In a Work in Progress, Connor Franta shares the lessons he has learned on his road to becoming an Internet sensation interspersed with full-colour photographs and childhood clippings. We chatted to him about how it feels being on the same bestsellers list as JK Rowling, his philanthropic work, and whether his coffee or his hand is more important. You can read a full blurb of the novel here, or check out Connor’s videos.
How does it feel to be a New York Times Bestselling Author, up there with JK Rowling and EL James?
It’s an absolutely unbelievable feeling. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that this would be something that I would accomplish. I’m just extremely grateful and feel honoured to be up there with the best of the best.
Near the start of your memoir, you talk about how sometimes it’s difficult to explain to people what you do. Are people starting to take YouTubing and vlogging more seriously?
There has always been a stigma attached to the online community and I never quite understood why. I think that people are becoming increasingly aware of this booming industry and are beginning to give it more and more attention. If things continue to advance like they have been lately, I see a very promising future for this community.
‘It’s okay to want to be liked. It’s okay to seek likes. But it’s not okay if you allow those likes to become the foundation of your self-worth…’ How do you find this balance between getting attention on social media and making sure you don’t become addicted to the numbers?
The online space thrives on numbers, it’s our fuel. Numbers in a way portray our level of success and it’s very difficult to not be constantly focused on them. I try my best to simply be my best in everything I do and everything I put out into the world. If the content is good, the numbers should not matter.
Your memoir has a huge visual aspect; have you always been interested in photography?
In hindsight, yes! I used to steal my dad’s camera when I was younger, venture into my backyard and capture everything. When I was a teenager, I used to enter my photos in various competitions and pit them against other local photographers. As soon as I had a camera on my phone, it was all over. I began taking photos of literally everything and anything.
As popular as the comedy skits and challenges YouTubers post on their channels are, personal videos like the ‘Draw My Life’ challenge seem to be wildly successful. Why do you think this is?
I think people are interested in the reality of others. Everyone comes from a background that is unique and we all have a specific story to share. It’s great when people are open, vulnerable and real with not only others, but with the world. So to see YouTubers doing that every day with their audiences, it’s so powerful.
Is your memoir kind of like an extended, super detailed Draw My Life?
I’ve never thought about it that way, but yes, kind of! I try to share my story and perspective with readers through vivid imagery, thought provoking opinions and educational stories.
Was anything difficult to write in the memoir?
The task of writing a book seems extremely difficult because, well, it is. Once you immerse yourself in the task of writing, the process is actually enjoyable and almost therapeutic.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that this would be something that I would accomplish.
What do you hope your readers walk away with after reading A Work in Progress?
I hope that after people put down my book they see that the world is theirs for the taking. If you want to do something, do it. If you want to be somebody, be them. We are faced with so much opportunity every single day and I just want my readers to be ambitious, forwarding thinking individuals who have dreams and will stop at nothing until those dreams are accomplished.
What’s ‘The Thirst Project’, and how can we get involved?
The Thirst Project is a charity organisation that provides clean, safe drinking water for those in need. I just wrapped up my second birthday campaign for the cause and together we raised $192,161 in just 30 days! I couldn’t be prouder of my viewers for donating their little hearts away and raising so much awareness about this cause. Thanks cuties!
And now, for our most difficult question: many of your photos seem to feature either your hand, or coffee… If you had to sacrifice one of these two things, what would it be?
Well, I have 2 hands and only 1 love for coffee… So I think you can see where this is going.
Watch one of Connor’s videos below:
A Work in Progress is published by Simon and Schuster, rrp $21.99.