Do you know this thing called BookTube? I learned about it two years ago. I decided to give it a go and did it for roughly one year. Now I’ve decided to let it go.
I’ve been thinking about BookTube a lot lately. It’s odd, filming yourself. I remember how weird that very first video was, how much fun I had making it, goofing around and learning how to edit (and failing over and over). Last September I temporarily quit YouTubing. There was a really rough semester coming up at the uni and I had just started my own company with a friend. I decided to fully focus on those two aspects of my life and hold off on the BookTubing for a while.
The semester – though difficult it was – flew past and many changes came with it. My friend and I made the decision to discontinue our company (for logistic reasons I am planning to write about in a different blog), I got a job as a copywriter at a travel company and started writing my master thesis (the very last battle before wearing that godawful cap and gown I secretly can’t wait to put on). Even though my schedule is quite packed, it is looking like I’ve got some time on my hands to make new videos soon. However, thinking about starting filming again made me think about how reluctant I actually am to pick up the camera.
It might be the complete 180º I pulled on my life over the last year or it may just be that I realised something. When I started out I really enjoyed BookTubing. I had people to talk to about books and met some really awesome girls (which in itself is a reason I will not regret beginning a channel)! However, for me, maintaining a channel meant posting about one video a week. That left me with pressure. Pressure I put on myself. It also left me with creating videos I didn’t particularly enjoy making. Think about Wrap-Ups, TBRs and the like. I felt these videos were necessary in order to be part of the BookTube-gang (I was never the cool kid, then again who in book buying-land ever was). Of course everybody could follow their own path, it’s your own channel after all, but somehow I did feel this need to make typical BookTube videos myself.
A very very bad habit enveloped after a while: I started looking at those dreadful statistics. At first just a bit, a little check-in, check-out; just a little gathering of how people were responding. Yet, the check-ins were slowly starting to replace the check-outs. I was focusing on views and subscribers rather than creating content that I would enjoy making. A few weeks ago I got the ultimate confirmation: I hadn’t been posting videos for over five months and thought I’d check out my channel again. Guess where I went? Yep, Google Statistics. Without even thinking about it I had clicked my way to those deceiving graphs.
It stopped being fun for me right then and there. My channel was never meant to be about how many people would be viewing a video or would be subscribing to me. I started it because it was something I felt was fun doing and gradually it became something of a numbers game.
It led me to a decision I should have shared far sooner: I will post videos when I feel like it. Just like blogging should add something to my life, so should BookTubing. For me that means no schedule, no pressure and no Google Statistics-addiction. No, thank you, Sir! If that means never uploading a video again, so be it. It has nothing to do with YouTube itself, nor does it have to do with other BookTubers or any comments I have received. If anything BookTube has given me more confidence. I’ve had countless lovely conversations about books because of YouTube. This decision simply comes down to realising that my initial reasons for having a channel no longer matched my feelings about it.
I’ll be focusing on my job, my thesis and my own writing from now on. And who knows? Maybe a video or two will still appear. As long as it brings a smile to my face, I know I’m doing it for the right reasons. But for now, it’s looking like I’ll leave BookTube for what it is.