Book Talk,  Tags & BookTube

BookTube Reboot

As some of you may or may not already know, I’ve been uploading weekly videos to YouTube on a “BookTube / AuthorTube” channel called The Westveil Archives since late May. I’ve already been in the YouTube game for over two years with my art content on Jenna Gets Creative, but when I decided to start a book & writing video schedule, I thought I should do it on its own channel.

Well, that’s about to change. The scheduled I set (Saturdays) wasn’t working. The struggle of sparking interest in a brand new channel when I already have one over 1k was making this not fun. So I’ve decided to merge my channels. The art content on Jenna Gets Creative has moved from Tuesdays and Thursdays to Wednesdays and Fridays in order to accommodate Monday book and writing topic uploads on the same channel. Yay!

Monday November 2nd will be my first bookish face cam upload on Jenna Gets Creative, and the contents of this blog post below will be the topic of the day. Want to watch? Head on over to Jenna Gets Creative on Monday afternoon!

Since this will be a reboot of my book and writing videos, I figured I should start at the beginning. Last time that was with the AuthorTube Newbie tag (by iWriterly) was week one followed by the BookTube Newbie tag (by Brenda C.) on week two. This time I’m combing them! Let’s go.

(Want to read my original answers from the original videos? AuthorTube & BookTube.)

How did you find out about AuthorTube? (AuthorTube Tag)

I have no idea what I was searching for when I came across Jenna Moreci‘s channel, but I loved what I saw, subscribed, stuck around, bought all her books, and recently volunteered as part of her street team for The Savior’s Sister.

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Why did you start this channel? (BookTube Tag)

“This channel,” as in my main channel, was started as a viewer account in 2007 and used to house a few home videos of pets and friends’ dance competitions. In 2018 I decided to start uploading art content, and that’s what I’ve been doing twice a week ever since. The great thing that did for me was ensuring that I actually sit down and produce art at least twice a week. When I decided to start doing BookTube and AuthorTube back in May of this year on my now-defunct The Westveil Archives channel, it was with the same hope: that producing videos about books and writing would mean I read and write on a regular basis. The videos and, more importantly the blog, have indeed made me a voracious reader once again, but so far I haven’t found the creative writing habit returning. (As in writing my own books, not the blog writing.)

What genres do you write in? (AuthorTube Tag)

My passion is for science fiction and fantasy, and I do have adult novel works in progress in both genres, but I’ve also got some children’s books planned.

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What are some fun and unique things you can bring to BookTube? (BookTube Tag)

Now that I’ve moved this content to my main channel where I upload art, my original answer is even more true and more likely to happen: illustration and fan art. I can incorporate those things into my book videos sometimes, like I already have the few times I did book reviews on the main channel before the book channel existed and while the channels were separate.

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What is your preferred writing tense, point of view, and category? (AuthorTube tag)

Tense: Past continuous
Point of View: First person or third person limited
Category: Adult

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What are you most excited for about this new channel? (BookTube tag)

This isn’t a new channel anymore, so I’m not sure how to answer this! What I’m most excited for about merging my channels is the potential to introduce separate sections of my audience to my other forms of content, because I know most people don’t click through to another channel but might watch an extra video that’s already in their subscription feed.

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Are you a plotter, pantser, or plantser? (AuthorTube tag)

I’m a plantser. If you’ve never heard of the term like I hadn’t before I did this tag originally, it’s a combination of the other two options: plotter or pantser. Plotters (or planners) outline and plan extensively to the point that the book writes itself when it’s time to actually draft. Pantsers (or gardeners) just wing it. Plantsers like myself fall somewhere in between. I have outlines. I have character profiles. I have documents all over the place with tidbits of worldbuilding information. But when it’s time to actually draft, half of what happens wasn’t planned.

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Why do you love reading? (BookTube tag)

Reading has always been a passion of mine. I think mostly it’s because I get to escape into somebody else’s world and live all of these experiences along with a character. Visit all of these different places I’ve never been to and probably never will. Some places, most places that I read about, don’t even exist. And it’s way more engaging for me and fulfilling than watching a movie or a TV show, because it requires more brainpower and you get to form your own visuals in your mind sparked by the author’s descriptions.

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Are you self-published, traditionally published, or yet to be published?

Yet to be published, mostly. I did have some poetry publish in high school in a provincial student anthology. Here’s the one I read in the video:

The Meeting Place

Wild and free like the honey bee
Jumping and playing in the sunlit meadow
Now into the forest upon hills they flee
Into the safety of the shadow

Flying high and running free
Diving deep and swimming
Retreating to the misty sea
Hear the spirits come running

Now dance and play by the willow tree
And watch the bright sun set
Fun, fair, and fancy-free
Where the spirits and I first met.

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What book or series got you into reading?

Well, my Mom started reading to me when I was a baby, so I don’t remember what the first books were. When I was really little, like storybooks, my favourites were Little Critter, Franklin, and anything by Robert Munsch. As I got older into chapter books but not yet full length novels, I loved The Pony Pals, the Bailey School Kids, The Boxcar Children, and the Jedi Apprentice series. When I was finally ready to break into full length adult novels, I started with Star Trek novels, Star Trek and Star Wars novels actually. And then I started to discover full length adult Science Fiction, particularly Robert J Sawyer. It was a little later, a little closer to adulthood that I really started reading Fantasy as well. Science Fiction is definitely where I started to read full length novels.

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What publishing company, literary agent, and/or printing company are you represented by or use? If you’re not published yet, what is your dream publishing house and/or agent? (AuthorTube tag)

For the adult category science fiction and fantasy novels I’ve got in the works, I’d love to land Tor, Ace, Del Rey, or DAW. For the local-interest Newfoundland children’s books, Breakwater Books or Flanker Press. I have no idea about agents. With all that being said, of course, I’m very open to the idea of self-publishing my adult novels as well.

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What questions would you ask your favourite BookTubers? (BookTube tag)

How do you get people to care about your channel? Because I tried the BookTube game on a separate channel for 5 months and I just barely got to 75 subscribers over there and rarely broke 10 views on a new video in the first week, but I see some BookTube channels absolutely blowing up in their first year. I’m not really going to know now what growth my channel see is from the book content and what’s from the art content, but I know from having those things separate already that the book channel growth has been difficult. I’ve seen way more success with the blog and Twitter account.

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What AuthorTube videos can we expect to find on your channel? (AuthorTube tag)

I’m going to be honest out of the gate and say based on my track record with The Westveil Archives channel, you’re not going to see a whole lot of author content until I actually get my butt in gear and get a project closer to the publication process. Yes, I hear to saying NaNoWriMo would be a great way to do that. No, I’m not participating this year. I’ve accidentally agreed to more review tour dats than I thought I had in November so I’ll be quite busy reading. Maybe Camp NaNoWriMo in the spring. Actually, hold me to it!

In general, if I come across a writing based tag to do I’ll probably do it. If I end up getting to interview an author by video, that’ll probably go up on the channel. For the foreseeable future it’s mostly going to be the reader side of things here. I would like to start doing writing tips and tricks blogs and writing prompt blogs so that I can transform that into Pinterest fodder, because I’ve noticed that other people’s writing tips pins I’ve saved get re-pinned a lot and I want pins that directs to my content. So maybe some of those sort of videos.

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What challenges about starting a new BookTube channel do you think will be hardest to overcome? (BookTube tag)

Well I’m not exactly starting a channel here in any sense. This main channel here is over two years old, and I started BookTube content on the other channel in May. What I foresee as being difficult rebooting my book content and putting it here on the main channel is attracting a book audience to a channel that is established as an exclusively art channel, and not scaring away too many subscribers who aren’t interested in seeing non-art videos in their subscription feed. I’m genuinely worried about that. This channel just passed 1k in the summer, the last two weeks where I’ve been doing lower effort videos has resulted in more fluctuation in subscribers than I like to see, and I still don’t have the watch hours met for monetization.

Art subscribers, I am still planning to hold that giveaway, by the way! Once the channel is eligible for monetization I’ll do a giveaway. It was going to be just an art supplies giveaway but now that we’ve got book and writing content here I guess I should include something bookish. Let me know, should I have an alternate prize if a book-content-only susbcriber wins or should I have two different prizes?

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When did you start writing? (AuthorTube tag)

Pretty much as soon as I started learning to write and spell, though I couldn’t spell very well at all. It’s a skill that suddenly clicked when I was 14 or so. My Mom saved some of my early writing, and my sister particularly loves razzing me about a little book I wrote when I was 5 or 6. It’s called “The Apple Chee” (tree.) It’s 6ish illustrated pages with no coherent plot, and it ends on a cliffhanger that’s entirely unrelated to where the story starts. I also wrote some primary grade level chapter books about a lost pegasus.

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When did you start reading?

Again, pretty early on. Mom would read me bedtime stories, and as soon as I was starting to learn my letters, starting to sound things out, she’d read a page, and then I’d read a page, and then she’d read a page, and I’d read a page, and we shared it like that.

When did I start just taking the novel or the book or whatever off by myself to read? Grade 3. See, grade 2 was kind of a setback in reading for me. We had these awful big, thick reading textbooks that were filled with tiny tiny text, and we had silent reading every day, and we had to read from the reading textbook that was our level. You were assigned one of these ancient tomes, and they were so freakin’ boring! And you couldn’t get to the actual fun 10-page full of pictures storybooks until you advanced through like four or five levels of these awful reading textbooks. And I’ll tell you, I had the same reading textbook for most of the school year.

So then in grade 3, I ended up on the older side of a grade split. Usually when you’re on the older side of a grade split that means you struggled somewhere and they’re hoping that by putting you in that split you’ll catch up. And I did! We had to buddy read with the younger students, and that gave me a lot of confidence. I started reading more. I started memorizing the books that I was reading to my reading buddy. Her name was Annie. I memorized KatKong and DogZilla. Those were a lot of fun.

I went into grade 3 hardly reading at all. I had regressed in reading skills. I left grade 3 reading The Bailey School Kids by myself.

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What was the first story you ever wrote? (AuthorTube tag)

Technically already answered that, but let’s talk about my first attempts at novels.

In grade 5 I started writing a science fiction series and a fantasy series. The fantasy series was quite original. A friend and I had created a whole set of our own mythical creatures, and I wrote dramas about their lives. The main characters were always tiacorns, a species that looks like a mash-up of a gryffin and a unicorn, except no feathers except on the wings, and the cat part is a tiger. The villains were dragocats, which were feline-like komodo dragon type creatures with scorpion tails. Yes, my tiacorn main character did get poisoned. He also fell in love with his sister once they found out she was adopted. Very soap opera worthy material! And of course the main dragocat bad guy was named Draco, but that wasn’t a Harry Potter rip off because this was before the Harry Potter craze hit my area. I hadn’t read them yet.

The science fiction series was a blatant Star Wars ripoff. Not the films, but the Jedi Apprentice chapter book series from the late 1990s / early 2000s. It centered around a master-apprentice relationship of two laser sword wielding magical “knights” in space, out of a school for such people on Venus. The main character was a Guilluan from the planet Guillua, and the school was on Venus, but other than that it was a really bad fan fic of the Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan team as Obi-Wan grows up story line.

A little later on, grade 7 or 8, I started writing dramas. The cast I always returned to was Tobias, Søren, and Ciara, and they’re all self-inserts. They’re different facets of my psyche, and I think I was basically just using them to understand myself in my teenage years. I still love setting up dialogues and seeing where it goes when I’m bored, but I’ll never publish those stories. It’s three self-inserts, and the plots are so personal.

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Where do you read? (BookTube tag)

Anywhere! On the couch, in the car, at the cabin, outside, inside, wherever I am, as long as things aren’t moving around too much. I like to read in a comfortable spot. On the couch would be good, if there’s not too much noise going on. Of course I can put music on to drown out other noise, but then I’ll get distracted by lyrics I really like.

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What authors have inspired your writing? (AuthorTube tag)

For science fiction, the real stand out in my mind is Robert J. Sawyer. He’s a Canadian author with Nebula and Aurora awards under his belt, and he’s a recipient of the Order of Canada. I’ve met him in person, seen all his TV spots, read all his writing articles, own everything he’s ever published. Huge fan!

For fantasy… Ursula K. Le Guin, Robin Hobb, Kevin Hearne, Tolkein, Patrick Rothfuss, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett …the list goes on and on!

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What kind of books do you like to read? (BookTube tag – last on this tag)

Well it shouldn’t be a surprise that I love Science Fiction and Fantasy, ’cause those are the genres I’m writing, and those are the genres I read most as a kid. Besides that, I really do like mystery as well, and sometimes general fiction’s good too. Particularly if there’s an element of fantasy or whimsy. Romance is okay. I don’t like pure Romance novels. I’d rather the romance be a subplot. I don’t like things to get too sexy, especially if there’s rape. Not something I like to read. I don’t mind a little bit of sexy in a book. I don’t mind violence in a book. I really love science fiction. I’ve grown to like fantasy more and more as an adult. High fantasy, dark fantasy, urban fantasy, doesn’t really matter, fantasy. Love it! And mystery as well.

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Do you schedule your writing sessions or do you simply get to writing whenever you find the time? (AuthorTube tag)

At the moment, whenever I find the time (and motivation), which is NOT a good plan for me. Somebody hold me down and make me write, please!

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Do you type on a computer, a typewriter, write everything by hand, or use a blend of those, and where do you write in general? (AuthorTube tag)

These days, almost exclusively typing on a computer (laptop, usually stationed on the couch), though I do still like to outline by hand. I used to write by hand all the time because it’s what I did on the bus. Back in 8th grade I took one of the rune tables from the appendices at the back of my massive Lord of the Rings complete trilogy book, and I made my own version of Cirth. I use the same runes Tolkein used, mostly with the same phonemes, but I also made some new characters to represent other phonemes, and I’ve probably swapped similar ones in my mind over the years. I did this because I could write in phonetic English using these other characters, and no one looking over my shoulder could read it. Perfect for looky-loos on the bus!

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What are you most looking forward to now that you’re part of the AuthorTube community? (AuthorTube tag)

The community itself! I want to get in contact with other social media authors more and learn from them. I want to collaborate on other peoples’ channels and podcasts. Most importantly, I was author friends to hold me accountable for my writing schedule.

Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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