How I Made a Book Trailer for The Reluctant Missionary

A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon Addie Zierman's post, How to Make a Book Trailer. Her book, Night Driving, happens to share my release date, March 15th. I had heard of doing book trailers, and my publicist suggested making one. But it sounded difficult and scary and stressful so I decided not to do it. But after reading Addie's post, I thought that doesn't look as hard as I thought. I didn't know there were free video and audio clips online. I guess I could try.

I commented on her post, Thanks for posting these helpful steps - I just might make my own book trailer now :) And she wrote back, You should! If I can figure it out, believe me, anyone can.

So with that dollop of courage, I plunged in. It took a lot more time than I thought it would, but I'm very pleased with the result. And in case you're interested in how I did it, here is my process. (Scroll to the end to see the video.)

Step 1. Gather courage from someone who's already made their own book trailer.

Step 2. Decide what kind of clips you want to include. I loved Addie's theme of night driving, and I decided that mine would be travel, international, and reflective.

Step 3. Watch and select clips from videvo, downloading the ones you want. I also contacted friends overseas to send in short clips. Edit clips to desired length - I tried to keep mine about the same length, and focused on the interesting motion in each clip.

Step 4. Decide what kind of music you want and how long you want the video to be. I looked on incompetech first. The best song I found on there that fit my video was a bit too depressing, so I ended up choosing 4 songs from Audioblocks (they have a free trial), and playing them over the clips to see what worked.

Step 5. Edit the video. I have iMovie, so I watched a short video on YouTube, iMovie for Beginners, and got to work. I tried to keep the clips about the same length, and focused on the interesting motion in each clip. Many of my early favorite clips didn't end up fitting in with the others. I ended up focusing on travel for the first half, and more contemplative scenes for the second half.

Step 6. Decide on text and/or voiceover. I pulled quotes from the book and with the help of a friend, decided on an order that ended on a hopeful note.

Step 7. As Addie so wisely suggested, let it be imperfect. I'm a writer, not a video expert. There were some frustrations, but after the song miraculously fell into place, it just all clicked. I probably spent 7-8 hours on it total.

Imperfect is okay. I think that's been my main takeaway from this book launching process.