If you’re on the lookout for free resources on writing and publishing, YouTube has a treasure trove of helpful advice from successful, experienced authors. Many of them have generously shared craft tips, insights on the publishing process, and advice on book marketing.
Since there are so many fantastic YouTube channels to choose from, we gathered a list of accessible and informative author channels. We featured one video from each author as an example of what they have to offer on their channel.
In this compilation, you’ll find tips from traditional, hybrid, and self-published authors on craft, productivity, literary agents, book deals, readership building, publicity strategies, and more. The selected authors use lessons learned from their own mistakes and triumphs in the publishing world to present actionable strategies for achieving your own writing goals. We hope these videos give you plenty of inspiration and guidance!
1. The Creative Penn
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Joanna Penn has fantastic advice on navigating the self-publishing world, improving your writing, and making a living as an author. In the past decade, she’s written 27 books of various genres under three different author names, so she has ample experience to share.
In this video, Joanna discusses the business side of writing with Jane Friedman, an author and professor with over 20 years of publishing industry experience, and the co-founder of the popular industry newsletter The Hot Sheet. They talk about educating yourself on business strategies as a writer, and how those investments can support multiple streams of income.
2. Alexa Donne
Alexa Donne is a traditionally published YA author offering craft advice, industry secrets, author interviews, book reviews, and more. Alexa is an excellent author to turn to if you’d like a healthy dose of candor; some of her most popular videos involve tough love on common writing mistakes and unrealistic publishing expectations.
In the following video, Alexa sets out to bust seven prevalent publishing myths. She uses her wealth of industry experience and knowledge to expose misconceptions such as “you need to know someone to get published” and “self-publishing is easier.”
3. Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson, an award-winning and New York Times bestselling fantasy and sci-fi author, packs his channel full of crucial advice on the basics of constructing a compelling narrative, including world-building, plot, and structure. Brandon uploads many of the lectures from his creative writing courses at Brigham Young University to his channel, letting viewers benefit from his instructive, clear lessons.
In this excerpt from Brandon’s 2020 class at BYU, he discusses his own brainstorming processes when generating book ideas. Sanderson’s infusion of personal insights into his lectures makes them especially interesting and accessible.
4. Francina Simone
Francina Simone is a YA fantasy author and comic illustrator sharing invaluable writing advice and candid thoughts on the publishing world. Some of her most popular videos feature frank discussion of diversity and representation within books and how these issues are handled by the greater book community.
Francina’s channel has fabulous tips on various ways to make your characters authentic and fully formed. In this video, she explains how to seamlessly integrate a genuine backstory into your narrative so that readers can easily form emotional connections with your characters.
Gabe AKA Bookishpixie is a traditional sci-fi YA author who published under his former pseudonym, Ava Jae. Bookishpixie is the channel to visit for short, punchy videos chock-full of straightforward tips on writing life, querying, plot and character development, and editing.
If you’re tackling a query, proposal, back cover copy, or just want to be ready to discuss your book, then this video of Gabe’s is perfect for you. He gives a great overview of four questions every pitch should answer.
Since drafting this post in June, Gabe was coincidentally hired to BookBub on our member support team. Welcome, Gabe!
6. Writing with Jenna Moreci
Once a stockbroker and now a sci-fi author, Jenna Moreci puts her unique blend of business and writing experience to use helping authors achieve their goals. Jenna brings a humorous flair to stellar videos on topics like character development, tropes to avoid, getting started as a young writer, how to title your book, and conquering self-doubt.
Jenna makes clear that the first step to building an effective author platform is determining what name to use for your books. In the following video, she details when you should consider using a pen name and how to create a fitting one for your intended brand image.
7. Terrible Writing Advice
Time travel sci-fi author J.P. Beaubien is known for sharing valuable writing suggestions through creative animated videos that highlight what you shouldn’t do. According to the channel description, Terrible Writing Advice “offers only the most sincere and genuine writing advice delivered with absolutely no sarcasm at all.”
In a characteristically snarky video, J.P. skewers the cliches he sees in antihero writing. He concludes with detailed tips for engaging an audience with a complex antihero such as including a few positive qualities and vulnerabilities and contrasting the antihero with other characters. His guidance can help you make your antihero resonate with readers while keeping the character’s edge.
8. Chris Fox
Chris Fox is the author to count on if you’re in a rut and need an extra push to get writing. The bestselling author of 5,000 Words Per Hour and Write to Market: Deliver a Book That Sells certainly knows a thing or two about productivity and book marketing. Chris, also a fiction author, dives into topics such as getting started with a book idea, launching an audiobook, breaking out of a fixed mindset, and dealing with burnout.
In the first video of his series on outlining a novel, Chris shares his strategies for brainstorming a basic premise, which he says is the cornerstone of a book. He details key ingredients for developing a concept, including setting, antagonist, lead, and ending.
Meg Latorre, a former literary agent and current author, posts videos informed by her unique combination of insider industry knowledge and writing skills. Meg’s channel, iWriterly, is a great resource for genre fiction authors looking to break into independent or traditional publishing. She also imparts wisdom on craft and productivity.
In the following video, Meg uses insights gleaned during her literary agent days to share 24 reasons why industry pros may be passing on your book. She brings her expertise and high energy to shine light on potential issues that agents might identify with story authenticity, overcomplicated plots, author platform, publishing schedules, and more.
10. Kat Cho
Kat Cho is a traditionally published YA author who runs a channel geared towards authors looking to navigate everything involved with life as a writer. It features craft and business advice for authors such as mastering social media, working through imposter syndrome in publishing, and tips for overcoming writer’s block. She also shares fun food and travel adventures and videos on her Korean culture, which she loves to incorporate into her writing.
Kat has a fantastic beginner’s guide on the often opaque world of book advances. Her video walks authors through topics like publishing terms for advance amounts, various payout timelines, the players involved in book deals, and the difference between series and individual book payments.
11. Self Publishing Formula
Mark Dawson, a bestselling author with over twenty titles to his name, leads this channel geared towards self-published authors. He features other indie authors to provide a range of perspectives on strategies for writing and business success in the self-publishing world. One particular specialty of the Self Publishing Formula channel is approachable advice on savvy digital advertising methods.
In this video, Mark outlines the five essential business steps for new authors: mailing lists, websites, social media, organized planning, and professionalism.
What is your favorite YouTube channel on writing, publishing, and/or book marketing? Let us know in the comments below!
Want to share this post? Here are ready-made tweets:
Click to tweet: Great list of authors to follow on YouTube! Have you already subscribed to any of these? https://bit.ly/32M8YZU
Click to tweet: Love this list of authors to follow on YouTube, including @thecreativepenn, @alexadonne, @KatCho, @BrandSanderson, and more! https://bit.ly/32M8YZU