Alfred Hitchcock once said, “What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out.” A book trailer gives potential readers a thrilling glimpse of your novel to maximize interest. Because of advances in technology, you can easily create a book trailer with Canva Pro. I’ll share the how-to steps based on my current work in progress, Death of an Heir.
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The Purpose of a Book Trailer
As a teaser and promotional tool, book trailers can spark interest—and that’s the chief purpose. Like a movie poster, creating the urge to know more.
In a minute or two, a quality book trailer shows what readers can expect without giving away too much, and the ending gives a call to take action.
Put the Story Spine to Work
In an earlier post (Stuck Trying to Turn a Premise into a Plot? Do This Instead!), I created the Story Spine for my work in progress, Death of an Heir.
I’ll use these six beats to create a book trailer:
Once upon a time there was an art gallery owner who loved her idyllic life in a small town, but while walking her dog in the rain, she came across a body — her client!
Every day, she felt more compelled to find out who killed him. Using her sleuthing skills honed investigating art, she tried to identify the killer, causing friction at home, conflicts with friends, and hindrances from police chief.
But one day, she discovered the intriguing odyssey of a valuable painting looted in World War II—the same painting her dead client had left for appraisal!
➨THRUST INTO 2
Because of that, she began interviewing five suspects who had unique reasons to do away with her client.
Since that happened, she encountered more conflicts, forcing her to face the real possibility she might lose her idyllic life if she continued investigating the murder, but instead of letting fear hold her back, she vowed to follow her calling.
➨PLUNGE INTO 3
As a result of that, she eliminated all but one suspect, but closing in on the killer put Deena and her husband in danger. When she confronted the suspect, he denied the allegation, and that set off a series of events that would shift Deena’s life from idyllic to deadly.
Within these six beats, there’s more than enough material to create a book trailer. So let’s get started!
What You’ll Need
To make a book trailer, the most important thing you bring to the table is your story. Canva Pro walks you through the use of images, videos, audio, colors, and fonts. The app also provides you with top-notch help screens and guides.
In this example, I’ll borrow generously from the Story Spine for Death of an Heir, turn that text into a script, and generate interest without giving away too much. Also, I’ll create the introduction and ending slides. Sometimes, I’ll divide a Story Spine beat into two scenes for dramatic effect.
If you already have images, illustrations, or videos, great! If not, Canva Pro has millions you can use royalty free. And if that’s not enough, check out the free downloads from Pexels.com, Pixabay.com, and Unsplash.com.
You may already have copyright-free background music. If not, Canva Pro will tickle your ears with fantastic selections. You can also make voice overs and upload sound effects.
➨Colors and Fonts
If you don’t know which colors and fonts to use, you’ll find everything you need in Canva Pro. If you have specific brand colors and fonts, there’s a place to store and retrieve them.
How to Create a Book Trailer with Canva Pro
1. Sign into Canva Pro
If you don’t already have a log in to Canva Pro, join the free 30-day trial.
2. Select Slideshow Video
Choose Video from the menu at the top and select Slideshow Video.
3. Choose a Video Template
In the left-hand column, you will see an array of video templates.
Type “Slideshow Videos” into the search box and view the suggested templates under the “All Results” heading. Select a template with 5 or more pages (e.g., “White and Black Film Frames Christmas Greetings Slideshow”).
Then apply all pages. Once loaded, play the video and watch what happens on the screen.
You’ve had your first lesson in how to create a book trailer in Canva Pro! You’re welcome to experiment with the content of this template. Have fun!
I made my first two videos by taking a base template, replacing the stock images with mine, and adjusting the colors. Those hands-on experiences gave me the confidence to tackle today’s example.
4. Add Images/Videos, Pages, and Text
For today’s example, I started with a blank slide and added “elements” (e.g., images, graphics, videos, and more). Then I added “text” based on my Story Spine. I clicked the “+” to add more “pages” (i.e., scenes).
5. Adjust Fonts and Colors
Canva offers abundant font and color choices. I love the way you can preload and maintain your brand’s preferred fonts and colors.
6. Add Music and Voice Overs
Search for the right background music. Canva keeps track of what you use, making it a snap to reuse a piece. By clicking on the sound line (i.e., the purple line under the slides), it expands and you can adjust audio timing and duration.
7. Tweak Timing and Transitions
If you load standard pages, they’re typically set at 5 seconds’ duration. Videos, however, vary. You control the timing by clicking on the current value and adjusting up or down; or you can use your mouse to drag the slide, making the duration longer or shorter.
Canva gives you many transition options, such as dissolve (my choice for today’s example). Also, you can animate text and images.
Book Trailer Example
It’s a wonderful feeling watching your story come to life!
Get Hands-on Experience with Canva Pro!
When I saw what Canva Pro could do for writers, I was like Will Smith in the film, Independence Day. “I’ve got to get me one of these!”
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Where will you post your book trailer (e.g., your website, Amazon, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter)?