The title of this post isn’t “How to Make a Book Trailer,” because I collaborated with a video editor. However, I’m going to go through the steps we took to create one, so whether you’re going to work with someone else or do it yourself, this might be helpful. And if you’ve been asking yourself, “How much does it cost to make a book trailer?”, this will give you some idea.

What’s a book trailer? It’s a short video that’s similar to the trailer of a movie, designed to inspire people to purchase your book.

From a pure sales standpoint, is it the best investment of your time and money? We shall see, but I would guess no. I wanted to make one anyway because I thought it would be awesome, which is totally valid.



If you’re a writer who has the time and who’s reasonably tech-savvy and skilled with design, you can learn how to do it for yourself on iMovie, Photo Story, MovieMaker, Adobe PremierePro, or specialized apps.

I love learning things, but my schedule is tight these days, and it would take me a long time to be able to achieve professional results. So I called up a friend of mine who’s a video editor. She’d made a video of one of my poems in the past, so I knew how talented and easy to work with she was.

Here are the steps we went took to put together the book trailer for The Phoenix Codex, plus the total cost and the finished result!


How to Make a Book Trailer #how much it costs #best book trailers 2017


1. I wrote the rough script…and I kept it short.

I’d seen a lot of book trailers that, in my opinion, went on way too long and shared too much detail about the book’s plot. Book trailers like that bore me. I wanted the trailer to be more exciting than a video version of a synopsis, and I wanted to keep it around a minute long.

I knew the script should have short phrases or sentences for easy reading. I wrote it out that way, and kept the main part of the script to around 50 words.


2. I chose the music…and edited the script to fit it.

Getting the right music was crucial to me, and I knew that my video editor regards music as the backbone of a video. I would never use anyone’s music without their consent — that’s not only against the law, but also unethical and, for a creative person, terrible karma.

So I knew I’d be licensing music, just as I license stock photography for this blog.

There are several sites that license stock music, including Shutterstock and (the somewhat confusingly named) Getty Images Music. In my corporate life, I’ve also worked with APM, but I’m pretty sure they’re very expensive.

For this project, I shopped the music tracks on Pond5. I knew I wanted something dramatic, fairly fast-paced, and a little mysterious-sounding. They have a big library, and I listened for hours before choosing my music.


Cost: $21.75


3. I found stock video and stock images I liked.

I didn’t want the trailer to be too random and choppy. An important scene takes place on a desert mesa at night, so I thought that could be a unifying element. I licensed stock video that conjured up the drama of that chapter.

It’s a romance, but I knew that with photos that included models, I wanted to crop or treat the images in ways that would take the emphasis off of specific facial features. I found a few other images that echoed plot points in the book.

How to Make a Book Trailer #how much it costs #best book trailers 2017    

Cost: $29


4. I gave all the assets to the video editor, and met with her a couple of times about the project.

I told her what the story was about and the mood I was hoping to achieve. I also gave her a copy of the book cover design. We brainstormed about ideas. Then she went off and worked her magic.


5. I reviewed the rough…asked for some changes…and we got to the final version.

Liz came up with things I never would’ve imagined, and it was so exciting to see her work.

Cost for Video Editor: $200 (bargain price)


Total cost: $250.75


I’m sharing the video on youtube, my Facebook page, and Twitter. Take a look at how it came out!

And if you want to, check out the book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

How do you like the trailer? Do you have advice for making book trailers, or ones that are particular favorites of yours? Let us know in the comments! Thanks for stopping by!