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The Dos And Don’ts Of Starting An AuthorTube Channel, With M. K. Williams — Self-Publishing Conference Highlight

The Dos and Don’ts of Starting an AuthorTube Channel, With M. K. Williams — Self-Publishing Conference Highlight

In this Self-Publishing Conference Highlight, M. K. Williams discusses the dos and don'ts of starting an AuthorTube channel. What is AuthorTube? Should it be a pillar of your author platform? A fondness for being on camera and some interest in video production is essential, but it's equally important to know you're spending your time and effort in the right place. This session introduces various options and how to get started, including working out whether your target readers are on YouTube. M.K. then shows you how to deliver content they'll welcome so you can grow your readers and your book sales.

By the end of this session, you will:

  • Identify your goals in starting an AuthorTube channel
  • Learn the dos and don'ts of starting a YouTube Channel
  • Determine who your audience is, if they are on YouTube, and what they want to see
  • Come up with ideas for your first videos
  • If you have thought about starting an AuthorTube channel, then this is the session you need to watch to get started on the right foot.

This is a post from SelfPubCon (The Self-Publishing Advice Conference), an online author event, run free twice-yearly, in association with the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Find more author advice, tips and tools at our Self-publishing Author Advice Center, with a huge archive of nearly 2,000 blog posts, and a handy search box to find key info on the topic you need.

And, if you haven’t already, we invite you to join our organization and become a self-publishing ally. You can do that at http://allianceindependentauthors.org.

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Watch M. K. Williams: The Dos and Don’ts of Starting an AuthorTube Channel

In this Self-Publishing Conference Highlight, @1mkwilliams discusses the dos and don'ts of starting an #AuthorTube channel. Click To Tweet

Read the Transcripts — M. K. Williams: The Dos and Don’ts of Starting an AuthorTube Channel

MK Williams: Hi, I'm MK Williams. I'm an author and independent publisher, and I love sharing my insights about all things self-publishing with you. If you've ever heard me say those exact words, in this exact location, then chances are you've seen one of my YouTube videos. That's right, I'm an author with a YouTube channel.

I'm on Author Tube and today I'm going to be going over the dos and don’ts of starting an Author Tube channel. There's a PDF worksheet that you can download to fill in as you follow along or go back in and fill out as you have some ideas for your channel. I first want to give a big thank you to SelfPubCon for asking me to do this presentation today.

I'm really excited to be talking to you guys, and I'm sure you're all wondering, who is MK Williams? While that's a very deep question that I'll be pondering my whole life, for now just know that I've been self-publishing books since 2015 and I went full time as an author and indie publisher in 2019.

I have 12 books to my name, including science fiction adventure novels and self-publishing how-to guides. Most relevant to this presentation, I started my own Author Tube channel in 2018, although I didn't even know what Author Tube was at the time.

You may have heard of this unique corner of YouTube called Author Tube. It's where we authors post videos about our lives, our writing and publishing process and all the fun things associated with it. If you're tuning in for this session during SelfPubCon 2022, then chances are you're considering starting a YouTube channel or you've already started one and you feel a little lost.

So, let's start with the most basic question first, which is why even start a YouTube channel? Well, other than the fact that YouTube is the second most visited site in the world and as of 2020 had 2.3. Billion with a B subscribers, many authors are looking to start a YouTube channel to help promote their books or their author brand.

Some are looking to cash in on the YouTube add money that they've heard about. People are apparently making zillions just streaming while they play video games. We authors can cash in on that, right. Let's first go back to the first option mentioned, which is starting a YouTube channel can be an effective content marketing strategy to help you sell more books.

What is content marketing? As authors we're supposed to do social media marketing and Amazon ads and now there's this whole other kind of marketing content marketing. Come on. Content marketing is defined as a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material, such as videos, blogs and social media posts that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.

Content marketing is a better way for your audience to get to know you. They feel invested in who you are as a creator and then want to support you and see more of what you have to offer. Like your books.

But what about that second reason? The money, that's what everybody wants. We'll get into that in a bit. As in, I'll be a little bit of a Debbie Downer about the realistic growth numbers. First, if having an author tube channel is content marketing, what content would you even share on this Author Tube channel?

There are several different types of channels on Author Tube that I've seen in the years that I've been in this community and in this space. I'm going to go over the different types of videos that people post and the channels that already exist. Some authors will do just one of these video types exclusively, some will do a mix. Most Author Tubers find what works for them and for their audience and then they stick to it. Chances are as I go through these different types of videos and types of channels; one is going to resonate with you more than another. That's good, right? There is no one right way to create and run an Author Tube channel. There is the right way for you and your voice.

It's good to have this variety of all kinds of different channels out there to help authors who are looking to connect. The first type of Author Tube channel is more of a vlog channel, this stands for video blog. It's almost just going through day in the life, showing exactly what that person is doing. Maybe they're talking about their work in progress, they're just showing ‘I'm making my coffee and now I'm going to sit down and write, and then I wrote, and then I took my dog for a walk.' It's really just more slice of life, day in the life type material.

You may feel like, who cares about watching my life unfold? To be honest, that's a question that I would ask a lot of people starting out with no audience. I would say vlogs are probably really good for people once you've built an audience and you have people who are very uniquely interested in your entire daily process.

The second type of video and channel would be a live stream where people just go on and they do writing sprints. Where the person with the channel is on there and live, they are typing, they're editing, and other people can join in because they're writing as well. It's this nice way to say, ‘Hey, we're going to have a writing session together, digitally all across the world.' A live stream is another type of video that people do. Another type of channel where people just exclusively do that.

Another type of channel that I see on Author Tube is actually a book review channel. Which is very interesting so let's step back for a second. Within the entire world of YouTube, there are all these different corners, and Book Tube is this overarching bubble where it's all about books.

I would say a subset of Book Tube is Author Tube, where we're not just talking about what books are out, what books you like, list of books, good books, bad books or my favourites. It's actually authors talking about books. I have seen a lot of authors on Author Tube mixed between the two where they're also talking about their favourite books, books on their bookshelf and things like that.

They're doing book reviews and I've seen some book tubers that want to become authors. It's this nice back and forth, but just keep in mind if your audience is tuning in just because they want book reviews then they may not necessarily want to just hear about you writing your book. They may just only want book reviews. So, keep that in mind. There's this nice give and take between Book Tube and Author Tube but they are two distinct categories within YouTube. Just keep that in mind that if you want to do a Book Tube/Author Tube hybrid, it is a fine line to walk but some people do it really well.

The next type of video and channel is more of a craft channel where people do videos on how to show, not tell, different kind of tropes. There's a lot of people out there who make just trope videos about the best fantasy tropes, the worst fantasy tropes, the most overdone fantasy tropes. A lot of people like those, I guess because I see a lot of those videos out there.

It's more of craft talk, of how to write, how to develop certain characters and how to write dialogue. It's very craft focused.

There are two types of business focused ones. I'd say that there's traditional publishing insider tips, where there's authors who are talking about how they got an agent or how they got a deal, negotiating their deal, working with editors or prepping for book tours. All very much focused on the traditional author experience.

Then there are channels that are all about self-publishing know how an info and that's actually what my channel is about. I'm talking about different platforms, new features, challenges and strategies for self-publishing, how to make your manuscript a book. All those things. it's more of like a ‘how to' functional channel.

The last type is author interviews and video podcasts. Podcasting is also a form of content marketing and so a lot of people with a podcast will then just put it up on YouTube. That's another way for people to access that content. They'll either do it as a video interview or they'll just set the audio from the interview over like a static image for that purpose. That is another way that you can do that. If you already have a podcast, you may be thinking ‘That’s super easy I can just start an Author Tube channel' or you're thinking you just want it to be a YouTube specific video podcast channel. That would be one type that you could do as well.

As I said, I pretty much stick to the self-publishing ‘how to' videos on my channel. I've occasionally mixed in some interviews where it made sense, and I was generally interested in talking to that person. It's important to know, you don't have to do all these kinds of videos if you're not sure what you want to do. Maybe you try your hand at each and do some testing every once in a while. Maybe you want to mix it up, that's totally fine.

In general, I find that the more successful channels have one type of video that they do, and they stick with it. Maybe they branch out every once in a while, but they really have defined what they like to do. Then those videos end up being better because those are the videos they like to make. Keep that in mind as you're thinking about what videos you would even want to make on your channel.

At present my channel has over 4,200 subscribers and by the time you are all watching this, I should be past the 5,000-subscriber mark. If you're not subscribed, hello, go help me out. Please go subscribe. Some of you are probably thinking “4,000 subscribers? Who does this chick think she is, Jenna Moreci? Get her on here with her 270,000 subscribers” or “Excuse me, how about Dale L Roberts with his 60,000 followers?” Here's the thing, it's actually good for you to hear from me, somebody with a relatively small following because on average it takes 15 and a half months to get 1000 subscribers on YouTube.

This will usually involve uploading 164 videos. That's a long time and a lot of work. For me, it's taken me almost four years to get to this mark. Now I will go over some of the Dos and Don’ts of why it took me so much longer than the 15 and a half months to get to this magical 1000 subscriber threshold.

I just want to let you know that if you're thinking about creating a channel or you've already started one, just know that time is going be your biggest asset. Not only in reaching the magical subscriber number and watching our account to get monetized, but to just build a content catalogue. Those people that I mentioned who have these huge hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands of subscribers, they've been doing this a long time and there's really no shortcut to getting there.

I think a lot of us buy into this myth that we have in our society that you can make one really great video and post it on YouTube, and it'll go viral. You'll get all these followers and all these subscribers and get all this money. Look at the people who've gone viral in the past couple years, they have a large content catalogue.

That's what propels them to keep going viral again and then again and again. People have something to look at beyond just that one video. Just keep in mind that this content catalogue for content marketing on YouTube is what you're wanting to focus on. Building up a good cash of really great content so that way you can best serve your audience.

Now that we've discovered ‘why would you even want to make a channel?' I'm going to go over the dos and don'ts of starting an Author Tube channel now. Let me tell you, I learned these don'ts the hard way so that you don't have to.

Our first Do is, do have a goal. Don't fly blind. Monetization, accountability and spreading your message across a wide platform, which would be great for non-fiction authors by the way, connecting with more readers, what is the goal for your channel? Do you have multiple goals in terms of what you want this channel to accomplish for you and your author platform? That's fine, but one of those goals has to take priority.

When I started my channel back in 2018, my aim was simple. A lot of my free time that I wanted to dedicate to writing my books was being taken up by answering questions of friends, family, friends of friends and random people would ask me how I publish my books, what about ISBNs et cetera. I wanted to give each of them an answer that felt personal, but I wasn't able to get my own writing in.

I thought a recorded video would feel more personal so that I could save time in the long run. I'd heard about people making money on YouTube. So, it would be cool if I could make some money too and maybe it would help me sell some books on my own too. Did you spot the goal there?

The goal was to provide answers to people while saving myself time. The wish was to make money. In the first few years of my channel, I saved some time by batch recording and editing my videos. Then answers were getting out there. Sometimes I could even link the video to an email I received with a question. Boom, taken care of. I was still getting my writing in.

My channel on the other hand was not monetized. A large part of that was me going into this whole endeavour blind to the monetization policies on YouTube. I understood the how, ads reviewed, and that ad money was split between YouTube and the creator. But how I could receive said money was not clear to me. Namely meeting the subscriber and watch hours requirements.

If I did, I wouldn't have just thrown that goal or wish in with the rest. I would have realized it would take more time and effort to get there. Fast forward to 2021 and I did finally get monetized because I started to pay attention to what was and wasn't working on my channel. I started to look at what I wasn't doing on each of my uploads.

YouTube is a search engine; I was giving it no information on what my videos were about. Anyone searching for these items had no way to find my video. Consider that akin to publishing your book on KDP and not putting it in a category. In 2020 I doubled down on my monetization goal and made it an actual goal.

I watched channels like Nick Nimmin and Cathrin Manning to learn about the features I wanted to optimize. I went back to old videos and added tags and updated video titles. No more funny, cutesy titles that made sense to me and the four other people who watched the video. No more leaving the tags empty. We're going to talk about those in a bit.

Effectively I actually made my goal a goal. I put some hard numbers behind it, and I put some work behind it. I wasn't just wanting it to happen magically. Remember you can have more than one goal for your channel. You can say, I want people to hear my message. I want to answer questions for people, and I want to monetize. But one of these goals needs to be the primary goal.

I talk about this a lot for books as well. You can say, I want to write the best book ever. That is this literary opus that everybody will love and enjoy for centuries, and I want to make a lot of money.

One of those has to be the primary because eventually there's going to be a conflict. The same goes with your channel. You can start a channel to educate your audience and sell more books and make YouTube ad money, but eventually there will be a time when you need to decide between these goals because they're going to be in conflict with each other.

You need one primary goal and if you have secondary goals, you can't ignore them, but you know that they get second billing. The secondary goals can't be wishes or hopes. They have to still be goals.

The second ‘do and don't' of starting your own Author Tube channel. Do have a plan. Don't expect to just hit publish and go viral. First of all, with this plan, who are your videos for? Are they for you, some authors vlog or do writing sprints or just post weekly updates to keep themselves accountable.

They have to show up and say whether they did the work this week or not. Are you trying to grow a readership? Are your target readers also the people who watch YouTube videos? Is your audience even on YouTube? Are these videos for other authors? That was my audience, aspiring authors who needed help getting the book across the finish line.

To this day that is the majority of my audience. Although many have stuck around as subscribers, so now I need to have content for newbies and for those getting their second and third books out. In my experience, I knew I wanted my videos to be short and sweet to get right to the point. Because as an author I'm serving other authors and I tend to do this thing that we all do, which is set aside time for writing and then I fall down on internet rabbit hole.

I didn't want a lot of fluff in my videos. I wanted it to get to the point with a final reminder to the author to get back to writing their book. YouTube likes videos that are between eight and 15 minutes long. My videos were half that length.

While that hurt my chances of discoverability with the algorithm, I continually get positive comments from authors who watch my videos thanking me for my brevity and getting right to the point. This was the decision to optimize for my audience. Not for the platform. You'll need to understand your audience as well and make your own decisions based on what your audience needs.

Here's another thing, this added on idea I had back in 2018 that maybe I could sell some more of my books. Didn't really make sense. When I launched my channel, my only books at the time were science fiction and suspense, and yes, some authors liked to read those genres as well. My planned audience was authors who needed help with their own books.

The possibility of one wanting to read in my genre was small, but when I finally took the information I was putting on YouTube and wrote my first non-fiction books on self-publishing for first time authors, they did well. Much better than my fiction. Why? Because I had an audience of people on YouTube who wanted that exact information.

I had been barking up the wrong tree for the first year and a half on YouTube because I didn't have a plan. So again, understanding your plan, who your audience is? Who are you making videos for? What does that audience need? Is going to help you to understand what kind of videos you need to make and information you want to put out there?

The third ‘dos and dont's' are starting an Author Tube channel. Do watch other channels to learn. Don't think you're breaking the mould, the mould works. Back in 2018 when I started my channel, I did not do this. It's probably good that I didn't. My aim was to save time by making videos I could send to people to answer their questions.

If I had done any kind of search on YouTube, I would've found tons of videos already answering these questions. Lots of other author YouTubers were out there. I probably would've thought “Sweet. I don't need to make any videos, I'll just send people here.' I never would've started my channel. Which means I never would've launched Author Your Ambition. Which means I never would have created some of my best work and likely would still be toiling at my nine to five wishing I could be a full-time author.

In my case it worked out for me that I didn't watch other channels first, but don't make my mistake. It took me way too long to finally watch other channels and when I did, I learned a lot. First a quick way to find out if your audience is on YouTube is to see if other people are making videos for this audience. If so, what kind of views are they getting?

This can give you an idea of what you might expect to see on your own videos. Second, you'll learn a lot about what works and what doesn't by just observing. When I started watching others, I noticed a few things. The really good channels where the videos looked great, and they got lots of views and subscribers were starting and ending each video with a reminder to like the video and subscribe to the channel.

They had intro and outro music to set up the video. The video didn't just start by them talking and going into the content. They had a nice introduction, something either informative or funny to catch attention. They also had screen captures to show what they were describing and to vary up the video instead of just one talking head the whole time.

You can learn a lot this way. You can also see what people like by what does well. I know, we are creative souls, and we have to break the mould and refuse to be confined. Remember that goal you had with these videos? What was that again? Whether you are looking to make money or grow your readership, you want people to want to watch your videos.

Learning from those who have a lot of viewers will guide you on what works and maybe what is too Avant Garde and experimental for your intended audience. Unless that is your exact audience. In which case do that. Also, I now had new role models and people to look up to and I could connect with them. In the comments I could just add my thoughts to their video.

Agree with them, make a connection. Just as we have an overall indie author community, we need to have an Author Tube community. People will read more than one book and they will watch more than one video and more than one YouTube channel. So much of my own channel growth in 2021 happened because I made connections and got to know and work with other Author Tubers.

My fourth ‘do and don't' of starting your own Author Tube channel is do connect with people. Don't just leave them hanging. I'm going a bit off of the last one with connecting with other Author Tubers, but you also need to connect with the people who comment on your videos and your audience.

People get to comment and ask more questions, share their thoughts and experience on your videos. When someone leaves a review about our book on Amazon, we can't respond. Which is probably for the best, in most cases. On YouTube, we can engage and chat. If someone likes our answer or has another potential work around or solution, they can post that.

They can even engage with others for their answers. It can be very positive. YouTube likes to see this kind of engagement, videos with lots of comments get recommended more than videos with silence. Now a word of caution. I've been talking about the benefits like community building and algorithm juice. Know that the internet has all kinds of kinds, which means some comments will be mean and rude and downright nasty.

I've been criticized in my own videos because my voice sounds too female. Yeah, I'm a female. I've also had some really creepy comments. Just know that as a creator you have control over these. You can click delete, block or hide users from your channel and you probably should. Your channel is your space to create, so you can remove that kind of content.

I suggest just blocking and deleting, don't engage in a war in the comment section. Don't egg someone on, but also don't be surprised when this happens. If you know your skin isn't thick enough for this kind of negative engagement, then re-evaluate your plan with YouTube because it's not just going to be your words out there. It's going to be your face and your voice.

Also, we're authors, we get bad reviews sometimes and we also have to take that in turn as well. Determine for yourself how much negativity and criticism you can take.

Just like with anything else on social media, you need to have your own personal policy. How often are you going to look and respond at comments? Will you do this daily or weekly? What's your policy on deleting comments? I suggest that with some of the nasty ones, just get 'em gone. Although some people will see you deleted it and comment again. So best to block some of the really negative ones.

What kind of content are you going to allow and talk about? As authors, our work is a reflection of our lives. Some of us might say, ‘I never want to talk about anything political or religious because I don't want anybody to have a reason to get nasty with me.' Some people might say ‘oh no, I'm going to tell you exactly my opinion.' Know for yourself what makes sense and what you feel comfortable addressing in your content.

The fifth do and don't of starting your own Author Tube channel is, do be consistent. Don't expect results if you only show up every once in a while. This is one mistake I actually didn't make with my channel, yay. One thing I didn't have to learn the hard way.

YouTube much like every other platform out there likes consistency. That means if you say you're going to post a new video every Monday, you'd better get that video up every Monday and hopefully around the same time. You can vary your posting dates and times to optimize, but don't expect results in terms of subscribers, watch time and engagement. If you're posting schedule is all over the place, you're effectively training your audience to know when to look for you.

If you make a drastic change and say ‘Hey, instead of Mondays, I'm posting on, Wednesdays.' Let people know that ahead of time so that they know to look for you and then be very consistent about the new dates and times that you're scheduling.

The nice thing is you can do a lot of the work ahead of time in terms of recording, uploading and scheduling. You don't actually have to sit at your computer at the same time every week and hit upload. That is one very nice benefit for us authors who are busy with lots of things to do. One thing that you can and absolutely should do before you record your first video is come up with three to six months’ worth of topic ideas.

I know it sounds like a lot, but if you only ever post weekly that's only 12 to 24 video ideas. It's not really that much. Now, you don't have to commit to all of them right now if later you think of something different or something better. This goes back to having a plan. If you know what you plan to post it makes it much easier to follow through and stay consistent.

If you only have a handful of video ideas right now, I would say you're actually really going to stress yourself out because your runway's going to run out really quickly before you suddenly have to think of new videos and post more. That is one thing I do see in some of the Author Tuber Facebook groups is people saying, ‘what should I post about what kind of video should I do?'

I think that comes from a place of rushing in before they had all of their ideas. They're not sure of the identity of their channel which I think goes to, why would you ask somebody else what video to make, if they don't even know your channel? If you know who your audience is and what your channel is about, then that question answers itself as far as what else does my audience need? Not just, what should I make? Just think about that.

One thing I will say about consistency is that it's a double edge sword. I've been doing this for almost four years, and I've never, never missed a week. While this is a badge of honour, I probably should have taken time off. Instead of pre-recording 20 plus videos for when my daughter was born, I should have just taken a hiatus. I was so singularly focused on monetizing at that point. I didn't want to lose my momentum.

With everything we do as authors, we need to know when to take a break. Algorithms be damned. Be consistent but know that if you're taking a vacation or want to enjoy the holidays without checking your metrics, you can do that. Just communicate it with your audience first.

I would suggest not doing any breaks like that until you've been doing this for at least a year. Because again, you're training people when to look for your videos and you want to make sure that they understand that they can count on you to be there.

My next do and don't also relates to this pass on about consistency. Do commit to this endeavour. Don't give up after two months. Planning to have many months’ worth of content also goes hand in hand with committing to this endeavour. That means you'll need to create videos beyond just those first months.

Like I said, it can take over 150 videos to get monetized status according to Tube Buddy. At one video a week, that's almost three years. In general, with content marketing, it isn't just set it and forget it. It isn't just do this for a little bit and see what happens. The whole point of content marketing is that it's long term because you're not being in your face to purchase your item.

People are getting to know you. It takes time to get to know you. It takes time to build that trust. The strategy is that you continue to produce new content and people find it. They also find this large cash of content that you've built. If you're going to start an Author Tube channel commit to giving it your full effort for a year. See where you are and if you like the progress you're making. By full effort that means learning the platform and optimizing your video as well. This may mean that you don't have as much time for writing your books. When I launched my channel in 2018, that was my mistake. I recorded my videos posted them really quickly and went back to writing my books. Then nothing really happened in terms of traction with my channel.

That's because I wasn't really focused on growing the channel. I just thought it would magically happen. That's not how life works, we know that. Having to learn the platform was super important.

That is the next ‘do and don't.' Do take time to learn the YouTube platform. Don't just think things will happen magically. YouTube is a search engine; it's owned by Google. Most people end up on YouTube because they're looking for something. Understanding this fundamentally changed how I structured my videos. Instead of talking about what I wanted to talk about, I focused on how I could solve a problem or answer a question for my audience. That aligned with the type of channel I wanted to have and cultivate. When I finally got serious and looked back on my most successful videos in 2020, I realized that the ones that did the best were ones where the title was literally a question that I was answering.

I was putting that detail right there for YouTube to see. This is the question I'm answering. So, when somebody Googled that exact question, guess what popped up? My video. I finally understood why those videos were working and I was able to apply those same concepts to my other videos.

I'm going to take a little aside here because I've talked about the Author Tuber Facebook group before, and I do suggest that you check that out.

I don't manage this page, but it is a good way to connect and meet people. What I do see though that I don't like is a lot of people talking about tags. People are saying, ‘I just started a tag for Author Tubers who like dogs. That's my tag, author tubers who like dogs, everybody make a video author tubers who like dogs.'

That's not how YouTube works. Most of this is not at all related to how tags are made. I see people making tags for video series but no one's out there searching for those tags like Author Tube newbies or Author Tubers who like dogs. Maybe someone like me or another active Author Tuber might look for this so they could welcome a newcomer to the platform. Everyday people like your readers and maybe your intended audience aren't going to look for this. Tags and YouTube are your search keywords. If you're making a video about how to update your book categories in Amazon KDP that can be one long tail tag.

You'll also probably include book categories KDP, book categories on Amazon, self-publishing with Amazon as other tags that people might search for and content that is related to your video. Understanding all the different fields that are in your upload are super important.

When I went in at first, I was like ‘video, title. Cool.' Maybe autogenerate a thumbnail of me going in the middle of the video. I didn't understand that either. I left so many fields blank. That was a huge mistake. I had several channels that I would recommend that you check out to learn more about YouTube in general, not just Author Tube specifically. These are the channels that I started watching a lot of in 2020 when I wanted to get serious about optimizing my channel. That's Nick Nimmin, Cathrin Manning and Meredith Marsh or Vid Pro Mom.

I'm going to take a time out here and throw in a word of caution to you. Once you begin to watch videos for new YouTubers and how to grow your channel, YouTube will serve you with more related content. This is a great way to discover new channels and maybe someone else is saying the same things, but it just resonates and clicks a different way. My caution is the people who will try to tell you how to get monetized fast. Yes, their tips work but they usually involve you focusing on making videos around what is the most searched for content on YouTube right now. That content may be of no interest to you or your planned audience.

Do you want to make videos about the latest celebrity gossip? Do you want to make videos about how to play Wordle? Do you want to make videos about how Bitcoin works? If you do, then great. But if you have no plan to talk about said things ever again on your channel, then steer clear. If you get your first 1000 subscribers and your required watch hours for monetization from these trendy videos then suddenly switch to all author and book and writing content once you're monetized, your audience will be confused and potentially unsubscribe. YouTube will also be confused. Similar to how having friends and family buy and review your book confuses Amazon. Your grandma who loves cosy mysteries buys and reviews your book about aliens invading. Amazon starts serving up also-boughts that just make no sense.

The same goes for YouTube. You posted tons of videos, trying to go viral and get monetized ASAP that had no correlation to your actual planned content. YouTube starts serving up your videos as a suggestion for people looking for Bitcoin or Pete Davidson dating gossip. They don't click on your new author content, YouTube stops recommending your videos. See how that can be a bad spiral?

This brings us back to me saying when I was going to be a Debbie downer from the beginning of this presentation. It takes a slow and steady approach with you producing the best content you can that fulfils your goal and meets the needs of your audience. Yes, we all would like to get compensated for the work that we're doing on YouTube. But rushing to get your 1000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in a year by making something that's totally off the wall is not going to do you any favours. It's potentially going to hurt your long-term efforts.

Just like with building up a readership, just like with getting reviews for your books, it takes time. It takes patience and there's really no shortcuts to getting the best quality content out there. Sorry.

My final Do and Don't for starting your own Author Tube channel is do budget for some tech and some gear. Don't do what I did. Do you even like recording videos? Do you like being on camera? Do you feel comfortable with your face and voice online? Do you have any experience recording and editing videos?

I know I just threw a lot of questions at you but if you're going to create videos you need to know how to make them or maybe have a desire to learn. You'll need something to record the videos with like a camera. While you may not have the budget to shell up for a fancy camera and lighting setup, a few basics should be on your list as in more than just using your smartphone camera and microphone. That can help you get started but as you move along, you'll want to improve your production quality.

Trust me, my first year of videos was rough. You can go back and see, or you can spare your ears and eyes and just take my word for it. I was learning the hard way. I was learning the very, very hard way but I was learning, and I was growing. The nice thing is that most people on Author Tube are pretty friendly and understanding. When you do monetize the channel, you'll be able to reinvest with nicer gear, editing software and maybe one day someone to do the editing for you.

The same channels I mentioned previously to learn ways to optimize your videos with tags, thumbnails, titles, and the like will also have some really good tips to improve your videos even with a DIY setup. Just keep in mind that as you're learning, it's continual. Just like as authors we're continually learning more about our craft and author business. If you decide to be on YouTube, you have to continually learn more about YouTube.

I just threw out a lot of information at you in this presentation. Let's take a deep breath. Are you still excited about the idea of starting a YouTube channel to advance your author platform? Did you start percolating some ideas for content that you could create? As I mentioned in the beginning of this presentation, what's included is also going to be a set of worksheets to help you plan and make the most of this information so you can get started or start optimizing your existing channel now.

I really appreciate you taking the time to listen to my presentation, and I can't wait to see your first videos on YouTube. My contact information is right here. You can find me everywhere online @1mkwilliams. My website is 1mkwilliams.com also authoryourambition.com Is my brand that's out there so please reach out to me and let me know if you have additional questions about Author Tube. When you make your first video send me the link, I definitely want to watch it.

Now you can get back to writing your book or wait, scratch that, you need to get back to SelfPubCon 2022.

Author: Howard Lovy

Howard Lovy has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and now amplifies the voices of independent author-publishers and works with authors as a developmental editor. Howard is also a freelance writer specializing in Jewish issues whose work appears regularly in Publishers Weekly, the Jewish Daily Forward, and Longreads.

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