Making a trailer can be very enjoyable especially if you like visuals, graphics and/or music. Some people are more drawn to these effects more so than just a book cover.

Making a trailer can also give you the chance to make another way to inspire a reader. Perhaps you wrote about a true story that doesn’t seem to draw interest. Showing something else that may be in the story such as some ghostly intervention that no one could have guessed was included – may trigger someone else’s interest.

Your creation doesn’t have to be long nor should it show the plot or outcome.  Perhaps a few photos or short clips set to music, possibly just displaying an event in one chapter. All you need is something to spark another’s interest, maybe even leaving them with a want for more!

You might want to draw on the senses of others just to get their attention. The music in itself is a huge factor to appeal to others’ thought processes.  Consider one of the subjects of the book – think of it’s style – a feeling or a sense of something you have not pointed out yet. Or you could use some music that is generic and would not give a flavor of any subject. But overall, the music you choose can broadcast more messages than your actual short film in the end.

Personally I have made a few of my own trailers. Using old films to tell a little bit of the story was my first attempt while the music would take a viewer to the end of the story in essence, so it may have given mixed messages or even conveyed that my book had a happy ending. (What’s the sense of reading it now if you know there’s a happy ending?) That may not have been a good idea.

Eventually I called on a graphic arts person who could really make my display more professional looking. Either way, whether you do it yourself or hire someone – your ideas need to be formulated so that you can relay them clearly. The more specific your thoughts, the more you will be satisfied with the results. But do allow the artist for hire some room to relay what he thinks you mean, or prepare to pay more for your criticisms.  Some of these services can be found on FiveRR’s website which is where I turned for help eventually. Some of the graphics people are very reasonable in price.  I’ve been very pleased with all the outsourcing I’ve received there.

It’s really not that difficult to pull together a short film that you can edit yourself, and the effort may just be the ticket to draw more interest for your book. There are editing programs you can find probably for free on the internet, or already packed in your basic desktop or laptop programming. You’ll need some text inserted, some sort of music and some fade in or out type weaving or splicing the clips and photos together. There are even free music files available on the internet, such as through YouTube, Vimeo or other sources, especially made for “royalty free” or else composed by yourself. Maybe you could get a recording of a summer nights’ loud cricket chorus or a thick forest of singing birds for your background sounds. Just consider where you want to take your viewer – think of the feelings they will get by your creation.

Speaking of Royalty Free, there are stock photo companies you can purchase photos or short clips from that will allow you to re-use if you join their service or pay per use. If you’re a member you can get perhaps 15 clips for one price.

Your next step is then to get it uploaded to the web. Maybe you already have a website or are thinking of one. Maybe you feel you don’t need one.  Personally you already have one on Amazon’s website if your book is catalogued there through your initial efforts.

My suggestion is to upload to YouTube. You can create your own channel there, just like making your own web page! Uploading there to your own channel will take your final file and make it so that your viewers can stream it.  That means if they click on the link, they will be able to view it immediately. Streaming means no downloading required.  Vimeo’s web site will work well, too. Same situation with streaming.  They boast that the quality of your video will be even better on their site.  Either site is a good resource for allocating your work – your name – future trailers by becoming a member or creating your own “channel.”

Once your trailer is uploaded, just copy the address on the internet and you can share! Even Amazon’s author page allows you to post trailers and photos. One word of advice – consider whether you want to advertise or not once your creation is there for the world to see. Vimeo never pays you for your clips unless they are studio-like and that is another process. YouTube does pay those who have sufficient viewers and advertise through them, but if they catch you advertising some other way they will deny you the chance to ever earn anything from them. Also, if you do not have the rights to your material – music or film – they have the right to knock you off their server.

Remember it really should be a short clip, flow well in understanding, yet keep a mystique. You don’t want to give away your whole book or whole chapter.  All in all it’s a fun creative project which you don’t want to invest too highly in unless you’re already getting sales on your book. If so you may even want to put some sort of tag on your trailer signifying your boast of “1000 copies already sold!”

This post is contributed as Guest post by Susan S Davis