How to Write a Book Trailer Script

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A few months ago I self-published my debut novel, CACHE a PREDATOR. Today it’s #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list in the crime/thriller category. How did I do that?

Using several different marketing tactics.

One of the marketing tools I used was a book trailer. Was it necessary? No. But I think having one is a great way for people to learn about my book, and it’s another marketing tool that will help sell the story.

The first part of creating a book trailer is writing the script. But when I Googled how to write the script for a book trailer video and I couldn’t find a HOW TO anywhere. I vowed to write a post as soon as I finished my own trailer so I could give back to you, to help you learn HOW.

Even if you hire someone to help you build your trailer (I used Avalon Graphics) you’ll still need to provide the words. I found that writing the script is similar to narrowing my novel to a few sentence pitch. But how do you take 80K words and condense the story into a meaningful teaser?

It’s not easy.

(But to make it easier for you I’m giving away a FREE download to the PITCH PAL, a little handbook that’s designed to help authors hone their one-sentence pitch. This sentence can be used for book trailers, media ads, tweets, agent pitches at conferences, radio shows, and BBQ’s. You’ll use this sentence when talking to friends at a party when they ask you what your book is about. It’ll eliminate stuttering and make you sound more professional. Click to the right sidebar on PITCH PAL to get the download.)

But in case you don’t want to download the freebie, and if you need help writing your book trailer script, follow these steps and see if it helps:

  1. Where does your novel take place?
  2. Identify your main character. Who is he or she?
  3. What does he/she want? What’s his goal?
  4. What gets in the way of him reaching his goal?
  5. What choice does he have to make?

Other important factors:

  • You don’t want to give away too much information
  • Most of the time you’ll use only one character (Even though my book is from three different pov characters, I used my main character.)
  • Your goal is to peak the reader’s interest
  • Using a question at the end of the trailer creates suspense
  • Use punchy words that are easy to read
  • Don’t worry about writing in full sentences

Here’s an example of my Trailer Script for CACHE a PREDATOR:

  • In small town Hursey Lake, IN   (Where)
  • Officer Brett Reed wants custody of his daughter   (Who) (Goal)
  • But the judge grants his drug addict ex-wife custody instead  (What/who gets in his way)
  • How could the judge be so blind
  • When Quinn is found wandering the streets alone   (What happens?)
  • CPS places her in a temporary foster home   (More obstacles)
  • But a lot can happen in a few days
  • Especially when there’s a psychopath on the loose (Obstacle)
  • Someone who targets pedophiles in their sleep
  • Someone who wants to protect girls like Quinn
  • Who will protect her now?   (End with a question)

Here’s the actual video:


If you’re making a NONFICTION Book trailer your script will be entirely different. You have to think of YOUR goal instead of your character’s goal. Here are a few things to consider:

  1. What perceived need do you believe your book will fill for your readers?
  2. Why do readers need your book? Fill an emotional need.
  3. How will your book help readers achieve their goals?
  4. How will your book improve their lives or their business?
  5. Use examples of how readers can use your book in their lives or business.
  6. Give examples of how your book has helped others.
Do you think book trailers are an effective marketing tool? Why or why not? 

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  1. I am stuck on my book trailer. I have mocked up a power point as an example but I don’t know where to go from there. I find your outline of where to start helpful and now I just need to find a graphics person to actually produce it, I think.
    Thanks again.

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