There are millions of authors who find that some of their ebooks are available on pirate sites and they are resulting in lost sales. Once your book is out in the wild, it is impossible to make any money on it and some authors have even lost their book deals with major publishers. One of the ways authors can combat piracy is to upload half of their book to a torrent site in a PDF and monetize it with Amazon Affiliate links, a live widget for their Patreon page and an embedded video via YouTube.
One of the big new trends on YouTube over the course of the past five years have been booktubers, where people talk about the books they love and read a few chapters. There are even some YouTubers that read books aloud to their audience and have a significant following. The top booktubers are making five or six figures a year.
I believe that authors can monetize piracy by launching their own YouTube channel where they read the first chapter aloud or even the entire book. This will result in an increase of revenue once your account is approved for monetization beyond 10 minutes, which is based on your channel reaching 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months and 1,000 subscribers.
The first thing you need to do is open a brand new Youtube channel, do not use a personal one with videos of your cat, dog or family. It needs to be a professional account that just has to do with business, which is selling books. Some authors might already have an existing YouTube channel where they have posted a professional book trailer or they use for marketing.
It is important that the author be on camera and there are two ways to go about purchasing your production gear. Some people just buy a simple webcam and USB mic, both of which will cost less than $100. Alternatively I know many people who use gaming headsets with microphone for their YouTube videos, I am a huge fan of the Corsair Void PRO. Personally, I always recommend if you are going to do something, do it right, since first impressions are a big deal. I recommend to buy a USB or a Firewire Mixing board. You will also need a proper Condenser or Dynamic Microphone. I really like the HELI brand, it is well known and highly respected. You will also need to purchase a microphone stand, which normally go for $30 to $50.
There are two ways that you can film your video. One is to do live via Youtube Live Streaming and the other requires post production via dedicated programs like Adobe Premier. Youtube Live has its advantages because people can ask questions or donate to your channel in real time. YouTube Live is ideal for authors who want to build up their content portfolio by doing author question and answer sessions. If you are simply going to read a few chapters of your book, there are a ton of great programs out there for PC and MAC.
In order to combat piracy, videos are an integrated part of your overall strategy. They are easily embedded into an ebook, although they can’t be put in the same book that is listed on Amazon, Kobo Writing Life, Nook Press or Smashwords. These companies have strict requirements about listing video content within the retail copy and it basically is not allowed. In order to get around it, you need to make your own copy of the ebook, whether it is in EPUB/MOBI or PDF and embed the links to your video of you reading the book. If you are a self-published author, you should already have some knowledge of using programs to attach cover art, table of contents and hyperlinks. If you are a traditionally published author who simply uploads a word document to their agent, you have a steeper learning curve.
Authors reading their own book on YouTube and producing original content on their own is not really a thing right now, but with some trial and error they should be able to do it. This will prep an author for a career in producing their own audiobooks or even podcasting.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.