Fast and Easy Book Trailer Videos Using Canva: A Step-by-Step Guide

About this article

  • Create videos for Amazon, social media, your website
  • Tools needed: Canva and iMovie
  • Includes step-by-step instructions and case study with tips
Fast and Easy Book Trailer Videos Using Canva: A Step-by-Step Guide

Fast and Easy Book Trailer Videos Using Canva: A Step-by-Step Guide

Videos are one of the best and most popular new mediums for connecting with your audience. On Facebook, for example, videos perform better than any other content types, generating 59% more engagement. And, on any platform, viewers are 95% more likely to remember a call-to-action after watching a video (compared to reading text).

For authors, promoting a book via video can help you grab the attention of potential readers. 

You can upload videos to: 

  • Your Amazon author page
  • Social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter 
  • Your website 

They don’t have to be long – a 30-second video gives you plenty of time to tell your story. In fact, short and informative videos are incredibly engaging. And, with the help of Canva Pro* and iMovie (or similar), you can make them yourself. 

This is how simple the process is:  

  1. Create slides in Canva
  2. Save them as animated videos
  3. Edit them together in Apple’s iMovie, which is free with iPhones and iMacs. I used iMovie on my iPhone, which is simple to use. If you are using Android, you could try Viva Video or Video Show, or if you are using a PC, you might try Movie Maker 10

We learned this great tip from Margaret Brown of SocializeLA – Thanks Margaret! 

Skip to the end of this blog post to see our Register Your Book book trailer, as well as a detailed case study of how we created it, including each slide and how we designed and animated them.

Step 1: Storyboard your book trailer's message

1. Determine the purpose of your video – this tutorial assumes that you’re making a book trailer, but you could also use these steps to prepare a video that advertises another product or service, educates your audience, or tells an important announcement. 

2. Prepare your text and images – what do you want to say, and what imagery will support your message? 

3. Plan the layout of each slide. Think of these slides like a PowerPoint presentation – what designs make sense for your information and for your audience? 

Tip 1 plan ahead

Step 2: Create book trailer slides in Canva 

4. Create a design using dimensions with a 16:9 ratio, which works best with iMovie.  

I initially made our video using dimensions of 900×600 pixels, which is a 3:2 ratio. Because iMovie is designed for 16:9 videos, our video ended up having black bars on either side of my video. I found this distracting, so I went back to Canva and resized each slide to be 1920×1080 pixels, a 16:9 ratio. 

5. You will probably create multiple designs, all with the same dimensions. You can do this now, or finish your first slide and copy it to use as a template. You may want to name your designs in order, to avoid confusion. 

I say “probably” because, while Canva can animate multiple slides in the same design, you lose control over details like transitions and timing. When you use iMovie to edit, you have control over these details. Therefore, for maximum control, create one design for each slide. 

6. Canva will animate each independent element on the screen (e.g. your book cover, text boxes, or other images). If you want an element to remain static, you must create a background to use across one or multiple slides: 

  • Copy or create one of your designs with the correct dimensions. 
  • Delete everything except the elements you want to remain static. In several of our Register Your Book video’s slides, I wanted the book cover and website text to be static, so I kept only those on the page as I deleted everything else. 
  • Download the design as a PNG file. 
  • Go to one of your designs. On the left sidebar, click on “Uploads” and upload your background. 
  • Drag the background to your design: for the image to become a background, you must see it fill the page as you drag it in. To test if it has been correctly imported as a background, try to move the image. It should not be able to move. 
Tip 2 consistency

7. Add the text and images that you want animated. 

8. Repeat this process for all of your slides. 

Tip 3 copy and paste

Step 3: Animating your Canva slides 

9. In the top right corner, click Publish – Animation

10. Select an Animation Style (choose from 7, such as Fade, Breathe, and Rise) and File Format (MP4 movie or Animated GIF).  

  • You can preview your animation before downloading. For these videos, I typically use “Fade” animations for the beginning and end of videos, and “Rise” for the middle slides, and download each slide as an MP4. 

11. If you’re using the iMovie iPhone app, email your videos to yourself and save them on your iPhone. 

Step 4: Finish your book trailer in iMovie

12. Open iMovie and import your videos. Make sure they’re in the correct order. 

13. Change the transition animations between videos: 

  • Click on the square button in between your videos. 
  • Select a transition animation. I find that Wipe looks best for these types of videos, especially if you’ve used the Rise animation in Canva. 
  • Select a direction (if applicable) and duration time. I use either up or down for Wipe, and set it to last 1 second. 
Tip 4 trial and error

14. Once you’re satisfied with your trailer, you may like to add music. You have two choices: either source your own royalty-free music, or use iMovie’s Soundtracks. 

  • Click the + sign on the left, below your video, and click on either Audio – My Music or Audio – Soundtracks. 
  • If you clicked My Music, you can select a track from your personal library (again, make sure you have the rights or permission necessary to use the track). 
  • If you clicked Soundtracks, you can select from iMovie’s many free-to-use tracks, organized by genre. 
  • Once the track is added to your movie, you can customize it by clipping it (if it’s too long) or making it fade in and out. Do this by clicking the audio symbol, selecting “Fade” on the right, and dragging the yellow arrow on the audio bar to create the fade. You can do this at the beginning, end, or both. 

15. Click Done. Export or save your book trailer via the middle button on the bottom of the screen. Voilà! 

iMovie basics

The best way to create successful videos using Canva is to experiment—keep creating new slides, backgrounds, and elements, and test them in Canva and iMovie. Remember, the animations you select in Canva and the transitions in iMovie will have a significant impact on your final movie. Master these to create beautiful and engaging book trailers. 

Case Study: Register Your Book book trailer 

Here is a detailed guide to how we created our Register Your Book book trailer. Our goal was to make a simple, 30-second video outlining the updated content of Register Your Book’s second editionWe had the book cover, as well as preexisting square graphics, which we used to illustrate the updates.  

I’d like to stress again the importance of storyboarding your video, since ample preparation will prevent you from re-doing the video over and over again. This storyboard can be as simple as half sheet of paper, with quick notes on image placement and text, which is exactly what we did for each of the 7 slides below.

Keep in mind that you can upload your book trailer to your Amazon author page by using Author Central. Click here to see an example, and click here to learn more about Author Central and how to use it to your advantage.

RYB Slide 1
RYB Slides 2-5
RYB Slide 6
RYB Slide 7

*While Canva is free to use, you will need Canva Pro to create animations. You can try Canva Pro free for 30 days, or for $12.95 per month. A working knowledge of Canva is helpful!

1 thought on “Fast and Easy Book Trailer Videos Using Canva: A Step-by-Step Guide”

  1. Excellent tutorial and advice. Looks professional too. I have 3 book trailers which look like mini movies and took a great deal of storyboarding, planning, etc. That is why I haven’t done any more in a while. This is a great alternative.

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