5 Years of The Melodramatic Bookworm on YouTube! | What I Have Learned?

5 years ago, on 18 February, 2018, I made a decision to start a YouTube channel in which I could talk about books. I’d never been good at talking on camera in a rehearsed manner. But books were something I was willing to take this extra leap for. Of course, I didn’t get good at it right off the bat. I’m not the best at it now either. My very first video – an introduction of sorts – is likely the worst video ever on the Internet and I have nightmares descend on me the moment I start thinking of it. But that’s the thing – you can’t expect to be expert-level good at something the moment you start doing it, no matter what the thing is. And I’ve lived this multiple times.

From being a camera-shy person to being able to conceptualize, film, edit, and upload videos relatively easily, the journey has been difficult. You might expect me to look back and say, “Oh, it wasn’t that difficult,” but it was! There was technology to contend with, the human factor (physical and mental health), external circumstances (COVID-19 hit just over 2 years into my Booktube journey), and the struggle of passion vs. income – a debate I have with me even today. I’ve learned a lot through all of this and come out on the other side, but I will never lie and say that it was easy. It wasn’t.

If you’d like to watch my Live session to celebrate 5 years of being on YouTube, you can watch it here: 5 Years of The Melodramatic Bookworm on YouTube.

When I started Booktube, I thought it would be as simple as talking on camera and uploading a video. But I soon learned that it was so much more than that. Here’s what goes into making a video:

  • Conceptualising a video – including coming up with an interesting enough topic and scripting it if required.
  • Filming the video – I used to randomly film videos in rooms with tubelights at first, but I soon realized how grim that looked. Now, I check for lighting and make sure the filming location is good enough before I can film it, a process that can take anywhere between 10 minutes to 1.5-2 hours. And that’s for sit-down videos. Vlogs take even longer; I sometimes have 7-10 hours of footage at the end of it.
  • Editing the video takes another few hours, ranging from 2 to 6 hours, and sometimes even more. I do it in 2 rounds, the first of which, I’m just removing the obviously unnecessary parts and the second of which sees me being even more brutal as I chop it down. It wasn’t always like this. I used to do only one round and upload videos without even rendering them. But we’ve come a long way. 😉
  • The thumbnail! It’s an important part of YouTube videos and I can’t believe I used to use screenshots from the videos as thumbnails at one time. But I’m a little better at it now than I was 5 years ago. It takes me about 30-45 minutes to finish one, including editing the photo itself and then adding the text. Pretty happy with this progress.
  • And finally, the uploading itself. From coming up with a title that people might see (because, YouTube algorithm is weird) to writing the description to the keywords to the cards, the upload process itself takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour, sometimes more for YouTube itself to process a HD version of the video.

It looks tedious and it is. But I have SO much fun now that I know what to do and what my channel is right now. Of course, the platform itself is a little difficult to navigate, trying to work out if some things will work or not. But despite all that, I’ve come to enjoy myself while I make videos – while not discounting the effort that goes into it.

Another thing I’ve learned in my 5 years on Booktube is that I can’t expect the platform to work for me ALL the time. Lean patches are a dime a dozen. I say this because I’ve had quite a few and these have sometimes pushed me into reading slumps and life slumps, even. So what’s the point of pushing myself off the cliff trying to make bookish videos? Why not enjoy myself while I do it and whenever I don’t, step back until I get back in the space of mind to do this? That makes more sense, doesn’t it? Why torture myself? I have enough problems as it is. Why add this to the equation?

The income I earn from my Booktube videos is nothing compared to the passion I put into making them. YouTube pays creators a pittance for all the content they make for the platform. Of course, the argument might be that it’s providing us a platform and without it, we wouldn’t be doing what we are doing. But the argument could also be flipped, couldn’t it? Without its creators, what would YouTube be? So shouldn’t it show some respect to the people keeping it afloat? But apparently, it isn’t that important.

The most important part, however, is how much I’ve changed. And it’s not just in the way I make videos as I was talking about before. It’s also about growing as a person, about expanding my view of books and of life in general. I don’t think I would have appreciated the variety of human decisions and experiences 5 years ago. Reading different books, examining my thoughts and perspectives about them, talking about them – on camera, no less, and putting those videos out for the world to see has been an eye-opening experience, to say the least.

So now, when I think about how Booktube has changed me, it isn’t just in the way that I make videos. It’s also in the way that I look at life, in the way that I have more empathy towards people, in the way that I am able to understand people a little better, in the way that I know what representation and diversity means. There are so many ways in which I have changed and evolved. I can’t list all of them here, obviously, but I can try to acknowledge them and make sure I keep going.

The bottom line is: It isn’t easy, but beautiful things never are. It isn’t fair, sure, but I’ve learned that the world is a shite place with diamonds shining in places. I might lament, I might complain at times, but that’s so that us Booktubers get our due. I have the hope that sometime in the future, we will get to that point.

Fingers crossed!

If you’d like to follow me on my YouTube channel, here’s where you can: The Melodramatic Bookworm on YouTube.

Let me know what you think of all the points I made about YouTube and my journey. I’d love to hear from you!

I’ll see you in the next blog post.

Until next time, keep reading, keep watching, and add melodrama to your life! 😀

2 thoughts on “5 Years of The Melodramatic Bookworm on YouTube! | What I Have Learned?

  1. This was such a fascinating read. I didn’t realise how time consuming making a book tube video was. It isn’t something that I use generally but I am going to have a look at your channel.

    Liked by 1 person

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