Booktube precursor, breaking the mould, and pottering around Pottermore: a Q&A with booktuber SableCaught

Recently we got the chance to put a few questions to booktuber Stevie (of SableCaught) and find out ALL the answers to what life is like on YouTube, how she got started, and  why she was “the internet’s equivalent of the Dickensian urchin”.

What first attracted you to booktube and made you begin posting your own videos? Basically being a fan girl. The vlogbrothers were the first YouTubers I stumbled across (some time back in 2009) and I remember I ended up marathoning all their videos in about 3 days flat. They led me to discover the wider YouTube community and for a couple of years I just avidly watched everything I could lay my eyes on until I could take no more. I was starting to feel like the internet’s equivalent of the Dickensian urchin, standing outside in the snow on Christmas morning, nose pressed up against the glass, as I watched more fortunate children inside a warm and loving household, tearing gregariously at coloured wrapping paper. I realised, basically, that I too had a voice, and I didn’t just want to be listening to the conversation any more, I wanted to be part of it.

How long have you been an active member of the community?
I posted my first ever video just over 5 years ago *waves balloons and banners* but back then there wasn’t really a ‘booktube’ community to be part of. I started making videos, and of course they were about books, because my life is about books, but it was a little while of throwing content out there before, bit by bit, bookish YouTubers began to discover each other, and booktube was born.

What equipment do you use to film your videos? The majority of my videos are filmed on my Canon 60D and I also use a Rode shotgun mic to take audio. I have been very lucky to be able to borrow friend’s cameras for bigger projects, for instance my interview with Brandon Sanderson was filmed on two cameras, my own and a friend’s Canon 5D. For interviews I’ll often record sound separately as well for which I have a tascam dr-40. I edit in Final Cut Pro X.

For anyone unfamiliar, can you describe your channel and content in only one sentence? ‘The life and thoughts of a book-obsessive.’ I don’t always like to stick to traditional booktube videos like hauls and tags (although I do sometimes do them), instead I just like to pick a topic of conversation and talk about it. Sometimes that will be about a book I just read or reading in general but sometimes that will be about dealing with university or an amazing trip I got to go to. It’s basically my (very book-filled) life on a not so silver-y screen.

Booktube has become a massive online influencer in its own right, growing and growing each day. What sets your channel apart from the mass? I would hope the thing that is key to my channel is that I try to make my videos sound beautiful, I go a bit lyrical with it all. I script the majority of my content and I can often take quite a while writing pieces, trying to get each and every sentence exactly right. I want people to watch my videos and find something almost poetical about them.

‘Pottermore’ is one of your most popular videos. Can you tell us about what went into making it and what its reception from your viewers was like? My Pottermore video was something of a rags to riches tale. I’d been making videos for about 3 months when JK Rowling released some clues around the internet hinting at the upcoming launch of her now well established Pottermore website. All I did was go around and collect these clues, read up on fansites and theories, muse myself as to what these letters might mean and get all that into a video. The key is I did it quickly, mine was one of the first videos out there, so as people over the next few days kept googling Pottermore to try and find out what on earth it was, my video was there for them. It did mean I went to bed one night, someone who would be lucky if she got 100 views on a video and woke up the next morning with many tens of thousands! It was good for me at the time but that video still has almost 4 times as many views as my next highest video. I do one day hope that some of my personal favourite videos like How to read ALL THE BOOKS  and Sometimes I Lose a Book… catch up!

Thanks so much to Stevie for chatting to us! If you’re interested in her videos you can watch them here, or tweet your own questions to her @StevieFinegan.

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