How Necessary is it for YouTubers to Write Books?
YouTube as a platform is growing in popularity. Being a “YouTuber” is a real career for thousands of people. It is very easy to become hooked to YouTubers. They are people just like us – internet fanatics . The only difference is that they have the means to create a career out of their addiction by documenting their lives or sharing their passions to the public. That’s the thing that is most appealing about them. And, since YouTube is still slightly unheard of career path, the fans of many YouTubers get defensive of their idols. They do not hesitate to show their love for these YouTubers by purchasing their merchandise and wearing their tee shirts proudly. The fans are also very quick to support every move their favorite YouTuber makes, which means that some YouTubers might just create random content in book form just to be sold. This does not apply to all Youtubers, but definitely some are taking advantage of the power they have over their viewers.
On average, according to Kelvin Ho at Quora, a YouTuber with one million subscribers makes about $100,000 per year ($8.3k per month). The way that YouTubers make this money is through Google. If a YouTuber has enough subscribers, he/she can apply to be a “partner” with Google. Then, Google will help him/her get advertisements on their videos. Google shares the profits from the ads with the YouTube content creator. The YouTuber can also become sponsored. For example, many YouTubers are sponsored by audible.com. For every person that signs up through a certain YouTubers link, that YouTubers gets paid $15 by Audible. YouTubers also get money through selling their own merchandise, which can be anything from a tee shirt with their name on it to wrapping paper with their face on it. There are plenty of options YouTubers have to make themselves more money.
The more subscribers one has, the more money they make, and the more likely they are to get a book deal. Publishers reach out to YouTubers when they start to really rise, because they know that if they wrote a book, it would automatically sell thousands of copies because of the dedicated fans who wish to support their idol. This, as argued before, is manipulative. The YouTubers don’t even have to try that hard to write good content because they’re guaranteed buyers no matter what (this does not mean that all YouTubers didn’t work hard). On average, a YouTuber book can sell from 15,000 to 25,000 copies in the debut week. Zoella (Zoe Sugg) broke the UK YouTuber record by selling 78,109 copies of Girl Online in her debut week (2).
This system is also unfair to the thousands – or even millions – of struggling writers out there. You know, those people that went to college to get an English degree, and have been working on a book for the past two years because they want it to be nothing but perfection. They are denied book deals because publishers are too busy seeking out their next celebrity to get them millions of sold copies. This, of course, is not the fault of the YouTubers. They see an opportunity, and they take it. Just because they already have a lot going for them does not mean that they shouldn’t reach for more goals. Obviously, most YouTubers are considered creative enough to write a book since they already show their creativity through their original video material and editing. But, That doesn’t mean there aren’t unheard-of creative people, as well. It’s definitely a great strategy from a publisher’s point of view, as they clearly know what will make the most money and bring in the most attention. We have to give them credit there, they are smart and they are good at their jobs. It’s just harder for a newbie to get publishers to notice them because the publishers are distracted by fame. We non-celebrities must work a little harder to get noticed. But, of course, that’s how all YouTubers (or any other famous person) started out as well: unnoticed.
Hard Workers vs. Laziness
With many of the YouTuber books, you can automatically tell how hard they worked on it. It’s in the details of the book. In Louise Pentland’s new book Life with a Sprinkle of Glitter, Louise has added inspirational phrases that she wrote herself into many pages throughout the book. She does this solely as a treat for her readers. She has written these messages herself, and there is a good amount of them in the book. This means that she took a lot of time to think about ways she could lift up her audience. This is different from other autobiographic books because she didn’t just focus on herself, she focused on what the audience would want to hear.
It is a good book when the writer tells stories that the viewers of his/her YouTube channel have not heard yet. For example, Tyler Oakley’s book entitled Binge was clearly worked hard on. When reading it, you can tell that he put all of his effort into this book. In fact, you can tell that he put love into the book. He tells the readers stories of his personal life that would normally be considered inappropriate to share in a three minute video on the internet. He talks about his struggles with an eating disorder, realizing he was gay and coming out to his family, losing important relationships, and so much more. His book has feeling. In a video, Tyler admitted that he had been offered a book deal years ago, but he said no the first time because he felt as though he wasn’t ready to be writer. Then, throughout the next few years, he practiced and improved his writing. This is a sign that he only wants to send out the best possible content for his audience.
On the contrary, certain YouTubers just threw together some stories or games and bound it up with a front cover and back, and called it a book. One in particular, Alfie Deyes, may or may not have stolen his book idea from the famous do-it-yourself book called Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith. This YouTuber’s book has the same exact concept. The book demands the reader to do certain things to certain pages. Arguably, he might not have realized that he was stealing his idea from Keri Smith. However, it was pointed out to him by many of his followers through Tumblr, Twitter, and probably email.
There are even reviews on Amazon that mention the similarity. One girl on Amazon by the name of Madisyn Terrell stated: “Basically just a copy of ‘Wreck This Journal‘ except less fun” about The Pointless Book (which, yes, is the real name of it). It was nearly impossible for him not to notice all of the people trying to tell him that his book was not original. This did not stop him, though, because he made a second one. After most likely becoming aware of his mistake, he still made a second one. He knows that his viewers will blindly support him. His viewers will look past his mistake and purchase both of the unoriginal books because they love him. In Alfie’s defense, the only thing that is copied is the idea of the book. The insides are a little different. So, if you already had a copy of Wreck This Journal, and then bought a copy of The Pointless Book, you wouldn’t be staring at two of the same exact book with different covers. But, it would definitely be tedious to fill out two do-it-yourself books in a row. Alfie is just an example of how dedicated fans can be. They will almost always follow whatever their idol does, so if that means buying two knock-off books, so be it.
There are also some YouTubers that have written cook books, which is almost always appropriate due to the fact that their channels are mainly cooking videos. However, some YouTubers who write books that are specifically helpful books (whether it be recipes or life advice), they will almost always include never-before-seen pictures or stories hidden throughout the book. They’ll talk about this on their channel, which will make their viewers feel like they have to get the book in order to stay in the loop. This, of course, can just be considered good marketing. But there’s something about already-famous people marketing to 13-17 year old nerds on the internet that is unsettling. Most YouTubers have a majority of young teenage girls as their audience (this is based off of the estimated demographic of British YouTubers Dan and Phil). It might become stressful for the followers because they want to support all of the Youtubers that they watch, but buying every single Youtuber book can come out to be over two hundred dollars, depending on how many people they are subscribed to.
Be Careful Who You Support
It is unfair to say that every single YouTube author is out for just the money. Many YouTubers write their books to satisfy their audience, and to tell their own stories in order to help their readers who might be going through the same thing that they, the YouTuber, was once going through as well. But for the YouTubers that just write random diary or adventure books, how necessary is that? Please think about the thirteen year old girl who is begging her mother for money to buy your book, which just has pages that say “write down how each day of the week was” just because it was something that you wrote. Don’t take advantage of the people that look up to you.
What are some of your favorite and least favorite books written by a YouTube star? What are your opinions on the necessity of YouTube books? Write them in the comments!
- Ho, Kelvin. “How Much Does a YouTuber with 1 Million Subscribers Earn a Year?” – Quora. Quora, 21 Mar. 2015. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.
- SuperFame. “How Did Dan & Phil’s Book Do on the Charts.” SuperFame. Mode Media, 14 Oct. 2015. Web. 18 Dec. 2015.
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