Happy one-year booktubiversary to me!
It’s been one year since I’ve started my booktube adventure, making YouTube videos about my latest reads and book recommendations. Time has flown by. But at the same time, I feel like I’ve been doing it longer. Can we count booktube years like we do dog years?
I’m by no means an expert at this point. Many long-time booktubers can attest that their material at one year in versus now is light years apart. But I have learned a few things along the way so far. Here are some pearls of wisdom I’ve picked up.
#1: It’s a lot of fun.
That sounds kind of butt-kissing and generic, right? But it’s true! Talking about books with a community of like-minded people has been a lot of fun.
There’s a oft-voiced criticism that booktube only has YA promoters. My response:
There is a kernel of truth to that. The major players, the ones who have gobs of subscribers, are indeed mostly young adults themselves, talking about YA books. That’s okay, too. If it helps get young people excited about reading, go for it!
It’s also an untrue generalization. I’ve found lots of booktubers who talk about other genres. Science fiction, romance, horror, literary fiction – it’s all here, and the booktubers are fabulous and (mostly) friendly. Even when I don’t agree with someone’s review, I still enjoy hearing it and getting that different point of view. Diversity in people, diversity in book genres; it’s a great community.
I always feel weird and antisocial when I talk about making friends via the internet (maybe because I am, in fact, weird and antisocial), but I genuinely feel like I’ve made friends in the booktube community. Especially doing the 12 Days of Litmas challenge created by Adrian at Stripped Cover Lit at the end of 2017. I met and found support in some WONDERFUL booktubers through that challenge.
#2: Pimpin’ ain’t easy.
When I went into this, I did a lot of research. A. Lot. Of. Research.
There is a good-sized audience for this type of content. What I didn’t take into account was that many people with crazy-high subscriber counts have been doing this for years. Yes, there are booktubers who have that magnetic X factor and can amass huge subscriber counts seemingly overnight. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people.
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t expect to magically grow my viewership without the hard work. I just didn’t expect it to be quite this hard.
Growing my channel has been a sloooooooow burn. For a long time (and even sometimes now), I’d rarely get more than 15 views on a given video. I understand those booktube newbies who put out a few videos then give up hope. It sometimes felt like yelling into a black hole. “Helloooooo?”
I can’t say that I’ve come out on the other side with great success yet. I’m still relatively new to this compared to others, and I’m willing to put in my time and work. Adjusting my expectations has helped. Instead of feeling alone in this or bemoaning my low subscriber count, I’m really cherishing the connections I’ve built so far.
Sincerely, I am so grateful for every subscriber, every comment, every fellow booktuber, heck, every person who accidentally stumbles across one of my videos. If you’re reading this, please accept my humble thanks with the understanding that the mere word “thanks” can’t fully express the depth of my feelings.
If you’re new, don’t lose hope. You’ve got this, and your voice matters.
#3: Words are hard.
Let’s lighten this up a bit. Here’s a shocking confession that’s not at all shocking to those who know me personally: I cuss. A lot.
Holding back the curse words has been a real challenge for me on booktube, but I’ve made the effort for one main reason: I want to be accessible to everyone. I’m not childish and g-rated (and neither are young people and non-cussers), but I don’t want to deny them entry to my channel.
During my research, I saw that a good portion of the booktube community is pretty young, so I didn’t want to shut them off. Thinking about myself in high school (which was QUITE a while back, way way before booktube), I was reading those same adult books that I do now. Being able to pull up a video on said book would have been pretty cool.
So, in the interest of being fully accessible, I watch my language. But, wow, is it difficult sometimes.
And now, the bloopers! I’m REALLY good at making a fool of myself and just dorky enough to be okay with it. Stick around to the end of the video to see some outtakes.
Thanks again for a wonderful year and booktubiversary. I’m looking forward to many more.