Sorry for the gap between updates; I slipped into the seventh circle of hell trying to put my book trailer together. Something I should mention is that however long you think your book trailer will take to make, multiply it by 1.5. But without further ado!
Sound should play a very pivotal role in your book trailer.
The straight up truth is that sound equals believability. And not just music, but sound effects as well. (That’s why there are people dedicated solely to sound effects in movies.) If your book trailer involves someone walking down a hall, and we hear no footsteps, the effects is considerably lessened. Since my book trailer involved dolphins and aliens, and I got some high quality sound effects for free, I don’t want to hear anyone complaining that they can’t find any sound effects (or have sound effects that are too random or unique. DOLPHINS and ALIENS, people!)
1. Avoid stock sounds. I found my sound effects and music through a simple Google search “free dolphin sounds.” Freesound.org, Soundbible.com, and Audiomicro.com all offer a wide variety of sounds for free. And that’s just for starters; seriously, just Google with “free” somewhere and you’ll find all you need. It takes some time, but it’s a worthwhile investment. Naturally, when I was shopping around for some dolphin sounds, I came across that stock chatter noise that everyone has heard in a movie at some point. Since I was definitely attempting to evoke the majesty of dolphins, not their idiot-cutesey side, I knew before I even heard it that I would veto it. Considering the huge library of free stuff out there, you really have no excuse for using stock sound. It will mark you as lazy, just as lazy as someone who uses cliche’s in storytelling. (And you don’t want people thinking that about your book based on its trailer, do you?)
2. You know what good music sounds like. So use it. I’m not saying use copywritten music, since that can land you in all sorts of trouble. As cool as it would be to use that X-Ray Dog track for your trailer music, unless you’ve paid for the rights, you should avoid it. On the moral principle, first and foremost (we’re all artists trying to make it), but while its true that legal recourse probably won’t happen for a piddly ebook, if J.K. Rowling had used copywritten music without permission for her nobody-book-trailer, I can assure you she’d have been sued by now. Sound effects are easy to find; good music less so. Not impossible, but less so. Definitely use music that invokes the mood of your story (I don’t associate urban techno with high fantasy, but prove me wrong). Get a second opinion on the track you’re using. And, of course, there’s always the option that you could pay a professional musician to make your music for you, particularly game musicians.
This ends my tips on making book trailers, unless folks ask questions worth another post. My own trailer will be up soon.