Kaleb Nation is a Youtuber, an young adult author, and a Twilight fanatic. He got up with him to talk about why he said he’s going to get off Facebook.
Congrats on the publication of your most recent novel, HARKEN. How has it been received thus far?
It’s been awesome! The reviews are strong and readers are enjoying it and passing it to their friends, which is exactly what I hoped for.
Can you tell us a little about the novel?
HARKEN is the story of Michael Asher, a teenager with the unexplainable ability of reading glimpses of a person’s thoughts through their eyes. After he’s nearly murdered, he tries to track down his assassins. Instead, he uncovers a worldwide conspiracy and a supernatural organization that controls our government. Everything in the book is based off of years of research I did on real conspiracies. It was especially fun to write because some of the things I mention in the book could actually be true.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced being a young adult author?
I’d say the hardest thing is balancing my two lives as an author and a Youtuber. Writing books is serious work. Making videos for Youtube takes work but it’s not as serious. Some people watch my videos and think “this is utterly ridiculous, so his books must be utterly ridiculous as well.” It’s a strange marriage between the two sides of my life, even though I’d never give up one for the other!
Harry Potter or Twilight?
Ha! Trick question. I’d like to stay alive a bit longer by mumbling my answer where you can’t hear it and skipping to the next question.
You also make a TON of YouTube videos and you have multiple channels KalebNation, The 60SR, KalebVlogs and the newly launched Nation with Taylor Elizabeth (bfftaylor). How do you find time to make videos everyday?
I have NO IDEA. It would be different if I had an editing team or a film crew, but everything I make is done by me: writing, planning, filming, editing, uploading, promoting… everything. I guess my solution to having too much work to finish is to just not sleep.
I love making mini documentary-style videos, where I put a lot of time and effort into the shots and the post-production. I also have lots of fun making music videos – people go crazy for them and a single video is the culmination of weeks of preparation and editing.
You have over 50 million views and 73,000 subscribers. That’s an amazing feat! What piece of content has helped you gain the most audience?
It’s hard to tell which videos brought the most attention since I have about 600 out there! My most popular series was Captain Martinelli. I’d dress up as a sober pirate with a blonde wig and a leprechaun hat and troll random people on Chatroulette, proposing to every woman I came across. No, really.
What tools or processes have you found successful to engage with your YouTube community and fans?
I’ve learned that it’s extremely important to keep your content consistent. Upload the same type of video at the same time on the same day every week. A lot of people disagree, but it’s worked better for me to keep my different types of content on separate channels. Entertainment news shows go on 60SR, phone vlogs go on Kaleb, etc. When you have hundreds of random videos, people might find you for a comedy sketch and subscribe for more, then grumble when your next upload is a haul vlog reviewing your favorite brands of chips.
How do you use social media to promote your channel and books?
Everything has to be connected. When I upload a video, I tweet about it, post it to Tumblr, send an email blast, etc. There are so many ways to know a video is up that my followers simply can’t miss it. The same goes for my books: anytime something big happens, I make a video about it and post that everywhere. I’d say videos are the best medium for social media reach because of how they connect with viewers and can be shared on any site.
What have you found successful, and what as a failure. I read a recent plight of yours about Facebook:
Are you really going to ditch Facebook?
I won’t leave Facebook entirely. It’s a great way to keep up with my friends and millions of people still use it. I just don’t have time to waste maintaining a site that doesn’t even show my posts to my followers. Why would I promote a Facebook page covered in advertisements when I’ll have to pay $50 every time I post just so my own followers see it?
What social media platforms do you engage on most often, and why?
Aside from Youtube, Twitter is my favorite. I can reach thousands of people in seconds by just typing on my phone. I think a lot of online personalities forget that: we can type anything and it’s immediately seen by more people than we will ever meet in our lifetime. I like Twitter because of that immediate, massive connection.
What other marketing strategies have you found useful?
Email marketing is my new favorite. Since Youtube’s subscription box is no longer a reliable way to let people know I’ve posted a new video, I now encourage people to sign up at my website. When I upload, I send an email out, and my views have jumped as a result!
Okay, so what’s harder, writing a novel or trying to become a Youtuber?
Writing a novel. It’s a bit like making a Youtube video, except this video is hours long, takes years to create, changes constantly as you go along, and you have to start over from the beginning five or six times before it’s right.
What advice would you give a young entertainer trying to breakthrough on YouTube?
Make short videos. I can’t emphasize this enough. Long videos take more work, time, and money, and still get fewer views. I’ve had the most success with my 60SR show – an entertainment news show told in about 60 seconds. People go to Youtube for quick entertainment, and the faster you can give that to them, the better.
Last question, what are five YouTube videos that make you feel like a million dollars, and why?
It’s so hard to pick! So here are the first five of my favorites that come to mind:
Imogen Heap performs “Just For Now”, because it’s awesome:
Rewind YouTube Style 2012, because it has everyone in it and 101. Million. Views.
Surprise Marriage Proposal In Spain, because it’s my favorite video of all time.
DeStorm’s Vidcon Anthem, because Vidcon is the best experience every year.