I’m not sure if I’ve touched on this before, but since I wrote two blogs last week and almost forgot to write one this week because of it, I suppose I need to say SOMETHING! Ahem. So let’s talk about something I’ve been wondering about for a while.
I have at least one friend (Denise is going to get tired of me using her as an example one of these days) who puts video blogs (or vlogs, as the kids call them these days) up on Youtube I believe every week. She talks about books and writing and all kids of interesting things. I don’t watch as much as I should, but I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen on her channel. She’s creative and engaging, animated and interesting throughout. And being the Youtube nut that I am, there’s a part of me that really wants to get into that world.
But…I don’t know…what to do.
I live-vlogged (kinda) my NaNoWriMo experience several years ago, putting up one vlog a day for the most part all month long. I had a blast with it, and I’ve kinda missed making videos ever since. I had some nice interaction with my fellow Wrimos on Youtube, and it was rewarding to see people having conversations in the comments. I enjoyed editing my videos, enjoyed talking about things I loved, enjoyed the whole process. But outside of NaNoWriMo, I’ve never known how to return.
Seeing Denise gives me an idea, but I don’t want to be the author who goes “oh hey, I’ll just do what she’s doing” and be a carbon copy with a new face Photoshopped on. That’s not cool, and no good for anyone involved. But how do I get started?
I find I have the same issue when job searching, something I’ve become intimately familiar with over the past year or so. Everyone is looking for 3-5 years experience. You need to get a job in the industry to get the experience, but in order to get in you need the experience. It’s a vicious cycle that I can’t find a solution to. What happened to the truly “entry-level” jobs? Or, if I do find a job they consider entry-level, it’s paying a pittance–certainly not enough to live off of. I’ve never gotten far into the living wage argument, but I know full well that on $8/hr, I’m not going to be able to afford my rent, let alone my car insurance…phone bill…let alone my student loans when they kick in. (Oh lord, the student loans…)
So where does an entry-level Youtuber start? How do you get into a community as large as YouTube and try to make a place for yourself? Even with as tech-forward as us millennials are, most of us haven’t properly learned how to market oneself to the world, especially not in a tech format such as this. (Honestly, a life skills course senior year of high school that taught how to do your taxes, how to write a resume, what to look for when applying for a house/apartment/etc, effective money management strategies, et al would be GREAT.) Most of the people on the site that I look up to have either been doing this for ages and so have outdated strategies, or are working in different formats and have specific audiences to target. (For example: Philip DeFranco is a very popular news commentator, I suppose you’d call him–but he’s been making the Philip DeFranco Show for something like ten years now. How he started is not how I can. Alternately, people like Markiplier and JackSepticEye are video game Let’s Players, and as such have the in of the gaming community. If I search The Escapists or Five Nights at Freddy’s, I’m going to find those two, without needing to know their names.)
Now sure, can I just focus on popular books, see who’s coming out and when, and try to do something that way? Sure. It won’t feel authentic, but I could. And besides, I don’t necessarily come to YouTube for book reviews–though I don’t know if I’m the minority on that or not. I don’t know. It’s a strange new world out there in many ways, and I just want to find a way through it all.
So what do you guys think? Is there a place for me on YouTube? What should I talk about? How do I get involved with the book people on there? (The book people. Sounds like it belongs in Fahrenheit 451, pfft.) Lemme know. I’d love to find a way back into videos.