Spotlight on Business: 4 Elements of an Awesome Animoto Book Trailer

Mary Schiller


For this week’s edition of “Spotlight on Business,” we’re doing something a little different. Today’s post was written by Mary Schiller, a life coach and author who writes and publishes fiction under the pen name Maggie Waters. You can find Mary online at

Who doesn’t love movie trailers? Granted, sometimes there can be a few too many, and we end up eating the entire box of popcorn before the feature starts. Or we end up watching the trailers instead of the actual movie, online. But we love trailers because they’re emotionally packed teasers that draw us in quickly and keep us riveted.

A book trailer can do the same thing: entertain people and, at the same time, give a potential reader a taste of what they’ll experience when engrossed in your book. Here are four elements every book trailer should have, whether it’s for fiction or nonfiction:

A beginning, middle, and end: In short, just like a movie trailer, a book trailer needs a story. The beginning sets the stage — perhaps introducing the characters or setting the tone of the book. The middle introduces the twist or complication. The ending tells people where they can buy your book.

A concise script: Since you only have 30 to 60 seconds to grab a potential reader’s attention — that’s the length I recommend — the script is crucial. All the words and images have to count, moving your trailer’s short story forward. You don’t need a voiceover, because using words on the screen is very effective. Just make sure that the phrases explain enough without being wordy — and without giving too much away. It’s great practice to write a summary of your book in a short sentence, too.

A tone that reflects your book: Combining one of Animoto’s themes with music from their library makes it fun to create a trailer that reflects your book’s tone. Is it a suspenseful thriller? An uplifting romance? A how-to nonfiction book? Try different blends of themes and music until you capture the feeling you want your book to evoke in the reader.

Appropriate images and/or video: With Animoto, it’s easy to create exciting videos with still photographs. In addition to your book cover, you’ll probably need a few — but not many — images or video clips to help illustrate your book trailer’s story: maybe an image the shows someone resembling your main character or the setting. Whatever you use, make sure you own the rights, or consider purchasing stock imagery whose license allows commercial usage.

Authors can use book trailers in many ways, including social media, on a website, on a sales page or online store, in advertising, and on an Amazon author page. Think of a book trailer as an asset you’re creating that can be repurposed. Since most people love video, don’t be surprised if it gets shared more often than other types of social media posts.

Since I launched my self-publishing business under a pen name at, I’m using my Animoto book trailer everywhere I can. People stay on my website longer than they did before I added the trailer to the home page, and I’ve had a couple of people tell me that they’ve seen it on my Amazon author page. I’m also making at least two more versions of it — just like the movie studios do.

To learn more, check out our blog post on how to make a book trailer in minutes. Or, click the button below to jump right in and get started today.

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This article contains a video example created with Animoto Memories, an Animoto legacy slideshow-making tool. As of October 2018, all Animoto customers have access to our new easy-to-use, drag-and-drop video maker.

Learn more about how you can use Animoto today for business or for life. Have a question about Animoto Memories? Reach out to our Customer Success team.