Jenna Moreci's advice for writers on using YouTube

30 September 2014 / Leave a Comment
I came across one of Jenna Moreci's videos in one of those newspapers that people keep linking my content in (what on earth are those newspaper things? I need to interview someone about them in a future blog post! ...) Anyway, I happened to click on a Jenna Moreci video and I'm really glad I did. The video was called 'The Consequences of Taking Risks'. I found Jenna to be engaging, dynamic and, even more importantly, she had interesting things to say ... like 'being ambitious often means being lonely' or if you take risks 'you're going to have to do things that make you uncomfortable.' Jenna is a model, sci-fi writer, blogger and YouTuber ... here she has some great advice about how writers can use YouTube ...

Why do you think YouTube is a good platform for authors?

YouTube is great for a couple of reasons:

First, this particular medium isn’t over-saturated with writers yet. Sure, every writer has a blog, but not every writer has a YouTube channel. There’s an obvious reason for this—most of us writer folk are of the introverted variety—but that’s what makes YouTube such a great option for us. It’s the perfect place for a writer to stand out.

The second reason is branding. It’s a lot easier to sell a brand than it is to sell an individual product. As writers, our books are our products, but we are the brand. It’s one thing for your story to have fans, but it’s significantly more powerful for you, as an author, to have a following. YouTube gives you the opportunity to make yourself known as a unique, multi-dimensional human being rather than simply being some unknown and unseen face behind a book.

What kind of videos do people respond the best to?

In order for a video to be especially memorable, specifically if it’s an advisory video, it needs to have a hefty dose of useful information as well as personality. Viewers want you to help them with whatever problem they’re having, but they also want to be entertained along the way. One of my most popular videos is all about outlining—which is easily the most miserable part of the writing process. But a lot of people struggle with outlining, and I happen to have a method that works wonders for me, so I decided to share it. On top of that, I loaded the video up with bloopers and silliness, which made a usually tedious topic fun and engaging.

How do you prepare for one of your videos? Do you script anything? How do you get yourself in the mood for it?

To be perfectly honest, I’m almost never in the mood to shoot a video. Like most writers, I don’t particularly enjoy self-promotion and would much rather be working on my story. But with each video, the process gets easier and easier, and now I simply look at it as a weekly task to cross off my To Do list. So, rather than trying to get in the mood, I focus on the fact that people are counting on me to have something ready for them every Wednesday, and I don’t want to disappoint them or myself.

As far as prep goes, I really don’t do much. I spend about twenty minutes putting together a rough script, which mostly serves as a way to organize my thoughts and keep myself from being too redundant. Then, I wait for a decent hair day (it’s hard when you’ve got a mane like mine), and no matter how I feel or how much I’d rather be doing something else, I force myself to put on a smile and get a video done.

What kind of technical equipment do you use?

I record with my webcam and edit with iMovie. I know, super professional, right? But hey, it works!

What other advice do you have for writers thinking about using YouTube?

Keep your videos short, and get to the point. Don’t drone on and on, because viewers have a short attention span, and they’ll move onto another video with the same information if you don’t pique their interest right away. Also, think about what it is that you can potentially offer to the viewer, and film it. If every single video is just a promo of your work, no one’s going to tune in. You need to build a trustworthy and reliable reputation before you can dive into selling. And lastly, at the risk of sounding cliché, be yourself. Not only that, but own being yourself. If you’re nerdy, awkward, or silly, own it. It’s only embarrassing if you act embarrassed. Viewers want to see truly authentic people—people they can relate to. So don’t try so hard to be some eloquent, polished, scholarly writer. Just be real.



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