I opened up a YouTube account over 7 years ago to do vlogs, book reviews, and talk about writing topics. Well, just like this blog, I had no focus (or publication credits!) when I started, and I did numerous re-launches of my page. Eventually doing videos just seemed like a drag. It wasn’t fun or productive anymore and I finally had to say, enough is enough. I’m starting over.
Looking over why YouTube didn’t work for me, I came up with 5 main reasons. I think YouTube can work in favor for authors to promote work or get book reviews out in a different medium than written word. Perhaps some insight can be gleaned from the problems I encountered. Here’s my list.
1. My videos were too long.
I tried to cut down my videos, but even short reviews ended up being at least 6 minutes long. I usually hit 7-9 minutes, which is way too long in my opinion. Often I would ramble in the video for 20 minutes before editing and it was taking too much time. For me it's easier to edit a written book review, to get everything I want to say in without rambling. I just never got the hang of it on video. And since I never got it with book reviews I didn’t even attempt to do writing advice videos.
2. Haters gonna hate.
I'm not saying I quit because of the haters. Quite honestly I need all the rehearsal I can get with them as I am a self-published author putting my work out there to be judged. But YouTube is not a site specifically for books, writing, and reviews. I got a lot of senseless traffic on my videos, not even commenting on what I had to say about a book or concept. I had to delete random derogatory terms (I find it amazing how many users get a kick out of leaving one worded comments like "slut" or "bitch" for no reason.) or random comments like "You said you stole this book off your husband's shelf, I can't believe he even did you let along married you." or the ever direct "You're ugly." The best one I ever got was "I don't want to have sex with you.”
(Side rant: I noticed nearly all these random comments had to do with telling me I was unattractive/not sex-worthy. I hate to say that in 2013 that something as stupid as YouTube comments are contributing to a society that is anti-woman. But seriously, putting women down for voicing their opinion by going after their looks has been around since the Victorian era, get a new gimmick. Rant over.)
I can completely understand getting heated over your favorite books. But all the other stuff that had nothing to do with anything was really getting old. I love goodreads because at least the drama that breaks out there is about the topic at hand and not anonymous trolls lurking around with nothing productive to say.
3. I thought about getting more views instead of bettering my content.
I reviewed books that I thought would get views, not necessarily books I liked or wanted to talk about after I read them. Since my heart wasn't in it, making the reviews was no fun and after awhile I just kept putting it off. When I did do videos, the content wasn't as good because it seemed like a chore to get views rather than something I was doing to spread news about good books.
4. I have nothing new to say about popular fiction.
It's great that I decided to discuss Chopin's “The Awakening,” but really, I have nothing new to say about the classics. My interest in discussing fiction rests in contemporary fiction and young adult fiction that features disabled characters. Other than that, I would most likely discuss non-fiction. I think I was trying to emulate other book reviewers instead of being true to myself. Which goes along with #3… if you’re heart is not into it, you’re going to fail.
5. Writing reviews is sometimes better than recording them.
I fell behind in my book reviews on YouTube because most of the time I just wanted to write the reviews. I think some reviews are better typed while others would be fine on video. Same with discussing writing topics. Instead of doing both I held myself to the video format and ended up neglecting many reviews that I should have written instead. If you start making videos, understand that not every review/topic will make a good video. Don’t overlook other mediums just because you make videos.
So, there it is. Am I done making videos? Nope, not at all. I can post videos directly to my blogs and I am interested in looking into the goodreads video posting feature. I have many new ideas and now that I'm being true to what I want to discuss the videos will help instead of hinder my online presence and the way I interact with others online and via social media.
I suppose quitting YouTube was a lot like my decision to Self-Publish. The platform YouTube offers is vast, but I was swept away in everything that went with it. By focusing my goals and intentions I can get my content out there to those I mean to get it to. Though the audience is potentially smaller, it is more effective for what I am working at accomplishing.