The Problem With Authortube
There isn't one. Well, not one that is only their fault. Sorry for the click bait, babes.
This is my personal opinion, of course. Just like how I hope the implicit disclaimer of "this writing advice is based on what I've learned on my journey, not from a place of expertise" is reaching people who read this blog. I am not an expert and you will never hear, read, or see me claim that title in regard to writing. How does that statement relate to Authortube? Half of them are doing the same exact thing but because we see and hear them, sometimes it's not clear whether they are speaking from a place of authority or life lesson.
So there is not a "problem" with Authortube, there is a problem with assuming every single person is an expert or credible source of knowledge. On the flip side, there is an issue with everyone thinking they are an authority on all facets of writing. Who's fault is it really if we believe all of them, theirs or ours (the viewer)? If an Authortuber says start your story with a dream sequence every single time, would you believe them? Absolutely not. In fact, you might run far, far away and never return. Checking the flip side of that, if you tell people to start every book with a dream sequence, shame upon thee.
Literally anyone can post a video and call themselves an Authortuber just like, technically, anyone can self-publish a book. It is up to us, consumers of that content, to discern who's advice is knowledgeable and who is just speaking. It is also important to really consider how to make any advice work with your own writing methods and your journey. For example, I watch a lot of Jenna Moreci (The Savior's Champion, The Savior's Sister) and her videos are fun, funny, and to the point. However, Jenna, while speaking broad enough to apply to most, if not all, genre fiction, self-publishes dark fantasy romance and I don't. So, I take her advice, digest it, and whatever works for me specifically, I keep in my brain. Everything else goes right out the window until I need it later.
For traditional contemporary knowledge, I find that Liselle Sambury (Blood Like Magic, Blood Life Fate) and Alexa Donne (The Ivies) are fantastic sources of information and fun behind-the-scenes of what author life is like. Another fun Authortuber is Michelle Schusterman (Olive and the Backstage Ghost) who speaks about her wild journey in the publishing space as both an author and a ghostwriter (secret agent author). If you want the real hard takes, check out her videos.
Those are people that I watch, trust with not selling me some nonsense, and learn from within reason. Because writing is an art form, what works for one person might not work for others who follow their advice to a T. There has to be a personal level of discernment.
Now, let's get into a very real problem that came to light last year when a prominent Authortuber released a book and it, sadly, did not go the way they wanted. Disclaimer: I want to speak about this with great respect to them, as they are a very kind person, so my usual smarminess will be shoved aside for a bit.
What happened: After building up a large platform as a well-informed, industry trained professional, they finally decided to release their book. Again, disclaimer, I received a free copy of this book. Full respect, despite the amazing premise and elements building, it was not for me. Others had more colorful ways of expressing that it wasn't for them and suddenly everything this Author ever said was called into question.
You will find five star review of this book on Goodreads, Amazon, etc which means that it worked very well for some people but, the issue is that the author made videos from a point of authority on everything that fell short for others. So, what do we as readers and consumers of their past advice do with this? Do we consider it a debut writer issue or do we just write it off as someone who spoke a little too highly of their own skill? Me, personally, I'm considering it a debut flop issue.
The conclusion: There was a massive scandal surrounding a sudden influx of five star reviews that people found highly suspicious, the author made a statement that they had nothing to do with it and, then the author took a leave of absence. I hope they are doing well and healing.
But, I say all of this because was it really their fault people assumed they'd release the perfect debut? Writing craft theory (knowing the many act structures and commenting on other books) is very different from actually writing for public consumption. I can name several popular books that I think are absolute trash. When my books get released, someone will call it trash (please just not to my face, I'm sensitive).
So, in my humble opinion, there is not an overwhelming issue with Authortube just like there is not an overwhelming issue with self-publishing. Someone out there is finding value in the writing advice being offered and that is great! So much of publishing is gatekept and the amount of knowledge people are providing for free is a goldmine when you can find and apply it. That's why I'm open about my journey and what I've learned from searching the internet for answers.
Please let me know who your favorite Authortube personalities are, I'd love to check them out! Additionally, please leave a comment if you are so inclined. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram too!
Until next time!