In this Q&A, Kat Betts talks about using the streaming platform Twitch to market her editing business and to network with writers and other editors. For the past five years, she’s live-streamed edits on Twitch.
What is Twitch?
Twitch.tv is a streaming platform used mostly, but not exclusively, by gamers to live-stream games as they are being played. Through using software such as OBS or Streamlabs you can share what’s on your screen to anyone watching online. You can also share a camera view of yourself, if that’s something you want. There is a wide community of writers and editors on the platform; accountability or coworking streams are a large part of Twitch.
What do you need to be a successful Twitch streamer?
To be able to stream, you don’t need much: a camera (if you choose to use one), a screen layout overlay (available through Streamlabs, create your own, or have someone design one!) and something to stream. This might be as little as a Pomodoro timer all on its own, or it might be your writing or an edit you’re working on.
To be a successful streamer takes time and effort. Not only do you need to be active in the community to cultivate a viewership (usually through having a strong streaming schedule), but you also need to advertise streams (on social media) as well as in various Discord groups. For me, diving into such depth is beyond my ability. I just don’t have the time, and while it doesn’t take long to put out a post on social media, my primary focus on those platforms is to share myself as an editor first and foremost, rather than a streamer. Still, being active in the community has me meeting writers worldwide, and other streamers through them and their viewers. It’s a web of friends that I spend time with daily, whether or not I’m streaming.
Why did you start streaming on Twitch?
Way back when I started (2018), I wanted to add to my income and add to my pool of potential leads. I thought streaming on Twitch would be a good way to do this. I do not get paid much through subscriptions (where viewers can pay to have no ads while watching my channel), bits (tips) or ad revenue. Being present and active in the Twitch writing and editing community has led to new, long-lasting client relationships though. That said, the value in it is the company. Most of us work from home. Alone. And some days this is lovely. For me, though, I get lonely quickly, and being able to chat with friends I’ve made across the world is a great social outlet. Plus, if you get your social bar filled, all you have to do is hit that little browser X. 😉
Do you ever get nervous or make mistakes?
In the beginning, I would get nervous all the time. I knew the people, I loved the community, but having your face up there, and people watching your every digital move? Sounds like a disaster! But the community are wonderful. They are supportive.
What still makes me nervous these days is when the author of the work I am editing onscreen comes into the stream. In almost every case, my nerves are unfounded. The clients are excited to see the edit, they’re excited to get to know me more, and I them! They love when you’re umming and ahhing over the same pesky comma they were. Take it out? Leave it in? Clients being in the chat and viewing the stream is not a bad thing, either; they can often clear up queries on the fly, rather than you having to wait until they return an email or Discord message.
It’s important to understand that Twitch is a live environment, and viewers aren’t looking for perfection. Anything too cultivated screams promotional content only. In my experience, this just doesn’t work within the writing and editing community on Twitch. Most viewers are there to create a bond, to make a friend, and this is a great way to develop relationships that turn into leads.
Do you get many questions while streaming?
Absolutely, and I love being able to share what I do. It’s important to me to show authors that editors are there to support them, to be their partner in the process, to make their work shine.
Regarding editing, there are three common questions I get asked repeatedly:
- What’s your website? A link to my website shows up periodically using an automated chatbot system I have set up, but I’m always happy to share it!
- What are your rates? I redirect to my website, with an explanation that the rates listed are just a guide, and that manuscripts are assessed individually.
- Will you look at my story for me? There are, of course, many people in the community who want work done for free, and there are writers and editors on Twitch who do give feedback (usually developmental advice). This is not something I do (I like to think of myself as a coin-operated editor), and I have lost only a few potential viewers as a result.
How do you decide which manuscripts to edit live?
Whether to edit a manuscript live first comes down to what the author decides. I include in my contracts multiple versions of the confidentiality clause, which allow the client to choose what depth of clause they’d like. Twitch streaming is one of these options, and every client is walked through what Twitch is and how it works before they decide. If an author chooses Twitch streaming, the decision of when and how long to stream for is made at my discretion. Some days I might choose not to stream the manuscript; it all depends on what I am doing at the time, and whether the manuscript lends itself well to streaming.
Works are never streamed in their entirety, and at no point are any recordings or clips made. If an author wishes to rescind streaming permissions for their work, it is made clear that this is always an option; it is their work, and when it comes to confidentiality (among so much more!), it’s entirely their choice. Most authors I work with (about 9 out of 10) choose to have their edit streamed, and while I’ve never had a client pull their manuscript permissions, it is important that they know this is always an option.
Where can you be found?
I’m always happy to answer questions about streaming. If you’re curious, stop by twitch.tv/elementeds, hit the follow button and turn on notifications. I don’t have a stream schedule (though I do recommend it if you can stick to one), but the notification option will send you an email letting you know I’ve gone live. Come hang out and let’s make some work progress together!
Kat Betts has been an editor for just over 12 years and maintains that it is, in fact, an addiction. She generalises in speculative fiction, specialising in fantasy and science fiction. Kat spends most of her time editing or wrangling her three young boys, and when she gets spare time, she writes portal fantasies, plays World of Warcraft or sculpts cute little dragons from polymer clay. You can find her at elementeds.com and on most social media platforms as @elementeds.
The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.
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Photo credits: header image by ilgmyzin on Unsplash.
Posted by Belinda Hodder, blog assistant.
The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.