Authortube is hashtag for writers talking about writing and sometimes even actually writing in video format, online — either recorded or Livestreamed.
Now that I’m well into my fourth year of video blogging — vlogging — and three years into finding the Authortube community, I thought I’d share a few ‘best practices’. Now, it being me, these are more tips for being a welcome member of the community than really a “how to double your audience weekly” sort of post.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, I share my weekly blogpost in video format on my youtube channel — just me talking to the camera, pretty much reading my post as a script as I share my writing tips from the pros and my own writerly musings. And then, on Sunday afternoons, I do the opposite of a scripted thing — I host productivity sprints while hanging out with a couple of friends, usually Sako Tumi and Doc Coleman. We chat for a while, and then we do productivity sprints – generally writing or editing, on and off for 2 hours. In 2021, I did 21-minute sprints, in 2022, 22-minute sprints — because I’m easily amused. The Livestreams are dual-casted to Twitch.
If you’re looking for the Authortube communities, that’s where you’ll find them: Youtube and Twitch, (although I found them through a Facebook group. And, I have to admit, I’m kinda over every single Authortuber having their own Discord server, although it seems to be the thing.)
Anyway. Now that you have context, here are my:
5 Best Practices For Authortubers
1. Consistent style
Different people are looking for different things. Some people are here for my con panel write-ups, some prefer my ‘getting real’ writing updates, some like my writerly musings, and some are here for all the writer-adjacent stuff I talk about (like this). But, I have a theme and a tone and I lean into it – while staying authentic to myself. My Livestreams have a certain rhythm to them, and when you’re hanging out Live, having an expected rhythm (even if it’s to expect the unexpected) helps you connect with the audience.
Use the hashtags that best match your content — but know that Youtube ignores all tags if you use more than 15.
How do you pick a style? Watch other Authortubers! See what they do, the different styles and attitudes, and adapt the ones you like for yourself. Don’t steal a unique thing, but use their ideas as inspiration.
2. Regular schedule
As with any sort of social media platform, a regular posting schedule helps you find an audience. And let people be able to FIND this schedule. I’ve noticed obvious drop-offs in my Livestream viewership after even missing a single week.
That said, when you were watching those Authortubers to see what you liked, find out when they’re Livestreaming and don’t schedule when they’re Live. First off, it’s hard to get an audience if you’re opposite a popular streamer. Secondly, it’s not very neighborly.
However, there are enough streamers that someone is almost always streaming. So, try and find a time you can regularly stream, and isn’t competing with someone with a similar vibe to what you expect to use.
3. Be A Considerate Guest
As with blogging, being a guest on someone else’s platform can be a great way to reach a broader audience. If you come across in interesting ways, you can add to your own following.
For me? I like to have watched the Authortubers first, so I know what I’m getting into. I come in and do my best to contribute to the conversation, without talking over the regulars. Unless it’s an interview, the stream isn’t about me. I’m there because I love the writing community and getting to talk shop with people who get it, plus maybe getting some productivity in if there are writing sprints, not necessarily to promo myself.
I confirm before the scheduled time when and where’s the link, and show up early with my camera and microphone tested.
I am also aware that I am new and a guest. In-jokes and joking insults between longtime friends are very different things than ‘joking insults’ from a new acquaintance. While I want to fit in, I try not to fake a familiarity that doesn’t exist — that can only be built.
While a good host will link your channel, when you’re a guest, telling watchers to subscribe to channels or social media platforms other than the Authortuber channel you’re on is a sign of disrespect. It’s typically fine during the introduction, or at the end, if you’re asked to tell the viewers where to find you, but other than that, you’re there to create content, not just promo yourself. Now, if it’s an interview, that’s a little different, but there are obvious times during the interview to give those plugs.
While I admit some people appeal to the drama-llama in the audience, the Authortube community is small, so think before burning bridges. That said, if you see bad behavior, calling it out is always appropriate.
You might meet someone you’d like to collaborate with on social media, in your comment section, or in person. Should you invite someone to collaborate, let them know what sort of collaboration you’d like to do, negotiate a start-and-end time, and be timely yourself.
For Youtube, a preview image and blurb will often be pre-created. Be sure to have a profile picture and your links handy to share, if you’re the guest, and ask for them a few days in advance if you’re hosting and intend to use them.
Note: When reaching out, be conscientious if your usernames are not consistent across platforms, and make sure to contextualize and/or link your platform during discussion.
5. Join the Community
Shouting into the void isn’t great for one’s ego, but it can give you time to work out your technology and style.
But, when you’re done with that, it’s time to join the community.
- Follow the groups on your favorite social media platform – (Facebook, Reddit, some of the billion Discord Servers)
- Search #writers on Twitch or Youtube. Watch them, then follow your favorites.
- Join their comment sections — by commenting about their content, not promoting your own stuff. (But set up an account, such that if your name is clicked, it links back to your account)
- Participate in some of the Authortube tags – If you’re stuck for content, these can be a great place to start or fill in! (#authortubeNewbie, #nanowrimo, #campNano, #vlogmas, #preptober, and whatever the tag of the month is) They have a topic, and sometimes a list of questions to answer. Either about you, your writing, or what you’ve been reading. There’s decent cross-over with the #booktuber community — most of us loved reading books before we started to write.
- Support and Review Authortuber books — if they sound up your alley. I’m not suggesting you read everything, because not everything is for you. But, if an Authortuber’s book is something you would normally read, do so and give them a review, because that’s what the algorithms like, and that’s a great way to support your fellow Authortubers.
Anything I missed?