’m proud of it. It’s not talking…it’s…singing. 🙂 Hope you enjoy it.

    Peace, love and all good things,

    Matt

    1. This is so beautiful. You guys are so talented, and this book sounds absolutely stunning. (I lost it when your mom started singing.) “I want a God who heals my wounds, but I have a God who heals my heart.” Beautiful. (And I’m with you on the cliches. My first book is all about that.)

      1. Somehow while commenting on another person’s blog THIS comment came up that I missed from a couple months back. I need a blog class. Congrats on Night Driving. I’ve seen that it’s out and NEED TO READ. Should I start with that one or the first?

      1. Thank you Holly. Just seeing these messages now. I appreciate that. The book is now available if you’re still interested. It’s on amazon. Peace and love.

  9. This is such a beautiful video!!! Thanks for posting these helpful steps – I just might make my own book trailer now 🙂

  10. I look forward to reading this book. I have been there too many times, wanting to escape, but knowing full well that wherever I go, I am still there.

  11. I originally read this post on my phone and forgot (sorry) to watch the trailer at my laptop until now. It’s beautiful, Addie! I can’t wait to read your thoughts, and pray that you’ll be surprised at how encouraged, supported, strengthened, and healed you will feel by all those who need and love and appreciate and identify with your book. And that this encouragement will far outweigh the fear of exposure and the feelings of I’m-not-good-enough!

  12. My husband called me earlier telling me there was a story on the H.E. Butt Family Foundation that I absolutely needed to read. He begun to explain that it was so important for me to read, as he stated “Honey, someone else out there knows how you feel.” Very accurate, as I too suffer depression and have for 43 years. I turned on the computer and proceeded to read and found myself needing to know more. I went to your blog and came across your trailer-I became overwhelmed!! I found myself So Touched and on the verge of tears. Your trailer really spoke to my heart, I feel so hungry to read your book. I cant wait to read it as I feel it will feed and speak to my heart. I really feel God has guided me to your writings to help me find the “Light at the end of the Tunnel.” Thank You Addie….

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