A Brief Guide to BookTok

If you’ve browsed an online book retailer, been to a major bookstore recently, or even just a nationwide store chain that happens to have a “books” section, you may well have seen the increasingly popular “TikTok made me buy it!!” slogan, or even a whole shelf called “TikTok Fiction”.

For those of you living under a rock that is under an even bigger rock, TikTok is a short-form video sharing service with several-hundred million active users. As a result of its popularity, it is home to just about every niche and content category imaginable, and one of these is literature.

Because of TikTok’s reach, there have been several authors whose career success has skyrocketed. A name you will likely have heard or seen is romance author Colleen Hoover, who has authored over twenty-four books. Other books and authors who have attained readership through TikTok include Madeline Miller’s 2011 novel “Song of Achilles”, Agustina Bazterrica’s “Tender is the Flesh” and “Dark Matter” by  Blake Crouch.

Do we as publishers recommend that authors get on TikTok? We absolutely do. But where do you start?

#1: Examine Trends and Get Posting

It’s important to be consistent with posting on TikTok if you want to make a dent of any kind, but posting anything and everything you can think of with no regard for quality or trends is going to turn more people away than anything else. Examine what successful authors with large followings are doing. Ensure posts are filmed and edited to the best of your ability so the viewing experience is enjoyable.

#2: Don’t Make Your Videos Too Long

It almost seems counterproductive when you’re meant to be advertising full-length books that require, well, concentration, but most people don’t stick around for lengthy TikTok videos. Treat your content like a video-form synopsis. Short, snappy and attractive!

#3: Engage with Other Users

A great way to get involved with BookTok and encourage people to visit your profile is to comment on people’s videos! Give your thoughts on books, start a discussion, reply to the people who reply to you! Don’t be shy, there’s a world of opportunity on that little app!

#4: Use the “Stitch” Feature, and Use it Well

An even more productive way to start a discussion on TikTok or insert yourself into a discussion is by using the “stitch” feature, which allows you to tack your own video onto someone else’s video. Doing this to a video made by a large creator could yield great results, so give it a try!

#5: Review Other Books and Share Recommendations

Sharing author life videos is great, but another way to create engaging content and emphasise your love of literature is to share books that YOU love! Review books, share recommendations based on genre, season, relevance, etc.

10 Aug 2023