Video Trailers: So Many Options!

to set
"to set" photo by K. S. Brooks
You don’t need your own movie production company.

I have seen that many book trailers over the last month that I no longer need my subscription to Sky. They are as varied as they are entertaining and to be honest I am developing quite a penchant for them. It all started as part of my research for this article. I am, let’s face it, technologically challenged. Two years ago I didn’t know what a blog was. I had no knowledge of Facebook, Twitter or how – indeed – to use Word. My computer allowed me to shop on-line and let me send emails.

Since I became a fully fledged author I have had to keep up with the times and the latest puzzle or task has been producing a book trailer to accompany my new novel. Now this isn’t blatant promotion of my novel, it serves merely to help fellow authors who, like me, feel they should have a promotional tool: a book trailer video to help sell their book. Everyone is doing it. That’s great if you, like the Evil Mastermind, are a techno wiz but I am a middle-aged woman and videos are not my bag.

There seems to be general consent now that videos should not be longer than 1 minute 30 seconds. I have mixed feelings about this because although you want to get a message across as quickly and enticingly as possible you also want to put in enough information to entice a future fan of your books.

So, what should you do? You have several options:

a) Pay for the services of someone who can produce a video. Prices vary. I stumbled across an excellent service provided by Avalon Graphics. They were professional, their service was excellent, the video was made when they said it would be made and they were willing to twiddle about with the video until I was completely satisfied with it.

b) Do it yourself.

c) Get a friend to do it for you.

For the purposes of this article I tried all three options. Having checked out various companies and gotten feedback from those who had used them, I employed the services of a professional team at Avalon Graphics, run by Cathy Helms. I was given a fair price for the production of a video and a contract to sign. She explained how long it would take to produce the video and was very happy to adjust the video to suit my requirements. She also had a relevant soundtrack written to accompany it.

My next port of call was the good old Indies Unlimited team where Melissa Pearl Guyan answered my call for help and pointed me in the direction of her post on this very subject. Click here for Melissa Pearl’s fabulous post.

It takes patience to make a video. I’m a writer for goodness sake, not an artist or a graphic designer. I can’t even use Microsoft Paint without making a mess. I got the relevant photos from my computer, trimmed them and added text using PicMonkey and then hunted for music to accompany the video. Royalty Free Music that is any good is difficult to track down. I spent three entire days browsing snippets of music and sites that offered free downloads. The only music site I found that was also easy to navigate and was genuinely free was

After spending several more days holed up in my office attempting to make a trailer, I emerged victorious having uploaded it to YouTube. I showed it proudly to my husband who shrugged his shoulders and declared it amateurish.

Where next? Further research was required. I discovered Animoto. I have written a tutorial on how to use Animoto (which you can read here) rather than use up all this post explaining about it – but I have to say it was so simple to use that this middle-aged woman not only whipped up a video in half an hour but played all day on the site the next day and made a few more.

Animoto is great for people like me but you only get a 30 second video for free. If you want to make a longer one then you need to subscribe to their site. They even have free music to accompany your video which makes life much easier.

Finally, I cast my net further and begged for help from fellow authors. One raced to my assistance. Sylvia Massara who hosts an on-line show which showcases authors called The Lit Chick Show is very used to making videos. She has made several for her own novels and indeed makes them regularly for her blog. She volunteered to make a trailer for me and within a couple of days she had produced a masterpiece.

Is it worth hiring a professional? Judge for yourselves. Below are the three videos. All three have merits. Vote for the one you prefer. Having watched them I am sure you will be able to make up your own mind which option is best for you.




Which Surfing in Stilettos Video Trailer do you like best?

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Author: Carol Wyer

Carol E Wyer is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and an award-winning and best-selling author of humorous novels including MINI SKIRTS AND LAUGHTER LINES, SURFING IN STILETTOS, and HOW NOT TO MURDER YOUR GRUMPY. Carol has been featured on NBC News, BBC Radio, and in The Huffington Post. For more about Carol, go to her website or her Amazon author page.

21 thoughts on “Video Trailers: So Many Options!”

  1. Personally, I like the first one with all the animation. The last one has cartoons mixed with nice pictures and the wording – hard to read some of it because it blended in with the back ground. Two lines of type were left on there as long as a one-line of type and you didn’t have enough time to read the two lines. Maybe they can’t do anything about it, but I was not really impressed with the last one. 🙁

    I have not tried making one, like you I would spend way to much time on it. I do have a friend who will make one, we shall see what happens. It would be really great if someone had a way of tracking whether or not sales were made from people watching them, but I don’t see how that would be possible.

    1. Thanks Jacqueline. I would love to know the answer to that question too. Do we make sales through these trailers? If anyone reading this knows how to do that please get in touch.

  2. Ok, I’m both a video producer (my day job) and a newbie author, so I thought you might be interested in my take on this area.

    Incidentally, the free royalty free music site is with an ‘e’ in the middle.

    Of the three trailers I liked the first best, as I felt like it gave me the clearest idea of what the book would be like. It was a bit busy for my personal taste, though.

    The second was good but too short to really go into any detail, and the third, I’m afraid, still seemed very amateurish – those wipe transitions between images get old very quickly.

    Not that I’m an expert in this kind of video – the only book trailer I’ve ever made is was my own, which I’ll paste in here, since I really should put my money where my mouth is:


      1. I think I might just have to come and ask you to make my next one Jim. Thank you. Yours was a really good response and I am now in awe of your skills given I had trouble drawing a few pictures.
        (My typing is shocking at the moment and you are quite right I screwed up poor old Incompetech’s name!)
        Sorry for the delay but I had no internet and couldn’t get back to you before now.

  3. I liked B the best because of it’s length (though not the abrupt ending obviously) and I liked A for it’s colours and quality (though it would have been better under a minute long. This was a very interesting post, thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you. It’s tricky, isn’t it? I like them all for different reasons too. I think I am now just becoming obsessed with making trailers and I really should be writing!

  4. I kind of like the third one best, but it might be because I’d already seen the others. I did think the third one was too long — it felt to me like it ought at the fade-out before the testimonials.

    I’m of two minds about length. The 30-second ones feel about the right length, but there’s not much time to get much info about the book across. Anything over a minute definitely feels too long to me, and two minutes feels like a lifetime! 😀 But your mileage may vary…

    1. I really enjoyed yours. I know there are those who say two minutes plus is too long but yours kept me entertained. I managed a whole pot of popcorn too 🙂

    1. Hubby hated that music on C!
      If you upgrade on Animoto you can extend your movie so it is probably a good move to do that and enjoy the easy to use facilities without trying to squeeze everything into 30 seconds.

  5. B is best – needs to be longer with more info (given A style). If you are staying with pastelly colours, keep vibrant book in centre while sunset appears for a stronger, more relevant ending… A was great, but my head needed more guessing activity, I felt like I was just being “told” everything – length would have been fine otherwise. C was fun & bouncy to watch, and length would have been fine if the differing types of images were not so disturbing, maybe keep w bookcover-style animation and/or silhouette – e.g. the 1st grey hair image! Viewing felt like reading a text page with multiple fonts.

    Carol E Wyer, as always I admire your work, and I am enjoying learning from your adventures with multimedia & writing. Your continually evolving skills & communications with us throughout the process are impressive!

    Now, back to writing!

    P.S. – Attempting to post this, I have to first decide what personal information I would like to share… Am nervous of giving both my email & Facebook – and am not ready to become a WordPress blogger or Twittee! Here goes… Fb it is!
    P.S.1 – Fb log-in looks like an App – am worried it will force me to become a timeline like everyone else! Better pick a blogname for WordPress, other than the three I already have in mind!
    P.S.2 – Option to have username rather than blog right now appealed! And of course, now I have WordPress account, I have taken the first step… Thanks again Carol E Wyer!

  6. Louiseisuol – See it is easy when you know how! I fear I am getting to the age where I’ll get forgetful and start losing all these new found skills.
    As for the videos I am very tempted to make B longer. It means subscribing to Animoto but I have been impressed with what they offer so far. Check out my Animoto tutorial and you will have a video to go with that WordPress account.

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