Sunday, June 8, 2014

Homemade Book Trailer 101

By Kristi Belcamino

I have no clue whether book trailers help sell books or not, but I do know they are super fun to make. It was totally awesome to make a mini movie that conveys the mood and atmosphere of my book,  BLESSED ARE THE DEAD.

Confession—making book trailers is addicting and a huge time suck. You have been warned.

Before you begin:

Google will be your best friend in making a video trailer. I suggest you start by watching other book trailers to get ideas. Think about what mood and feeling you want to convey about your book in the trailer.

As far as how to make the trailer, you will need some type of movie-making program. Most Macs come with IMovie, which is what I used. I watched a few tutorials, but mainly learned how to use it by playing around with it.

One last note: Try to keep your book trailer under two minutes. People become quickly bored if it is any longer than that.

Here are the four steps to making a book trailer:


Use your shortest blurb (for instance, your back cover copy) as a starting point to come up with the text for you book trailer.

In my case, I started with this:

When she was a little girl her sister was kidnapped and murdered. Twenty years later, Gabriella Giovanni spends her days on the crime beat flitting in and out of other people’s nightmares and walking away unscathed. Until one day, everything changes. A little girl disappears. Gabriella’s investigation into the girl’s disappearance leads her to a convicted kidnapper who reels her in with tails of his exploits as a long-time serial killer. He promises to reveal his secrets to her alone. Gabriella’s hunt spirals into obsession when she suspects he also may have killed her sister. Gabriella will risk her life to garner justice for the dead.


The first thing I did was decide on about five to seven images I wanted that would best convey the mood and atmosphere of my book. In my case I chose: a little girl, a cemetery, a prison scene, a San Francisco scene, etc.

I did buy two images from Istock, but there are many royalty-free images available online, such as through CreativeCommons. For the other images, I used own photographs and filmed a small video segment (swing in park/girl’s shoe) on my phone.

 Once I found the images I wanted to use, I played with breaking down the text (from above) to match my images.

I broke it down into 14 “scenes” if you will. For several scenes, as you will see in the video below, I used black background.


I was lucky enough to have the music written and recorded specifically for my book trailer, but you can download royalty-free music that conveys the mood you are trying to convey. After I added the music to my video, I went back and adjusted the images to coordinate with the music.


At the end of the trailer I included some information, such as the book title, when it will be out, how to find more and blurbs from two authors.

And here is my book trailer for Blessed are the Dead:

P.S. Full Blown Promo here:

My book, Blessed are the Dead, comes out on Tuesday, June 10th! If you think you might like it, you can order it early. Pre-orders matter a lot!

Here is what some of my favorite authors have said about it:
“… a crime novel so skillfully executed that it’s hard to believe it’s her debut … The plot is as suspenseful as they come. And the gritty prose, distinguished by short, muscular sentences, is truly first-rate.”
—Bruce DeSilva, Edgar-award winning author of the Mulligan crime novels.
“Kristi Belcamino uses her newsroom background to grand effect in this crackling, savvy debut. Insider know-how and deft detail make every page come alive — and those pages fly by as the story reaches out and grabs you by the heart. Blessed are the Dead is a great read, Gabriella Giovanni is a one-of-a-kind character, and Kristi Belcamino is a writer to watch.”
—David Corbett, award-winning author of DO THEY KNOW I’M RUNNING?
“A fast-paced and remarkably assured debut, featuring an immensely likeable protagonist and a reporter’s eye for detail. Belcamino puts her experience on the crime beat to good use, creating the kind of villain who’ll lurk in your nightmares long after the book ends. Double-check your locks before you crack this one open!”
— Owen Laukkanen, author of THE PROFESSIONALS
 “BLESSED ARE THE DEAD is a remarkable debut that drags you to the edge of your seat with compelling characters, dark secrets and a deadly killer. Belcamino knows the ins and outs of the newspaper game and writes like a seasoned pro. She’s created a protagonist in Gabriella Giovanni that has the makings of a character fans will be following for years to come – flawed, emotional and relatable. A must-read.”
- Alex Segura, acclaimed author of SILENT CITY
“BLESSED ARE THE DEAD is a fast-paced, suspenseful read. Savvy San Francisco reporter Gabriella Giovanni is tough, vulnerable and complex — a terrific new series character.”
– Alison Gaylin, USA Today Bestselling Author of the Brenna Spector series

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