5 important reasons to use YouTube for book marketing (and how to do it)

Are you using YouTube for book marketing? Here's why you'll want to along with tips for doing it effectively.

When I Googled “how to change an oven lightbulb,” the first search result was a YouTube video.

And that’s exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want to read about how to do it. I wanted someone to show me how to do it.

I’m not alone. With 2.6 billion users worldwide, YouTube is the second most popular social media platform (Facebook is first). Whether you need instruction, entertainment, or news, you’ll find what you need in a video.

In fact, Tubics reports it’s the most popular search engine for teenagers. (If you write for young adults, now’s the time to perk up.)

This means that YouTube is a powerful marketing tool that can be used to sell books. It also means that you want to use YouTube for book marketing.

Why YouTube is a powerful marketing tool for books

If you’re an author looking to get your work out there, YouTube should be your go-to platform. Here are five reasons why:

1. There’s a huge book community on YouTube.

There are tons of booktubers and bookish channels on YouTube, which means there’s already a built-in audience for your book’s content. If you produce quality videos, you will attract and acquire passionate book fans.

2. You can reach a global audience.

YouTube is available in more than 80 countries and reaches billions of people around the world. This gives you the opportunity to connect with book lovers from all over, no matter where they are.

3. You can connect with other authors.

YouTube is a great place to connect with other authors and build relationships. Collaborate on videos, cross-promote each other’s work, support each other’s careers.

4. It’s a brand-builder.

Use video to share your personality and connect with your audience on a personal level. This can help you attract more readers and followers.

5. It’s a moneymaker.

If you build a large enough following, you can make money from YouTube through sponsorships, affiliate links, and advertisements. This can help offset self-publishing and marketing costs.

How to create a YouTube channel for your book

The process for creating your own YouTube channel is similar to what you’ve done already with your social media profiles. Here are the steps to follow so you use YouTube for book marketing effectively:

Choose a catchy name. Select something that will make people want to subscribe so they’re notified when you add videos.

I use my YouTube channel as a brand extension, so my channel name is Build Book Buzz.

Create a visually appealing channel banner. Make sure it’s consistent with your book’s branding.

Upload a professional headshot as your profile picture. Use the same image that you use on other social networks.

Write your channel description. This is where you’ll tell viewers what they can expect to find on your channel.

Here’s mine: Tips, tactics and tools for generating awareness and buzz about your books. Subscribe to our free book marketing newsletter at http://buildbookbuzz.com/gift.

Start creating and uploading videos. There are so many possibilities! Share book trailers, how-tos, readings, Q&As, behind-the-scenes looks, interviews with others, and anything else you can think of.

A few video basics

You want your videos to be as effective as possible, right? For that reason, make sure they’re high quality and engaging. No one wants to watch a low-quality, boring video, so focus on creating something that’s interesting and will hold viewers’ attention.

“Quality,” by the way, applies to audio as well as video. You’ll lose viewers if your audio isn’t strong and clear.


Get creative with how you promote your book with video, too. Instead of just doing a standard reading or Q&A, do a book-themed challenge or an interactive video where viewers can help you choose what happens next in the story.

Have fun with it – the more fun you’re having, the more likely viewers are to stick around and watch.

Finally, don’t forget to include a call to action at the end of each video. Let viewers know where they can buy your book or sign up for your newsletter to stay up-to-date on your latest releases.

Getting views and subscribers

If you’re hoping to build a following on YouTube, you’ll need to put in some work. Growing a channel takes time, but if you’re consistent and create quality content, you will eventually see results. Here are a few tips to help you get more views and subscribers:

Optimize your channel

Make sure your channel is set up for success by completing the About section and adding keywords that describe your content. This will make it easier for people to find your channel when they’re searching for topics they’re interested in that you’re addressing.

Create engaging videos

Your videos should be interesting and engaging, offering viewers something they can’t find elsewhere. If your content is enjoyable, people will be more likely to watch it and subscribe to your channel.

YouTube for book marketing

Promote your videos

Get the word out about your videos by promoting them on social media and other platforms. You can also run ads on YouTube to reach a wider audience.

Use keywords in your video title and description

When people search for books on YouTube, they typically use keywords such as “book review” or “book recommendations.” When appropriate, use these keywords in your video title and description so that your video will show up in these searches.

People search on YouTube for topic information, too, so be sure to add the right keywords for the topics you’re featuring.

Collaborate with other creators

Teaming up with other YouTube creators can help expose a new audience to your book. Partner on videos, cross-promote each other’s content, and guest star on each other’s channels.

Be patient

As with other social networks, it takes time to build a following on YouTube, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results overnight. Keep creating quality content and promoting your channel, and eventually you’ll start to see your subscriber count rise.

How to promote your video

As with blog posts and other online content, you have to help people find your videos. Don’t rely on getting found in search results alone – send people to your videos with these tactics:

  • Every time you upload a new video, share it on social media, email it to your list, and embed it on your website – especially if it’s a book trailer.book launch results 3
  • Help your video stand out and get more views by creating a catchy title and thumbnail.
  • Get discovered by including keywords in your title and description.

Using YouTube for book marketing takes effort

There are many advantages to using YouTube for book marketing, including the simple fact that creating and uploading videos is free. You don’t have to spend a cent to reach your target audience there.

You can also target a specific audience by using keywords and tags that they’ll search for to find videos like yours.

And, if your video is well-done, it has the potential to go viral, which could result in a lot of free publicity for your book.

Even so, YouTube marketing requires a bit more effort than some other options.

You need to create a quality video that will grab people’s attention and make them want to learn more about your book. You also need to proactively promote your video.

If you don’t put in the work, your video is likely to get lost in the shuffle.

What’s the verdict?

Is YouTube for book marketing worth it?

Ultimately, that’s for you to decide.

If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, it can be a great way to reach a wide audience. This is especially true if you’re willing to include yourself in the video (either on- or off-camera), as it will help readers connect with you.

If you aren’t already creating videos, there’s a learning curve. If you’re like me, though, mastering a new skill is not only fun, it’s personally rewarding.

Give it a try! You have nothing to lose.

Are you creating YouTube videos to promote your book? Please provide a link to your channel in the comments.

Editor’s note: I used QuickWrite, the new artificial intelligence (AI) writing software created specifically for authors, to write this blog post. I added new content at the beginning and did a little editing to eliminate some of the “rote” approach to writing, but all of that was far easier than starting from scratch.

QuickWrite’s creator assured me that I don’t need to worry about duplicate content or plagiarism, too. 

AI software won’t replace me, but in some situations, it could make my job a little easier. It did this time.

Like what you’re reading? Get it delivered to your inbox every week by subscribing to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter. You’ll also get my free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” cheat sheet immediately!


  1. “QuickWrite’s creator assured me that I don’t need to worry about duplicate content or plagiarism” – and you believed them? I’d be cautious!

  2. Hi Sandy,

    As always, inspiring content. AI rubs me all wrong, but for factoids it probably makes sense. For humor or originality, we’ll likely remain on our own.

    I have a YouTube channel (2 actually, don’t know how to combine them!), but I only post non-book stuff — just a few bird/animal videos.

    It might be time to tackle the books. I do find Tik-Tok and Instagram abbreviated, contrived, and ‘young’ for this ranch-hand.

    Most of all, I want to wish you an exciting, creative, prosperous and healthy New Year. Hope your holidays were restorative, fun and idea-generating. And I know we all look forward to new author directions and insights in 2023 as self-publishing continues to evolve!

    Blessings ~


    1. Happy new year, Wendy! I hope you’re all set for a great year, too!

      I agree that we won’t be able to rely on AI for emotions — humor or otherwise. But the tool I use is great for the research piece. That, combined with human input (like my opening few paragraphs), can make it useful for certain tasks. But would I write a nonfiction book with it (I don’t write fiction)? Nope. When I write nonfiction, I want to help others by sharing what I’ve learned. AI doesn’t have access to that! But with the right information, the tool I use might be able to create chapter topics. I can see using it to save time with certain tasks, but it will never replace me (or you!).

      Based on your professional background, I think it IS time for you to tackle the books in video. YouTube might be your gateway to Instagram and TikTok, too. Part of my problem with all of this is FINDING THE TIME! What’s your biggest obstacle?

      Finally…thank you for always being an intelligent, uplifting voice here. I am SO grateful for you.


    1. It seems that results depend on the tool, Joy. And Galactica lasted only 3 days, so that’s probably not the best example. It’s a reminder, however, that AI won’t replace people. You still have to bring your brain to the party, and I trust that my subscribers reading this will do that.

      The software I used to write the post was created specifically for authors, so in addition to writing blog posts like this, it can create character names and descriptions, plot summaries, and so on. None of this puts users at risk. It also doesn’t use the fill-in-the-blanks type of prompt that Janelle used, so there’s no risk of that problem.


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