Canva For Authors: Book trailers

I remember looking at book trailers a few years ago and giving up because it seemed too complicated. I thought you needed to know a lot of a video and graphic design to make anything halfway decent.

Then Canva released video editing tools. Nowadays a lot of us edit videos on the fly for Tiktok and Instagram. If you can edit a video on Tiktok, you can edit a video in Canva. It’s quite easy.

Here’s a YouTube video walkthrough of exactly how to make a short video book trailer for your book. I’ve used my own book Picture Perfect as an example. Just click on the red play icon to watch.

How to make a video book trailer using Canva – a step by step tutorial

First I had to reduce the blurb to a three sentence ‘set up, details, hook’ formula, which took hours and hours. Then I spent some time poking around in Canva’s video library to find some videos of snowy landscapes and a New Year party (both of which feature heavily in Picture Perfect). I found a langrous rendition of Auld Lang Syne in Canva’s audio library.

I have a Pro subscription to Canva, but a lot of this stuff is available in the free library too. Also, if you only have a free account and really, really want to use something from the Pro library, you can pay a one-off fee to download it. The fee is usually only a few dollars.

Once I had the videos, audio and text all gathered together, putting the video together was fairly straightforward. Watch the clip on YouTube to see how it’s done.

Suzy Hull, who asked me about book trailers in the first place, made her own version using my instructions and it looks AMAZING.

If you find this video useful, please share and tell all your writer friends.

Love on the brain by Ali Hazelwood

I loved The Love Hypothesis, so I expected that I’d love Love on the Brain too. I did – it’s got a scientist heroine. I love the lab related dynamics and the sausage referencing (because they’re very true to life). The whole thing with the engineer who did one term of neuroscience patronising the woman who has a PhD and a whole bunch of papers in actual neuroscience is also very relatable.

The story is great. My only quibble is that Levi seems to be very similar to Adam from TLH. Come to think of it, Bee is kinda similar to Olive. Apart from that, it’s a great book. The secondary characters were great. Love the goth girl.

Great STEM rep and a good fun book. If you haven’t read The Love Hypothesis, you’ll like this one. If you have read TLH, you’ll probably still like this one, but feel a weird sense of de ja vu from time to time.

Buy link

Book review: Do You want to start a scandal by Tessa Dare

Sometimes, you’re just in the mood for something light, fast paced and funny. This book delivers on all of those promises.
Charlotte is the youngest of three daughters and her mother is basically Mrs Bennett from Pride and Prejudice – anxious to marry off her daughters to rich men. Charlotte tries to save Piers from her mother and inadvertently stumbles into a scandal and an arranged engagement.
Piers has his own secrets, which means that he is in danger. He can’t protect someone like Charlotte.
I really enjoyed the interaction and the respect between the two main characters. As with all books by Tessa Dare, it was very funny.

Buy Link*

*Affiliate link. I get a few pence if you buy using this link. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Canva for Authors: How to Make bookmarks in Canva

When you go to book events (or even just when you nip in the book shop), it’s handy to have something with your book cover on to give to people. I usually carry little business cards, but I find that people like bookmarks better. Besides, you can get more info on a book mark (like a QR code!).

A few weeks ago, I did a tutorial on how to create these bookmarks using Canva and then get them printed using a service like Bananaprint (whom I like because they’re reasonably priced and reliable.

Here’s the video on YouTube. As always, please like and subscribe and/or share with anyone who might find it useful.

If you have anything that you’d like me to cover in a future tutorial let me know and I’ll do my best to teach you how to do it. Oh, and come back and show me your bookmarks!

Book review: His grumpy childhood friend by Jackie Lau

Book cover with title His grumpy Childhood Friend. Shows an East Asian woman and an East Asian man smiling at each other. The man is shirtless.

This book has been on my Kindle for a while and I finally got around to reading it. I love that Charlotte is a grumpy, caffiene obsessed, social awkward weirdo. I also love that Mike is a ray of sunshine, who has loved her forever and is exactly who she needs.

It’s a quick read. There’s quite a lot about food (which is one of the things I like about Jackie Lau’s books). I didn’t love this as much as I loved some of her other novellas (You should all read Only One Bed for Christmas), but it was pretty close.

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Canva For Authors: How to Make a short animated Ad for your book

I made this YouTube video just before Christmas when I was putting one of my novels down to 99p as part of a Christmas sale. It walks you through the process of making a short animated video to advertise your special offer. It’s really not as hard as you might imagine.

Here’s the video on YouTube. As always, if you find it useful, please share. You know how all YouTubers ask you to ‘like and subscribe’? That’s because the number of subscribers and the number of likes makes a big difference to how YouTube treats you. You need a 1000 subscribers in order to any advertising revenue. So, yeah … please like and subscribe. Or just tell your friends who might find it useful.

If there’s anything you’d like me to show you how to do, pop a comment under the video. If you do make a video, tag my on Twitter or FB and show me. I will retweet it!

Premade romance book covers (with titles generated by ChatGPT)

A collection of ten illustrated book covers for romance novels

Over the Christmas period, I spent some time playing with ChatGPT, just like everyone else did. I wanted to challenge myself to make some book covers, but I needed inspiration. On a whim, I asked ChatGPT to give me some chicklit/ romcom titles. It came up with a huge list.

Eventually, out of 200 titles, I picked 25 which sounded like they could be on real books and made book covers for them all.

One of the reasons for setting myself this silly challenge was so that I could practise my Canva skills. If I’m going to do YouTube videos showing authors how to use Canva for their marketing, I should know what I’m talking about. I taught myself how to use Canva (and the basics of graphic design) by watching YouTube videos and just messing about with it for years.

Here are 24 of the covers in all their glory (25 looks messy). So … do you want to buy one? I’m selling them as premade ebook covers on my Etsy site. Each cover will be sold only once. If you buy one you get a jpeg of the book cover (with the title and author name changed to your title and name). You also get a link to the editable Canva template – so that if you want to tweak something, you can do.

Use them for an existing book that you’re self publishing. Or as inspiration for one you haven’t even started yet.

For those who are curious about animated book covers (where the cover is animated to start with and you use a static version as your ebook cover) the Love and The Internet cover has animated hearts. (If you buy this one, you’ll get a static jpeg image to use as your cover and a link to the Canva file so that you can use the MP4 video.

If you want me to make you a bespoke book cover, just email me.

Book Review: Vera Wong’s unsolicited advice for murderers by Jesse Sutanto

I loved this book. Vera is such a great character – elderly, lonely, fearsome, interfering – an all round force of nature.
Mostly though, she’s lonely. Life is dull and colourless. No one comes to her tea house and nothing much happens. Until she comes downstairs and finds a dead man in her shop.
Vera decides that the man has been murdered (even though the police don’t think so) and decides to solve the mystery herself. We then get to see a group of very different individuals, all of whom could have killed the victim.
I loved how we got to know the gang and how they became a sort of family to Vera. It was really sad to think that they were potential murderers.
A brilliantly evocative and funny book. I recommend it wholeheartedly if you’re after a comic murder mystery.
I received a review copy from Netgalley. This is my honest review.

Buy link*

*Affiliate link. I get a few pence if you buy using this link. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Canva for Authors – How to Make a cover reveal teaser image

Cover reveals are tremendous fun – you get to tease people about them for days before the actual cover reveal. You could post for five days on the run up to the event saying things like ”only four more days to go’ … or you could show people elements of your cover in isolation to build up some excitement. Here’s how you make an image that shows only part of your book cover at any one time.

Want to know more? Head over to my YouTube page and find out how to make these images in Canva. If you find it useful, please subscribe to my channel for more videos like this.