7 Simple Steps to Create an Animoto Book Trailer Video

By Sherry Kyle
Guest Columnist

Did you know 30 seconds is enough time to capture someone’s attention? In fact, if you don’t grab them in the first 8 seconds, your viewer will move on to other things.

Here is the 30-second Animoto book trailer I created for my novel Watercolor Dreams, released today from HopeSprings Books:

Let me walk you through the seven-step process so you can make a book trailer of your own:

1. Go to Animoto.com

Sign up using your e-mail address or Facebook account. It’s free to register and takes seconds. Click the teal sign-up button.

2. Choose a style

You can look at them all at once or browse by category. Some of the styles can only be used with Pro plans. You can choose to upgrade or look for the styles that are free.

3. Pick a song

Click on the music note icon and see your free selections from the music library, or upload one of your own. Unless you have the rights, I suggest using one from Animoto’s extensive list.

4. Add photos and text

Click on the + in the square to upload your own photos from your computer, choose from the different services mentioned, or use free images from their collection. If you upload your own, make sure to use only use royalty-free stock photos. (Laura wrote a blog post about where to find photos here.)

You’ll need to play around with the order of pictures and find a flow that works for you. Introduce characters, plot, setting, and conflict.

I recommend using the book cover image last so your viewers remember it. After you’ve uploaded 5-7 photos, add text. When you hover over a photo, you’ll see the word ‘caption’ appear. Add a few words to describe what the viewer is seeing. Tell a story with your words.

At the bottom of the photo, you’ll notice a star (highlight), a curved arrow (change the photo around), and a trashcan (throw a picture away). I recommend highlighting the book’s image at the end by clicking on the star so the picture will stay up longer.

Hint: If you use a lot of text you’ll have fewer images. Different styles also dictate the amount of photos that fit within the 30 seconds. Sometimes changing styles is the best option to include important images.

5. Preview your video

Click the teal button that says ‘Preview Video’ to see how it looks. Are the words easy to read? Does the song and background match the feel of your story? If the book trailer is not quite right, continue editing.

Hint: If you don’t click produce, the flow (background images and the way it’s laid out) might change.

6. Produce

If you like the preview, give the book trailer a title and fill in the date and description. Now click produce! You can always edit it at a later date if you misspell a word or want to change it in any way.

7. Share it!

Once the video is done you’ll see the finished product. Time to share it with the world by clicking on the icons on the right side of the screen. You can e-mail your video, shout it out on Facebook and Twitter, upload it to YouTube, and more.

Let’s Talk

  • Have you produced an Animoto “video”? If so, please share the link to it in the Comments.
  • There are lots of ways you can use this service to promote your brand. Let’s say you’re going to create a 30-second Animoto video to promote your business, right now. What would you feature in your video?

I’d love to answer questions, so feel free to leave one in the comment section or e-mail me at sherry@sherrykyle.com.

Watercolor Dreams cover webFun facts and photo credits of my book trailer:

  • My editor sent me photos of her relatives to use for Anna and Charles, which were taken in 1910, the year the story takes place.
  • I took the picture of the ocean scene this summer when my husband and I were in Carmel on an anniversary trip.
  • Angie from www.knickoftime.blogspot.com graciously allowed me to use the photo of the clock. When you have a moment, check out her blog!
  • I used the book cover for three of the photos, zooming in to capture the feel of the story and giving viewers a glimpse of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

About the author:

Sherry KyleSherry Kyle is an award-winning author, and writes books for tween girls as well as novels for women, including Delivered with Love, The Heart Stone (Abingdon Press), and her newest title Watercolor Dreams (HopeSprings Books, October 2014).

Sherry lives in California with her husband and four children, loves to decorate her beach home, and enjoys taking walks by the ocean.

  • Katherine Jones

    Wow, love this. A practical product broken into simple steps that even a non-tech like me can manage. Exactly what I’ve come to expect from Blogging Bistro. Thanks, Sherry, for this guest post.

  • Katherine Jones

    Wow, love this. A practical product broken into simple steps that even a non-tech like me can manage. Exactly what I’ve come to expect from Blogging Bistro. Thanks, Sherry, for this guest post.

  • Sherry Kyle

    Hi Katherine,

    You’ll love Animoto. It’s so easy to use. The trick is finding the right royalty-free stock photos. Have fun!

  • Sherry Kyle

    Hi Katherine,

    You’ll love Animoto. It’s so easy to use. The trick is finding the right royalty-free stock photos. Have fun!

  • Katherine – When my friend Sherry Kyle showed me her book trailer, I asked her to write this tutorial because I knew people like you would love it. I set up my own Animoto account and created a sample video for one of my clients using Sherry’s instructions, and it worked like a charm.

    The only thing I noticed was that I must have used some of their “Pro” features because they gave me a 14-day trial (which expired today… boo hoo) and they put a watermark on my video unless I purchase the Pro subscription. I’m thinking of getting the Pro subscription and making videos for my clients — several of them sell products that lend themselves perfectly to Animoto videos.

  • Katherine – When my friend Sherry Kyle showed me her book trailer, I asked her to write this tutorial because I knew people like you would love it. I set up my own Animoto account and created a sample video for one of my clients using Sherry’s instructions, and it worked like a charm.

    The only thing I noticed was that I must have used some of their “Pro” features because they gave me a 14-day trial (which expired today… boo hoo) and they put a watermark on my video unless I purchase the Pro subscription. I’m thinking of getting the Pro subscription and making videos for my clients — several of them sell products that lend themselves perfectly to Animoto videos.

  • Katherine Jones

    Good to know! Will keep these caveats in mind. Love great tools like these!

  • Katherine Jones

    Good to know! Will keep these caveats in mind. Love great tools like these!

  • Sherry Kyle

    Thought I’d add a picture to this response. 🙂 For my video, I worked on a strict budget, and I was able to make it FREE. I was fortunate in that people graciously gave me photos to use and I took some of my own from the location. It can be done! Laura, I think it would totally be worth it for you to choose the PRO plan for your clients.

  • Sherry Kyle

    Thought I’d add a picture to this response. 🙂 For my video, I worked on a strict budget, and I was able to make it FREE. I was fortunate in that people graciously gave me photos to use and I took some of my own from the location. It can be done! Laura, I think it would totally be worth it for you to choose the PRO plan for your clients.