Welcome to Booktube 

Recently I’ve taken the plunge and joined Youtube. It’s something I’d always thought about doing and originally I was going to film my reviews and book related pieces rather than write them. But confidence got in the way a lot and instead I struck out into the book reviewing world as a blogger instead of a vlogger. To be completely honest I’m really glad I did. I love my blog and (don’t panic) it’s definitely not going anywhere! It’s still going to be updated just as often, the only difference is that I now have a YouTube channel to support my blog for the things I’d like to talk about rather than write about. 


So I wanted to write a little bit about my bokktubing experience so far. It’s very early days so this in no way a ‘how to booktube’ post or even a post from someone who is highly experienced in Booktube. That said, as a newbie I think I can offer some (hopefully) helpful information about what starting a booktube channel involves, and what to expect from the early days. 


The first thing any new Booktuber needs to think about is what they’re going to use to film. Now, I spent literally weeks after first deciding I was going to start a channel, just looking at different cameras. It was scary. There are literally so many cameras out there, and most of the ones which other more experienced youtubers recommend are either really pricey, or discontinued so you can only get them secondhand, and they’re still not cheap. I was literally obsessed looking at different makes and models and petrified at spending so much money on a project which might not even take off. Basically, I think there’s things which are worth spending money on for Booktube in the beginning and things that aren’t but I’ll get to that later. 


Anyway, in the end I thought to myself, well I actually have a perfectly good piece of camera equipment in my pocket. My phone. So I did some research and looked into how it would work to create a YouTube video on my phone and what little adjustments I’d need to make, and I ended up with the following: 

These do come with variable prices for different phones. Both the Olloclip Lens and the Gorilla tripod were both more expensive for me because they’re were the + versions for my phone. But you get the jist for just under £140 I had all the equipment needed to film. The Olloclip comes with both; ‘Wide’ & ‘fisheye’ lens’ and an external mic is a must because the IPhone’s own built in Mic gets a horrible clicking sound in the background when you film directly on there. 


Once I had all the equipment I had to think about what I needed to film. Now this is essentially where I went wrong, and where I hope I can prevent future Booktubers from going wrong when they post their first video. I spent a minimum amount of time watching other booktubers, all of which were huge with thousands of subscribers and looked at what they did that worked. With that in mind I decided to do a bookshelf tour straight away. Viewers seemed to love them and I thought it would be loads of fun. Wrong. 


I didn’t do a practice video first. I got straight into it. I was sat at my dining room table with my tiny bookshelf behind me, my roots looked bad, my shelves were untidy and I had absolutely no idea about how time consuming it was going to be, both to film and edit the whole thing. What I ended up with was a poor quality video in bad lighting, touring my totally boring looking shelves and having no idea what to talk about. It’s cringe but I can’t bear to take it down because it literally took so long to make! 

So for my second video I decided to make some improvements. I went to the salon and got my hair cut and coloured to improve my appearance. I also finally got round to buying some good decent shelves which for anyone who is interested are the Billy bookshelves in white from Ikea and cost me around £192 plus delivery. I also bought some really neat accessories for my shelves including several Pop figurines to go with my books. I upgraded my books which were loooking a bit tatty to newer, sleeker looking versions and bought some new books to fill the new shelf space I had. Now this is not something I recommend as being cost effective or advise to do in order to make your channel more appealing. I only did this because I’d wanted to do it for ages anyway and I finally had the spare cash and the motivation to get off my butt and upgrade my shelves. This was then the end result: 


But my second video was almost as unsuccessful as the first. I decided to do reviews of some of the books I’d read that week which were ARCs from Netgalley. This video was moderately more successful mainly because one of the authors I was reviewing shared the link. But video quality was still not great and I still wasn’t confident behind the camera, basically because I still didn’t know what I was doing. 

What I had been doing wrong all along was not doing my research properly. I’d been so excited to jump in that I’d just tried to do what I thought would work while only viewing a couple of videos from really big booktubers and presuming I could do the same. Wrong again. 

So I took that time. I watched and subscribed to lots of booktubers. Not just the big ones but others as well. I watched helpful videos like Hailey in Bookland’s How to Booktube: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DZjsh49YNa0

Then I set about making my #booktubenewbietag video. It’s a video tag originally created by Brenda C which gets you to answer 10 questions about yourself, your reading habits and what you can bring to Booktube. It was really fun to film and I think that’s a big part of why it’s being so successful so far (I’ll come to that part later). Previously, I hadn’t really enjoyed making my videos because they’d taken a lot of time, I was uncomfortable, I didn’t really know what to say or how to act and the whole thing came across as tired, boring and worst of all forced. My boyfriend said to me; ‘you need to get your personality out there’ but I didn’t know how. This video and watching other videos really helped with that. Answering questions allowed my genuine enthusiasm for books to emerge and suddenly everything clicked. I took advantage of the natural light on my white shelves, moved the camera closer to my face and voila it’s surprising what a difference that made! 


Within 24 hours my Booktube newbie tag video has 65 views, 27 comments and 6 likes. Not to mention my channel as a whole has 6 new subscribers. Maybe this doesn’t sound a lot but for someone just starting out on Booktube I’m really pleased with those stats which have tripled what I got on my first two videos. But most importantly I was finally having fun doing it and that’s what it all comes down to. 

On Wednesday I’ll be launching my March Book Haul video which I hope will go on to be just as succesful if not more. 

I hope this post has been helpful for those who are thinking of joining youtube as any sort of vlogger. You can watch any of the videos I’ve made by visiting my channel https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCs0_TWR_r0SPVlVdT7UV9hg 

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