Social Media 101: YouTube For Authors

Learn how to use YouTube to grow your author business

Youtube has over 368 million daily users. That is a massive audience to tap into. And the good news is, if you have a book, you may already have the basis for launching your own YouTube channel. After all, books are basically like YouTube videos you can carry around with you, right? Right.

Video is an incredibly powerful medium and creating a YouTube channel might just be the catalyst to helping you reach a wider audience and make a deeper connection with your readers. 

What To Know Before Getting Started

For many authors, the thought of regularly including video in their content lineup might be terrifying intimidating. But the good news is it doesn’t just have to be you alone in a room talking to a camera. 

That approach definitely works for some people, but just as your book is unique, your YouTube channel should be too. You created your book for a specific target audience. Approach your YouTube channel the same way. 

Maybe you upload your audiobook with nice graphics and text on the screen and never have to physically get in front of the camera. Maybe you use AI to create scenes from your book and review them on your channel. Maybe you want to be on camera and you focus more on your process and what you’ve learned along the way. 

Look to your target audience to help guide the content you create. And remember, you don’t have to stick to one type of content. Play around with topics and length until you find what’s really resonating with your audience.

Create Your YouTube Account

If you already have a Google account, signing into YouTube and getting started is a breeze. If not, then start by creating a YouTube Business account. Then simply follow the prompts to set up your account name, add a cover picture, and fill in an about section for your account.

Make sure your cover picture is relevant to your brand and aesthetically pleasing, and that your about section is compelling and explains why your channel exists and what people can expect to gain from tuning in. 

This is also a place where you can put contact information and direct people to your website for more information. Or to buy your book!

YouTube Comments

The good thing about YouTube is that you can find out pretty quickly what’s working and what isn’t. As with everywhere else on the internet, the comments section of YouTube is a place where people who are normally polite in everyday society can become a bit… unfiltered. 

So although there will be comments that merit no more consideration than hitting the delete button, there will be valuable insights you can glean and connections that can be made by reviewing and responding to comments.

Be sure to give yourself time to be successful. Just because your follower count hasn’t hit 7 digits by the end of your first month doesn’t mean it’s not working. It can take time to find your niche and perfect your content strategy, so don’t become discouraged if you’re not seeing the numbers you’re looking for out of the gate. Keep creating content and enjoy the process of trying something new.

Create Your YouTube Account

If you already have a Google account, signing into YouTube and getting started is a breeze. If not, then start by creating a YouTube Business account. Then simply follow the prompts to set up your account name, add a cover picture, and fill in an about section for your account.

Make sure your cover picture is relevant to your brand and aesthetically pleasing, and that your about section is compelling and explains why your channel exists and what people can expect to gain from tuning in. 

This is also a place where you can put contact information and direct people to your website for more information. Or to buy your book!

Your Book, Your Way

Sell books on your website with Lulu Direct.

Sell Your Book,
Your Way

Sell books on your own
website with Lulu Direct.

Do Your Research & Find Your Niche

If you know anything about Lulu—if you have read or watched or listened to any of our content up to this point—this part should sound familiar to you. 

Before you start creating and posting content—do your research and find your niche! If you have already published a book you should have an idea of what kind of content your audience wants and expects from you. But now is the time to figure out how to deliver it in a way that makes sense for YouTube. 

Bring the same research skills you used when creating your book to your YouTube channel. Search for topics similar to what you want to highlight on your channel and see what’s already out there. Watch videos and read comments relevant to what you hope to create to get an understanding of how you can differentiate yourself and create something unique and engaging for your target audience.

This research can also help you create a list of channels that might be interested in collaborating with you once you get up and running. 

Create A Content Calendar & Bank Of Videos To Publish

Your audience is going to go absolutely crazy when you upload your first video and will have an insatiable appetite for your content after that. Or at least, you should act like that will happen. Dreaming is believing! 

When your first video is a hit, you don’t want to be left scrambling trying to recreate that magic. Instead, have a content calendar ready with your plan for the next several weeks. And even better, film multiple videos at a time so you won’t ruin your publishing schedule if something comes up or you run out of ideas. 

For our YouTube channel (that you can subscribe to here!), we meet quarterly to plan out videos and film six at a time so we can stick to our publishing schedule of twice a month. Although you may want to plan a few months in advance, don’t forget you can always deviate from this if necessary. 

How to Stay Active on YouTube Between Published Videos

Cranking out a polished, longer format video every week can be challenging. Fortunately, YouTube offers several ways for you to connect with your audience in between your regular uploads. 

YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts are a great way to create content in between publishing longer videos. Shorts can be up to 60 seconds and give you the opportunity to try out different formats and styles for your videos. Shorts can also provide a way for you to repurpose long-form content that you have already created. Review those videos for the best soundbites and turn them into shorts to reach a wider audience.

YouTube Community Tab

You can also utilize the Community Tab on your channel to keep the conversation going between video uploads. The Community Tab is a great place to post photos, polls, questions or tease upcoming videos. People can like and comment on those posts and provide feedback on the content you’re sharing. 

Going Live on YouTube

If you’re feeling confident and want to try a more interactive approach, try live streaming on YouTube! Live streaming offers a unique opportunity to answer questions from followers and fans in real-time and spark conversations. This can also be a great way to share your creative process or hold space to hear from your community. Going live adds an air of authenticity and excitement to your content and can be a great way to identify super fans and boost engagement. 

Here’s a pro tip for content creation – create YouTube Playlists as an easy way to group similar content for your viewers. When you upload video content to YouTube, be sure to add it to a relevant playlist and share the video link in the playlist rather than just linking to the individual video. This will drop the viewer into a playlist and encourage them to keep watching!

Understand SEO And Make YouTube Work For You!

YouTube isn’t just a place to watch fail videos. It’s also the second-largest video search engine on the internet. This means that the titles and descriptions you use for your videos matter, and can be instrumental in getting your videos in front of the right audience.

Become familiar with the keywords your audience is searching for and be sure to include them in your video titles and descriptions. This will help you rank higher for searches related to those terms and find more people in your target audience. 

When you’re writing descriptions for your videos, consider the long tail keywords users might search to find your video. Long tail keywords are phrases a viewer might use to find something specific. 

For example, if you are creating a video about how to give yourself a haircut, your description might include something like, “Learn how to cut your hair at home without giving yourself a bowl cut,” so you can capture more keywords than just, “Learn how to cut hair”. 

SEO is a huge factor in how videos are discovered so get familiar with how to use them to your benefit in the beginning to set yourself up for success.

Reviewing YouTube Video Analytics

Once you’ve got everything set up and are uploading content consistently, be sure to regularly review analytics for your channel. YouTube Studio provides a wealth of information under Channel Analytics.

Sample image from Google

 Here you can see your subscribers, comments, top-performing videos, when your subscribers are most active, and what format they prefer (videos, shorts, or live). And much more. 

This information is invaluable to growing and nurturing your audience and will help you understand the content that is growing your channel and what you should focus on. Oftentimes the videos you think will perform the worst do the best, and the one that you created a hilarious intro for that you thought would elicit uncontrollable laughter has somehow garnered a negative view count. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you can see what content your audience is enjoying and make more of that. 

Give yourself time to get familiar with the tools available to you and look at your analytics regularly to get the most out of your channel.


You’re an artist, first and foremost. We know. We know that you would gladly give away your content for free in an effort to make the world a better place. But we also know that you love the sound of that sweet, sweet cash hitting your bank account. So why not have both?

The content you post to your YouTube channel is available for free, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some money. To monetize your YouTube channel, you’ll need to join the YouTube Partners Program. This will allow you to access monetization features and enable revenue sharing from ads being served on your content. To be eligible, you need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours over the past year, or 1,000 subscribers with 10 million valid public Shorts views within the past 90 days.

You can also earn money from your channel with brand sponsorships. As your channel grows, brands that align with your content may reach out to strike deals and get their message in front of your audience. If you chose to work with them is ultimately up to you, but finding brands that you know will benefit your audience and reaching out to them or vetting the businesses that come to you can be a great way to earn some extra cash and build trust with your followers.

And let’s not forget products and services! If you have products or services to sell, your YouTube channel can be a great funnel to get people in the door and over to your website to make a purchase. Better yet – there are ways to connect your Shopify store to your Youtube channel for easy browsing. If you’re selling your book through Shopify with Lulu Direct, this is a great way to promote your books and make it easy for your audience to pick up a copy (or two!). 

Tell People About Your YouTube Channel!

Once you’ve published content on your YouTube channel, tell people about it! Let everyone know there’s a new and amazing way for them to consume your content and interact with you online. This is great content for your email list and other social platforms and a wonderful opportunity to leverage the audiences you’ve built on those platforms and invite them to join you on YouTube.

Remember that research you were doing on YouTube channels similar to yours? Now is the time to reach out and connect. This can be an excellent way to reach new audiences and collaborate with fellow creators, but be sure to offer something and not just ask for free promotion. Maybe you can review their videos or books or share their channel on your other platforms. When you reach out, make it clear that you understand their audience and can add value by collaborating. 

Reach New Audiences With YouTube

YouTube has the potential to unlock new audiences and new revenue streams for you. But only if you do it right. Just like publishing a successful book, doing your research, finding your niche, and taking the time to create something great are the best ways to tap into YouTube’s potential. We know you can do it. We believe in you!

Chelsea B - Public Relations Manager

Chelsea Bennett is the Brand Engagement Manager for and is constantly researching and developing new resources for independently published authors. Her areas of expertise include self-publishing, Print-on-Demand technology, building an author brand, direct sales and marketing for authors and entrepreneurs. When not thinking about publishing, Chelsea can be found playing disc golf with her husband or having in-depth conversations about the universe with her cat, Batman.

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