Beyond Book Trailers: 4 YouTube Strategies For Authors


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By Anna Patrick, Digital Publicist and Social Media Strategist


“Booktubers.” A foreign word to some, but for the savvy author it’s a monicker that can’t be ignored – readers and the media alike have YouTube on their radar, because video hasn’t even come close to killing the star author. Especially when you consider that YouTube is the second largest search engine, right behind Google, and is owned by Google.

Many times we hear from the media that writing a book “isn’t enough” on its own, and that an author’s platform and visibility, both online and offline, are the keys to gaining media coverage.

So creating a YouTube channel is a way to attract more media attention while simultaneously making your own coverage, and to further leverage yourself as an expert on your subject matter through your content. Consider YouTube an extension of your brand beyond your book.

John Green is an excellent example of YouTube done right for authors.

We launched our MEDIA CONNECT YouTube yesterday, which will eventually showcase our authors’ media clips among other things, and it made me think about the ways in which each author can each use their own YouTube channels to further our publicity work together. The following four strategies can help achieve that:

Post something different. While book trailers are great, and a successful marketing tool when done right, as we discussed in a pervious blog post, it’s also important to vary your content as you would on any other social media platform.

Videos ideas can include: a 30-second clip of you reading a particularly telling passage from your book, doing a 5-minute fan FAQ where you answer popular questions from readers, clips from your past media appearances, a vlog (video blog) of your writing process, or even a short tour of your writing room to give readers a deeper sense of who you are. It’s important to keep in mind, too, that 2 and a half minutes is the average time on YouTube when users start to move on to the next video.

These videos can also be cross-promoted via Facebook, Twitter, and your other platforms. For example, a tweet could read: “Don’t miss my 30-second read [insert shortened YouTube video link].


Create an interactive experience for your readers. This involves multiple social platforms, or at the very least Twitter (or Facebook) in addition to YouTube.

Two weeks before a specific date and time that you have selected, a date and time that is on target with your most popular traffic times on social media, invite readers to tune into your YouTube channel to join you as you either finish writing a particular chapter of your book, or as you answer reader questions about a particular chapter of your already-published book.┬áInvite followers to use a specific hashtag, like “#(your name)Live” to tweet responses or questions.

Using YouTube Live at the decided upon date, run a live video stream of you at your desk, either writing and pausing to answer reader questions, or going through #YourNameLive questions. If you’re streaming yourself as you write, pause to ask readers questions about things you’re stuck on with the plot or characters. If you’re streaming yourself answering questions, make it conversational and include the name of the person who asked the question – this entices asking questions for social media exposure as well as creates a sense of intimacy.


Add links in your description bar to your website (or the book website) and the Amazon link. Whether your video is a 30-second clip or a 5-minute video, always include those main links in your description bar beneath 1-2 sentences of a description of your video. It can also help to include an email address for book inquiries, so that potential reviewers know how they can contact you or your publicist for a review copy or more information.


Choose your tags wisely. Tags are essentially keywords that help others find your videos on YouTube. When you’re planning your tags, think: what will viewers type into the YouTube search bar to find my video? Those are the words you should enter in as individual tags.

Include: your name, your book title, your book’s genre, and any relevant keywords such as the location where your book takes place if it’s a popular city, or any common theme or element that might stick out.

Pro tip: when you’re using your book title or your name as a tag, include both correct spellings and misspellings. For example, while my name is Anna Patrick I might also choose to include the tag Ana Patrick, foreseeing any search pitfalls that could befall potential viewers. Using keywords in your title is also important for maximum visibility.



Related: Book Trailers Blaze Across Screens of Potential Readers: Do They Flame or Fizzle?


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