It can be hard for books to get attention online. After all, they’re purely written content, and the darling of the internet is streaming. So, how do you harness the power of streamed content to get your name – and your book’s name – to the masses?
Breaking into BookTube
BookTube is the bookworm’s corner of YouTube. Although you can host videos other places around the internet, YouTube remains one of the easiest to use – and it comes with its own audience. If you run a separate blog, it’s easy to post on YouTube and embed the link in a blog post. You have an opportunity to reach two distinct audiences that way as well as drawing viewers through YouTube to your written content.
BookTube is full of book reviews, writing advice, and stories read aloud. Even vlogging about your writing lifestyle belongs in this niche. It’s a communal approach to streamed content, and to get the most out of it you should engage with other writers on YouTube, leaving comments on their videos, referencing them in your own work, etc.
The advantage of BookTube is the relative informality and range of content you can make. All you need is a camera, mic, and basic editing software. Since most computers come with a camera and mic (and you can get basic editing software for free), you don’t have to invest much besides a bit of a time. The drawback is that BookTube leans into social media’s pace, and to develop a following you’ll need to make regular, frequent content.
Book Trailers and Aesthetic Vids
Although you can find these kinds of videos around BookTube, they do not fit under the vlog umbrella and deserve separate discussion.
Books rely on the theater of the mind, but the theater of the mind doesn’t provide great visual content online. That’s where book trailers and aesthetic videos come into play. Book trailers are exactly what they sound like. You create a trailer for your book. Usually, these trailers don’t feature voice acting. They rely on clever visuals, a little writing, and enticing music. Aesthetic videos do the same thing as a trailer, but they focus on the feel and look of the world rather than the plot.
These take much more time to edit than a vlog. They also require more financial investment. You’ll need better video editing software, probably some sound editing tools, and even subscriptions to stock video providers. Why do you need to pay for stock video? While there are more and more public domain photo providers, high quality video usually sits behind a paywall. And just borrowing clips from your favorite television series and films is a good way to have your content taken down. You may even invite legal drama if your work is particularly successful.
But this type of content is worth it. A great book trailer draws an audience who wants the story you’re telling. They want to sink into the world you build, and a video serves as a shortcut to engagement.
There is a livestreaming niche for everyone and everything. This includes writers. While the cost of setting up a streaming rig (multiple software products, a good camera, a better mic, and a computer that can handle it all) puts most of us off, some brave souls have made livestreaming into a wonderful audience engagement tool. Even authors with relatively small audiences can engage with fans while playing games, discussing cultural writing trends, or just sipping tea and talking shop.
The drawback is that livestreams are best when they are fresh and twitching, you know – live. While archived content will still get some attention, it’s most potent when the audience gets to engage.
Podcasts bring your voice to the masses. Literally. It’s a fun alternative for those who aren’t comfortable staring at their own face while editing, and the informal format makes podcasts easy to tailor to your unique style. They lack the visual pull of videos, and they usually require better microphones, but podcasts continue to grow in popularity, and they archive well.
Have you tried making book trailers? Do you have any experience participating in a podcast? What streaming content do you most enjoy from other writers? Share your thoughts below!