7 Questions With BookTuber Caelyn Shaner
Meet Caelyn Shaner, author and BookTuber. In today’s interview, Caelyn approaches the joy of reviewing books on YouTube and shares some tips on building an online platform.
She grew up in rural Van Wert, OH, where her love for fantastical fairy tales drove her to tell stories of broken heroes and complicated villains from the time she was a small girl. Inspired by her father’s interest in superheroes and science fiction, her brothers’ hours logged battling enemies in quest-driven video games, and her time spent onstage as a theater actress, she aspires to create worlds and characters that open the heart to beauty and pain and all that lies between.
Having published articles in County Living Magazine, and the Van Wert Times Bulletin as a ghost writer for the musical Little Shop of Horrors, Shift is her debut full-length novel and is part of the series The Shifter Chronicles, which includes Transform and Bond.
All three are slated for re-release in the coming months. She is currently working on another novel, expected to be titled Develop; it will be the fourth installment of the series. To keep her skills sharp, she writes media reviews, and short stories on her joint blog Insanifiction with Emily McGuff. She has also launched her new mental health blog, The Glass / Pop! Notes.
For the ones of you who are new to my blog, I’m Esther, writer, content creator for authors and massive nerd. If you’re interested to know all the tips & tricks surrounding the process From Writing To Publishing Your Novel, you’re only a click away. For more goodies, articles and giveaways, please consider subscribing to my Newsletter.
Esther Rabbit: Is book reviewing a full time job or professional hobby in your case?
Ah, a girl can dream. I would love for my writing and YouTube combo to become a full time job! Until it starts to grow, however, it’s just a really fun and really time consuming hobby.
Esther Rabbit: Many readers/authors would like to know the answer to this question – do you have a preference when it comes to genre?
I do! Fantasy is the be all end all for me. I rarely pick up a fantasy novel that I don’t enjoy at least a little. Science fiction is another favorite. But second place would have to be awarded to period pieces.
Even lacking magic and/or dragons and such, stories set in any time period from the past really calls to me. I especially love dramatic retellings of history. Recently, Alison Weir’s The Lady Elizabeth was given to me as gift and was amazing read.
Esther Rabbit: Obviously, there’s a lot of work behind book reviewing – reading, taking notes, editing your YouTube Channel. Can you give us some insight on your life behind the scenes and how you build up towards a successful vlog?
The reading part is easy, as I’m sure is the case for anyone who loves to read. I’ll scribble notes in notebooks around the house as I read, but I try to review the book immediately after reading it so everything still really fresh.
The videos are fun to record, particularly when my cat decides to join me. The key part is having really good editing software – I use Adobe Premiere Pro – and good lighting. My camera isn’t excellent, but kind lighting covers a multitude of sins.
Rendering and uploading is a terrible pain at the moment, though, because I don’t have access to a high-powered PC yet; I’m currently using an old college laptop. A twenty-minute video can take up to eight hours just to finalize. I’m shopping for a solid PC right now, so the hope is that I can make a lot more videos at a much quicker pace in the future.
Esther Rabbit: Why should readers follow your website/blog/channel? What should they expect from you?
I’m juggling a lot of different balls right now. To work out some creative energy, and to keep from stagnating on a specific project, I write a blog on my website about dealing with mental illness, co-author a blog of creepy short stories with fellow author Emily McGuff titled Insanifiction, and write reviews on my website for bands/books/movies/etc.
As for my YouTube channel, I try to do different things to keep it fresh and entertaining. I adore doing tag videos, such as the Disney Book Tag or the Coffee Book Tag. I can’t get enough of those. I obviously do reviews on books I’ve read recently; I try to do mainly recently released titles.
Uniquely, I also produce videos where I scour the internet for everything a fan might love if they enjoyed one of the books I’ve read – I look up musical soundtracks that fit the theme of the novel, fan art of the characters, and merchandise based on the book, review them and provide the links in the description. Additionally, I just started AuthorTube, producing videos about the joys and pitfalls of my journey as an author.
Esther Rabbit: How did you start book reviewing and what kept you going?
I read somewhere last year that one of the best things one can do for an author, besides buying the book, is to leave a review. So I got on Amazon – through which I plan on self-publishing – and began writing reviews for my favorite books.
Shortly after, I was asked to write an in-depth bio for my brother’s up-and-coming band Ellis Omega. That’s when the two sort of merged in my head and I started writing reviews of different pieces of art and entertainment I came across and posting it on my website. I’ve always wanted to become a creator on YouTube, but I didn’t always know what I wanted to record, but the transition from written reviews to videos happened pretty naturally from that point.
Esther Rabbit: Do you charge for your services or do it for the joy of book reviewing?
I don’t think I will ever want to charge for reviewing a book. It’s a kindness and a show of support for other authors just like myself, not to mention something I enjoy doing. I hope someday that the videos themselves begin to generate income form the site itself, and perhaps someday I’ll join Patreon as a creator. But I just don’t see myself trying to charge money from the fans or the authors themselves.
Esther Rabbit: What are the 5 immediate tasks you hope to accomplish in the near future?
I’d like to grow my channel until I have a big enough audience that I can do things like give-aways and contests. Second, I think it’d be cool to have a Patreon. I also can’t wait to publish my upcoming novel.
There are also plans in the works to start shooting content that has more of an acting flair, with recurring characters and skits surrounding various books. Lastly, it’d be truly exciting if authors wanted me to feature their works on my channel; I’d be honored to give them the spotlight they deserve.
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“A new Interplanetary Alliance ambassador on an earthbound mission.
A handful of genetically altered humans to be rescued.
Meeting her changed everything.“