Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Using a Book Trailer to Market Your Book

One of the resources for marketing books is to create a book trailer. Sometimes, these are done by the publisher. Other times, the author creates one. In the case of the latter, I asked Christine Lindsay to share her experience with putting together a book trailer. She has done it twice.

"You put together the book trailer for your newest release Captured by Moonlight. How did you go about it? What did you find to be the hardest part, and what cautions or recommendations do you have for others who might like to do their own book trailer? - Sandy

(Note: Since there's both marketing and creativity involved in book trailers, I split Christine's answer. The second part will run next week.)

Christine: When Shadowed in Silk was released, I had very little money for advertising. Still don’t. Being such a visual person, I thought a trailer would create some attention.

I’m sure a professional artist or video maker could point out the mistakes, but a few of my artist friends have looked at the trailer for Captured by Moonlight, and smiled, nodding and saying, “Not bad, not bad at all.”

Before I ever decided to write, my interests were drawing and painting. So, I have a good grasp of the color wheel, tones, balancing a composition, and therefore confident enough to enjoy experimentation.

You’ll see this in the way I have the script coming in at different angles in Captured by Moonlight. But don’t go too crazy with this, or you’ll make your viewer dizzy.

I played around with a few programs, and discovered Windows Movie Maker that I didn’t have to pay for.

I just kept at it by trial and error, and as I did, I discovered little things in the program that just made the visual sound bite come alive. Fade ins, fade outs, animation of the photos, etc.

The first thing I suggest is pick your music. Even if you’re going to do a talk-over trailer, you still want background music. As a nation of movie watchers, I believe that’s what we need—a tiny little movie that moves us emotionally.

I go to iStock for audio files. When I find music that stirs me and makes me think of my story, I buy the licensing. I paid about $25 for the music for Captured by Moonlight. It’s pacing is resonant with the fun and passion in the story. 

It’s a bit hard to find the piece of music that is exactly the length you need. Fortunately for me, my son is a music major, and edited my music to the right length. But you might find someone in the music department of your church that can help.

After creating the trailer for Shadowed in Silk, I discovered that I’d made it too long. Most video sites and watchers prefer only about a minute and a half long, tops.

Then I started gathering my photos from stock sites, such as iStock, Dreamstime, Shutterstock. Because I had a hand in the creation of the front covers of my books, I had photos of the models in period costume.

I might deviate a bit here for the reason I had a hand in my own front covers.

When my publisher was designing the cover for Shadowed in Silk, they sent me photos of models which strangely reminded me of my birthdaughter, Sarah, the grown child I had relinquished to adoption when she was 3 days old. On a whim, I suggested Sarah (whom I am now reunited with). I also had the silk for the sari that I had bought on a missions trip to India.

For book 2, Captured by Moonlight, my publisher was happy to let me use my own daughter, Lana for that role. So I had lots of photos of the 2 girls.

It takes a while to get used to whatever program you end up using. But learn how to adjust the photos visually, to be drawn into the center or off from one side.

This became especially fun for me in Shadowed in Silk when I tilted the photo of the airplane so that it appears it is actually moving. At another point, a child is holding a man’s hand, and I had the script and the photo scroll upward, creating the movement of a child’s eye looking up at his father figure.

Book Trailer for Shadowed in Silk

Have you ever created a book trailer? Do you use book trailers to market your books? What tips can you share from your experience?


Christine Lindsay writes historical novels with strong love stories. She’s proud of her Irish roots. Her great grandfather and grandfather worked as riveters in the Belfast shipyard, and one of the ships they helped build was the Titanic. Another ancestor served in the British Cavalry in India, seeding Christine’s long-time fascination with the British Raj and became the stimulus for her series Twilight of the British Raj, and her debut novel, SHADOWED IN SILK. Her current release CAPTURED BY MOONLIGHT is Book 2 of that series.

The Pacific coast of Canada, about 200 miles north of Seattle, is Christine’s home. She and her husband enjoy the empty nest, but look forward to all the noise when the kids and grandkids come home. And like a lot of writers, her cat is her chief editor.


  1. Great ideas, Christine, and your videos rock! The music really sets the mood for the novels and the movement enhances without detracting from the message.

    P.S. you have two beautiful daughters. :)

    1. Thank you Angie. It all turned out to be such a personal blessing to have my daughters on the covers and the videos. And I love all aspects of the creative journey.

  2. Typically, I don't care to watch book trailers, but I enjoyed yours, Christine. The music seemed to match the tone of your book, and I liked how the screens transitioned. Great job!

  3. Thank you Dora, and for the RT on Twitter. I really appreciate the encouragement.

  4. Your book trailers are great. They certainly make me want to read your books. It looks like you put an awful lot of time into them. I have been thinking about doing a book trailer but just don't know that I have the time to do and do it right.

    1. I'll be honest, Chris, it did take me a lot of time to make the first one. Weeks actually. The second on went much quicker and cheaper. But I enjoyed it, as I do love the visual arts as well as literary.

  5. Lovely and your daughters made this all the more sweet. You couldn't have found more suitable models!

    Do you have a favorite source for the photos you used for other characters? and the settings?

    1. Hi Debra, and I love you for saying such lovely things about my two beautiful daughters. God was so special to me in putting that together.

      As to favorite sources, I like iStock for the music. They have tons of music on their site, and I felt it was worth the $25 or so to purchase the licensing.

      As for photos, I like iStock and Dreamstime, but found them a bit expensive, so I discovered Shutterstock this year. Cheaper and almost as good. I found the male models for Captured by Moonlight and for Eshana on Shutterstock.

      They were also pretty good with the scenic pics too. I think that I found the really pretty Indian scenes on Dreamstime though.

  6. Thank you, Christine! I hope the trailers convince readers to open these two books. I haven't read the second one yet (though it's on my Kindle) but I am expecting it to be just as amazing as the first one. It was truly one of my top five for the year!

    Thanks for the information as well. I'm going to be playing with a book trailer or two at some time. I think it will be a nice break from writing so I appreciate what you've shared.

    1. Thanks, Debra. I really enjoyed Shadows in Silk, too. I haven't gotten to second one yet.

      I hope this post was helpful. The second half will be on the blog next Wednesday. Have fun creating your own trailers.

  7. Wonderful -- I got goose bumps. But what can I say, music moves me. Of course, the narrative helped.

    1. I agree LoRee. I think that's why music has got to be the first choice. For me, music is the language that goes straight to the heart.


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