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Being A Booktuber | Interview with Sanne aka Books & Quills

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Welcome to another installment of our Being a Booktuber series and today we're lucky to be featuring one of the team's favourite veteran Booktubers, Sanne a.k.a Books & Quills! Here's what she had to say about starting out on YouTube, offers tips on working in Publishing and vlogging from fictional lands...

BB: For any of our readers who aren't subscribed to Books & Quills already, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

My name is Sanne, I am 24 years old and besides being a YouTuber, I also work as Digital Coordinator at Hot Key Books. I moved to London from the Netherlands about a year ago to pursue a career in publishing. I've been creating YouTube videos since 2008 and it is definitely my biggest hobby (I spend all my free time editing and love every second of it!). On my channel I talk about books, travel, language and occasionally knitting. 

BB: What has been your favourite book to review so far, and which review has been the most difficult to do? 

I love doing reviews for books with really exciting and new plotlines, because I get to explain it to people! I really enjoyed reviewing Across the Universe by Beth Revis, The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells and The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. 
The most difficult reviews are ones that I didn't really like or hate. It usually ends up with me criticizing the book for 4 minutes and ending by saying that I did enjoy reading it. It can be a bit confusing! I had this with Insurgent by Veronica Roth. 

BB: What made you decide to create your own YouTube channel in 2008 and what do you think has changed the most about the YouTube community since you started posting videos? 

When I started, there were no ads (as far as I can remember) and no-one was making money from it. There were no networks, no sponsorships and most people were filming with a webcam. It all felt quite small and it was easy to make friends with people (most of the bigger YouTubers became friends really early on, and that's how they all know each other). 

Also, there were so many collaboration channels. That is actually the reason why I started making videos. My very first video was an audition video for a channel about Twilight, which hadn't been translated into Dutch yet, so I was desperate to find some friends who'd read it. I didn't really review any books on my personal channel until I was a couple of months (or maybe a year or 2) into making videos. I think I did one review and got an overwhelming response, so I decided to keep going. There weren't many people talking about books on YouTube at the time! 

BB: Foreign language books are woefully under-represented here at Blogger's Bookshelf! As a bilingual Booktuber what translated novels would you recommend to our team and readers? 

This is quite difficult, because there aren't a lot of Dutch books that have been translated into English (and that I've read myself). If I remember correctly, The Discovery of Heaven (De Ontdekking van de Hemel) is quite interesting and a bit Davinci Code like. I'm actually starting a video series on translated Dutch literature soon, so I should be up to date with my recommendations by then. 

BB: You're a pretty versatile YouTuber and we especially love your travel videos. Which book's universe would you like to travel to and vlog from if you got the chance? 

Hmm, probably something that isn't too dangerous, so nothing dystopian or apocalyptic for me. I don't want to go with the obvious choice of Harry Potter (imagine how great that would be, doing a funny video at King's Cross and then actually going through the barrier with a DSLR). I think I'd like to hang out at one of Gatsby's parties, that sounds like an exciting evening! Or hitch a ride through the universe like in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. 

BB: Having worked alongside publishers both professionally and as a Booktuber, what piece of advice would you give to book bloggers/vloggers who want to do the same or want to work in the industry too? 

From a blogger/vlogger's point of view: build a good relationship with publishing companies, or one specific contact there. Don't be pushy or greedy, send them links to your blog/video if you're talking about a book, @reply the company in your tweet when you talk about your new review, etc. And of course make sure to be active and have a chat with people from the companies if you ever end up at a book launch or blogger event.

If you are a blogger/vlogger who wants to go into publishing: Your blog or vlog is the perfect way to show companies that you are interested in industry. Perhaps try to make some discussion posts about relevant topics, go to conferences and write a post about it with your opinion, start a project and get people involved. 

These are all things that can prove you can organise projects, manage communities, do media outreach and have an opinion on different topics within publishing.

BB: We seem to have an never-ending 'To Be Read' pile here are Blogger's Bookshelf! Which 3 books or series are currently on yours? 

The following books are currently located on the to read pile next to my bed:

  • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth (a re-read before I can start Allegiant)
  • The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson 


BB: What's your favourite thing about being a Booktuber? 

Having someone to talk to about books when my friends get sick of my going on and on about it! And helping people out by recommending books or teaching them something interesting. 

BB: And finally! Which Booktubers/Bloggers would you recommend our readers go and subscribe to? 
Check out Sanne's YouTube channel (Books & Quills) here, and here's where to find her online:

I'd like to say a huge thank you from all of us here at BB to Sanne for taking part in this interview.
If you are a booktuber or book blogger and would like to be featured in a similar post we'd love to hear from you - just email us at for information!

Interview & post by Ria
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