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As a writer, I’ve always had the tendency to hide behind my words. While I don’t mind being on camera every now and then, every time I’ve been asked to appear on a TV news segment (only a handful of times in my editing career) I get really anxious and nervous beforehand but usually do pretty well. 

Starting up a podcast wasn’t that much of a stretch for me, once I got set up with microphone, got my scripts in shape and figured out the proper balance of themes to cover, background music and sound effects. But again, I was hiding faceless behind a microphone and had/have control of the editing process.

It my was my teenage daughter (and tech support) who suggested I create a YouTube channel. At first I was hesitant. Sure, I go to YouTube for various things, including music playlists and tech tutorial videos, but I don’t consume it the way my teenagers do. Then she started telling me how many true crime YouTube channels there are out there, and how we could easily take audio from the podcast, add in visuals such as stock photography and photos from the cases and find a whole new audience. This would all be for free, because for now, YouTube is a platform that allows you to create and host your channel at no cost. 

I began thinking of creating a series of videos—short snippets of me discussing true crime or missing persons cases, but they would all be around five minutes long, so people could watch them in short bits. As I scrolled through my blog, I realized how much content I already had prepped, with just a few short tweaks I could use true crime blog posts I’ve already written (and not covered on my podcast) for video. Not everyone reads my blog, so this could turn into new content for a different audience. 

My husband gifted me with a “vlogging” kit complete with a tripod for my phone, microphone and small stage light for Christmas so I already had the equipment. I got my first script ready, practiced reading it aloud, and lo and behold, it came in at just over five minutes with intro credits. 

I currently have two “Five Minutes of True Crime” segments on my YouTube channel called “Missing in the Carolinas,” and a few more already recorded that I need to edit. While editing video has been another learning curve for me, I am using an app called InShot that allows me to record videos on my phone and edit them within minutes. While I’m still trying to figure out the best way to present the stories (reading from a script on the table and looking up periodically or reading from a script directly behind the camera), it’s been fun living out my childhood dream of becoming a news anchor. I’ve been able to use these videos on both YouTube and Instagram on IGTV, and I’m slowly attracting more podcast listeners from this new form of content. 

As a writer, I highly recommend creating your own YouTube channel and recording content for it, whether interviews with other writers, tips for writing fiction, background research from your latest book, etc. The possibilities are endless and I encourage you to give it a try if you haven’t already!

Do you have a YouTube channel? What types of content do you post on it? Would you watch a YouTube or IGTV channel from one of your favorite authors? 

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and magazine editor who also hosts the true crime podcast "Missing in the Carolinas." Learn more at her website, FinishedPages.com.

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