by Danika Leigh Ellis
If you’re a bookish person, and especially if you’re a fan of YA, you should be exploring the wonderful world of Booktube by now. Booktube is the bookish community of Youtube. Hundreds of people make videos about books, from reviews to bookish tags to provocative discussion topics. It’s similar to the book blogosphere, but feels more interconnected. Being able to see people’s faces as they discuss book they’re passionate about makes it a much more personal interaction, and you quickly begin to feel like you really know the people you follow.
Booktube is also an incredibly welcoming atmosphere. Youtube is notorious for hateful commenters, but booktube offers a welcome oasis. People will often seek out new booktubers and leave nice comments on their videos. Make any kind of effort to reach out, and you’ll find a network of people to interact with. And the scope of booktube is broad: you can find all sorts of genres discussed. By far the most popular genre, however, is Young Adult, so if that’s your preference, you’ll quickly find your TBR ballooning after discovering booktube.
So yes, this is a call for you to check out booktube and fall in love with the community as I have… but there’s a catch. When I found booktube two years ago, I was having a lot of fun discovering new people to follow and books to read, but something kept nagging at me: I couldn’t seem to find the queer book community there. It’s not entirely surprising. As much as there are a lot of different tastes on booktube if you know where to look, the majority of the community is often talking about the same set of books. Lately there has been community discussion about diversifying our reading lives, and I do see queer books mentioned in wrap ups, but there are very, very few channels that make queer books a priority.
Which is where you come in! Booktube needs more queer voices. This is a subset of the bookish internet that is just starting to get noticed, and it’s growing. It needs a greater variety of voices, and one aspect of that is definitely queer readers. This a platform where you can make connections with other readers, and you can get the word out about your favourite books! Making a video and putting it out there seems scary, but the community is so supportive. I’ve been making videos for almost two years now and haven’t gotten any negative attention, but I’ve made lots of friends and traded recommendations for fantastic books. So give it a shot! You don’t need an expensive camera or studio lighting. Your iphone and natural light works just fine. And everyone starts off not knowing what they’re doing, but you’ll improve in time. So join the booktube party, and give queer books a louder voice!
Queer books on booktube are underrepresented, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Here are a few booktube channels that focus on queer books, to give you an idea of what booktube is like.
Jessie is one of my favourite booktubers, and I look forward to her Halloween-themed (complete with costume) book videos all year. (Check out her review of Carmilla!) She is thoughtful and creative in her videos, and makes it feel like you’re just hanging out with her, chatting about your latest reads. Her channel is on a hiatus right now, but there’s lots to dig through until she updates again.
Kyra talks about fandom, feminism, and books on her channel. As her channel name (Fangirl Flails) would suggest, she’s enthusiastic and passionate about the books she talks about. She discusses YA pretty often, so it should be a good fit for GayYA readers!
Joseph is new to booktube, but he’s reading all queer books in 2015, and is discussing them on youtube and his tumblr. He focuses a lot on Young Adult books, and his personality shines through in his video and blog.
Tara is another new booktuber, and she seems to discuss queer YA sometimes?
And the inevitable awkward moment where I promote my own booktube channel. I read a mix of genres with a focus on queer women books. I do read YA, but it’s not the main focus of my reading. I upload about once a week.
And those are not only my top booktubers who discuss queer lit: they’re all the ones I know of! Queer books are discussed offhandedly by many booktubers, but those are the only ones I know that discuss them fairly consistently (and one I’m not sure of and one is on hiatus). If you know of more booktubers who prioritize queer books, let me know! But more importantly, add your own name to the list! Personally, I would be so happy to see more queer book videos on youtube, so you can pretty much guarantee this subscriber. And I’d be happy to help with anything I can, though I’m far from an expert.
So go forth, and spread the word about queer books!
Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books on tumblr and at the Lesbrary, as well as chatting about all sorts of bookish things on booktube and Book Riot. When she’s not immersed in the bookternet, she’s running the kids’ section in the largest used bookstore in Canada.