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How to use YouTube as part of your author platform

Last spring, we talked about the importance of social media for indie writers and how you can use Instagram to build and engage with your (younger) fan base. Today, we’re going to look at an even bigger platform: YouTube.

While you may not initially think of YouTube when making a mental list of the social media platforms that could help you reach possible readers (perhaps simply because it’s a place where people watch rather than read) millions of people have shared and watched others share their opinion on products of all sorts, from make-up to cooking utensils to books. Just to give you a visual: if you search for “book review,” YouTube would present you with over six million different options. The most-watched review has almost 2.5 million views. So how can you profit from this massive platform? Try one—or all—of these three ways:

1. Ask Book Club channels to include your book

YouTube has over thirty-three thousand book club channels. Moreover, one of the biggest stars on YouTube, Zoe Suggs (better known by her YouTube channel’s name Zoella), just started her own book club. Of course, a YouTuber like Zoella, with as many as eleven million subscribers, is out of most self-publishing authors' reach, but there are many smaller channels who you can get in contact with. And as many YouTubers’ lives consist of and revolve around the Internet, you could probably just send them an e-book, which would save you money. 

2. Offer YouTubers and YouTube Book Clubs books they can use in a giveaway

Just like you, YouTubers are always trying to expand their audience and engage with their followers. A great way for them to do this is to have a giveaway. Try to reach out to different YouTubers and Book Clubs and offer them one or two free copies on the condition that they use them for their next giveaway. Everyone loves free stuff, right?

3. Start your own YouTube channel

For those of you who want to become even more active, you could also consider starting your very own channel. You won’t be the first author to do so: amongst others, John Green, author of the critically acclaimed novel Faults in Our Stars, and Lindsay Cummings, author of NYT bestseller Zenith, already created a personal channel. Like them, you could post vlogs about (for example) any events relating to your book, give advice to aspiring authors, or read a chapter from your book. You could also organise your own giveaways: give away a copy of your book, a signed bookmark, or even an Amazon gift card.

Want to read more about how YouTube can help authors sell more books? Check out this article by ABC:
How authors are selling books on YouTube