Hi folks! I hope you’ve all been enjoying the reviews I’ve been posting lately. I’m thrilled to introduce to you Katie, a fellow writer and book vlogger from the hugely popular ‘Books and Things’ YouTube channel, to discuss vlogging, trolls, tags, all things book-related, and what literary character she would most like to be. Without further ado, here is the interview- hope you all like it!
1. Hello Katie, and welcome to the Fairy Dust Book Blog! For those not familiar with your YouTube channel, Books and Things, could you please introduce yourself and/or your YouTube channel?
Hello Eleanor! I’m Katie. I work in publishing and I love reading, writing and talking about books. I have a Booktube channel, Books and Things, where I regularly post videos on all manner of bookish things. I mostly spend my internet time talking rapidly about the Victorians, but there is also sometimes a bit of literary fiction, fantasy or sci-fi thrown in.
2. What are the benefits of vlogging [i.e. ‘video-blogging’]?
I’ve found Booktube really rewarding, and while there are many book blogs I love to read, I watch a lot more Booktube than I read book blogs. There are two main reasons for this. One is the added element you get by watching something. When you watch Booktube, you can see someone’s excitement about a book, hear in their voice how much they love it. I know that I find it much easier to express myself and my feelings on a book through vlogging than writing. It’s also great, when watching Booktube videos, to actually see the books people are speaking about. Books are not just the stories within them – they’re also physical objects, often ones of great beauty.
The main benefit of Booktube for me is the community. Booktube is a brilliant, active, engaging community, a wonderful corner of the internet full of people from all over the world who love reading. There is so much more interaction than I have found with book blogging, be this in Youtube comments or on Twitter. It’s much easier to get to know other content creators, and for people to get to know you, when it’s in video form. And with all of Booktube being on Youtube, in one place, it’s easy to find other Booktubers, and easy to interact with other people. People comment on each other’s videos, subscribe to each other, read books together, become friends. I have met up with a lot of people in real life who I met online through Booktube. Three of my Booktube friends and I all now read a Thomas Hardy book a month together, and chat about it online, speaking regularly even though we all live in different countries. Because of Booktube, I’ve made friends all over the world.
3. What are the downsides (if any) to vlogging?
Like anything you do on the internet, there are always the trolls, and there are always the mean people, or the people who willfully misunderstand what you say – but they’re a very small minority on Booktube, and in general the people who watch Booktube tend to be much nicer and politer than the rest of the internet! The only other downside I can think of it that it would take me longer to edit a video than to edit a written blog post – but I enjoy filming and editing, so I don’t really mind.
4. How do you come up with inspiration for new posts?
There are quite a few ‘standard’ videos on Booktube, that have become the norm to regularly make. I have a monthly wrap up, for example, where I talk about everything I’ve read that month. There are tag videos, created by other people on Booktube, which encourage you to answer questions about books.
Beyond that, I take inspiration from books I’m reading that I want to discuss, whether just that book or a topic they suggest, from the videos of other Booktubers, from topics I’m interested in. I have a few ongoing series on my channel (including one called ‘How to Speak Victorian’ on Victorian literature) and I sometimes read short stories aloud on my channel too.
5. Why do you think vlogging about books has become so popular?
A lot of people, often me included, would rather read a book than read a book review – but Booktube is a different medium, and that means it’s perfect for reviews and discussions. You can see the books, hear the speaker’s excitement, interact with what they’re saying. And Booktube is also more than just book reviews – there are wrap ups, book hauls, TBRs (which stands for to-be-read), author spotlights, discussion videos, tag videos and so much more. I often have Booktube on in the background while I’m doing the washing up or packing for something – it’s versatile, engaging and easy to watch. It’s much easier for someone to get their personality across in video form than in a blog. It’s also a very interactive community. On Booktube, I chat with so many people in my comments, and there are so many people (both subscribers and other Booktubers) who I’ve now come to count as my friends, many of whom I’ve now met in real life. Vlogging about books is popular because of the community, as well as because there are so many people out there who want to talk, and to listen to others talking, about how great books are.
6. You currently have over 2000 followers on YouTube. For any budding vloggers out there, do you have any recommendations on how to attract followers?
My advice (both in terms of building your channel, but also simply in terms of enjoying Booktube) is:
-To join in with the community
-Watch other people’s videos, subscribe to their channels, comment on their videos, do ‘buddy reads’ (reading a book alongside someone else and discussing it), interact on Twitter, etc. It can be especially helpful and nice to interact with people who have started their channels around the same time as you.
-My second is to not think about attracting followers. Booktube is fairly small as corners of the internet go, and apart from anything else these things can take time. If you want to make videos about the books you love, you should make videos about the books you love, regardless of whether you think they’re the books everybody else loves. For me, Booktube is much less about how many subscribers you have and much more about how much you interact with them. If you enjoy making your videos, and if you are yourself, people will enjoy your videos too.
7. Do you have a favourite post?
Of my own? It’s hard to say, but I have a few Booktube projects I’m the most proud of. I’ve done several ‘Author weeks’, where I take one author and go through each of their novels for 1-2 weeks, talking about each in turn. I did this with Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and the Brontë sisters, which was great fun.
I and four other Booktubers are also about to host an event throughout Booktube called ‘Victorian October’ where we encourage people to read Victorian literature in the month of October, which we’re really excited about.
8. Do you have any other vloggers that you follow?
Oh so many! I have a long list of favourites and an even longer list of people I watch. I’m subscribed to over 100 Booktubers on Youtube, although of course I don’t manage to watch every single one of all of their videos. A few of my favourites are:
And there are so many other brilliant Booktubers out there.
9. And finally, if you could be a character from any novel, who would you be?
Ooo, what a difficult question! I’m afraid to say that most of my favourite books are quite miserable, and very bad things happen to the characters, so I don’t think it would be much fun to be any of them! But I’d probably pick a side character in a Dickens novel, and have fun wandering around Victorian London in the background.
What brilliant answers! Thank you Katie! I can’t wait for the new video on Books and Things! 😀
Note: The images used are all from ‘teacoffeebooks’ on Tumblr.