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5 Apps to Make a Book Trailer

In today’s world of apps, we all now have mini video production studios at our fingertips. For authors, this means the ability to easily create video book trailers, a visually compelling promotional tool that can be used in social media. Here are some easy-to-use web-based and mobile applications that give you the ability to create videos, no high-tech skills required.


Create a video with Animoto using images, video clips and text. Add images and video straight from your own Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr, Picasa, Smugmug, or Photobucket accounts or them upload directly from your computer.  Add a music soundtrack for a finishing touch. Once you’ve created your Animoto book trailer, you can download the video to publish on YouTube, Vimeo and SmugMug.

Upgrading your video to HD is free on Animoto at the lowest resolution (360p), but you can increase HD resolution for a fee: $5 flat fee for 480p, $10 flat fee for 720p, and for 1080p, you need to Pro level at $39/month (or $249/year). For $5/month (or $30/year), you can get the Plus level and immediately up your video length limit from 30 seconds to 10 minutes.

On the go? Create an Animoto straight off your iPhone or Android smartphone. Compile photos and videos from a book event or appearance, then edit and upload on the fly. Easily share your video on numerous social networks including the biggies Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. Animoto provides code to embed your video into your website or blog.

Here’s a sample 30-second Animoto video compilation I put together in about 15 minutes with images from my recent book tour with co-author Danielle Smith for our book Social Media Engagement for Dummies. This is using a free Animoto account, but I’m already inspired to upgrade. VIEW THE ANIMOTO.


Take slide presentations to a new level with animated, interactive presentations by Prezi. A prezi doesn’t follow the linear slide-by-slide format of typical PowerPoint presentation but instead moves through your content more dynamically in an animated fashion and lets viewers interact with it.

To get started with Prezi, choose a theme then add your elements including images, symbols and shapes, diagrams, PDF files and videos from either YouTube links or your computer. Adding elements is quick and painless, and you can reposition, resize and rotate anything you’ve added to your prezi.

Consider adding background music that you own or upload a voiceover track to make a more complete and self-contained presentation. When you’re done, you can share your prezi straight from their website to email or Facebook or download it as a PDF or a portable Prezi. You can also present it remotely by sharing a link to it and an online audience of up to 30 people can follow along as you move through your prezi.

You can also create and present a prezi using your iPad. Hand your iPad to someone else, and they can interact with the prezi using the iPad’s touchscreen. There is no Android version available at this time.

With the free account, your prezis are automatically published and public and you get 100 MB of storage. For $4.92/month ($59/year), you can make a prezi private, use your own logo (instead of Prezi’s), get premium support and 500 MB storage. The Pro level is $13.25/month ($159/year) and includes all of the other features plus Prezi Desktop for offline editing and 2 GB of storage.

Here’s a sample prezi I whipped up in less than half an hour for Mom, Incorporated, one of the books I co-wrote with Danielle Smith. VIEW THE PREZI.

Smartphone Apps

I’m still amazed at how much video editing power we now have in the palms of our hands. Here are a few video-editing tools exclusively for smartphones that you can use to create a book trailer wherever you are:


Lumify is an iPhone app that puts a powerful video editing tool in your hands. Use Lumify to take videos or upload video clips you already have on your phone or add images and titles to compile them into a finished product.

Add a music soundtrack and even record a voice-over straight into the app. Lumify automatically syncs clips to audio. You can also add effects including filters, changing speed or direction of the video, and zooming and cropping.

Just as an example, here’s a sample Lumify video I created in about 20 minutes, piecing together video I took on the #RVSX trip to South by Southwest 2013. It isn’t book-related, but it gives you an idea of how smoothly Lumify transitions between clips and syncs to music with very little effort on my part. VIEW A SAMPLE LUMIFY.

Two other smartphone-based video editors are:

Explory with an iPhone app


Magisto with both an iPhone app and Android app

Whether you’re using your iPhone or Android smartphone or your computer with web-based tools, creating an appealing book trailer that you can leverage on your website, blog or favorite social networks has never been easier.

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Great list!

I've used Prezi for class presentations but hadn't thought about using it for creating promotional materials. I'm definitely planning to check out the other tools as well. Thanks for this!