5 Quick Tips for Starting a YouTube Channel

So you've decided to start a YouTube channel. Whooo! I'm so excited for you! Let me give you a little help with 5 useful tips that I really wish someone had told me back when I was starting out.

1. Collaborate. Find YouTube friends who have the same amount of subscribers as you and see if they want to make a video together. You don't have to even live in the same city to make a it happen. Just write a script, shoot your part, send it to them, and vice versa. I've made some videos with friends this way and clear and frequent communication is key. The best way to make the most of a collab is to create two videos (one for your channel and one for theirs), link each other in the video description, and share both videos across social media sites. Their audience meets you and your audience meets them, therefor increasing both of your audiences as a result.

2. Production value. Not the most important thing but will defiantly help your videos look better. You can do this on any budget. If you don't have a professional lighting set up, shoot in front of a window during the day. Can't buy an external mic, shoot indoors when no one else is around/the dishwasher is not running/etc. You can always work your way up to getting more gear, but till then you can still find ways to improve.

3. Spend time on metadata. Did you know that the top three lines in your video's description are the most important? (It's what's above the fold!) Did you know your video's tags are for more things than your own organization? The 'title' 'description' 'tags' and 'category' for your video are very important. Do not ignore or under use these features of YouTube. (Trust me, this stuff is what I do for my day job!)

4. Be dedicated. If you want to be a YouTuber than be a YouTuber. Don't post your first video and abandon the site for months. If you want your subscribers to keep coming back and watching your videos you have to keep making videos. Sure, taking breaks is okay and even important, but be there more than your not there. Weekly videos seems to be the best for people starting out who want to gain a following. It's what I try to am for.

5.  Fame or Fun? Take a step back and ask yourself why you are making videos for YouTube. There's nothing wrong with wanting to get your videos out there to as many people as possible. There's also nothing wrong with wanting to one day be a full time YouTuber. However a problem arises when you are no longer enjoying the process. If the fame and fortune sound great but the actual video making, and video watching, and commenting, and participating in the community sound awful then maybe you need another 'get rich quick scheme'. Trust me, becoming 'YouTube famous' is not a quick or likely thing. Basically if you can't see yourself making YouTube videos purely for the fun of it, then you might want to reevaluate your motives.

If you'd like 5 more tips for starting out on YouTube, subscribe to my shop or blog mailing list here and get a free PDF! Also, don't forget to check out my YouTube channel! ;)

Buttons - Nerdy Monsters' Febuary Item

As part of my 2014 Goals, I am releasing a new item in my Etsy shop each month. I'm finishing off this month with some nerdy Harry Potter inspired buttons! I've designed some dignified house animal silhouettes and my good friend Whitney Lynn has designed some super cute baby house animals. I've sold these before at Harry Potter themed craft fairs but never online. I think I'll be listing more button designs in the future as well.

Are you on the mailing list? I send out Nerdy Monster news once a month but I want to start sending out blog news as well. If you'd like to sign up for one or both of those here's the signup link!

Any guesses for what the upcoming months will yield? Any requests?

Japan in Winter

Here's the second peek at my trip to Japan. It's a sample of footage from the times I remembered to film things in the busy two weeks we were there. I am going to put up a second video next week of all the times I actually tried to 'vlog' from the trip and then possible a third from Tokyo Disneyland. So be sure to subscribe to my channel so you don't miss them. I took far more photos than video and I will be sharing them here very soon. Thanks for watching!

Subscription Feed Woes

I have just taken the longest YouTube break, possibly ever, since I started posting weekly videos on my YouTube channel. It's been four weeks since my last video (icanSOdorandom & MagicCatJenny | Vlogs with Friends | Hannah Moroz) went live. I took the break mainly for my trip and prep and recovery time. I also think taking breaks from demanding hobbies is smart.

I took tons of travel footage so expect a few Japan videos soon. (Also photos!) This long YouTube break has not only left me itching to make videos again, it also left me with a large amount of unwatched videos in my subscription feed. Eek!

I'm subscribed to well over 500 channels and at least half post regularly, so watching every single video I've missed is really unrealistic. (I don't really do that anyway.) So even if I wanted to watch everything in order the YouTube subscription feed only lets you go back so far. (You can hit the 'Load More' button up to 8 times.) I can watch those 8 pages of videos and forgo what came before or get caught up slowly. So far I'm focusing on narrative web shows, then I'll go to the pages of my friends and favorites and see what looks good. I'll have to suppress my completest tendencies and just ease back into the community.

However even if I was able to go through the entire feed and watch everything I missed, I'd still miss some things. The YouTube subscription feed is not as great as it once was. If you don't watch a channel's videos for a long time, their content will stop showing up in your feed regularly. It's not as inclusive and fool proof, which is why adding youtubers on twitter and facebook really helps.

How do you watch YouTube? Do you make sure to consume everything on your subscription feed? Do you watch what's on the 'What to Watch' tab and don't really worry about subscribing to particular channels? Or do you watch whatever your friends post on Facebook? I want to know what kind of YouTube viewers my blog readers are so speak up! :)

Wedding Ideas - Modcloth Style

I just received an email from Modcloth that made me feel as if they had just read my blog. I doubt anyone at Modcloth reads my blog but the email was still pretty weird timing-wise. (Ok, so I guess getting engaged in February and then seeing wedding related things everywhere is not really that weird.) Still, check this out: 

Did you get engaged over Valentine's Day?  Like a week before actually. Congratulations! Thank you Modcloth! You simply have to go take a look at the unique wedding styles available at ModCloth. They have everything from fun wedding accessories and white dresses to something blue, the choices are endless. Check out some of my favorites: Oh ok, thanks for the recommendations. (Yes I know this is really a sample blog post they've sent me, but their recommendations are not bad.)

1. Intricately Exquisite Tights
- perfect for that bachelorette party
2. Wrapped in Romance Hair Chain
- a dazzler for the rehearsal dinner
3. Aisle Be There Dress in Lily - vintage inspired GORGEOUS!
4. Sparkle an Interest Heel - beautiful, sparkly and affordable!

Let me know what your favorites are and don't forget to check out the ModCloth wedding style book for other cute ideas! Cool beans Modcloth, I'm Pintresting a few of them right now (Pintresting? Pinning? Whatever.)

Anyways, I decided to start browsing Modcloth's wedding sections and came up with my own favorite four. All my own opinions! Here you go:

1. Gilded Grace Dress - I love this dress! I doubt I'll go the strapless puffy ballgown rout.
2. Market Meandering Flat - Cute alternative to heels.
3. Darling Please Dress In Jade - Not a bad bridesmaid dress idea...
4. Now That You Mansion It Cake Stand - Don't you mean 'pie' stand? ;)

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links

Really Big News!

I'm engaged! Ok, so here's how it happened. As you know, I've been on vacation for the last two weeks. I was in Japan! My sister has been living and working there for the last year and Jim and I wanted to visit her before she came home (and take an inexpensive trip to Japan in the process.) So my sister, Amy, was able to save up a lot of her days off to take us around Tokyo, Nikko, Disney Sea, and Tokyo Disneyland. Halfway through the trip however, Jim and I got to travel to Kyoto on our own. While we were there we visited the 1,000 Torii gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine‎. It was raining and then it was snowing and we were wet and cold and almost gave up, but we didn't. We made it all of the way to the top of Mt. Inari and there in the falling snow all alone, Jim asked me to marry him. It was magical and unexpected and perfect. After a few moments of laughter and tears our private moment was broken by other climbers. We asked a nice couple to take our picture (and they graciously took about 7 for us!) After that we climbed back down, which was much easier elated.  It was an amazing day, one I'll never forget. I love Jim so much. Thank you everyone who have sent us congratulations messages already. Stay tuned, as I'm sure to be writing more about this adventure!

Click here to follow along with our wedding plans.

Guest Post with Mia - Top 5 Cosplay Myths Busted

Hello everyone! My name is Mia, and I blog over at xo Mia about style, cosplay, and living the geek life. When Jenny asked me to guest post while she is out of town, I was so excited! Today I'm going to talk about something near and dear to my heart - cosplay!
A-Fest 2013 - Hipster Adventure Time Girls
When I tell people that I cosplay, I'm met with many different reactions ranging from excitement to disgust. I think a lot of people just have the wrong idea of what cosplay actually is! Today I'm busting the cosplay myths I hear the most.

1. Cosplayers have to make every piece of their costume.
Although many who cosplay are focused on crafting their entire costume, it is definitely not a requirement! Even the best cosplayers will order or commission pieces that are outside their skill level. Someone may be excellent at sewing, for example, but rubbish at prop making, and choose to purchase from an experienced prop expert.

Moreover, it's not a bad thing to purchase items for your costume! My personal rule is if it's cheaper AND easier to buy (or modify) a piece, and it's still accurate, I'll buy it instead of making it from scratch. Some costumes lend themselves to purchasing rather than making, anyway.

2. Cosplayers want to be their character, so that's why they dress up.
It's true that some cosplayers connect with the character they dress as, but it's not a one-size-fits-all scenario! For many of the costumes I make, I simply love the character's design or personality, but it has nothing to do with an underlying need to be someone else (as some mainstream media wrongly suggests).

3. Female cosplayers are just trying to attract male attention.
For some reason, there exists this underlying idea that ladies in costume at a nerd convention are dressed up only to win male attention. I think this myth comes from the practice of hiring models to work at booths, especially at gaming conventions. These "booth babes" may know nothing about the product they are promoting, and may even wear a costume, but this by no means implies that every female in costume is totally unfamiliar with their character. I guarantee that if I am spending  hours and hours on making a costume, I am definitely doing it because I want to - not for some guys I don't even know!

As an addendum, I have seen some geeks be rude to booth models who aren't familiar with their product. It's important to recognize too these ladies are earning a living and their job doesn't require full knowledge of their product. There's no reason to act snooty towards them!
A-Fest 2013 - Hipster Adventure Time Girls
4. Cosplay is expensive! People who cosplay are irresponsible with money.
Cosplay doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg! I budget for every costume that I make to spread out the cost over several months. The cost of a costume really varies from person to person and from character to character - a more complicated costume may cost thousands, but something simple may be well under $100.

Everyone has their own hobbies they spend money on - some people might go out often, some people may add to their DVD collection, and others might buy cosplay supplies. No hobby is more inherently "irresponsible!"

5. Cosplayers must look exactly like the character they cosplay as. 
I hear this most from people who do not cosplay - either judgmental jerks or those who want to get into cosplay, but don't feel like they can for one reason or another. The truth is, you don't have to look anything like your character to cosplay as them! Race, body type, height, weight... nothing is a barrier to dressing as a character you love. If you are still uncertain, blogs like Cosplaying While Black or Eff Yeah Plus-Size Cosplay show that anyone can cosplay any character.
A-Fest 2013 - Hipster Adventure Time Girls
The most important thing about cosplay is having fun - whatever that means to you. For some people, this means entering competitions and focusing on craftsmanship. For others, it translates to photoshoots with friends or just hanging out at the convention in costume. Whatever floats your boat!

(And remember - if you're nervous about what others will say, everyone in costume looks equally silly to those outside of the hobby. Elitism simply has no point!)

Thank you, Mia, for busting these cosplay myths! When I was starting out I used to think you had to make every part of your costume yourself. I felt bad when I bought parts, but now I know that's totally fine! (Also, you make a great Fiona, I'll have to post pics soon from when I cosplayed her.) What do you guys think, have your ideas about cosplay changed? Think you want to give it a shot for fun? Let me know in the comments who you've dressed up as before! Don't forget to check out Mia's blog over at xo Mia!

Guest Post with Dianna - Every Day Disney

Every day Disney: becoming a Disney character on your own terms. I am one of the biggest Disney fans I know. I grew up going to Disneyland, playing out Disney movies and dreaming of being Princess Aurora. I even worked there drinking in the Disney madness; I am almost certain that working there, knowing the secrets and deepest knowledge of Disney and its past made me more of Disney freak. I admire Walt for what he did and thank him for what he created. It is because of his empire that I wish upon stars and believe that if I dream it I can do it. The least I can do for him is honor all that he and his empire have created. Thus there is every day Disney. I got it in my head one day that I have this blog and I have all these crazy idea’s running around in my head why not put them down on paper. I love getting dressed up, my everyday casual wear is more like what people wore back in the 1950’s. But the point is I can be very selective when picking an outfit to wear. I look for inspiration from the 1950’s, steam punk and old turn of the century movies.
Then one day it hit me…Disney. Not once have I ever pulled inspiration form Disney except Halloween. Why not pull some inspiration for what I wear all the time. It may be unconventional but who am I to get embarrassed for what I am wearing? I once wore my pirate queen outfit to college, in April because I could and wanted to, so why not, right. So I sat down and said where to start? As I browsed through my computer thinking and day dreaming I came across the picture of Doc in Disney’s Parade of Dreams and said “why not my best friend at Disney?”, and poof every day Disney began.
I decide to start with what I knew I had. Then I would look in my closet and see ok I can do this character or ooo this one if I do this with this. I was throwing things together and building upon ideas. I got lucky with the Doc outfit and happened to have everything I wished to have. There are times when I want to do a character but don’t have what I want for them. When that happens I make a mental not to self “must so shopping”.
I have a whole list of characters and clothing to go with that is constantly growing as I get new items or realize I have that!!! Most of what I do for every day Disney is combinations of stuff I have never put together before. Yes I do wear these outfits all day and out in public, why not they are super cute. I love pretending I am some character and I love being Disney characters. Every day Disney allows me to do this whenever I want not just on Halloween. So every day Disney is getting to be a Disney character on your own terms. How did it start…to put it one way “It all started with a mouse” thanks to Mr. Wald Disney.

~ Dianna

Thank you, Dianna, for sharing your blog history and awesome 'Every Day Disney' idea! I love dressing up subtly like characters I love. What about you guys?  Don't forget to check out Dianna's blog over at Dianna Elyse Makeup!

Guest Post with Danielle - Outfit Posts

 Hi everyone!  This is Danielle from A Writer in Love, and I'm so excited to be visiting Jenny's blog today.

I consider myself a lifestyle blogger, and I enjoy posting about the places I go, the products I enjoy, and the memories I make with friends.  Something else that I love to post about: my outfits.

I think my love for outfit posts stemmed from enjoying them on other blogs.  I think outfit posts are a great way for bloggers to showcase their personal style (and, in some cases, to boast about the cool new items they bought / received. It's alright to brag sometimes, right?).  I enjoy reading the blogs I read because I get to learn about some amazing people.  Outfit posts are just another way to say "this is me!" to your readers.
Jenny asked me to share a few tips for taking outfit photos.  First and foremost, I recommend taking photos in natural light.  Your skin will look gorgeous and glowy (hooray!).  Everything will be well-lit. Try to avoid noon-time, where the sun may be harsh and wash you out.  

If you can't make it outside, try to find a well-lit area with a neutral background (you don't want your dress to clash with your wallpaper!).  

Oh, and if you're nervous to go outside because you don't want someone to see you... don't be!  You look fabulous.  If someone sees you mugging for the camera - lucky them ;-)

If you happen to have a tripod for your camera, these are some kinds of photos you can take by yourself:
The full-body shot.  Show off your whole outfit!  Readers of fashion blogs generally want to know the head-to-toe details, so don't disappoint! Hand-on-hip pose is totally necessary, in my opinion...
Artsy "I'm looking everywhere but the camera" shot.
Sometimes you just need to gracefully look down at the ground so everyone can admire your weird hair part.
(Not going to lie, this ended up being one of my favorite photos from the day.)
Hair in motion!  Totally glam.  Also, showing off the outfit from another angle allows you to show off any other details you may not see from the front full-body shot.

If you're using a remote for your camera's timer, you can toss it out of frame or try to conceal it in your hand.  Or hey, you can also just say "who cares" and have it in the shot.  I understand.</ div>
It's not impossible to take detail shots with a tripod, but it's easier to ask a friend.  I'm lucky to have both a sister and mother who don't mind indulging me and helping me out with my outfit posts.  Try to highlight the little things that make an accessory or a piece of jewelry unique.  I love the raised detail on this clutch!

If there's a story behind a piece of clothing or an accessory, share it!  I won this particular clutch in a blog giveaway - and then I didn't receive it for months.  I had given up hope, until one day a battered package showed up at my door.  The clutch came all the way from Israel - and it got lost along the way!  

Finally, my last bit of advice is simple: have fun!

It's tempting to only want to show the "perfect" shots in an outfit post.  It's easy to feel intimidated by other bloggers who have professional quality shots, or generally seem like they have these fairytale-perfect lives. But really, your readers are on your blog because they enjoy you.  Don't give them an airbrushed version of yourself.  You're better than that.
How do you feel about outfit posts on blogs?  What do you like to see in an outfit post?  Do you have any tips of your own to share? deserve

Thanks for having me, Jenny! 

Thank you for sharing your experience with outfit posts and photos! I'm defiantly getting more used to the trope. I'd never thought of just tossing the remote aside before the camera snaps, great tip! What do you guys think, ready to try some outfit posts? Don't forget to check out Danielle's blog over at A Writer in Love!