Make Your Own DIY Book Trailer

June 30, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

Make Your Own DIY Book Trailer — at home!

All the experts say, “Give people a reason for coming to your website.” That’s one of those things you don’t really need an expert to tell you. So here we go. . . I’m going to tell you how I made a trailer for my book, Friend Me. Click that link (or this one), so you can decide if it’s good enough for you to spend your time on.

The job breaks down into six parts. Some will take longer than others, but you can do it all in an afternoon, depending on your demands. I can say that with some assurance, because that’s how long it took me, and I didn’t have this article to reference. 🙂

  1. Prepare a Script
  2. Get a Great Voice-Over
  3. Get a Great Music Track
  4. Use PowerPoint (my preference, because it’s easy) to generate a slide-based presentation.
  5. Set up the timing on the PowerPoint presentation to match the audio tracks.
  6. Create the final video file.

Prepare a Script.

Short is good.  My script was less than forty words. Here it is:

Rachel Douglas wanted a virtual friend.
In return, her virtual friend wanted her husband, her children and her life.
FRIEND ME, by John Faubion.
Appearing in February 2014 from Howard Books.
Someone please tell me she isn't real.

My novel is suspense, so I want the same effect as a thriller movie trailer. I pretended I had a voice like that and read it out loud a few times to see if I liked it. I imagined what it would look like if it had video, pictures or special effects behind it. I was liking it already!

However, I don’t have that kind of voice, so I found someone who did.

Get a  Great Voice-Over.

I don’t know anyone with that kind of voice. In some desperation, I went to a website called Fiverr. It’s an interesting cyber-place. It’s full of people offering you their services for five dollars, or multiples of five. Like some girl writing your name on her forehead and sending you the picture. That sort of thing. Five dollars is pretty affordable.

I found a guy that goes by the name of “Bigmouth” on Fiverr. His ad read, “I will create a movie trailer style deep voice over for $5.” He said he sounds like Don LaFontaine. I think he’s right.

I sent him my script, told him how to pronounce my name, and waited. Seven weeks later, there it was! No, just kidding. I got it back the next day. He’d done a great job. He sent it back as a wave (‘friendme.wav’) file that I could do many things with. For those of you that don’t know, a wave file is like an mp3. It’s an audio file, and is the Windows native audio format. It’s what’s called a lossless format.  You can convert it to an mp3 if you want, but for our purposes there is no reason to.

Now that I had the voice-over, I timed out the way he read it, because I knew later on I would want to synchronize the other features in the trailer to the words as he said them. Here are the actual notes I made:

1..2   2 sec  Rachel Douglas wanted a virtual friend.
3..8   6 sec  In return, her virtual friend wanted her husband, her children and her life.
9..10  2 sec  FRIEND ME, by John Faubion.
11..15 5 sec  Appearing in February 2014 from Howard Books.
16..17 2 sec  Someone please tell me she isn't real.

 That is, the first sentence was two seconds long, the next six, and so forth.

Now I was ready to go with the next step. A background music track.


Get a  Great Music Track.

Just like with the voice, I don’t have any musical talent. I do play spoons, but that’s it. So off to Google I went. I searched for “movie trailer music,” and found this: Royalty Free Music | Epic Movie Trailer on Vimeo.  Wow! It was perfect. Too long, but just the effect I wanted. So I clicked through all the buttons until I’d purchased it. I had to join some “club,” use Paypal, pay a two dollar surcharge because I didn’t really join the club, yada, yada. But when I was done, I’d spent just twelve dollars and had exactly the music I wanted.

I said it was too long, and it is. However, you don’t have to use all of it. You can cut out the part(s) you don’t want. All I did was trim off what I didn’t need. The track is about forty seconds long as delivered. I only need seventeen seconds. Fortunately for me, I was able to trim off the front end, leaving the exact seventeen seconds I wanted. It would have been possible to cut and paste some parts here and there, but in my case it was not necessary.

Maybe you’re wondering how to do that audio file editing? I used the Nero Wave Editor. You can get a very acceptable editor for audio files for FREE from Audacity. It’s truly free, and you can do a lot with it. Check it out here.

Here’s what Nero looks like, with my track loaded up:


Use Power Point to Generate the Slide Presentation.

I used Power Point because I’ve got it. I’m sure there are lots of ways to do this, certainly more professional ways to do it, but I’m an amateur and a first-timer. Oh, did you think you were getting expert advice? Stop reading NOW.

Still here? On with the amateur instructions.

I started a new Power Point project, using no templates, just a simple black background. Now I needed something on it.

I’m a big fan of Google Images. You can get all kinds of uncopyrighted stuff there. Yes, please don’t write and tell me that some of it is copyrighted. I know that. You have to pick and choose.

Another bit of advice with Google Images. At the top of the screen, turn on SAFE SEARCH unless you want your eyes to boil out of your head. You heard what I said.

I found what I wanted for my first picture. I downloaded it from Google, then inserted it into the PP slide. I am not going to tell you how to do all the Power Point manipulations in this article, although I will refer to them. If you don’t understand something, leave a comment, and I will answer it in more detail.

At the bottom of the slide I put in my first line of script text. I want the user to see the words as he/she hears them, at least to start.

Slide 1 of 5 is complete. You can run my trailer and see it as, of course, the first thing that appears.

Begin slide 2 by duplicating slide 1. Click it and press ctrl-D. Bingo, new slide, just like the last one. This allows you to use the image from the previous slide and fade it out, or whatever.

Here’s what I did on this slide. . . It’s a little complicated, so I’ll build the steps out for you.

  1. I changed the text to the second line of my script.
  2. I added a picture (the strange woman face) on the right.
  3. I then animated both pictures.
  4. The left picture effect was to fade out over four and one-half seconds. Consider the script timing. I wanted it gone before the slide is done.
  5. The right picture effect was to fade in over three seconds, with a one second delay. All this is done on the Animation Panel.
  6. I added a third picture (of the strange view through the crib) with a two second delay, and a two second fade-in.
  7. All the effects started concurrently.

I know that seems complicated. I’m just telling you what I did, not what you should do. I didn’t know what I was going to do until I sat down and actually worked through it. It’s just like seat-of-the-pants writing.

That completed slide 2, and the second line of our script.

I duplicated slide 2, and made slide 3. Here are my next steps:

  1. I deleted the previous left side picture of the woman (from slides 1 and 2). She’s gone now.
  2. I removed all the animations. The face on the right and the blue crib picture are now static.
  3. I added two text boxes. One in red (“Friend Me”), and one in white, below it.
  4. I animated the text boxes to do an “appear” (the white), and a “pulse” (the red).

Looked pretty good when I got done. I wanted the red to pulse, like blood in a heart. That took care of script lines four and five. Just one to go.

I duplicated slide 3, creating slide 4.

  1. I animated all the text elements, along with the blue crib, to disappear using a circle shape. The effect is almost like it is burning out from the center into blackness.

I duplicated slide 4, creating slide 5.

  1. Removed the blue crib.
  2. Replaced the white text with something similar to the last line of my script text. Not exactly the same, but that was for effect, because this is our last slide.
  3. Removed the animation from all the previous elements.
  4. Changed the white text.
  5. Lastly, animated the face on the right to zoom larger as the presentation finishes.


Set up the timing on the PowerPoint presentation to match the audio tracks.

This part was a little tricky, but now that I’ve done it once, it doesn’t seem that hard. Chalk that up to experience.

By the way, back up your presentation now, and work on a copy of it. Don’t burn your bridges! Do this regularly. My final version was number five. I still have one through four if I need them.

Use the Insert menu to add your narration track to the first slide. When I tried to drag the file onto PowerPoint the system went to lunch and never came back.

Set the audio track to go for 999 slides. That’s right. Not a typo. Have it start immediately, or give it a one second delay if you like. Whatever. That way it will play till it’s done, all the way through.

(Helpful Hint) Also by the way, and I should have mentioned this earlier, but always set your animations to start either “after previous” or “with previous.” Don’t choose “on click.” Think about it. You do want this to run unattended, automatically, right?

Here’s how the timing is done.

  1. Choose the Slide Show tab in Power Point 2010. Your version may vary.
  2. Click “Rehearse Timings.”
  3. Click “Record Slide Show.”
  4. Every time you want the slide to change, click on it.

When this is completed, you’ll have an auto-running slide show that will changes slides just as if you were clicking on them. This is absolutely important. If you don’t do this, all you’ll ever see in your video is slide number one. Not the effect you’ve been looking for.

When you get all your timing exactly like you want it, we’ll move on to adding the  background music track.

The Background Music Track

  1. Insert the background music in the same way you did the narration.
  2. Set it up the same as the audio (999 slides, etc).
  3. Click on “From Beginning” on the Slide Show screen and see how everything looks.

At this point you should be able to see your whole trailer play all the way through.

How do you like it?

Probably not very much! Now you can start doing the fine-tuning of your presentation.

Things you might want to do:

  • Delay the start of the music or narration.
  • Turn up the volume on the narrator voice.
  • Turn down the volume on the background track.
  • Do “Rehearse Timings “ all over again.
  • Change pictures. Change text. Change anything!
  • Basically, just get it the way you like it.

Now we’ll assume that you like it.

Create the Final Video File.

Power Point will create a video for you. You get there like this:

On the right hand side of the screen, choose “Use Recorded Timings and Narrations.”

If you want your last slide to stay on the screen for a while, like I did, choose at lease 5.00 seconds on “Seconds to spendon each slide.”

Click “Create Video” and Power Point will do it. It takes five minutes or so, and you will see a little progress bar on the bottom of the Power Point screen. Be patient, and good things will happen.

When you’re done. . . Your’re done!



If you have any comments, death threats, or need to ask a question, please use the comment function on the blog, below. I hope this has been a help to you.


Category: Books, DIY, Friend Me, Internet, Writing

About the Author ()

Suspense fiction writer. I have a wife whom I love, and five children ranging from college to middle age. I love each one. I've worked a day job as a senior software developer since 1999. Previous to that I spent nearly thirty years as a foreign missionary in Vietnam and China. Yes, I speak Chinese as a second language :-)

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