Have you ever uploaded a video to YouTube? Do you have your own channel yet? I’m sure you’ve watched a few videos by now, even if it was only to catch up on those Strictly dances … like that amazing Jay and Aliona jive? YouTube is growing all the time, with many authors using it to grow and improve their platforms and reach. Here are some tips to help you do the same.

What’s great about video is its immediacy. Readers love to see a different side of their favourite authors, and via video you can connect in a way you can’t manage with the written word. Likewise, video is a fantastic medium for sharing your thoughts and feelings with that all-important personal touch. You can ‘show’ not ‘tell’ – taking readers on a tour of locations in your books, for example, or showing them where you work. And video can also be utilized for more practical purposes – like using screen capture software to produce ‘How To’ tutorials. More on that in a minute …

Youtube thumbnail

I’ve spent a bit of time updating my YouTube channel recently, primarily by adding custom thumbnails (like the one above) to most of my existing content. This helps with branding, making your videos stand out in the other video listings and giving potential viewers an idea of what you’re all about. You can have a look at the rest of my videos on my channel here. Incidentally, I made the thumbnail image, along with my YouTube artwork and all the new artwork and graphics on the blog with Canva – and I’ll be posting a short How To video on YouTube soon explaining exactly how you can use Canva to do all this kind of stuff. You can subscribe to the channel if you don’t want to miss that, or just watch out on here for the link.

Other tips for making your YouTube channel brilliant include:

  • Upload your own cover art, making sure that the key images will show on all the various devices. YouTube gives you chance to check this when you upload.
  • Add tags, which work like keywords, but remember they don’t only affect where you show up in searches – they also affect which other videos are ‘attached’ to yours. For example, one of my vlogs relates to me having a haircut, and this was listed in the tags. Linked to my video was loads of how to videos for clippering 😉 Not exactly relevant content …
  • Make your thumbnail striking to look at, but also think about how it will work with your title. You could give each video a similar thumbnail for continuity and branding, or a distinctly different one that works with the title of the video to entice viewers.

Something I really enjoyed about going back though all my old content on YouTube was watching the videos going way back to September 2012, when I filmed my very first vlog post! That’s three and a half years ago! It made me feel very old :/ I watched them all, trying to pick my favourite to share on here with you today. There are four ‘Excited author opens a new box of books’ videos, a number of vlog posts, a reading of The Family Trap, and even a video of me signing along to Jolene. (Oh, dear!) But, after much consideration, here is my personal favourite from my new, rebranded YouTube channel.

Four boxes! It made me smile, watching this again, because that was June 2014 and I’ve only just offloaded the very last of those books! I ordered too many, needless to say 😉

I couldn’t leave you without going back to that YouTube classic – Jay and Aliona. Come on, YouTube is wonderful for promoting our books, and sharing How To videos, and watching clips of cute kittens and whatever else floats your boat, but this is the stuff that keeps me hooked. Take it away, Jay …