Hey cHEwY gum gums!

It’s been 6 months since I started a YouTube Channel, Virtual Oliver P. Like many authors and illustrators who had to pivot during the initial lockdown back in March, I ventured into this online project with good intentions with the channel, but has it been a roaring success?

Yes and No.

The whole point of my YouTube Channel was to be a supplementary resource for kids and schools to either look at before or after my school visit. So on that front, it’s doing its job. However, let’s look at the cold hard stats…

Subscriber count: 179

Yeah, don’t quit my day job haha.

I’ve always had respect for YouTubers, knowing that for every viral sensation, there are thousands of working class YouTubers climbing that mountain.

But I never expected my channel to grow during the lockdown. Most of my growth has come when I started in-person school visits again. Forget Twitter or Instagram, the most effective way to promote my channel has been when it comes up as a slide in my powerpoint presentation. So I have had kids sub and view my videos, commenting that I was at their school, which is a nice way for them to communicate to me, without using social media.

Even today, as I left Middleton Grange PS after 2 fun school visits, I had kids come up to me and say they’re going to subscribe 🙂

Videos eat up a LOT of time…

The filming, editing, uploading and rendering takes time. Time that I had to kill before during lockdown. But when I come back after a long day of school visits, the last thing I wanna do is film a video and spend hours editing it. Even with my amateur editing skills, it still takes awhile to piece it altogether. Yes, being a YouTuber is not easy (the big stars hire people to do all this grinding stuff), but even beyond the act itself, it’s also the mentality. I don’t want to look tired or ragged in my videos, so I am exhausted after a long day, I skip filming…which is why I irregularly upload videos these days.

More sneaker unboxings, less book reviews…

When things were quiet with school visits, I aimed to have at least one video up a week, sometimes two. One of those videos were book reviews. While I loved doing them, I found that while they gained some traction as a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram post, I wasn’t getting many views for them on my channel.

I’ll still continue to do them though, mainly because I do like giving authors a boost (I have one based on Tricky Nick coming up soon), and yes they do make good promos for their books on the socials…even if not many people watch it, it’s still plugging the book.

On the flip side, the videos that have been getting more views are the sneaker unboxings hohoho. Yes I have fallen into the rabbit hole of viewing sneakerheads on YouTube and been following their footsteps (pun intended). It’s fun. I love sneakers and because they’re mostly kid-related stuff, it’s easy to do. It is something I can’t show kids (apart from wearing one pair of sneakers) so it’s cool to show a side that I can’t delve into at school visits.

Short sharp book-related stuff works better (for me and the viewers)

The sneaker videos have clocked up more views, but I’ve also been getting some good views for my Brain Freeze videos. The difference between these vids and the ones about my earlier books is that they’re short and sharp. I think that’s the key. A 3-4 minute video is probably going to be easier to swallow than something longer for my audience, which is going to be kids.

I’ve stopped doing mini-writing lessons for now. There are 8 of them in case kids or teachers want to use them. What I am more interested in is bite-sized videos about books, sneakers and games. Stuff that kids can digest and things that teachers can show in the classroom before I come to their school.

It’s still going to be a side-project

I think I’ll continue to upload stuff onto the channel, but I can’t invest anymore energy during a busy touring or writing period. That’s okay. I aim to reach the scaly heights of 1K subs (that’s Matt Stanton’s current count, impressive)…so wish me luck! Let’s see how far I go in the next update (which will NOT be in 6 months hopefully haha)

Oh…you can help out by liking, subbing and commenting on my channel 🙂


About the author

I'm an author, stand-up comedian and teacher. My books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines and The Other Christy. I'm a massive Nintendo fan and love eating burgers. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @oliverwinfree

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