Today I’m talking to website and Youtube book reviewer Paul from Common Touch of Fantasy.
SCy-Fy: What is your major goal as a reviewer at the moment, Paul?
CToF: I want to gain a better foundation of books that I have read. As someone that has rediscovered his love for reading after taking a prolonged break, I have missed out on years of reading great books. Being more widely read will make my reviews better, make my ratings of books more reliable, make me more intelligent, and be a better person. I spent too long comparing myself to others and now I only compare myself to who I was yesterday, and try to be better. As far as my actual videos, I want to be able to talk more intelligently.
SCy-Fy: What do you think will be the major future challenges for online presentation generally?
CToF: I believe the major challenge for online presentation is content creators staying honest. It is very easy to talk yourself into believing something that might gain more views and drive up traffic. It is easy to take an opposing opinion to gain viewers.
Take book reviewing, for example. If you decide before you even read Patrick Rothfuss that you think he is overhyped and that it will gain you more page views if you just trash the novel, you will approach reading it very differently than if you were open to the possibility that you would like it.
SCy-Fy: How do you prepare for a show?
CToF: Before I record anything for a video review, I write out a review for my website. I will do some research on the author and the book before I write the review so that I get more of an idea of how the book was received by other reviewers. I try to take into consideration what they are saying but also try to think of something new to mention. One thing I try to always do when reviewing, is to make the review something that I would read or watch.
Once I have finished writing the review, I’ll make a small outline of talking points from the review for the video. I then just try to be as natural and genuine as I can be while on camera.
SCy-Fy: What advice would you give anyone presenting?
CToF: Make the content that you want to make. Do not compare yourself to other content creators and don’t change your personality because you think you need to. There are many viewers and there are some that will appreciate the way you talk about things.
SCy-Fy: Just between us – your secret list of useful resources?
CToF: I don’t really have a secret resource. I go on /r/fantasy a lot, watch other booktubers, read Goodreads reviews and visit fantasy blogs, but none of those are really secret.
SCy-Fy: Things that have kept you going in hard times?
CToF: If I’m not in the mood to do anything related to my Youtube channel, I usually don’t. I want to make sure I am never doing something out of obligation or dreading to do it. If I do, that means I’m not having fun, and if I’m not having fun, I will stop.
SCy-Fy: Any controversy so far?
CToF: The booktube community and the fantasy community are really nice people. I haven’t had any trolls or insults.
SCy-Fy: The most popular show you’ve presented? Your personal favourite?
CToF: My most popular video was a review of Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson. That is because of Erikson’s awesomeness and not mine. My favorite video was probably “How To Take Care of Your Books” because I thought it was important.
SCy-Fy: What have been the best books you have read recently?
CToF: The best books I have read lately are The Last Colony by John Scalzi, Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson, and A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.
SCy-Fy: Which forthcoming books are you most looking forward to reading?
CToF: I am really looking forward to Peter V Brett’s The Skull Throne, The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán, The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu, and The End of All Things by John Scalzi.
SCy-Fy: Anything to add?
CToF: Thanks to you for this interview, check out my website at commontouchoffantasy.com, and check out the awesome booktubers on Youtube, that do what they love, reading books and talking about them.