BookTube: A Community of Readers
I’m an active member of the BookTube community on YouTube (you can find my channel here), but realised that some of you might not even know it exists. That is why I decided to touch base with some of my fellow BookTubers to chat about it, and give some insight into how you can use the community to gain publicity for your books.
So what is BookTube?
BookTube is a community on YouTube that posts videos about books. As well as posting book reviews, book hauls, and TBR lists, some also join in tags and events where they talk about… you guessed it… books!
There are even annual events like BookTubeAThon that have daily challenges for participants in addition to the main reading challenge goals. I took part this year for the first time and had a blast!
This is one of the challenge videos from this years event so you see the kind of stuff we had to come up with:
The thing I like most about BookTube is connecting with other avid readers. Obviously as an author it’s a great way of finding potential readers for my own books, but I love hearing what others like and/or don’t like about the books they’ve read too. It’s really useful research for writers, but also a good way of adding books to my ever-growing to-be-read list. It’s a lot of fun too.
The BookTube community has also branched out into other social media platforms, with active groups and discussions happening on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter and Instagram.
Meet some BookTubers
Although I could talk about BookTube, and how much I like YouTube for ages I thought it would be more interesting to get some of my fellow BookTubers involved so they could share some insight into this fab community with you too.
Stephen Alff from Alffbooks and Victoria Kennedy from My Books Are Me kindly agreed to answers some quick questions about BookTube.
|Stephen Alff from Alffbooks|
Why did you join BookTube?
Stephen: Originally, I wanted to join a community that I could share my writing with and other things that I am passionate about. I wanted to be myself and find people to have a great time with. So when I found BookTube, I was so very happy to join in on the fun and chat with as many people as I could. Booktube is a really open community and books are a big part of my life so when I stumbled across it, there was nothing more natural than joining in!
Victoria: I started watching BookTube in order to get back into reading, and I decided to create a blog to not only document my reading, but to also share my thoughts with the world. The more I watched BookTube videos, the more I wanted to make videos too, and join the bookish discussion. I’ve always been a fan of YouTube, and it’s one of the reasons why I’m so good at procrastinating, so I’ve always wanted to make videos, but just never really knew what about – until I found BookTube!
How often do you post? Set days?
Stephen: I post once a week as that is the easiest for me while I am still at university. I try to post on Sundays but sometimes assignment deadlines have to take priority and I end up posting the videos a bit later.
Victoria: I try to upload twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but it does vary depending on when I get a chance to film and edit videos, or if I’ve got a review to go up as well.
|Victoria Kennedy from My Books Are Me|
How do you get review copies?
Stephen: I don't actively look to get review copies as I like to spend time thinking about what I am reading when writing a review about it which isn't always possible during the semester. When I do get a review copy it is usually because I was contacted by the author or a publicist and I see with them about either getting a physical copy of the book or the ebook, if I find the book interesting.
Victoria: I get review copies two ways. The first is through my blog, where I have a book review policy for authors to get in contact to see if their book can be reviewed. The second is me contacting publishers about reviewing certain books. A few publishers have added me to their media/blogger list, so I get publicity emails about upcoming books, and if there is something that sounds interesting to me, I request it for review.
How do you pick which books you feature on your channel?
Stephen: The books I talk about on my channel are either books that I really enjoyed or that I find have an interesting message. Sometimes it's just because there is something about a book that fascinates me or irritates me and I want to see what others think.
Victoria: I don’t really pick and choose the books that I feature on my channel. While I read mostly YA books, I do have adult and middle grade books on my shelf, so I like to talk about them too. Even if I know very little about a book and what it’s about, I’ll still mention it in a haul.
Advice for authors who would like to have their books featured?
Stephen: Make sure that the people you are contacting have an interest in the type of book that you would like them to read and potentially feature. If you can see that it isn't the type of book they have talked about so far tell them why you believe they may find it interesting based on what they usually read. If I get a request for review from someone with just the books synopsis and no personal message, I am less lightly to consider the book as it feels like an email that was just copy-pasted, maybe a few hundred times, and I am therefore just a number. Be personal, show interest in the reviewer and their opinion as that is what you are contacting them for.
Victoria: Check my review policy! I list the type of books that I do and don’t read, plus other important information. And don’t be afraid to get in contact if you’re unsure as to whether your book and I are suited. I’m always looking for new books and authors, particularly ones that have flown under the radar in the community. So if this sounds like you and your book, then get in touch!
They gave great answers, didn’t they?
BookTube rocks! Here's why
BookTube is a growing community that encourages reading. It helps readers pick which books to add to their TBR lists. It shows which books are set to become the next big best seller (if a lot of BookTubers are all recommending the same book it’s a good indication that it will be everywhere in the near future). BookTube is therefore also a good way of discovering the new trends in literature.
BookTube is also a gold mine for authors. BookTubers talk about the books they read. They mention what they liked, and maybe even more importantly, didn’t like. Authors can tune into the comments made and use them as pointers when writing their own books. As BookTubers have a reputation for being avid readers, and therefore people who read a LOT of books, if they say they highly recommend your book it holds a lot of weight.
We all know that reviews are important. Having someone do a video review for your book is pure gold. It’s about the most powerful form of word of mouth advertising that you can get online. Even if they just feature your book in a book haul, it gets you precious visibility for your book. Think about it. YouTube is a huge platform by itself. Now add to that that all the videos can be shared on social media, AND embedded into blogs and other websites… pretty awesome right?
There are thousands of BookTubers talking about books on YouTube. Maybe the next book they’ll all be talking about will be yours…