How I Created my Book Trailer for $12.99

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of doing a book trailer, but had decided it was something for “the future.”  They either required thousands of dollars to hire a professional to produce it or a graphics/technological dexterity I didn’t posses in order to do it myself.

However, a last year, as part of a family book club, we read “The One and Only,” by Emily Giffin and as is my way, after finishing, went in search of more information about the book and author, which is when I stumbled across the very simple trailer for the book:

This was a revelation: No actors! No location shoots! No storyline!  It was short!
After watching the above, I was emboldened enough to believe that maybe I COULD come up with something cost-effective and not too terribly complicated.  After poking around on the Internet (seriously . . . what DID we do before the Web??) I saw a few tutorials on how to use PowerPoint to create book trailers and gave it a whirl (there are lots of other video programs out there that are far superior to PowerPoint, but frankly, I’m not that ambitious or artistic, so PowerPoint it would be). 

My PowerPoint skills have always been rudimentary at best, but I was able to cobble together something halfway decent before going in search of royalty-free music, which proved to the biggest challenge.  Some sites charged upwards of $50 for two minutes of music (about only 30 seconds of which I’d even be using.  Definitely couldn’t justify that expense.)
And then I stumbled upon Animoto (cue the singing choir), a program that lets you turn photos, text and video clips into rich videos.

This was yet another revelation: It was easy! It was fun!
I’m almost embarrassed to say just how much of a blast I had exploring the different styles and concepts Animoto offered as I developed my book trailer – not to mention how fast and painless it was.  

However, I still had the music conundrum, as what Animoto offered at my price point (Read: FREE) wasn’t quite right.
And yet another stumble, this time into JewelBeat, which offers a vast library of royalty-free music to choose from for $2.99.  Two dollars.  Ninety-nine cents.

I fell in love.
In no time, I found the perfect music for my trailer.  I was so enthralled by the process, I quickly created another one for my next book (stay tuned!). And another one!

For now, here are the fruits of my labor:

A few tips:

-        Animoto offers a few different pricing plans.  I used the free option, which allows you to create a 30-second video.  Anything over 30 seconds and the meter starts running.  While the free option limits you to certain styles and music choices, there was still quite a lot to choose from.
-        Google “Royalty-free images” and you’ll find a treasure trove of sites with pictures you can use for your video.  Animoto also offers a small selection of images and video that you can incorporate into your trailer. 

-        While I used JewelBeat for music, iTunes also offers a wide variety of royalty free songs and sound effects.  You can buy individual songs or whole albums (some compilations have up 100 songs and effects.  It’s like a candy store!).  By the way, JewelBeat’s $2.99 price point includes the purchase of a standard use license, which allows for up to 1 million views.  There is also an extended use license for $9.99, which offers unlimited views.  I chose the standard license, but you can upgrade to an extended license at any time.

-         Animoto offers the option of upgrading your final video to HD for a one-time $10 cost (hence the $12.99 price tag for the whole trailer).  Do it.  It will make your video crisp, clear and professional looking. 

-        Have fun!  Playing around with Animoto was more than a little addictive and believe me, if I can do it, ANYONE can.