Guest Blog: Book Trailer Tips to Make Your Dreams Come True

cindermamacollageIn her new book, Pumpkin: a Cindermama, author Ines Johnson spins a modern day fairy tale of love for the single mom. Now she’s ready to make your book trailer dreams come true by sharing her step-by-step approach to making her own book trailer.

An added bonus: when she isn’t writing novels, Ines teaches screenwriting. From Ines:

Using AIDA to Sell Your Books

Is You Tube a part of your social media plan? It should be.

Are you looking to get more reviews for your books? You might try approaching vloggers.

Experimenting with ways to increase your book sales? Then you should consider a book trailer.


There are millions of books on the market, with thousands added every day. New and seasoned authors search to find innovative ways to stand out and get the attention of readers through all the cacophony. Book trailers are visual depictions of a book’s storyline, sometimes made by fans like vloggers, which are a great way to get readers excited. On You Tube you can find book trailers of New York Times bestsellers like Gone Girl and indie sensations like The Martian. These ads are not just made by the book’s publishers or authors. Readers are getting in on the game, making trailers and video reviews of their favorite books and putting them up online on sites like You Tube and Vimeo to share with others.


Just like in a pitch, a book trailer is meant to convey your story in a brief and entertaining way. But unlike a pitch, a book trailer can reach millions of people online, all over the world, instead of just a handful of agents in a room. When you hear the term ‘trailer’ you’re probably thinking movie trailer. Movie trailers are one of the main ways theatergoers find out about new movies. Motion pictures are a billion dollar industry. Books are also a billion dollar industry. The savvy author will bring the two of these mediums together.


Production of book trailers can be pricey if you opt to hire a professional media company to do the work for you. The purpose of this post is to give authors instruction on how to DIY a book trailer but still make a polished and persuasive piece. It all starts with the writing.


Start by grabbing the audience’s ATTENTION with a startling statement and a provocative image. As a romance author, I know my audience is largely women. For this particular book, Pumpkin: a Cindermama Story, I looked at the niche audience of single mothers who loved romance novels. For my book trailer, a narrator asked a series of questions that have plagued most women at one point in their lives:


Did you kiss a frog in your past?

Did you get left behind to raise a tadpole on your own?

Have you given up on true love’s kiss and finding your Prince Charming?


Other ways of gaining the audience’s attention is to use humor, introduce a conflict, or use sound effects.


Next, you have to hold the audience’s INTEREST by giving them more information. Luckily, one of the most effective techniques for holding interest is one all fiction writers are familiar with: establishing conflict.


You don’t necessarily need a villain to establish conflict. Focus on logical, intellectual, or emotional values inherent in your story. I chose to focus on an emotional value: all humans want to be loved.


For the second AIDA step, I held interest when the narrator brought up a conflict by stating:


Let’s face it, there are no fairy tales featuring single moms. Until now…



Other techniques of holding interest are to use anecdotes, testimonials, statistics, or examples.


Now comes the tricky part: playing on the audience’s DESIRES. As authors we most prevalently care about our reader’s emotional desires like love, belonging, and success.


For my trailer, I played on the desire of love by pointing at redemption. My narrator lets the audience who has experienced the conflict of lost love know that there’s an opportunity for a second chance when she says:


In Pumpkin, the first book in Ines Johnson’s Cindermama series, a single mother gets a second chance at love.


Pinpoint a plot point or theme of your story with a great emotional impact. Target the way your readers think, behave, and make decisions. Playing on this will give them a reason to buy your book.


And finally, tell them what to do. Give them an ACTION, which of course would be to go buy your book! My book trailer ends with my narrator telling readers to do just this:


“Pumpkin: a Cindermama Story” by Ines Johnson is available now wherever ebooks are sold!


Once you’ve got got the four steps of AIDA ready, you can start to storyboard your idea. A storyboard is a graphic depiction of what the audience will see and hear on the screen, using a series of panels much like a cartoon strip.


Most commercial advertisements are 30 – 60 seconds long, but you’ll find that most book trailers are much longer. The rule of thumb in the media world is to use one frame for every five seconds of ad time. So for a 30-60 second spot, you would plan to use 6-12 frames of the storyboard.

Screen Shot Cindermama script



Now its your turn.

1.    Think up a way to get the audience’s Attention.

2.    How will you hold their Interest?

3.    What would motivate someone to do what you are requesting? Play to their Desires.

4.    Now tell them what to do next in order to get what you’re “selling.” Make them Act.

5.    Storyboard your ad by selecting visuals to go with your AIDA steps.

6.    Put it all together using a video or image editor like iMovie or Windows Media Maker.

7.    Upload it to your social media outlets.

Stock Images

Below are a few places you can visit for royalty free stock images. I used Free Digital Photos.




·  Fotolia.coom






Stock Music and Sound

I found free sound clips at Partners in Rhyme. You can try these other sites too.




·  Brainy Betty





Thanks, Ines! Now aren’t you curious to see how it all came together? Check out Ines’s trailer for Pumpkin here.

One Comment

  1. Stuart Miles says:

    Another place for free images –