I don’t know if video book trailers sell more books; I rather doubt it. The real value of making a book trailer is for the writer herself. The process forces the writer to condense her novel to an intriguing, concise visual synopsis, sixty seconds or less. The purpose of a book trailer isn’t to summarize the plot or to introduce characters, it’s simply to stimulate interest in the story through images and visual effects. Music helps convey the tone and maybe the setting.
Making your own book trailer can be a good exercise if you’re suffering from writers block; it’ll help you rediscover what it is that drives your story.
For screenwriters, making a short book trailer is an exercise in storyboarding and building shot lists.
A book trailer might even be an art form in itself.
Most importantly, making a book trailer is fun!
You can make your own trailer using apps and programs such as iMovie, Vine, Movie FX Director, YouTube Editor, Windows Live Movie Maker, Animoto and many others. I made this trailer for Water Ghosts using Animoto. I made one for Looking for Redfeather with Windows Live Movie Maker. I’m very much a novice, I’m still learning the ropes and experimenting.
No matter which program you use, make sure you’ve got a lot of good images to choose from — whether your own or stock photos. Keep the text minimal. As David Mamet said, “The job of the film director is to tell the story through the juxtaposition of uninflected images — because that is the essential nature of the medium.” (David Mamet On Directing Film). Don’t ponder too long over that, just jump right in and make a book trailer. You’ll learn what works as you go.