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Booktubing and Reading In Nigeria (with Rachel Eyo)

On this episode of Time Out With TLM, the spotlight is on Rachel Eyo(@racheleyo_). She’s a Nigerian Lawyer and Booktuber- she talks about books via her YouTube channel. You can relate her to a mobile bookshelf. 

Rachel is so passionate about books that, when asked to choose between booktubing and law, she enthusiastically chose the former. In this interview, she tells us how challenging booktubing is for her and how she’s been able to impact positively.

That’s not all. Rachel also names objects. Yes, she names them as people name children. Find out yourself :

The first thought that came to mind when I saw your YouTube channel was, “Wow. She talks about books in Nigeria.” HOW HAS THAT BEEN FOR YOU?

Being a Booktuber in Nigeria has been challenging. Uhm, because it’s not a niche that is very popular. A lot of people read but not a lot talk about books and I think they read just because it’s mandatory of them.

So, it’s been very challenging growing subscribers and getting people to watch but I’m learning that if you put up an attractive content on any topic and show enough passion, people will vibe with you.

Oh. DO THEY TALK ABOUT IT OR JUST LISTEN TO YOU AND HYPE?

Okay, uhm, (giggles), they hype and talk about it. They also mention that their reading habits have improved greatly.

Related:TEN Self-improvement Books For writers 

In a way, it’s a positive influence. Some say, “oh, I’m going to read this” and some actually read it. I guess that’s good.

I think that’s amazing. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START IT?

I was inspired by my love for reading and my passion for books. Initially,I didn’t think it would influence a reading culture in Nigeria.

I just wanted to make video reviews about books because I formerly published them on my website, www.racheleyo.me

Beautiful. RACHEL, YOU’RE A LAWYER. DOESN’T IT GET EXHAUSTING BALANCING BOOKTUBING AND LAW?

All the time. (laughs) All the time. It can really get exhausting balancing both.

I literally have to edit videos in between court sittings sometimes. As much as I try to plan and have a schedule, arrange things, it really is exhausting.

Awwhn, WOULD YOU LEAVE LAW FOR BOOK TUBING IF YOU BECAME FAMOUS AND EARNED MULTIPLE DIGITS FROM IT?

Very much so. I so will(giggles). I love, love, love books. I’m very passionate about booktubing so yes, I may leave law, maybe not totally but it would be a consideration for sure. Multiple digits has to be at least, six figures too (chuckles).

Reading In Nigeria

I saw some comments from non-Nigerian readers on your Channel. HOW MANY PERCENTAGE ARE THEY?

Uhm, I’d say thirty five – forty percent. Probably forty five actually. Many non-Nigerians are fans of booktube. Initially, they were of a higher percentage but as time went by, more Nigerians joined.

Interesting. HOW DID YOU GET THE ATTENTION OF THE 55% NIGERIANS? DID YOU RUN ADS OR THEY JUST FOUND YOU?

They were following me on social media already so it was quite easy to direct them there. Some are from whatsapp too. I also joined some book groups online and steered them to my channel. Oh yeah, I ran few instagram ads in the past too. I’m running one currently but it’s an author-sponsored ad.

Hmm, okay. SPEAKING OF AUTHOR, WHEN DID YOU START GETTING INFLUENCER GIGS AND HOW FREQUENT ARE THEY? HAVE NIGERIAN AUTHORS EMBRACED AS PART OF MARKETING?

 

Hmm, I started my channel in February and “influencer gigs” streamed in, from June/July/ August, I think.

Basically, the authors send me free copies of their books in exchange for a honest review. Monthly, I get at least two books. Yes, it’s something they’ve embraced because it’s beneficial.

WHEN DID YOU START BOOK TUBING?

I started February, 2020

Oh wow. WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR Craft IN FIVE YEARS?

Uhm, this is the first time I’m actually thinking of it. I’m hoping to have hit at least a million followers. I see it influencing reading culture in Nigeria. I see potential readers and young children reading, either for pleasure or development of their vocabulary.

Basically, I see it causing an impact in the Nigerian literary space.

WHICH NIGERIAN AUTHOR WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRAVEL THE WORLD WITH?

 

Wow, that is such an interesting question. I’ve never really thought about it. Uhm, wow, it would have to be Elnathan John (chuckles).

You mentioned Elnathan John in the book tag you did on your Channel recently. YOU MUST REALLY LOVE HIS BOOKS, WHICH ONE OF THEM IS YOUR FAVORITE?

I’m actually a huge fan of his. All of them are my favorite. If I want to laugh, I’d pick Becoming Nigerian. If I want to read a deep stuff, I’d pick Born On A Tuesday. And for illustration, I’d go for On Ajayi Crowther Street. I love all, depends on my mood.

Oh well, not bad. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF DELVING INTO OTHER AREAS OR IS IT ONLY BOOKS ?

I honestly can’t say because I don’t know what the future holds. For now, it’s books. I recorded a video recently where I talked about various book segments. There are book discussions, book shows, author interviews, among others. There are a lot to delve into apart from book reviews. So, let’s just see what the future holds.

Okay, future. DO YOU NAME OBJECTS WITH WORDS LIKE ‘FUTURE’? I still can’t believe you name objects.

(laughs) Oh, this is so embarrassing. I mean you never can tell. Someone named their baby future. And yes, I name objects. Embarrassingly(chuckles)

WHERE DO YOU SEE READING IN NIGERIA, IN THE FUTURE? WHAT OTHER THING DO YOU THINK CAN IMPROVE READING CULTURE IN NIGERIA?

Uhm, I see reading in Nigeria going many places. Schools and social media are adapting to it. And, Nigerian authors are definitely gems to be treasured. I think packaging matters.

The way a book is packaged and designed will determine if it will get readers. Book club is another way to improve the culture. If there’s no book club around you, create one. You’d be surprised.

Rachel eyo

There are a substantial number of people who love to read. We can also have more workshops, seminars and masterclasses. It’s something I’m thinking of doing actually.

Oh wow. “Black people don’t read because they haven’t eaten” DO YOU AGREE? DO YOU THINK POVERTY IS A MAJOR FACTOR?

Amazingly true. I discuss this with friends and book club members. It’s all about the pricing. For instance, in Nigeria, the average book cost four thousand naira and the average man earns thirty thousand naira monthly. How many books can he possibly read? And so, this exacerbates the rate of piracy of books and movies in the country.

Looking at it from the angle of authors, I think dilemma comes in. Publishers and editors have to make money. I really understand because I’ve had to communicate with them.

These things aren’t cheap but the average Nigerian- though really wants to read- wouldn’t think about it, because they cannot afford it.

Oh. IF YOUR LIFE WERE A HASHTAG, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

#hashtagblessed

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