How Reading My Book on YouTube Helps Me as an Aspiring Author
And no, it's not about the money.
I've always been a writer, in some form or another. I submitted my first manuscript at 12, though, Double Day turned it down. But it wasn't until recently that I started actually putting more effort into becoming an author...at 44 years old.
I suppose part of what lit a fire under me is that my mother and sister both have their first novels published with more on the way.
And even though I am an excellent freelance writer and have been creating content for clients for nearly 10 years, it pales in comparison to the satisfaction I'd receive by having something of my own published.
Then again, I would have to finish a project before that would even happen.
Hence part of why I started reading my work-in-progress on YouTube. It's a bit different from the videos I have on the channel. But, it's come with several key benefits.
Why YouTube Videos?
I started my YouTube channel back in 2018. At first, I wanted to use the videos to augment the blog posts. By embedding the videos into the articles, I can give visitors a choice to either read or watch the content.
Essentially, I teach people how to do what I do. From using content mills to self-publishing, I try to cover it all when it comes to writing.
A fellow YouTube creator wanted to collaborate with me, and his channel is all about book readings. Needless to say, it piqued my interest. In February of 2021, I decided to do a few readings of my own work.
At the moment, they get about the same amount of views and engagement as the other videos. So, I figured it was worthwhile to keep them going.
Every Saturday night, I publish a new episode of a novel I am writing on Wattpad. By the way, I use Wattpad for fan fiction so I don't get sued.
What kind of benefits does making these videos have for me as an author?
Finding All Kinds of Mistakes
First of all, editing your own work is a pain. This is true whether you're cranking out a novel or writing a WordPress tutorial. The way your brain works when it comes to writing is the reason why editors exist.
That's because when it's fresh in your mind, your brain thinks it's already correct.
However, reading it aloud during a recording separates that aspect. It's one of the reasons why many experts tell you to read content out loud while proofreading.
Grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors are more apparent as you're processing what you're reading to speak it aloud.
Does the Tale Flow Well?
Another aspect that comes with reading books on YouTube is getting a feel for the flow of the tale. It's all about getting the audience to visualize what you're writing.
Is it confusing? Do certain things need clarification? Is this sentence too long-winded? These are all questions you can answer when hearing your own voice read the tale back to you.
Then, getting feedback from viewers is always a bonus. Because then, I can make adjustments for the next episode.
This is when understanding the difference between a troll and a critic comes in handy. Luckily, this is a skill I developed long ago while writing for clients.
Fans Are Keeping Me Accountable
One of the biggest reasons why my mom and sister published their books before me is because I have an issue with completion. I start a lot of projects, but then I never finish.
Sure, I'm wicked fast when it comes to creating content for a client. After all, they're paying me. But when it comes to my own creative works, I suffer from laziness with a dash of impostor syndrome.
And that's a tale for another time.
The bottom line is that I have a handful of viewers who eagerly await every episode on YouTube. They keep me accountable to keep writing and uploading the content.
Because I don't want them to unsubscribe, obviously.
When you're working from home as a freelancer or novelist, you're only really accountable to yourself. Outside of a client, you have no real "boss" to stand over your shoulder making sure the work is done.
It's all on you.
Do I Make Any Money from My Book?
Unfortunately, my YouTube channel isn't monetized. I just don't have the 4,000 hours of watch time for the YouTube Partnership Program. But, I'm close.
So, at this moment, no, I don't make any money from my book on YouTube.
In a few months, I'll have enough hours to join the YPP and start making money from AdSense. Then, I'll make that mad YouTube ad money ranging in the $10 per month area.
Until then, I'll keep entertaining viewers as best I can. When it's done, perhaps I'll make a bit of money from actually selling the book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
My point of all this is how reading my own works on YouTube has helped me stay focused while producing some great work. Well, at least I and a few others think so.
In fact, I enjoy making them so much that I plan on doing several books on YouTube before publishing them in paperback.
It's funny, really. I went from making videos about freelance writing to entertaining a handful of people with fantasy tales. You never know where a blog or YouTube channel will take you over the years.
I just hope I can still keep up with my audience.