For those of you who maybe interested in making a DIY book trailer, here is how I went about it.A book trailer is a teaser, a peephole into the world of your story.

Little Paradise book trailer was a collaborative effort. My son, Ren used imovie, the movie software that comes free with a Mac. I purchased the music from a royalty free music site at very reasonable prices. I listened to hundreds and hundreds of demos before I chose one that I thought just fitted the mood. Other sites I used were Getty Images and Dreamstime. Getty is expensive, especially if you are looking for a vintage shot. For example, an image of 1948 Shanghai would have cost me $306 for just one year of use. So I found another photo of Shanghai on Dreamstime. It’s not historic, but still has the atmosphere of old Shanghai with the boat, the river and the city in the background without the huge skyscrapers.

As well as using the beautiful photo of my mother, I also used an image of my father in soldier uniform standing outside my mother’s Carlton house.

The image of Melbourne 1943 came from the State Library of Victoria. They have a wonderful collection of digitalised photographs that are no longer under copyright. The library is also in the process of converting their images to jpeg. Instead of filling out a permission form, sending it in and waiting 15 days to receive a good copy, many photos are now ready for immediate download at high resolution. As long as you acknowledge the library, you are free to use the image. They also have a wonderful service where you can speak to a friendly librarian either online or by phone.

There are many other stock photo and music sites on the web. There are also professional book trailer makers like Paul Murphy at Book Tease. He has made trailers for authors such as Kate Forsyth and Andy Griffith. It all depends on your budget and whether you can find family and friends who are willing to help you out.

The downside? Making a book trailer yourself can be a fiddly process especially the editing. Unless you have taken your own images and write your own music, you need a fair bit of time to go through hundreds of stock photos and music clips. All together, my book trailer took Ren and I about three days to make, which I guess in the whole scheme of things is not that long. With the experience we have gained, I know it will be easier the next time around.

The upside? Although I’m forever hoping that a Hollywood producer will phone offering me a mega movie deal, a book trailer is probably the closest I’ll ever come to seeing my book on the silver screen, even if that silver screen is only Youtube. Music and images add a whole new dimension to your story. And seeing it in this format is a thrilling and satisfying experience.

Last week I asked a publicist whether she thought book trailers enticed readers to buy books. Her opinion was in the negative.

I’ll let you decide that for yourselves.


I loved the process so much I am now making a trailer for A Ghost in My Suitcase. Even though this book came out last year, I think it will be a very useful promotional tool to have when I visit schools and talk at writers festivals.

8 thoughts on “MAKING A BOOK TRAILER

  1. Hello Gabrielle,

    I loved ‘Little Paradise’ and I can really see it as a movie. Knowing it was your mothers story made it even more poignant. I have been recommending it widely.

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