18 Tips on Becoming a BookTuber…Booktube – It’s part online book club, part vlog, and part book critique. Booktube’s members are vast and enthusiastic.
Are you passionate and opinionated about books? Have you always wanted to be an influencer? Here are 18 ideas on combining your love for reading and creating videos, taking it to a new level by starting a Booktube channel.
1. Begin a Youtube Channel.
Starting a Youtube account is easy. Finding a name that is catchy and reflects your personality might be a bit more challenging today since many really cool Youtube names are already in use. Eventually you can find one. Make sure it’s something you feel good about staying with.
2. Reflect Your Style in the Videos.
Into gritty, dark YA fiction? Is your passion books on the ‘How To’s’ of writing? Do you devour each book on the best seller list? Choose books that you’ve read and have definite opinions on. Stay away from genres or titles that although extremely popular, don’t reflect your real interest as it will show in your delivery of the review and you’ll tire making videos over time.
3. Study Other BookTubers (successful, growing and brand new channels).
See what works, what you like and read comments below their Youtube videos. Feedback from viewers shows the taste of who is watching (i.e., why did this aspect of the video garner so many comments?). Do you relate to the boisterous, extroverted Booktubers? Is your style a bit softer, mysterious? Do you reflect an emo, nerdy or mystic style? Incorporate that theme into the videos if this is how you are naturally. Comment and engage with fellow Booktubers. Keep it positive! If there is a Booktuber you can’t stand, don’t watch their channel. Determine why you personally don’t like their reviews and make an effort to be different (but keep that to yourself!). Find a channel you do like and see what they do. Even though ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,’ create what reflects your original ideas. There’s a fine line between borrowing ideas and blatant copying. (Want to see what we mean here? Watch the trailer for INGRID GOES WEST).
4. Production Value.
Purchase a good (but not overly-expensive) camera, make sure you have excellent sound, attractive lighting, fast editing with smooth transitions. Minimize exterior noise such as room tone and anything else that is distracting (air conditioning, refrigerators, etc.).
5. Very Little to No Music.
Unless it’s for a short (and we mean short!) video intro and outro, music (no matter how enjoyable it might sound while driving in your car) can hurt your message because we want to hear your thoughts on the book. It can be quite distracting when people use music throughout their entire video as a soundtrack. But if music is really your thing and you do add it as a soundtrack to the book review, make sure that it meets Youtube’s standards for royalty-free usage. Youtube has a wonderful selection of music that has varying levels of use on your channel.
6. Clear, Concise Speaking.
Rushing through the pitch about the book is quick to confuse viewers. Even though attention spans are highly-sped up in today’s instant access culture, stay focused and practice playing back your review so you can adjust your speech rate. If you’re a super fast talker by nature, make a concerted effort to practice slowing down so that it sounds audible (but not like you’re reading).
7. You Know Who You Look Like!?
If your look is quirky, stay with it and embellish upon it. If you’re have a more natural, classic look with beautiful hair and salon perfect nails and make-up, stay with it. Keep in theme with what you’d make yourself look like for an outing with friends (not a club, but a fun outing) where you want to look nice but not overdone.
8. In Front of Your Home Bookshelf or Not?
The default setting for most book tubers is in front of their home bookshelf. This makes sense but it doesn’t have to be the an absolute rule. Most booktubers choose a spot in their room that has creativity and flair (although not overpowering). If a spot in your room is more interesting than the typical bookshelf shot, stay with it.
9. Rehearse, Rewatch and Review.
“But I hate watching myself!” It is important to watch the presentation of the book review you are giving, your posture, the lighting, your speech patterns and cadence, sound and where the camera is placed. What you think will be amazing might not actually translate to the camera (and vice versa). Best practice is to practice!
Getting advice on how your videos look and feel to the viewer is crucial…BUT…consider whom to ask! Finding feedback from the right person (i.e. a person who truly has your best interest at heart, emphasis on the words best interest) will take time to cultivate. Truth be told, a best friend or family member may not be the first person to ask for feedback (insert the many reasons here ______).
11. Consider Reasons for Wanting to Build a Booktube Channel.
You will be building something. It will take time and patience. People will tell you “that’s silly!” Know why you’re doing it. Do you love books and reading? Do people value your opinion? Do you love being in front of the camera? Are you a natural-born teacher and excellent communicator? These are all valid reasons for wanting to build something. Just know your personal reasons and stay with them when times get tough in life, with your channel or you if get bored.
12. Mamma Said There’d Be Trolls Like These.
Trolls! If you get lots of views, they will come. Take it as a compliment when they show up. Why? Because your channel is growing. Tip: Don’t engage. They’re not worth your time. You will know legitimate feedback when you see it. Hate comments versus “providing constructive criticism” are easy to decipher. Don’t let negative people stop you from making your channel. Over time you will care less and less about them.
13. Warn Viewers About Spoilers.
If you feel a valid point is necessary but gives away too much of the story, warn viewers about spoilers. Put it in the “below the line” info, too (below the Youtube video where you put information).
14. Be Consistent in the Posting of Videos.
If at first you can only do one book review a week, just do one. Taking on too much too fast might make you want to quit. If you stay with it enough you’ll get into a rhythm.
15. Stay on Topic.
In the beginning, keep the video mostly about the book. Don’t brag, boast, put yourself down or explain too much about yourself too fast (like a first date). Keep it on the book, the author, whether the book has been garnering good reviews, thoughts on the author’s previous work, etc.
16. Eventually Add a Few Fun Book-Related Videos into Your Content.
Did you keep a book journal, like when/where you purchased a book, plus your thoughts on it? Share about it and show a little on camera. Take a video tour of your bookshelf showing some of your favorite books and explaining why you love them. Are there special book marks or nighttime reading lights that you enjoy having near you? Are you reorganizing your bookshelf? How about “unboxing” the latest book purchase? Share about it!
17. Keep it Light and Positive.
Even if you’re reading books about dark heavy subjects, keep your commentary fair and play nice. Booktube is a supportive community from its creators to its viewers/commenters. Other niches invite much harsher criticism amongst its members, but Booktube has a community of intelligent, sensitive book lovers who (for the most part) keep it fair.
18. Screenshots, Screenshots, Screenshots.
Your video should be engaging, both in production and content. And…your screenshot should be awesome! It should have your photo with an attractive look on your face and some attractive (but not overpowering) font. Screenshots can make or break a video sometimes. Spend time on making them worth clicking on.
Here are a few links with more advice on becoming a Booktuber from CuckooWriters.com, Amreading.com, Finixpost.com.
Editor’s note: Did we miss a Booktuber who you feel should be included on this list? Tweet us @Filmcourage or email us via our contact page. We’ll check them out. Thanks!
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