Night Buddies - Adventures After Lights Out

Book Trailers 101: The Tools You Need to Make Your Trailer Work

As authors, we write books for people to read. We don’t make movies; we want people to follow our stories through our words.  So where do we start when we have to all of a sudden turn our literary stories into visual ones?

Well, when I was making my trailer for Night Buddies Go Sky High, I began by thinking about what a book trailer ought to do.

1. Give readers information on what Night Buddies was about.

2. Give readers a feel for what they would find on the page.

3. Generate enough interest in a viewer to look more into reading a Night Buddies book.

When you’re creating a book trailer, you have to understand that most likely, the trailer won’t sell the book. Trailers are used as a jumping point, meaning that they should be intriguing enough, cute enough, or funny enough for someone to think, “I want more.” With that in mind, I knew I had to focus on how to give readers information about my book and give them a feel for its style in an intriguing, cute, or funny way. No pressure.

I think the best thing you can do as an author is work with what you have. I knew I wasn’t going to make a million-dollar, special-effect-filled, Hollywood-style trailer. My book didn’t call for one of those. What I needed was something simple, short, and to the point. I decided to use what visual tools I already had—the illustrations from my book—and combine them with my strongest asset, my writing.

What I ended up with was this:

I utilized what tools I couldn’t use in a book, mainly audio such as children’s cheering and music in the background that gave a sense for the whimsical, cute nature of the story, to make the trailer that much more interesting to watch, but overall I just let my characters tell the story, just like they do in the book. I’m of the mind that book trailers don’t have to, and really shouldn’t be, complex. If you have an interesting story, and a book trailer that really represents it, you don’t need to worry about making it feature-film status.

Do you enjoy watching book trailers? Have you used one to promote one of your books? Link it in the comments below!

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Children's Museum of Alamance County
217 South Main Street
Graham, NC 27253
Phone: 336-228-7997
Reading begins at 3 pm


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