Let’s Make a Book Trailer — Part 19

Welcome to part 19 of my series: Let’s Make a Book Trailer.

You can find the first and last posts here:  Part 1 and Part 18 respectively.

As with the previous posts, the following are merely my thoughts on the trailer construction process.  Feel free to use or snort with derision.

Last time we looked at adding a voice over to the book trailer.   Recall that our video application is Microsoft Movie Maker,  available with Windows Essentials 2012. You can download a copy here.

In today’s post we’ll cover discuss background music track. In particular we’ll identify two issues with book trailer background music and suggest solutions.

Recall that our constraints for creating our trailer are:

  • We’re creating a “Teaser” trailer
  • Using PowerPoint to create most of the content
  • No video, music, animation or voice overs
  • Working with stock images or some commissioned images

As mentioned previously, we’ve pretty scrapped the third bullet point in our constraints list. 

Sourcing Music Files

I’ve made mention of this before, but it bears repeating.  Never use any digital material (images, voice overs, video clips, song lyrics, background music) unless you have the rights to do so.  Your inexpensive book trailer could wind up costing you thousands of dollars if you are not careful about this.

There are various sites on the web where you can source royalty-free music.  Just be certain you read — and obey — all of the terms and conditions.

Here are a few you may want to check out:

There are many more, as a simple Google search will show you.  I favour Smartsound for reasons I will discuss later in this post.

Book Trailer Music Issues

A major problem with book trailers is it is difficult to find music pieces that are exactly as long as the trailer — and sound like they were designed to be exactly that long.  Movie trailers spoil us because the music background not only precisely fits the trailer length, but also the tempo and intensity matches action and dialogue — in other words the music is “scored” to the trailer.

These two issues —  length and scoring, are difficult to address for book trailers made with limited resources.


Length is the easier of the two to deal with and there are three methods to do so:

  • Fade
  • Loop
  • Customize

First, you can use an audio editor (such as Audacity) to cut a long piece of music to your trailer length, then fade the resulting track in and out at the trailer start and end, respectively. Alternatively, you can start the music track at the beginning of the trailer and just fade it out at the end.

Results can be mixed and it’s pretty clear what you’ve done, but the solution is relatively easy to implement and better than merely having the background music abruptly start and stop.

Let's Make a Book Trailer Part 19 -- Music Fades, Brant Forseng, @brantforseng


Second, you are can find a piece of music that “loops” — in other words is designed to “seamlessly” repeat itself — and use that.  Music will start with the trailer (or at the point within the trailer you wish it to start), repeat multiple times (depending upon loop length), and then end. 

If the trailer doesn’t terminate at the “end” of a loop, you can fade out the loop.  This method is superior to the first because at least the start of the music will not sound abrupt or “faded in”. 

The end of the music may require fading out, or you could lengthen the trailer a a few seconds so that it ends with the termination of the music loop.

Let's Make a Book Trailer Part 19 -- Music Loops, Brant Foreng, @brantforseng


Third, you can source custom music that is precisely the length of your trailer.  This option has become increasingly available over the last several years with music services which will allow you to select a piece of music and then have it customized to the exact length of your trailer. 

This can be done online or through the use of downloaded software.

Smartsound is one of the providers which provides you both a vast selection of royalty free music (once you pay for it) and lets you precisely customize the length of a selected piece so that it sounds custom written for your trailer length, whatever that may be. 

Smartsound is not only provider which affords this capability, it has several competitors.  Moreover you may be able find similar services through Fiverr.

Be aware of the price.  Custom music pieces can cost up to $100US a track.

Let's Make a Book Trailer Part 19 -- Custom Lengths, Brant Forseng, @brantforseng


Scoring refers to adjusting music tempo, intensity, volume, and other characteristics to match trailer action, mood, pacing, and dialogue.  We’ve become accustomed to pacing because it is used all the time in movies, TV and even commercials.  Music helps make the point rather than playing passively and continuously in the background.

Scoring was expensive and time consuming, requiring specialized skills and equipment.  The internet has brought scoring within the reach of the determined book trailer producing, but is still a bit of an arduous task. 

Smartsound has an application to help you score your video, but you will have to invest time to learn the program and become familiar with terms such as hit files and mood mapping.

Most of us don’t have the time for such activities.  We are primarily authors — and sometime book trailer creators — not professional sound technicians.

I have not investigated other scoring software, but there are probably a number alternatives available.  Scoring — done right — can make your trailer that much more appealing, but it will require significant effort on your part.

We will not be scoring our book trailer in this series.

So there you have it, some issues to think about when if comes to adding background music to a trailer, and some possible solutions.

Have you added background music to a trailer?  If so, what problems did you run in to and how did you solve them?  Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and i will see you again next time.


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