YouTube An Insider's Guide Book Cover Art

YouTube: An Insider’s Guide to Climbing the Charts

November 19, 2008 • Format: 7″x9.25″ • 304 Pages


YouTube: An Insider’s Guide to Climbing the Charts is a non-fiction book written by Alan Lastufka and Michael W. Dean. The book was published by O’Reilly Media, the “internationally recognized, multi-faceted company that has played a seminal role in the evolution and adoption of the Internet revolution, from the World Wide Web to open source software, big data, and the Maker movement.”

You’ll find more than just information on YouTube, topics include video shooting and editing techniques, tips on how to use YouTube’s features, how to make friends, work on collaboration videos, get on YouTube daily, weekly, and monthly charts, become a paid partner, and more.

The book also features interviews with popular YouTube creators LisaNova, WhatTheBuckShow, LiamKyleSullivan, nalts, vlogbrothers, fiveawesomegirls and then-current YouTube staff.

YouTube: An Insider’s Guide received multiple printings and, while technologically out of date, is still in print more than ten years later.


  • What Is This YouTube of Which You Speak?
  • Storytelling and Directing
  • 99-Cent Film School: Shooting, Editing, and Rendering
  • Creating Your Very Own Channel
  • Broadcasting Yourself: User-Generated Content
  • Rebroadcasting: Commercial Content
  • Building Your Audience
  • The Community: Where Do You Fit In?
  • Hacking the System: How to Cheat (And Why You Shouldn’t)
  • Reaching the World
  • Money Money Money!
  • Beyond the ‘Tube
  • Becoming a Success Story
  • Closing Arguments
  • Interviews with Other YouTube Rock Stars


“I know very little about YouTube – or, at least, I did, before reading this. I missed the growth of YouTube as a phenomenon for self-made videographers, and as such only knew the basics: You can upload, you can subscribe, and it’s fun. Reading this book got me up to speed instantly: I learned about subscriber etiquette, how to legitimately make better videos and expand my userbase, and most importantly how to keep on having fun doing it. The title is apt: “An Insider’s Guide.” Alan and Michael have clearly spent a great deal of time inside YouTube, learning its tricks on a very micro level, and distribute them with clear writing and relaxed wit. Highly recommended!”

– Melissa Anelli, author of Harry, A History

“YouTube: An Insider’s Guide to Climbing the Charts is amazing! There are more ideas, more advice, and more links to further resources in this book than probably any book I’ve ever read. If you’re thinking about using video this year, either personally or professionally, then buy this book. In fact, I think this book is pretty much the text of reference for the current generation of video practitioners. The trick is this: you might not be intending to make viral videos or “climb the charts,” but the advice and ideas on here blows away everything else I’ve personally read. Get this book if you’re doing video in 2009.”

– Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs

“A YouTube Guide that Goes Beyond Dummies…

I have now had a chance to read, YouTube: An Insider’s Guide to Climbing the Charts. Thanks to O’Reilly for the review copy. The book is very comprehensive, including great coverage of all the technical video stuff. I see the above review title as an endorsement, not a criticism. One thing that stands out is that YouTube success requires a lot of work. This should be no surprise as this is an artistic medium. The book focus more on YouTube as an art channel than YouTube as a news or marketing channel but the lessons apply to all uses.

Any artist will tell you that you need to pay your dues and obtain basic competence in your medium before being able to accomplish artistic depth. This applies to both visual and literary arts. I would not be surprised to see courses on YouTube in art colleges that cover video and/or the web. In these cases, this book should be on the reading list.

The book covers how to succeed in storytelling and directing, shooting, editing, and rendering, creating your very own channel, broadcasting user-generated content, re-broadcasting commercial content, handling music, cultivating a devoted audience, fitting into the YouTube community, among other things.

The book was written by YouTube veterans Alan Lastufka and Michael W. Dean and includes a lot of their personal experience. It also has interviews with YouTube stars LisaNova, Hank Green (vlogbrothers), WhatTheBuckShow, nalts, and liamkylesullivan. There are a lot of links to great YouTube clips.

There is also a nice chapter on using other social media to promote your YouTube efforts. You can use blogs for simple promotion but starting a community invites more engagement by your audience. It is interesting how people build communities around all types of interests, YouTube simply being a more recent example. I remember reviewing a documentary on BBQ competitions and the community around these events. There were always those who put in the extra effort and they were usually the winners.

Michael Dean provides a chapter on time management to help with the effort issue. He noted that he wrote that chapter while waiting in his doctor’s office. Ironically, I am writing this review at my doctor’s waiting room and can appreciate his approach.

I liked the background on Hollywood movies and how YouTube differs. It gave me a better understanding of treatments and techniques in both media. In both cases, conflict is the essence of drama. The sequence is similar to what I learned in building sales pitches in PowerPoint. Define a situation, introduce a complication, and then offer a resolution. In this case, whatever you are selling without this sequence there is no story or focus and people lose interest.

So if you want to be a YouTube star, this book is required reading. It will either excite you or test your commitment by pointing out all that needs to be done. In the end all the competence will still need an artistic vision. Skills are certainly necessary but not sufficient. Good luck and I hope to see you on YouTube.”

– Bill Ives