Put a Video Trailer on Amazon’s Author Central

Author Central


I created an author video and uploaded it to Amazon’s Author Central today. If interested, you can check it out on my author page:


It’s incredibly simple: You just make a video, upload it to Author Central, and wait up to 24 hours for the video to be processed and approved (mine showed up on Amazon in less than an hour).

On the background, you can see a white dry erase board installed in a spare bedroom. I used a Sony camcorder (surprisingly small and inexpensive, compared to 20 years ago), which recorded the video in MP4 format. If you have a smartphone, you might be able to use that instead. Or maybe you can borrow a recording device from someone. Many computers even come with basic video editing software, in case you need to edit the video or add effects. (Though sometimes keeping it simple works best.)

I mounted the camcorder on a tripod, adjusted the angle, level, and zoom. When I was done, it was easy to transfer onto my computer and then upload to Amazon.

For me, the ‘hard’ part was the ‘simple’ things that I had never thought about before:

  • It’s allergy season, so I was trying desperately all morning not to rub my eyes and make them any redder.
  • Unlike writing a book, you have to give a little thought to your appearance.
  • Lighting, reflection, shadows. Sunlight entering through windows, overhead lights, not too bright, not too dark, reflection from lights on the dry erase board. It takes some thought, patience, and effort to combat these issues.
  • Noise pollution. If you’re writing, noises disrupt your concentration and train of thought. But if you’re filming a video, you have to do another take. Even if you wait until the house is empty, the phone or doorbell will surely ring, or a garbage truck will stop by.
  • Then you have to figure out what you’re going to do or say. I got all my props together (books, since it’s my author video), placed them nearby with bookmarks in key pages, turned my Kindles on and opened books (just before pressing record), and wrote some words on the dry erase board in the background.
  • I found myself a little camera shy at first. Surprisingly, for me it’s easier to stand in front of 80 students than it is to stand in front of the camera. (Normally, I find it difficult to be among large groups of people, yet somehow I love to be in a large class and teach.)

Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t let authors post book trailers on the product pages. But you can post an author video (or book trailer) on your author page.

The author video doesn’t show up on your product page. But if a customer clicks on your author profile from your product page, in order to pull up your author page, your author video will show up on your author page.

(Evidently, Amazon can ‘invite’ an author to post a book trailer on a product page. Good luck receiving an invitation. The next best thing, which requires no invitation, is to post a video on your author page.)

Do you have an author video on Amazon? If so, please post a link to your Amazon author page so that we may check it out.

I actually installed the dry erase board and invested in the camcorder so that I could create books with instructional videos. The free Kindle Textbook Creator tool allows you to embed videos in your Kindle e-books. I’m going to try it out with some math and science e-books. You may see a post about embedding video in an e-book in the near future.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more

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Valerie Alexander’s Book Trailer Advice

Valerie Alexander, screenwriter and author, shared advice for making a video trailer based on her experience doing this for her own book. Her article has plenty of good advice, and one nice thing to know is that you don’t need a studio to pull it off—she made hers using an iPhone. You can find her article at the link below: