Book Trailers in 6 Easy Steps

Are you looking for new ways to market your book? Would you like to share your story with a wider audience? Have you wanted to make a book trailer but thought it was too expensive or complicated? Lots of authors find the idea of making a book trailer daunting. But with just a few simple tools, and programs like Animoto or IMovie, you too can make book trailers that shine.

Step 1: Think of your elevator pitch. How can you condense your story into just a few sentences? Write them out.

Step 2: Download IMovie, other movie making software, or subscribe to a service with built in templates like Animoto which is just $8.00 a month.

Step 3: Make a file of photos that convey the mood of your book.

Step 4: Begin to add photos and captions to the templates.

Step 5: Watch your movie, make changes to scenes that feel off.

Step 6: Share on social media.

Here’s my first attempt with an Animoto template.

I like how it conveys the book in a gentle way. However, it didn’t have quite the excitement I wanted.

So with my second novel, I went back to the drawing board. How?

  1. I took my book cover  and cropped a a few elements to make multiple images like  this:

    2.  I browsed through the Animoto templates. I watched dozens until I found one that felt right for me.

    3. I began to drop in photos with captions, watching the video multiple times with the preview button until it felt right.animotoedit

Here is the final product.

I was pretty jazzed about how it came out. Not to mention how friggin’ fun it was to create in a new medium.

I hope you all enjoy making book trailers a much as I did!

But I’m Embarrassed!

I gulped. Me? What if I sound stupid? Hell, I will. I’ll say something that’ll make Dumb and Dumber look like Einsteins,  I thought when the president of my writer’s club, Cathy Kitchco, sent an email asking if she could interview me for her weekly radio show. I pressed reply and began to type, NO WAY! But then a quiet voice whispered in my shy skull…

Stop. Writer’s need to do interviews. You’ve done them before and didn’t die. Actually were good. Be brave.

My hand hovered over the keyboard. Forcing my shaking fingers to type what my flip-flopping gut fought I told Cathy that I’d be honored to do an interview over the phone.

Then came the big day. That morning I must have cleared out every frog that ever dared to hide in my vocal cords. Ahem. Ahem. AHEM.  Then, with notes splayed all over my kitchen table, I waited for the phone to ring.

Was I shaking and nervous? Hello? Does a skunk’s spray stink? You bet I was. But a funny thing happened as I started to talk about writing. I forgot I was being interviewed and started to focus on the joy writing brings me.

And guess what? I sounded nothing like Jim Carey.

Here it is, what do you think?”>Woodward Interview

I Won Honorable Mention in L. Ron Hubbard Contest!


“Science fiction does not come after the fact of a scientific discovery or development. It is the herald of possibility.” — L. Ron Hubbard

The email read:

“Dear Entrant,

Your story has been judged and is an Honorable Mention for the 3rd quarter of the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest.


My jaw dropped. I read the email again.  And then I started dancing around my house. Leaping. Jumping. Whooping it up. They liked “Divine Proportion!” A story that meant so much to me was deemed honorable by a panel of highly respected judges!

What is the contest? According to their website,

“In 1983, philosopher and best-selling author L. Ron Hubbard created the Writers of the Future, a competition that would find and encourage the next generation of writers in the fields of science fiction and fantasy, followed in 1988 by the creation of a sister contest, Illustrators of the Future, to do the same for aspiring artists.

A seminal version of the Writers of the Future Contest began in 1940, when Hubbard inaugurated “The Golden Pen” hour and an attendant contest for aspiring authors on radio station KGBU in Ketchikan, Alaska, a contest designed to create a level playing field for newcomers. “Anyone but professional writers may participate.” That was the rule.

More than four decades later, in 1983, L. Ron Hubbard created and endowed the Writers of the Future Contest as a means to discover and nurture new talent in science fiction.

“It was with this in mind that I initiated a means for new and budding writers to have a chance for their creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged.” — L. Ron Hubbard

The Contest is very much an extension of a well-established and demonstrated philosophy of “paying it forward” to help new generations of writers.

There is no entry fee, and winners receive cash prizes of up to $5,000. Each quarter, thousands of submissions come in from across the globe. The contests have received entries from 147 countries.

The stories, all of them anonymous, are read by a blue-ribbon panel of judges that include some of the greatest luminaries in science fiction and fantasy. Art pieces by the illustrator entrants are similarly judged by powerhouse artists in the field. And out of thousands of submissions, the judges each quarter choose the top three, the very best.

All of the quarterly winners are invited to attend an intensive, five-day master-class workshop where they are taught the skills and techniques to become true professionals.

The winners are celebrated at a gala awards event that has been held in prestigious venues across the United States.

Their winning stories, along with accompanying illustrations, are published in an annual anthology with wide distribution to bookstores nationwide and abroad. For many, this is just the first step in a long and successful career.

Past winners of the Writers of the Future Contest have gone on to publish well over 700 novels and 3000 short stories; they have become international bestsellers and have won the most prestigious accolades in the field—the Hugo, the Nebula, the John W. Campbell, the Bram Stoker, and the Locus Award—and even mainstream literary awards such as the National Book Award, the Newbery and the Pushcart Prize. The Illustrators of the Future winners have gone on to publish millions of illustrations in the field.

Each year the Contests welcome a dozen talented new writers and illustrators into the field as published professionals. And countless others have been inspired to keep writing, keep creating, keep entering and keep dreaming their creative visions.

Writers and Illustrators of the Future are the most enduring and influential contests in the history of science fiction and fantasy.”

And they honored me. Words cannot express my pride

Book Trailer Success

Do you have a novel you’re trying to promote? Are you looking for new ways to capture your audience’s  attention? Why not try making a book trailer? With Animoto, it’s easy to create a professional looking commercial.

Here’s one I made for my new novel, Forest Secrets.

Animoto makes it easy.  With over 50 templates, 1000 soundtracks in their music library, and cool typography all you have to add is a script and some photos. Check it out at:

They’ll even let you make a sample for free.