Many authors have considered starting a YouTube channel. Autumn and Jesper tried for a couple of years - and failed.
It's much harder than it looks. The questions is... will YouTube videos, focused on writing, actually help with fiction sales?
The extremely successful YouTuber, Jenna Moreci, joins the Am Writing Fantasy podcast to offer advice and guidance. She knows everything there is to know about leveraging YouTube as a marketing tool for authors and writers.
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Read the full transcript below.
(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).
Narrator (1s): You're listening to The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast. In today's publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need an literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing. Join two best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them now on to the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.
Jesper (30s): Hello, I'm Jesper. And this is episode 148 of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast, and Autumn is taking care of some editing today. And once you use a way I've secured an amazing guest speaker for you, because today I'm going to talk to the very talented Jenna Moreci so welcome to The Am Writing Fantasy Podcast. Jenna,
Jenna (51s): Thank you so much for having me. I'm super happy to be here.
Jesper (54s): Yeah, it's a pleasure talking to you. And I just want to say for those who might not know, Jenna is a number one best-selling author of dark fantasy, and she also runs a very successful YouTube channel. So I couldn't think of anyone better to bring onto the podcast today to talk about YouTube for Authors, Jenna. Okay.
Jenna (1m 13s): Well thank you. I'm super honored. Yeah. I kind of fell into YouTube sort of accidentally, or maybe not accidentally, but I didn't expect it to get to this level. So yeah, I'm, I'm super down to talk about it and everything that I've learned along the way.
Jesper (1m 31s): Yeah, because wait, well maybe for context, I could just start out by saying Autumn and NAI and even myself before I sort of teamed up with Adam, tried my luck. If you want to call it that and running a YouTube channel and my God is difficult. And then Autumn and I tried for a while as well, probably like two years. And then we transitioned into podcasting and this is going much better to this, but the YouTube stuff is difficult. So yeah, it's, it's tough getting traction unusual. So I'm very going to be very curious during this episode here to sort of get your thoughts on it and maybe some tips and tricks for people who might want to try on their own to see if they can get a YouTube channel going.
Jenna (2m 19s): Absolutely. I mean, I've been doing this for almost a decade now, so I've been, I've been around for awhile. I've made all the mistakes and you know, that's what you got to deal with in order to become successful. You got to mess up a few times. So I, I hope I can answer all of your questions.
Jesper (2m 37s): Yeah, probably, but I don't know. Maybe we could just start a bit more on the, you know, not low side. I don't, that's not what you call it, but slowly and maybe, maybe you can just, yeah, a bit more about yourself and maybe put a more, a few more words on, on what you just said about why you started the YouTube channel in the first place.
Jenna (2m 56s): So I have been wanting to be, you know, author since I was six years old, it's literally my lifelong dream. And around the time I heard what a lot of people, you know, are told when they're young, that's authors don't make any money. It's not, it's not a viable career. You should try something else. And so I started off in finance. I have a degree in business with a concentration in finance and I got a job in finance. I was a stockbroker and I hated it. It was driving me crazy. I, I just, there was a moment where I realized I CA like I can't do this every day of my life. I have to at least try to become an author. Even if it's just a side gig. I just need to know that I gave it a shot.
Jenna (3m 39s): So at that point I started writing my first book and I started trying to build a platform. I researched the industry and, and I'm really glad I got a degree in business because I learned all about the business side of things and being an entrepreneur and creating a platform. And I started like most authors do with blogging. And I had a blog for a few years. It, you know, I had about 200 followers and I hated it. I hated blogging. I mean, I liked to write, but I like to write fiction. I don't like to write about, you know, normal life stuff. So I was blogging for a while. I'm working on my book, try to figure out a way to expand my platform even more. And a lot of people had told me, you should do YouTube.
Jenna (4m 21s): You're funny. You're sarcastic. You give really good writing advice. I was also doing critiques at the time. So people were like, you should create a Writing YouTube channel. And like most introverted Authors. I was like, no, like there's no way I am. Yeah. The only way I'm sitting in front of a camera and putting myself on the internet like that, sorry, fast forward a couple years, my then boyfriend now fiance suffered a very terrible accident. He fell two stories and broke his spine. And I had to put, you know, I quit my job. I put everything on hold to be as caregiver. And when you go through something like that, it kind of changes your perspective on life. And you know how our time here, isn't guaranteed.
Jenna (5m 3s): And I had paused working on my book. I had paused the blog and I just thought, you know what, like as he started to get better and I started to build my platform again, I was like, you know what, I'm just going to try YouTube. Okay. Like what have I got to lose? If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. But I, you know, my, my time here is it permanent. So I got make an account and I started the YouTube channel, made a couple of crappy videos and started to get the hang of it. Yeah. I mean, that's how it always works. It always starts off with the bad videos, but I started getting the hang of it and I started off trying to be very professional and like, you know, like, you know, oh, I'm a dignified writer and that's just not really my style.
Jenna (5m 46s): And no one was watching the channel. And so finally I said, you know what? No one's watching anyway. So I'm just going to be myself and I'm going to be goofy and I'm going to be custody. I'm just going to be my normal personality. And literally the very next video, my channel skyrocketed, I went from a hundred subscribers to nine to 9,000 subscribers in a week. And, and the rest is history. Now I'm at 260,000 subscribers. I really did not expect to be in this place. But yeah. And because of YouTube, I was able to make Writing and YouTube my full-time career. And I'm doing a whole lot better at this than I was as a stockbroker financially. I'm making triple what I made as a stockbroker.
Jenna (6m 27s): So it all worked out.
Jesper (6m 29s): All right. Yes. Do you think actually considering that it was quite some time ago since you started out, do you think there's a difference in starting, you know, running a YouTube channel today versus back when you did it, do you think, has that sort of, is it more saturated market had more difficult now? How do you see that?
Jenna (6m 51s): Absolutely. I really got in at the perfect time when I started my channel, I looked for other writers on YouTube and I could only find two and their channels were very small and they were really young. And I was inspired by that because at the time I was like 28 and they were teenagers. And I was like, you know, what, if these teens have the courage to do this, that I have no, excuse, I'm a, I'm a grown woman. I have no excuse. And now after my channel kind of blew up, now, there are tons of writing channels on YouTube. So it's, I'm not going to lie. It's definitely harder to get started. Now, the key is, is to find a way to stand out and authenticity.
Jenna (7m 34s): Like I said, I started off very professional, a very phony and I wasn't going anywhere. Right. And once I became my authentic self people, people really, you know, gravitate toward that. You know? So I think that if you want to stand out in this market, you really have to create quality content that is consistent and authentic because people want someone that they can relate to. And they feel like they actually know.
Jesper (7m 60s): Yeah. Because I think reflecting back on the time that we spent on attempting to run a YouTube channel, I think once I reflect back to it nowadays, look, you know, couple of years since we transitioned into podcasting instead, I think I was very much focused at the point in time around probably thinking too much about how do you make a YouTube video that is engaging. And also because, you know, usually when people watch YouTube videos, at least as far as I've sort of in investigated or researched my way into, it's also about, you know, keeping people's attention in a YouTube videos.
Jesper (8m 45s): It's very difficult. It's not like the same as a podcast here. We are talking to each other. People are probably doing the dishes while they're listening to this stuff. And you can sort of do other things, which is very nice. I podcasts a lot for this particular reason myself, but with YouTube, you're competing against them clicking onto Netflix instead of something, right.
Jenna (9m 4s): So you really need to grab their attention. And I found that I was probably thinking, overthinking it too much about how to do that best rather the being authentic, like you're saying, but at the same time, your authenticity has to be attention grabbing, you know, I kinda like it to being on a date in the sense that when you're on. And I mean, like, I hate that analogy because dating sucks. But when you're on a date, the idea is to be yourself, but be the best version of yourself. So I'm very, I'm very honest and authentic on my channel. I talk about the fact that, you know, my fiance is disabled and has a chronic pain condition.
Jenna (9m 49s): I talk about the fact that I have mental illness. You know, I'm not saying you should say all this stuff on a first date, but the point is real people know about my life. They know about who I am. I I'm giving them my honest, authentic personality, but you also don't want to be authentic to the point where it's like, okay, you know, this is, this is getting to be like a bummer or downer or overshare or something like that. You know, it's like being on a first date, you give them the best version of yourself. Again, I'm not saying that all the other authentic stuff I was talking about is the best version, but people appreciate the honesty, but at the same time, I'm not going to go create a video where I'm ranting because I'm having a bad day.
Jenna (10m 30s): And I'm just like, oh my gosh, I had the worst day, I got a bad review and I did this. And you know, like I show them the sides of myself that are fun and quirky and goofy and, and people like that because they can relate to it.
Jesper (10m 45s): Yeah. And I think for most part, people are watching YouTube because they want a bit of entertainment as well. I mean, they can certainly watch YouTube videos also to learn something, but unless it's a bit entertaining as well then. Yeah. Well, you're probably going to click on something else instead. Right.
Jenna (11m 1s): Exactly. And, and I think that's the key is to be entertaining in your authentic way. I've seen some people because I'm, I've just, since I was a teenager, I've been a potty mouth. Like, that's just how I am my family jokes about it. My, I don't know if anyone used to watch the show Dexter, but there's a character on the show named Deborah who cusses a lot. And my nickname when I was a stockbroker was Deborah because of that, I just do what I taught. And so when I'm on my channel, you know, I'm, Kasie because that's my authentic self. Sometimes I will see other people talk to me and they'll be like, well, I'm trying to be like you, Jenna, you know, like I'm cursing and I'm doing that and I'm not getting followers. And I'm like, well, that's because you're trying to be like me. Like, I am not doing that to get the followers.
Jenna (11m 43s): I'm doing that because that's how I talk. And in fact, they get people commenting. Like you're not being a proper lady, you know, like mad about that, but I'm just being me and people are, people can smell a phony a mile away. So it's not about emulating someone else's entertainment factor. It's about being your own kind of entertainment. There are channels that are really successful where the people are very prim and proper, but they have a cute kind of entertainment style or their sense of humor is deadpan. You know, you got to do it your way.
Jesper (12m 16s): So would you say that some people will just struggle a lot to ever get success? You know, because I'm also, it's like, some people might want to be an actor or something. Right. But not everybody can be an actor because it's not a, it takes some, you have to have this kind of thing to be successful at it. And do you think it's the same for YouTube that you have to have some sort of, I don't know what you want to call it, but YouTube factor or something, you know, something that makes you entertaining to what your videos or the way you speak about things or whatever. Do you think everybody can do it? Or do you think it sort of requires some unspoken skill or whatever you want to go?
Jenna (12m 58s): I think it's a little bit of both. I think you can absolutely learn to, you know, improve your craft. Its kind of like Writing. Like you can, you can learn the skill, you can improve your craft over time, but some people have a natural talent and that makes the improvement and skill like learning easier. It makes that aspect of it easier. And there are some people who really, really struggle with a certain thing. Like, like for example, I'm terrible at all things athletic. Like I have no coordination. I can't even, I can't even shoot the aliens on the buzz light year ride at Disneyland. Like I have no hand-eye coordination and I could practice as much as I want and I will probably still suck.
Jenna (13m 39s): And that's just kinda how it is in a lot of activities in life. So I definitely think you can learn the skill and get better. Some people are more naturally inclined for it. Some people it's just not for them. And I think the problem is is that people don't give themselves enough time to learn where they fall in that spectrum. A lot of people will quit if the channel isn't making it after a month, it took me six months to get from a hundred subscribers to 9,000 subscribers. It took me six months to, to experience that leap. And now I'm at 260,000 subscribers. So you got to give yourself the time, but you also need to know when it's like, okay, this just does it for me. You know, I know people who've had their channels for years almost as long as me and they have, you know, less than a thousand subscribers.
Jenna (14m 25s): It's like, okay, well maybe, maybe this isn't really, you know, your forte and there's nothing wrong with that. You, you know, we, failure is a part of success. You know, it's a part of learning what you're good at, where your strengths are, where your passion is. And quite often, if, if you're not good at something, a lot of times it comes to the passion element of it. Maybe your passion is, you know, better spent elsewhere. And so sometimes you just got to something a shot and realize if it's for you or not, but you got give yourself the time to figure it out.
Jesper (14m 57s): Yeah. But I, I think actually that is an excellent, good point because you know, looking at our, our, you know, myON Autumn's YouTube channel, it's probably been there for like five, six years. There's 2000 subscribers on it. Most videos don't get many views because well we moved into podcasting. So it was just a secondary sort of channel. It just sits there. We don't do much with it anymore other than just uploading these podcast episodes. Right. Whereas the podcasts are getting a much, much, much more and more downloads, but, and I think as well, that it's a good point because we gave it a good run probably longer than we should have to be honest, but we didn't give up right away. We, we kept at it. But at some point we also just had a Frank discussion between ourselves and sort of said, this is not going anywhere.
Jesper (15m 41s): Is it? And it's like, no, it's not okay. Let's do something else. We did our best. But I, I, I think as well that we are enjoying the podcast much more and that probably shines through,
Jenna (15m 54s): Well, it's like me with blogging versus YouTube. I hated blogging. And I plateaued at 200 followers. I, you know, it, it's kinda like with writing, you know, when you are passionate about the story you're telling it shines through, you can see it in the words, my blog kind of plateaued, whereas YouTube, I get to be silly. I get to be animated. You know, it, it's a more enjoyable experience for me. It's easier for me than blogging. And I think that's why I was better suited for you too. But I think that's why my channel is way more successful than my blog is because you can see that I'm enjoying it more, this feels more on brand.
Jenna (16m 35s): It feels more Jenna, you know?
Jesper (16m 38s): Yeah. Yeah. So if people are thinking, okay, I think I want to have a go with this stuff. I want to try to do a YouTube channel and I want to be authentic. And I I'm gonna see if I can get a bit of success with this. Just on practical terms. What would you recommend in terms of, you know, you know, they, they need a bit of a recording equipment. They need some microphone stuff, you know, all the equipment things. What would you suggest in terms of just getting started? Because you can buy yourself crazy equipment if you want it.
Jenna (17m 14s): Right. Well, when I first got started, I just used my face time camera, my laptop, microphone and natural lighting. It's a little bit of a different environment right now. So that might be a bit risky. But what I will say is that the quality of your content matters more than the quality of the video. So if you are going to start off with any equipment at all, I would recommend it being a microphone because if your voice is Peaky or annoying, that's, what's going to make someone turn off in terms of the quality of the video, it's going to be the audio that turns someone off people can tolerate, you know, video footage that is, you know, clear, unclear, or grainy.
Jenna (17m 58s): They can tolerate that. They can tolerate bad lighting. They can't tolerate bad audio. So if you can get yourself a decent microphone, that's the equipment I would start off with. I know people who have really large channels and they're still filming on their iPhone, the, the, the image itself. So you don't need the, the camera and the lighting yet. You can park yourself in front of a window and do natural lighting. I would recommend this for when you're just getting started when you're just figuring out if this is for you. I say this because I know people who spent thousands of dollars right off the gate only to find out that their channel is just, you know, no one likes it. They're not good at it. It's, it's not for them. So, you know, start off with a microphone and let everything else be, you know, the homemade at the beginning as you grow, that's when you want to invest in a camera and lighting and things like that, as you start to see, okay, this is a viable option for me.
Jenna (18m 55s): Outside of that, the editing of the video is very important. It's different than podcasts with podcasts. It's conversational, you know, all that good stuff on YouTube. Time is money. People have things to do, and you know, they could be watching Netflix or Hulu. They don't have to be watching you. So edit out the ums. If you need to script your content beforehand, I script all my videos because I am a rambler. So I script them all or else they'd be like, you know, an hour long of me just repeating myself, script your videos, edit out the ums and UHS, you know, make it, get to the point, make it, you know, concise, give them the quality information or, you know, content that you are here for.
Jenna (19m 41s): Get rid of all the long pauses. That's the most important thing to start off with and of course being authentic. So if, if you're just getting started, those are the key things that I would recommend because the, even if you're funny and you've got a great personality, if you've got all of the pauses and lagging and the stumbling over words in there, it'll totally destroy the funny it'll destroy the entertainment factor. So get yourself a good editing program. And it's great because a lot of them are free. You know, I movie comes with, you know, apple products. I, I use I movie for like 75% of my editing. And I, and I've been doing this for years. You know, you don't, you don't need to get the fancy stuff right out the gate.
Jesper (20m 22s): No, exactly. My, my oldest son just bought a, some editing software. I think he paid like 80 bucks for it or something. And it's, it's very good. I know. So it's not even that expensive, at least that pot, the cameras can be expensive, I imagine, but at least editing software, that's not that bad.
Jenna (20m 38s): Yeah. I, I ha I now use I movie alongside final cut pro final cut pro was pretty affordable. And I basically just use that for all the overlays and texts and little doodads that flow on the screen. But in terms of just trimming your video down and getting the sharp cuts and getting out all the crud that you don't need it and your content, something like I move, he works just fine. And I believe PC has something, another free program, but I'm not, I don't, I'm not familiar.
Jesper (21m 6s): Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But, but then there was also things like thumbnail images, titles of the videos, keywords and that sort of thing. So do you have any good tips when it comes to those things
Jenna (21m 20s): For thumbnails? I would recommend something eye catching, you know, funny faces always work. I usually am doing a goofy face in my thumbnails text that, you know, you know, it's gonna catch your attention. When I do my trope videos where I talk about the worst tropes. Oh, right. Something like your romance book sucks. You know, it's just like, it catches people's attention. I make a disgusted face, you know, bright colors, things like that. The title is something that a lot of people mess up and it really hurts their place in the algorithm. People are always trying to make their title stand out. You know, like the clickbait title that time has sort of passed.
Jenna (22m 4s): And by that, I mean, you can make your title stand out without it being click baity, without it being like I'm pregnant with an alien. You know what I mean? Like be specific about what your, your video is about, because the idea is you want to get in the algorithm. You want people who are typing in, for example, if I were giving tips for writing a first draft, you want people who are, people are not typing pregnant alien baby. They are typing Well, you never know, but you want to attract the people who are typing in first draft. So put that in the title. You know what I mean? Like if you're, if you're talking about romance novels, you want people who are typing in romance novels.
Jenna (22m 48s): So you say what your video's about. And a lot of people don't do that because they think it's not catchy enough, but it's like, it's, you know, go with the common sense title. And then as you work, you'll see that certain words perform better than others. For example, book performs better than novels. So in a lot of my titles, I will say like how to write a romance book, as opposed to how to write a romance novel. YouTube gives you all these analytics. So they make it really easy to figure out like what, you know, what you should be typing and what works. There's also free platforms that you can use that show you, you know, how keywords know perform a lot of my videos, if it has writing or writer in the title, it performs better than videos that don't have writing or writer.
Jenna (23m 32s): People like lists, you know, 10 best, 10 worst. And so a lot of my videos have that, you know, and of course, you know, best and worst. These are these, those are sort of the click baity words, best worst. You know, it kind of creates a hierarchy. People like the idea of, Ooh, this might be juicy. There might be drama here, you know, and that, and that's where that comes into play.
Jesper (23m 55s): Yeah. Do, do you do any research when it comes to sort of the topics of your videos? So what should you talk about next week and the week after and so on? Or, or do you just go with what you feel like talking about
Jenna (24m 7s): A little bit of both, but mostly the former, I'd say it's 75% research and 25% of what I feel like. And by that, I mean, you know, I will, I, about every six months I go through my videos and I see how they're performing. And I look for trends. I also have a wonderful assistant who helps me with that as well. I know not everyone is starting at a place where they can have an assistant, so, right. So I've been, I've been doing this for years. I did it on my own for years. Trust me, you can do it. YouTube makes it super easy, but I go through the videos and I see which ones performed the best, which ones performed the worst. I look for trends. And then I, I, you know, sort of plan my YouTube schedule around that.
Jenna (24m 48s): So for example, my best performing videos by far, or my trope videos, you know, the 10 worst romance tropes, the 10 best romance tropes, the 10 worst scifi tropes, et cetera, those performed the best. You don't want to make your entire channel, just that thing, because then it becomes, you know, a one trick pony. It's not, you need, you need variety. You know what I mean? So you want to offer variety. So I try to mix it up with that kind of content, along with the second and third best kind of content. And then w when I plan my videos, you know, I, I know what performs best. And then I just think, okay, of all this kind of content, what do I most feel like talking about right now? So I give, I give myself a pool of the best performers, and then it's like, what am I in the mood to discuss?
Jenna (25m 32s): And then I will pick and choose from there every once in a while, I will do a video that isn't as well performing, but I really enjoy it. Or the diehard fans enjoy it. A perfect example of this is my unboxing videos about once every other month, I unboxed presence and books and goodies that fans send me in the mail. They are by far my lowest performing videos, but they are the favorite videos of my diehard fans. The people are all about the brand, all about the platform who really love to support me. They are constantly like, when's the next unboxing video coming out. So for me, it's fine that they're not as high performing because it makes the people who've got my back no matter what it makes them happy.
Jenna (26m 16s): So I'm happy to deliver that content to them, but yeah,
Jesper (26m 20s): Once in a while,
Jenna (26m 22s): Right, exactly about once every other month. And it's fun for me. I mean, I get to basically have Christmas all the time. I enjoy it. So,
Jesper (26m 31s): Yeah, for sure. I understand that. But there was one thing I was wondering that I, that I definitely added to my list of things that I wanted to ask you because, and I don't know if this is true or not. So this could just be my, you know, me misunderstanding the situation or miss calculating or whatever you want to call it. But I have always been wondering, because when you have all kinds of different authors often have, you know, the ones who have YouTube channels, they will mostly like you do as well. They will talk about writing more as almost, it can be fun like you do it, but, but it'll be writing advice kind of information more, I would say, mostly targeting people who are interested in writing, meaning other authors and so on.
Jesper (27m 20s): And I've always been wondering when it comes to actually selling fiction books. If somebody wanted to start a YouTube channel and the stuff you have to talk about is writing, because that sort of makes sense. Does it actually help on selling fiction books or is it more like a different audience that you're building and therefore you're building like a business on YouTube Prada and then you have fiction sales over on the other end, or what's your experience there?
Jenna (27m 47s): It w it can help if you do it the right way. And by that, I mean, I write dark fantasy action, adventure and romance. I write adult fiction. My channel is geared towards writers and readers in that group. By that, I mean, you know, like I mentioned before, I have a bit of a potty mouth. My books feature cursing. If you do not like a potty mouse woman, you're not going to like my books. Also, sometimes people will be like, well, you know, if you, if you talked a little bit different and you made less raunchy jokes, younger people could watch your channel. And it's like, okay, well, that's not my target audience at all fiction.
Jenna (28m 27s): I don't write children's books. I've had people be like, can you make your videos better for second graders? And I'm like, well, seventh graders are not going to read my book about the fights or the death tournament. You know, so no I'm not doing that. You need to gear your channel toward that segment. And a bulk of my videos are about dark fantasy fantasy. They're about romance. They're about adventure fight scenes. I gear my content specifically toward what I enjoy, what I'm writing, what, and thus, obviously I'm going to attract a ton of writers, but typically if you're writing FANTASY, you like reading FANTASY. And I actually have a huge audience base of people who don't write at all.
Jenna (29m 8s): They just think I'm funny, which I really appreciate it. And they're like, I don't write. I just think you're funny. And I like your books, you know? So I've had acquaintances in the past where they, it didn't translate well, they had a YouTube channel. It didn't translate well to their book sales because their channels brand was completely off from what, from the book they were selling, you know, like the, the channel being very professional, being very all ages friendly. And in the book they re they released as like raunchy. And you know what I mean? Like you, right. And they've attracted the wrong audience. And people are like, whoa, this is, you know, this is, this is dirty and salacious. And it's like, well, you didn't attract the right audience.
Jenna (29m 50s): You know? So it, you have to be aware of who you want, reading your books. That's gotta be who you make your channel for. You know? So, you know, if me dropping an F bomb, bothers a person and prevents them from subscribing, that's great because they wouldn't like my books, you know, so I don't need them. I don't need them in the audience. So it's all about being very cognizant of your brand and the image that you are releasing.
Jesper (30m 16s): Okay. Very cool. Yeah. And I said to you, before we started recording that I actually asked in our Am Writing Fantasy Facebook group, what people wanted me to ask you, Jenna. So there was quite a number of questions, but I tried to pick the ones that I sort of thought was on topic of what we're talking about here, and also would be a more general interest to more people than maybe the person asking. So, so if you're ready, I would like to just go through some of these questions with you here. I have five for you.
Jenna (30m 50s): Okay. Go for it.
Jesper (30m 53s): Because Anita asks, if it's worth starting a YouTube channel, if you haven't published anything yet, or is it better to wait until you're ready to launch your novel? I thought that was a good question.
Jenna (31m 5s): Absolutely started before. If you're starting it after you're, it's like an uphill battle because the book is already out and, you know, unless you have a big platform already and you're, you're, you know, you've got good sales and things like that, but usually people are starting the YouTube channel in order to, you know, to, to get the sales in order to boost their presence. So if you've got a big platform, you can start gentle whenever you want. But if you're doing this for the sake of selling a book, definitely start the channel before one, because it takes years to build an audience. And you don't want your books sitting, collecting dust published for years.
Jenna (31m 45s): And then finally it starts to get sales. And to, if you start the channel after, and then you direct people to the published book and it has no reviews and it's not performing, people are going to be like, oh, well, what's wrong with this book that no one's buying it. You know what I mean? So it's better to start it before that said, I'm saying like a YouTube channel in general, sometimes people, you know, I give writing advice and I also make satirical con content about writing. I started my channel before I was published and I was qualified to give writing advice because I've been in studying storytelling. At that point, I'd been studying, writing and storytelling for about 20 years.
Jenna (32m 25s): And I had been doing giving critiques for other writers. They asked me to create the channel. I've had poetry published and things like that. You know, I, I had some, you know, you know, some, some content that made me like qualified to give the writing advice. Sometimes people hop on YouTube and give writing advice because they see that other writers are doing it. And they don't really feel like they're qualified, but they're doing it because it's, you know, what's going on. If you don't feel qualified to do something, don't do it. You can make a video about something else. You can just track your writing journey. You can talk about, you know, the, if you're going traditionally could talk about the Query process or something like that. You, you don't have to give writing advice. So if that's your concern about starting before you're published, then make your video about something else or make your channel about something else.
Jesper (33m 11s): Yeah. And I think what you're saying that tracks very much with what Autumn. And I usually say, because we not, we don't get the question specific to YouTube, of course, but we often get the question about mailing lists. Like, do you start the mailing list before you publish the books or after you publish the books? And we also always say started we'll we'll we'll before, because that's the only way you can get enough people on that list. So you can actually sell some books once you do publish it later on. So it's never too early to begin. It's usually our moderate rare.
Jenna (33m 41s): Yes. And people always think, well, I have nothing of value to say, and it's like, don't sell yourself. So short, of course he has something of value to say, you just have to have the confidence and you've got to figure out what your voice is and what it is that you want to say. If you have, if you have the ability to write a book, which is obviously what you're trying to do, then you have the ability to do a mailing list or a YouTube channel, you know, just got to figure out what your voice and messages.
Jesper (34m 8s): Yeah. Okay. So let me move on to Stephanie's question, because Stephanie wanted to know how much time you actually spent on marketing, your books, working on your YouTube channel and writing new books. Like, do you split your time, like 20% marketing and 20% writing on and so on?
Jenna (34m 24s): Oh, I've I couldn't tell you. I honestly don't know. I work about what I can say is I work about 10 to 12 hours a day. Usually it's gotten a little bit better now that I have an assistant, but it really varies. It's I wish that I could give a straight answer, but it's hard for me to track because I'm also a caregiver. My fiance suffers from a chronic pain condition, and he's in a lot of like recovery programs to try and build back a strength. So everyday for me is very flexible. Every week is completely different. So it's really hard for me to track how much time I spend doing each thing. What I can say is that I usually try to devote a week every month to YouTube.
Jenna (35m 6s): And by that, I mean, a cumulative amount of time of scripting content for a month filming content for a month. And my assistant does the editing and then I do the little doodads bells and whistles the effects and uploading it. So that is the one thing I can say with certainty about one week out of every month is devoted to my YouTube channel. And then the rest of it is a hodgepodge of writing and marketing.
Jesper (35m 33s): Fair enough. Fair enough. Okay. So an angel also asked a question that, but I am going to paraphrase it a bit here just to sort of boil it down and get to the point of what I think more or less she was asking, but she wanted to know how you basically built such a great following on YouTube. I think you've talked a lot about it already, and maybe there was also a part of you saying that you got in at the right time. So, but I don't know if you have anything more to add on, on, on that question.
Jenna (36m 6s): I really think it's because people appreciate, you know, someone being themselves and being authentic because a lot of the things that I get, you know, cause obviously I'm a woman on YouTube. I get trolls, I get hate comments. A lot of the things that I get hate comments for are the reasons that people, you know, subscribe, they, you know, appreciate that. I'm a straightforward woman on the internet. They appreciate that. I'm myself. Even if it's not always those flattering version of myself, they appreciate the fact that I'm willing to dress up like a pizza or a hot dog. And my channel is if it makes people laugh, like I, you know, being yourself really goes a long way. And also one thing I didn't touch on is, you know, learn and evolve. You know, if you look at my very first videos, they are not the same as they are now, you know, I've upgraded you, you constantly have to learn, okay, how can I make this better?
Jenna (36m 53s): How can I improve? You know, I now have professional lighting equipment. I now have, you know, professional camera and all that stuff. I I'm looking for ways to improve the effects to improve the editing, to, you know, looking for what my audience wants more of. Do they want more giveaways? Do you know, do they want more interviews? I'm I'm constantly asking my audience. Okay. What do you want me to talk about? You know, so I think that's really important too. Sometimes people get complacent and they get comfortable and then they never branch out and improve. And when you do that, you plateau.
Jesper (37m 28s): Yeah. That's a good point. Yeah. I, we still, I think we have like probably, I don't know, maybe 200 videos or something on our channel and I can promise you, I do not dare go back and watch the first one. It's horrible.
Jenna (37m 43s): My first one is long since been deleted. It's like, but I mean like at the time it worked, you know, at the time, but like, and that's another thing is like, give yourself time to suck. You know, everyone is they're so they're so embarrassed to post their first video. They're like, it's going to suck. It's like sorted mine and look where I'm at now I've got 260,000 subscribers. Like it's going to suck for a while. You're you're just shaking off the cobwebs. It's okay. Just get into the, like, get into the flow. You're just embrace the fact that you're going to suck at first and that's fine. It's all just, yeah.
Jesper (38m 13s): Yeah. It speaks to everything about our personal YouTube, a strategy that we didn't even, we even not even deleted those ones, the old ones they're still there. It's just there.
Jenna (38m 23s): Well, to be fair, it took me years to delete my,
Jesper (38m 30s): Yeah. So Rob also was asking a question because he was wondering if organic growth is a business model for YouTube, rather than paying for advertising.
Jenna (38m 41s): I've never paid for advertising for my channel. So I'm going to say organic growth, but I'm not speaking from a place of personal experience because I've never paid for advertising. I do know other YouTubers who pay for advertising. I even, I mean, we see it all the time. Some of them have really big channels and some of them, it doesn't really look like the advertising has done a whole lot for them. I think it, it really depends on, on the strategy behind it. You know, if your ad sucks and isn't interesting or engaging people probably aren't gonna be interested, but as someone whose entire growth happened organically, then you know, I'm all for that.
Jesper (39m 22s): Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. What you just said about placing ads and stuff, this complete detour here, but it just reminded me that it was, I think a couple of weeks ago, usually when I exercise in the morning, I listen to music on YouTube. And then of course, because I'm exercising, I can't click the skip button for when the abs pops up and then this ad popped up and this guy was talking and talking, it just went on and on and on. And I was wondering, when does this commercial stop? And then I looked at my phone and it was, it said there was 45 minutes left. And I was like, what? This is an ad what's going on? You can't have an ad for 45 minutes.
Jesper (40m 1s): Oh my God.
Jenna (40m 3s): Yeah. Yeah. I mean like, you know, the, a lot of people, they do not do the research and I understand that writers are a creative bunch, but it's a business. This YouTube is a business. You know, selling books as a business marketing is a part of business. Do do the research. That's why I, you know, even though I ended up veering off from finance, I'm really glad I went to business school because it prepared me for self publishing my novels and starting my YouTube channel. And so do the research before you spend money on ads, make sure you're, you know, spending it wisely.
Jesper (40m 35s): Yeah, for sure. I have one last question and this not, this one is not sort of directly related to being a YouTuber, but I thought I wanted to include it because the first part is just something that I always find interesting. But then the second part is just a bit, bit of a weird and funny questions. Yeah. I think she was just having a bit of fun, but Terry wanted to know first, how much plotting you actually do for your books and Autumn. And I have written a guide book on how to plot novels. So I'm always interesting hearing that, but, and then she added. And could you also ask Jenna if their cyborg queen would make an Alliance with a chaos potato?
Jesper (41m 15s): I have no idea what that means. Maybe you do.
Jenna (41m 19s): Okay. So I'll start with plotting. I do a ton applauding. Like I'm on my channel. I am like the outline queen. I'm just like everyone knows that I'm always going to give advice that upsets the pants there is. If you're a pantser, that's fine. I just, it's not for me, but I, I, I, my outlines are hefty. Like my outlines are 30 pages long. I plot everything out. I have a method with no cars and organizing for me, people say that plotting and outlining ruins the fun or excitement for me, it is the fun and excitement because it's like putting together a puzzle and it's like, how is it going to turn out? You know, like, I, I love it. I, for me, it's a very creative part of the process.
Jenna (41m 59s): And it's one of my favorite parts. So I'm very heavily into plotting apps for the cyber queen thing. So cyber queen is, is my nickname as a delegated by my audience. My nickname in college was cyborg. And I mentioned it in a video and it blew up. And now in the cyber queen, I would, I would be open to an Alliance with a chaos potato. If the, if the terms and conditions were equal and fair, we can get into it. We just, we need to make sure we're on the same side. Okay. We, we have the same beliefs in world domination.
Jesper (42m 37s): Yeah. And also the word chaos. There might be a bit concerning if you're looking at an Alliance, you know, with, with something chaotic. That's I don't know how trustful is that
Jenna (42m 49s): Exactly. That's why we need to have a meeting and discuss what, how chaotic is this potato? I need to know.
Jesper (42m 57s): Yeah. I don't even know what I was thinking. Ks potato is that maybe something Jenna said in a past video or something, because it felt so odd. Like kid, where did you get that from? I don't know.
Jenna (43m 9s): I just imagine a chaos. Potato is like a mashed potato. That's been like splattered across a room. That's a chaos potato. Or that just might be a dead potato.
Jesper (43m 17s): Well, maybe it's one of, maybe it's more like you open the door to the room and throw it inside and close the door. Maybe that's what you do.
Jenna (43m 26s): But then that grease was splattered. That's a violent potato man
Jesper (43m 33s): And people screaming and stuff like that. Well, okay. I asked him I'm at my end of my list of questions for you Janet today. And I w is there anything sort of, I should have asked you that I didn't some very good voice that we never got to?
Jenna (43m 53s): Where can everyone buy my books? How about that?
Jesper (43m 57s): Of course, of course.
Jenna (43m 60s): So right now I'm in the middle of the Savior series. The first two books, the saver's champion and the Savior sister are available wide all over the place at all, major retailers, they are number one bestsellers in dark fantasy romance. The Savior Sheffield was voted one of the best books of all time by book depository, which basically was the highlight of my life. I will never get over that. So yeah, pick them up. They're great. If you like your books filled with magic and steamy swooning, us and stabby stabby die die, then there are the books for you pick them up today. Hey,
Jesper (44m 36s): Excellent. Yeah. And if you, you, you can also send me a link to where people can pick up your books or where you want them to go to Jenna. Then I will definitely put it in the show notes so people can just click through from there. And it will also go into the description field on YouTube. If anybody's watching there and then they can go and check out your book. So feel free to send me that link. Jenna,
Jenna (44m 58s): Thank you so much.
Jesper (45m 0s): And thank you for coming and having a chat here and offer all your advice and expertise today. I appreciate that, Jenna.
Jenna (45m 8s): Thank you for having me. It was so much fun.
Jesper (45m 12s): All right. So next Monday, Autumn, we'll be back and we're going to do one of our popular and some people call them dreaded worst top 10 lists. See you then.
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