I reviewed Saleema Nawaz’s Bone & Bread for Hello Hemlock this month. While it’s not the very first book video I’ve ever made, it is the first one that includes music, and titles, and editing of any kind. So, I’m calling it my BookTube debut. Check it out, then read on for my behind-the-scenes revelations.
Reflections on BookTube:
- I may have over-prepared. I wrote lots of notes, and I hate that I looked down at them so much. Maybe if I hadn’t written it all out, it would have seemed more natural.
- It is hard to make a short video! My first attempt at 20 minutes long. My final attempt was still 12 minutes long, and cutting it down to nine was tedious. Cutting it to under ten minutes was important to me because I rarely watch a BookTube video that clocks over ten, and five is even better.
- Lighting is important. I was in a hotel room at 11:00 pm which was not conducive. Just try to imagine how much better I would look with a proper lighting scheme.
- The biggest difference between writing a post and recording a video is that I will never, ever watch the video again. It was excruciating to watch myself while editing. (I shamelessly read and reread my own blog posts.)
- I had to re-record the end from home, so I did it at 6am in my car before leaving for work. It was perfect. Natural light (in the summer, anyway,) quiet… perhaps I will do another one of these!
The stuff I cut to get down to 9 minutes:
- I was feeling pretty apologetic, because I feel like I should have liked this book more than I did. There wasn’t anything technically wrong with it, and I normally love teenage pregnancy stories. So I talked about how much I loved Nawaz’s essay in The M Word (my review) about being a stepmother, and how I will give her another shot. You know, typical Canadian politeness!
- I cut out my whole discussion of the ending. Many Goodreads reviewers loved the story up until the ending, and said the ending ruined it. I didn’t feel that way at all, probably because I was more invested in the characters than in the “mystery.” I guess if a reader was expecting some big revelation or twist, they would be disappointed.
- I didn’t talk about the political angle at all, and didn’t even make notes about it, because I am still not sure what I think. Beena’s high school boyfriend disappears when she gets pregnant. 17 years later, Beena can’t avoid him, as he’s running for office on an anti-immigration platform. Meanwhile Sadhana is working with refugees, and there’s a family harboured in a church basement to avoid being deported that comes into play. Some readers loved this, some found it clunky.
- “Um” and “you know,” but surprisingly few “likes.” I wasn’t even looking for “just” because this article wasn’t out yet.
Bloggers, do you dabble in YouTube? What do you find most challenging?