Self-Printing: So I Made a Book Trailer – Now What?


Yesterday we talked about making a book trailer, why I think novels shouldn’t have live action in theirs and sitting in one place for long periods of time. (You can catch up here.)

So let’s say that you’ve made your book trailer, or enlisted someone else to make it for you. What happens now?

Well, now you upload it.

Upload it where?

Upload it everywhere.

You’ll be surprised how many places you can upload your book trailer (or ‘promotional video’, going by my own rules). First and foremost, you want to get it on YouTube. This is the easiest way to get your video into Google search results. I also really like Vimeo; I use that more. It looks better and it works better, and it’s sooo much easier to embed Vimeo links in your WordPress blogs than it is YouTube. (You can view my Vimeo channel here.) You can also upload your videos to your Facebook profile or fan page, your Author Page on Amazon (once your book gets listed) and your Smashwords Author Profile.

Mousetrapped Catherine Ryan Howard

A Google ‘Videos’ search result using the phrase ‘Mousetrapped Catherine Ryan Howard.’ All those videos are mine.

If you really want to get serious about it, read this super-useful listing of book trailer-related sites from Darcy Pattinson’s website – indispensable.

I also love this post – which I wish I’d discovered before I made my own! – from Novel Help which really tells you everything you need to know about book trailers in a much better way than I ever could, and asks the ultimate question: do book trailers sell books?

A tip: QuietTube bills itself as ‘YouTube without the distractions.’ QuietTube will play your YouTube video on a webpage with absolutely nothing else – just white space. This is very useful if your video or its tags ensure that a less than desirable list of ‘related videos’ populates your YouTube page. For example, mine always include videos of dead mice in mousetraps. Yes, people actually film that. Is that what I want my readers to see? Um, no.


  • Make yourself easy to find. Instead of just uploading your video to Youtube or Vimeo, make a channel first using your name (or pen name). This can be useful for grouping your videos too.
  • Choose your tags carefully. For example, I make sure to tag my book trailer with things like ‘space shuttle launch’ and ‘fireworks’ – people are always searching for videos of those. Is my book trailer just about those things? No, but it includes shots of both.
  • Have a description of your video ready to go as well. I use the copy on the back of my book.

I promised yesterday that I would show you some of my favorite book trailers, and both of them prove my point that the trailer doesn’t have to scenes from – or in fact, anything at all to do with – the book itself.

I found the first via a post on literary agent Nathan Bransford’s blog and it’s for a book called Blameless by Gail Carriger.

The second is from a series called ‘On Meeting an Agent’, created by Roland Denning for his book, The Beach Beneath the Pavement. Below is the first part; you can watch them all here. (This video was made using Xtranormal, which I mentioned in yesterday’s post.)

UPDATE: My friend Andrea – AKA The American Roommate; you’ll come to know her when you read Mousetrapped (you are going to read it, aren’t you?) – told me about this book trailer (in the comments below) for Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. This again is a book trailer that thinks outside the box, has no actors or live action scenes from the book, gives you a feel for the genre as well as the story and is, above all, adorable. And the author did it herself. Thanks, Andrea!

Read all my self-printing posts or read about the book I self-printed.

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8 thoughts on “Self-Printing: So I Made a Book Trailer – Now What?

  1. Scott says:

    Was it your voice on the clip or were you using a stunt double? It sounded really professional – and as expected was very funny. If it was you, you could even presumably consider a career as a voice over person!?!

  2. Andrea "The American Roommate" says:

    I actually ran across a book trailer the other day and thought of you (funnily enough, it didn’t occur to me that book trailers even existed until you made one!). It’s for “Shiver” by Maggie Steifvater, which was released this year. I think it’s a good example of what a book trailer should be.

  3. catherineryanhoward says:

    Scott: Yes, that was me, except a more deadpan, slightly more American version of me! (And that wasn’t the first try, either!) All I did was use my Mac’s built in microphone and spoke over the video as it played in iMovie. Really easy.

    Olive: Thanks so much! If only writing books was as much fun as making the trailers for them…! 😉

    Andrea: LOVED the book trailer. That’s exactly what I was talking about. Stuck it in the post (see above.) And please use ‘The American Roommate’ in all future comments – LOVES IT! 🙂

  4. The Compostela Key says:

    Hi, first of all this is a great article!

    But I have to disagree with you. I kinda find book trailers quite cringy, especially ones, which are all pans across still images and the like with words over the top. 9 times out of 10 they look cheap.

    But I also have to kind of agree with you, live action can prove a problem. As with most things, finding the right balance is key.

    I saw one the other day, which a) went on far too long and b) looked like an episode of 90210 rather than a book trailer. Sadly I can’t find the link.

    I think using live action is perfectly fine and less amateur/cringy but you have to firstly shoot in the genre you’re writing and secondly not give too much away. Again I agree that actually seeing the characters faces for example is a bad move. The wrong casting could put you off reading a book and also destroy your own picture of the characters.

    I’ve been shooting my own trailers for a novel I’m writing called The Compostela Key. Luckily my story, were it a film, would fall into the genre of film noir, so all the shadows and shady locations help keep it all mysterious and somehow book-like but still live action.

    Let me know if you think these work as live action book trailers and that you don’t think it is too filmic…they are a work in progress by the way and not the finished article, but at least you’ll get the gist of them!

    Sorry for waffling, but once again great article! 😉

  5. catherineryanhoward says:

    Hi there,

    I just watched the one embedded and I have to say I really like it. I love that instead of spoken dialogue there’s the lines on screen and it all ties in beautifully with the typewriter at the end. It also successful tells me about your book, i.e. genre, etc. Looks really professional as well – you said you did it yourself? V. impressed!

    The point I was trying to get across is a trailer for a book does not have the same objectives as a trailer for a movie. I made mine just to help spread the word about my book, blog, etc.; I don’t think anyone who has only seen the trailer and knows nothing else about my book would buy it on the strength of that alone, but I think some people might be encouraged to find out more. Basically, if you can make a book trailer for little or no expense, do, if not, don’t worry about it – that’s my message. 🙂

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • Leslie Taylor says:

      Hi Catherine, I love your style, you’re funny and encouraging! I am a designer trying to build up my own firm, Buffalo Creative Group. Here is my first attempt at a book trailer, it was hard work for me -but so fun, I would love to do more. Can you take a look and let me know what you think? The book is by a newbie author, Michele Hurley.
      cheers! -Leslie Taylor, Buffalo Creative Group

      Youtube book trailer:

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