Author Topic: My AuthorTube Experience  (Read 2008 times)


My AuthorTube Experience
« on: January 15, 2019, 02:59:43 AM »
Hey everyone, I decided recently to launch an author channel in an attempt to get the word out about my books, who I am, etc etc. I found other threads (here and abroad) that boiled down to, "Noooooo! Are ye daft?!" But... I thought I'd try it anyway.

Executive summary: NOOOOOO! Don't do it! Are ye daft?!

TL;DR: Daft!

Please note that I am not trolling for hits/minutes to the point of not passing along the channel link.

I have learned quickly that I'm terrible at following my own best advice. Here's something I used to flog when I did business blogging back in the aughts:

"Businesses don't like doing anything that cannot be directly tied to revenue."

This is the knock against making author videos. (Not the same as book trailers.) A cursory search for "Author" or "AuthorTube" on YouTube filtered to "uploaded this month" reveals that 200 views is practically viral. The average seems to be around 15. I went from 10 to 6 to 0 over 3 videos. I did allow time for people to click/discover them after socializing the channel via various means but it's not moving the needle.

Meanwhile, that's time not spent writing, editing, producing, launching, or editing books for actual sale. I'm leaving the channel up for posterity but I don't consider this to be a worthwhile use of my limited time. Call me a quitter, but I feel justified.

Have you had success using YouTube to promote your books or raise your profile?


Re: My AuthorTube Experience
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2019, 03:24:23 AM »
Lol, that's what I found out, but I can make videos talking about books when it's release time and use them on blog tours, send them to my list, etc. I had a giveaway last time and one of the entries was subscribing to my channel, so I have a handful of subscribers (terrible compared to any decent Youtube metrics).

That said, I also decided AuthorTube is not for me, and I agree, 200 views is viral for this type of video. And it's not that I'm doing it just for views or that I'm expecting great success, but really, if I'm going to talk to nobody I might as well talk to myself in front of the mirror.  :hehe

I think I'll still make videos when it's release time, though.

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Post-Crisis D

Re: My AuthorTube Experience
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2019, 03:54:57 AM »
Three videos over the span of two weeks is not going to move any needles unless you have a celebrity guest or something.  Additionally, the titles don't have major keywords people are searching for or anything to draw people in.  Same goes for the descriptions.  You also don't have incoming links; from what I can see, you only linked to the first video in your blog and didn't create new blog posts with links to new videos.  I see you linked to them from your Facebook page, but you only have 21 followers and probably most of those people never saw the links unless you paid for promoted posts.

Did you look at the Analytics on your videos?  What was the audience retention for the people who did view your videos?  Did they watch the whole thing or not?  Where did you lose them?

You also had no posting consistency.  You posted videos on the 1st, 6th and 12th of the month.  That's a Tuesday, Sunday and then a Saturday.  There's absolutely no consistency there.  Nothing reliable.  The recommended minimum is one video per week, but you should drop those videos on the same day each week for consistency.

Was there a plan for the channel beyond hoping to sell more books?  What content did you plan to offer that would attract an audience?  That would attract readers?  What was the plan to differentiate the channel from all the other author channels out there?  Did you interact with any other content creators on YouTube?  Preferably creators outside the author circles and preferably creators who reach audiences of people likely to want to read your books?

Do you know your ideal reader?  What are their interests?  What information could your channel provide that would draw them in and retain them?  You're going to have to hold an audience for longer than three videos to be likely to make sales.

If you don't want to do videos, that's fine.  If you don't think they're worth your time, there's nothing wrong with that.  I don't mean to sound harsh but your experience is not a "knock against making author videos."  It's a knock against going into the process without sufficient planning.
Mulder: "If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above."
The X-Files: "Blood"
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Re: My AuthorTube Experience
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2019, 04:04:56 AM »
Dan, I agree with you. Youtube requires persistence, consistency, and quality, and the results come with time. The results really come, Youtube is amazing.

That said, the issue is that when you look at most author youtube channels, the number of views is terrible, just terrible. If you look for author related keywords, it's really bad. But of course, right? If the channels are about writing, only other writers watch them.

I still think Youtube can be great for a Booktube channel or for a channel on popular media. I participate in a Youtube channel and I love it. I just think that AuthorTube specifically is a terrible niche for Youtube.


Re: My AuthorTube Experience
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2019, 04:20:36 AM »
You posted videos on the 1st, 6th and 12th of the month.

Who told you that? Sorcery! Hacking! GUAAARDS!  :icon_mrgreen:

More seriously, good points all around. Maybe I'm just having a case of the Mondays.


Re: My AuthorTube Experience
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2019, 05:25:05 AM »
Having a successful youtube channel is more about of the personality of the presenter. What are you doing to make your videos entertaining or interesting? If you're just some random person trying to bring attention to your books it's not going to work.


Re: My AuthorTube Experience
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2019, 02:26:06 AM »
YouTube's algorithms are a beast, but from what I understand, it all depends on views and how frequently you release videos. The more views you get, the more traction you get from Youtube, which gets you even more views. They also want people returning to their website, so posting frequently is a huge plus.

As far as an author on youtube, I think the success depends on your personality, what you're presenting, and how you're presenting it. For authors, I think the best content to have is practical advice. I recently went from Excel and Word as my tools of choice to using Scrivener. The more I used it, the more I wanted to do with it, so I looked up some "how-to" videos. Those videos tended to have a pretty good view count.

Writing advice videos do fairly well, too, but there are literally thousands of those, so you have to stand out somehow. I occasionally watch a channel called Terrible Writing Advice and they have 200,000+ subscribers and their views can get up to a million, but they present their stuff in cartoon form and obviously giving the advice in the opposite form.

So, it just depends on what you want to do with your channel. Talk about yourself and you books, don't expect a ton of views. I have a friend who was a fairly successful self-published author who was picked up by a traditional publisher who wanted her to start a youtube channel. Her other socials have thousands of followers, but her youtube videos never crack three digit views because there's no real substance to them. She talks about her books or announces if she had a giveaway, but there's nothing there to keep bringing viewers back and that won't even make a blip on Youtube's algorithms.

If you want your channel to be a viable source of advertising and income, as you said, you'll have to take a lot of time away from actually writing.
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Re: My AuthorTube Experience
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2019, 02:56:02 AM »
If you want your channel to be a viable source of advertising and income, as you said, you'll have to take a lot of time away from actually writing.

Ay, there's the rub.

I semi-apologize for posting this thread, but I figure I can't be alone in wondering if YT is a good brand awareness exercise vs. do anything else that isn't so time and resource intensive. Consider: I'm guessing upgrading my video setup could make the overall content much better, with flashy SFX and frenetic jump cuts. But I did take a huge step back and ask myself what I wanted to get out of the experience. Video views don't necessarily translate to page reads or book sales. I erred on the side of the great marketing advice from Dr. Hannibal Lecter: People covet the things they see every day. I wanted another avenue for people to have exposure to my work.

I'm not going to throw YT out with the bathwater but I can see this isn't the best outlet for my ambitions. The writing always needs to be first. It just sucks when I'm playing to empty seats in any form. Oh well, it's early days yet, on the geological scale of things.