Book Trailer Tips from a Pro!

Today I’m chatting with Ms. Tyora Moody, an author in her own right but also a fabulous graphic designer with her own author support business Tywebbin Creations, helping authors, artists, and speakers market themselves and their books on the internet.

Recently I did my own book trailer for my latest release Pack Light: Thoughts for the Journey,  with a little help from Animoto, a program that makes putting together live video, music and images to display a short teaser of your work, a little more simplistic. Animoto allows you to simply drag and drop pictures into the program and it will painlessly do the rest. While this is an option for any amateur video maker to get their book trailer or informational video about their product out there, I wanted to ask an expert about how she puts together such amazing visual effects and comes up with awesome renderings for her own clients. Thus, I went to Tyora Moody, an author herself but she is also a downloadgraphic designer and supports authors through her many services.

Tyora, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

Hello Tracee, thanks for having me on your blog. I have an interesting background. I really started out in the world of design as a web designer. So I learned graphic design from building websites. Since most of my clients were authors, later I graduated into doing other graphic design projects like bookmarks, postcards and I eventually started doing book covers and interiors. My day job is at a television station, so videos became an interest of mine because of my daily environment of seeing and also getting into video editing. I soon discovered combining graphic design along with music was actually a cool way to create a video.

Let’s get deeper into the tips and ways you go about putting together your own trailers and how you do it.

Tyora, I’ve watched a ton of your videos over and over again, really picking apart details and trying to understand the components that make the videos so stimulating and draw me in. There’s one that I show to all my students (in addition to the first one my wonderful friend did for me for Anchored Hearts) but I also show yours so they can understand more about what book trailers are all about. My all time favorite of yours is the one you did for author Lisa Watson. The music and the photos just drew me into the story, so much so that I then went and purchased the book right away. 🙂  When you first begin a project like this, what kinds of things are you doing, canvassing and/or asking or using to understand enough about the book to build a short story, find the right character photos and pull the premise and plot together for this video?

Thank you, Tracee. I mainly work with authors and I’m an author so I know how important it is to pitch your story and character, preferably in less than two minutes (1 minute even better) to a potential reader.  I start with the basics and that’s writing a script.  Usually, authors trust me enough to read through their synopsis and pull out a script for the video. I don’t encourage using the synopsis verbatim, but to pull out short sentences that will entice the reader to want more.

Secondly, I ask the author how they envision the character(s). So I do ask for character profiles that show features like height, skin tone, hair, etc.  This helps me as I search for photos. In recent years, I work really close with the author by making sure they approve the photos. Licenses are purchased for photos and music, so it’s important the author feel comfortable about the characters I’ve selected for their project.

What do you feel are some of the most important aspects of the video to ensure we (as an author) think about or try to drive home when we start to conceptualize our own trailers?

I try to think in terms of a movie trailer. I think the music plays a large factor in setting the tone of the trailer and the book. If it’s a mystery book, then you want a suspenseful feel to the music. If the book is about young adults, then you may look for a more contemporary type of music with a beat that appeals to a younger audience. 

Right alongside the music, the images should be considered carefully too. Even though I use stock photos, I specifically look for photos that work well with storytelling.

A trailer is a really short form of introducing a story to a reader.

Is there a process you do before you start collecting the materials or do you just jump in? This might even be considered a “Pantser” or a “Plotter” in the video world much like that of the writing world. Are you planning out what you’ll say, for instance through using a storyboard before you go to the program to make it come to life?

I write a script first. I write notes about the types of photos that could work for that part of the script. I always look for music first because I believe it sets the tone. For photos, I look for a range of photos that showcase the setting, characters or even a scene in the book.

As you work on your own videos and watch those of others, do you have any pet peeves about videos you’ve seen (without naming them outright, of course)? 🙂

I think it’s important to not treat the trailer like the book. Try to be sparse with the words. Give the viewer just enough to read. Also, in recent years, I try to keep trailers as short as I can.  I strive to get to that minute mark with the script.  Shorter the better for short attention spans. 

Are you still doing trailers for those of looking for a graphic designer?

Yes, I still do book trailers. Your readers can view my most recent trailers at my Tywebbin Youtube Channel 

Because you’ve done so many, how do you ensure they all don’t end up looking and sounding the same?

It’s not really hard because authors all have their own unique voice or stories. I purposely never use the same images and music. Each video trailer starts off with the same method of writing a specific script, looking for images and music.

Can you offer some resources for obtaining the following items needed to put the videos together:

Music (free and or royalty free) – I use  mainly for music

Graphic images (especially images for people of color which can be difficult to find):

The best photos are still on, but they have grown a bit pricier over the years. Other stock photo websites I use are , ,

I do purchase images and music to be sure I adhere to rights and permissions. When you distribute a video on Youtube, that’s something to keep in mind.

What are the kinds of programs available to pull it all together? While most everyone has a movie making program that comes standard on their computers and they don’t even know it, e.g. Windows Media (or PC’s/Windows products) or iMovie (for Macs) but what other programs are there available and please, also talk about what kinds of costs are involved and perhaps rate them from 1 – 5 as a difficulty level.

I have used a variety of video editors over the years. My main one is Camtasia, but lately, I’m learning Final Cut Pro.

Do you have any favorite videos done by other fellow graphic artists? Can you share a link to them?

I have been putting my book trailer of late, on my website, Facebook, pinned to the top of my Twitter page and my Facebook Fan Page and recently I added it to the signature line of my e-mail messages and even uploaded it to my Linked In so my professional colleagues could view it also. Do you have suggestions for other places authors can promote their book trailers?

You have selected some great spots for highlighting your trailer.  I also think you can get a bit creative (may have to edit down the video) and post on Instagram. Videos can also be posted on Pinterest. It really depends on where your audience is and where you spend the most time promoting your book. 

I would like to add while I put in time creating a trailer, authors can easily jump on Facebook Live, Periscope or just use their phone to record short videos. Start a Youtube channel and talk to your readers.  I think anytime you can show your face and talk about your book, or engage in QnA with readers using video …it’s great for your author brand.

Finally, do you have a suggested length? I personally think anything over two minutes is too long, I like anywhere from 60 – 90 seconds and do you subscribe to the notion that shorter may be harder to set the stage than longer, does it matter to you?

I agree 60-90 seconds is good. You have to pick and choose what to put into the trailer, but you want just enough to tease the viewer.

Thanks so much for your time, Tyora. I look forward to more book trailers from you in the future and more book purchasing as a result of watching them. 😉

If you’d like to hire Tyora to work on a future book launch, purchase one of her premade book covers or other graphic design elements for your literary projects, please visit

Visit Tyora Moody, the author, to check out her faithful suspense series of books and her Eugeena Patterson mysteries AND preorder her latest book, Step by Step Author Website Guide, which debuts next week, February 14, 2017.


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