The Last Viking Returns

Making a book trailer, part 1- “A book trailer? What’s that?”

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Here’s the first of three posts from a guest blogger, Kiri Falls.

Kiri is an Emerging Arts Professional on loan to Fremantle Press through the Australia Council’s OYEA Initiative.

Kiri has kindly put together this series of posts to teach you how to put together a book trailer.

So Kiri, what exactly is a book trailer?

Good question. Well, think of all the movie trailers you’ve seen. They’re short, snappy, and they tell you a bit about the story but leave you hanging for more. They hint, they tease – that’s why trailers are sometimes called ‘teasers’.

Book trailers have some things in common with movie trailers (and that may or may not include a deep-voiced American). Both show parts of the story, but don’t tell all. And both kinds of trailers use images, music, text, voiceovers etc.

But before you go out and shoot a full-length film about a book just to make a trailer – there are some key differences to remember. Basically, a book trailer has more flexibility. It can use still images instead of video footage. It can use text in different ways, have voiceover or not and include reviews of the book, sound effects and music. It’s not limited to the book in the way that movie trailers are limited to their footage.

Of course you can’t just put the words from the book on the screen. If you’re sitting there with no idea where to start, here are some steps to get you going:

1. You need a single idea. What is the key message of the story? Discard subplots, description, shifts in setting, character development … things you might talk about in a review or synopsis of the book are not necessarily relevant to a trailer.

2. How will you convey this key message? Work out which elements you’ll use, i.e. still photos or video footage; voiceover or text. Can you animate any of the images? Think about the style of your book trailer and jot down ideas as you think. Keep in mind, your trailer should be roughly ninety seconds long. Any shorter than one minute and you won’t achieve much; any longer than two minutes and your viewer will get bored.

3. Watch other trailers. Check out trailers both good and bad – once you’ve seen a few trailers that bomb you’ll know what not to do!

To get you started, here are some examples of great trailers for kids’ books:

The Strange Case of the Missing Sheep


The Last Invisible Boy

Thanks for the great post, Kiri. We’ll have part 2 and part 3 up over the next two Wednesdays.

Author: James Foley

James makes books for courageous kids. He’s the author/illustrator of the S.Tinker Inc graphic novel series for middle primary: Brobot (2016), Dungzilla (2017) and Gastronauts (2018) star Sally Tinker, the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve, and Joe Tinker, her stinky baby brother. The fourth in the series, Chickensaurus, is out in late 2020. He is also the illustrator of the Toffle Towers series written by Tim Harris. James’ earlier books My Dead Bunny (2015), In The Lion (2012), The Last Viking (2011) and The Last Viking Returns (2014) have all scored several honours, including children’s choice awards, shortlistings in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year awards, and selection to the International Youth Library’s White Raven list. The sequel to My dead Bunny - There's Something Weird About Lena - is out in late 2020. James comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts. Follow him on FB/twitter/insta/youtube @jamesfoleybooks, or at .

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