Jacob Olisa Jones is a writer and self-published author of The Septavalent Stone. He has recently branched into telling his stories using video, and creating a platform for his work on Youtube. We chat with him on this kind of promotional model;
Q – Tell us more about yourself.
MY name is Olisa. I am a writer and a student. Recently I started making you-tube videos.
Q – Are you still writing, what about your books?
Yes I still write, I’m working on a book right now.
Q – What lessons did you take away from self-publishing?
It is one of the hardest things to do, when promotion is concerned, and I hate the promoting aspect of writing and self-publishing, not to talk of the expenses. No matter how good or how bad a product is, only word of mouth and promotion can get it out there. And with my tight schedule, promoting can be very difficult.
Q – Why did you start the video channel?
I have been studying youtube for a while now, and realized that it can be a tool to promote yourself. You can basically put anything on youtube from low budget videos done in your bedroom to high budget stuff. I hope to grow my subscribers list, and get to sell my stuff through that route.
Q – When did you set it up and how did you do it?
I have always wanted to have a youtube channel even before I realized that the promotion aspect of self-publishing is going to be really hard. But I wasn’t confident enough in my accent, and a couple of other things. But one day I tried to make one video, posted it, and I got a good response, so I continued.
Q – Did you face any challenges in the process?
Editing and a couple of other stuffs. I used to be worried on how I would get people to act in some of my short plays but I realized that with costumes and make up I can act as multiple characters and edit it to look like a lot. But I still get people to work with me. There’s nothing to opening a youtube channel. The challenge lies in uploading new videos on a regular, and getting people to watch.
Q – What do you really do on the channel?
The main thing on the channel is to review Nigerian music videos. But I know that in order to boost traffic to my channel I might have to branch out and review more popular western artists. I do short plays as well, I might start talking about Nigerian news in a funny and unprofessional way so younger audiences can watch and know what is happening in Nigerian and all over. The channel is just starting, but I expect to do really crazy things on it.
Q – What has been your experience so far working on Youtube?
I’ve met a few new people through the channel. It can also be annoying promoting your videos but it is easier because it is free, and people can just watch your videos with just a click. And then reading the comments even though they are quite few. Once I saw something someone said and tweeted my video along side it. It felt really good.
Q – What are people’s response to the videos?
Mixed feelings, and it can get really ugly because I do not activate comment approval, and I do not delete nasty comments. But may I just say for every one nasty comment I get, I get like four amazing ones. The thing is if you are putting yourself out there, as a writer, musician or entertainer, the public will scrutinize you, some for good reasons, others just because they can, and the rest just because they are just trolls. Will you stop because a few people have destroyed your work, or have said nonsense about it. NO! You try to get better and continue, most times they’ll turn around and support you. And also if you can’t take it you can always block them from your channel. The good thing is that so far they are watching, and commenting, whether nasty or not, your channel traffic gets boosted. And also realize that anyone putting out videos just as you are doing will never leave you a nasty comment, they will be constructive because they know what it takes.
Q – Do you think this is a good way to promote oneself, or as a business?
I think it is, so far you don’t do anything demeaning like anything immoral, and you don’t start insulting people just because they left you a nasty comment, and you don’t start begging your viewers for donations to raise money, instead you sell your stuff and tell them what you will use the money for to encourage them to buy.
As a business, if you have the money, you can make it more professional than what I am doing for starters. Remember not to throw your stuff at your viewers faces, always do something meaningful, something that would make them want to come back and watch your video, then every now and then, you advertize your product, and hope for the best. And you must enjoy what you are doing, that is the most important. So that if it doesn’t work out, you know you had fun while it lasted.
Q – What are your future plans for the channel?
Hmm. A lot, as my confidence grows. First of all I’m going to announce it here that when I reach 500 subscribers on my youtube channel, or a 1000 likes on my facebook page, I am going to be doing a give-away.I will try as much as possible to put videos up every week. I am going to do short movies, reviews talk about random stuff, the sky is the limit. As the time goes on, I’lll work with other youtube stars, and by God’s grace, as it grows, other writers who also do not like the promoting aspect, I will help out. We Nigerians need to work together to put ourselves out there.
Link to my facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/OLS-Network/324078944298323
Link to my youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/olsnetwork
Link to my Tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/ols-network
Link to my blog: http://theseven-piecestone.blogspot.com/