Book trailers are one of the best ways to convey the content of your book and get readers interested in buying it. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in use today (after Google) and advertising your book trailer on YouTube is one of the least expensive and most effective forms of advertising. You can also use your book trailer on social media, on your website and in your blog.

But how do you create a book trailer without breaking the bank?

It’s easy. With free photographs, free music and free software bundled with Microsoft Windows Operating System, you can create your own book trailer. It can be time consuming to pick the perfect photographs and set them to music but it’s well worth the effort.


1.     Create a storybook

a.      Create a list of 8-14 phrases that can describe your book. A trailer should be approximately 60 seconds so 8 phrases would remain on the screen for an average of 7.5 seconds each, while 14 phrases would remain on the screen for an average of 4.28 seconds each.

b.     For example for my latest book, Cloak and Mirrors (to be released in the spring of 2017), I arrived at the following phrases:

  • Cloak and MirrorsCIA operatives Vicki and Dylan are back!
  • They arrive in Ireland for their honeymoon
  • When they’re instructed to retrieve a microchip
  • Containing Russian stealth technology
  • Their mission turns to smuggling a defector
  • And now they’ve learned the Kremlin
  • Is attempting to capture them
  • Soaring Irish backdrops
  • Breakneck suspense


2.     Compile photographs

a.     Using each of the phrases above, find a photograph that will serve as the backdrop for each phrase

b.     One recommended site for free photographs:

3.     Create a slide with your book cover and basic information such as ISBN, price and author website

a.      I used PowerPoint for the Cloak and Mirrors trailer

b.     Save the slide as a JPG twice – once for the beginning of the trailer and once for the end

4.     I use Windows Live Movie Maker (free from the website and available with the Windows Operating System)

a.     Open Windows Live Movie Maker

b.     Click on “Add Videos and Photos”

c.     Select all the photographs you downloaded in Step 2 above.

d.    Select the two slides created in Step 3 above.

e.     Drag and drop the photographs so they are in the order you want.

5.     Add text to each slide

6.     Use special features as desired; for a quick tutorial on how to use Movie Maker, here’s a video from Windows:

7.     Select music: I recommend

a.    Try to stay with music that is approximately 60 seconds

b.     It should convey the emotions of your book

8.     After downloading the music you’d like, add it to your movie.

a.     Use special features if you’d like to fade in or out

9.     Save your file.

10.  Play the video.

a.    Adjust each slide’s timing so the music matches the mood of the slide.

11.  When finished, save the file and save it again under the “Save Movie” icon.

12.  Upload to YouTube (or a site of your choice).

Now you’re ready to use your book trailer for your marketing and promotional efforts.

To view the completed Cloak and Mirrors book trailer (scheduled for release in the spring of 2017), visit:


I used fast-paced photographs midway through without text to convey more of a sense of action at breakneck speed.

If you’ve created a book trailer for your books, leave the link below in the comments so we can all enjoy them!

If you enjoyed this post and found it helpful, you might be interested in our Premium Marketing Plan – a full year of tips and tricks to increase your book sales. Check out all the details here.

p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than 20 books in several genres. Her first book was published in 1984 and she became a full-time writer in 2002. She has mentored authors for more than 15 years and is the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation and the founder of the Book ‘Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair. For more information, visit