Tik-Tok can significantly boost the visibility of writers and authors among readers on the platform. Readers have joined the trend known as “BookTok”, not to be mistaken for BookTOC (which is the table of contents for your book). This trend has continued, resulting in bookstore tables filled with “BookTok recommendations” and video reviews growing in popularity.

Tik-Tok currently is facing some legal issues, so adding this platform to your social media mix might not be appealing. Plus, there are other cringe-worthy things on the platform that might make you not want to use it at all.

Even so, I didn’t care for Tik-Tok either until I started experimenting with it. It’s much easier to grow your followers on the platform than with Instagram or Facebook and the BookTok trend is a no brainer if you are an author.

So let’s dive in and see how it works. (Note: this article isn’t a how-to on creating content, rather it is a guide for strategies you can use on Tik-Tok. For help with creating videos and using the platform, try this article from Hootsuite.)

What is BookTok?

The BookTok trend originated, of course, on TikTok. It began when some bookworms wanted to share some of their favorite reads and bookish thoughts through video. The trend gained popularity because a large number of readers shared reviews and recommendations and it was highly relatable to others, causing it to go viral. 

Currently, BookTok readers recommend, review, and discuss books by engaging with their audience. You can imagine the impact this has had for self-publishers and publishing companies alike. According to the BBC in 2023, #BookTok has over 200 Billion views on Tik-Tok, “the equivalent of everyone in the world viewing it 25 times.” 

While most of the creators are young adults and women that focus their reviews on romance, YA fantasy, and YA fiction, it doesn’t hurt to focus your efforts on other genres if you are an author that doesn’t fit into that category.

A good place to start is by opening a TikTok account and searching for the BookTok hashtags or users you prefer and then start engaging with their content. Eventually, you can start posting some of your own.

According to Social Pilot:

BookTok is popular because it allows all book lovers to discuss their favorite literature with like-minded readers. It also gives you book recommendations and suggestions on what to read next. Through the community, users can gain first-hand information about new authors and books they may not have been aware of before.

Tik-Tok for Writers? Yes!

The best way to use Tik-Tok is to stick to a niche. If you start using Tik-Tok (as I did) to talk about anything and everything, then the algorithm will get confused. Then your videos and content won’t be as visible or will receive a lot less engagement. Pick a niche and only post about content in that niche. Be sure to use the hashtag #booktok when posting.

For a list of authors killing it on Tik-Tok, see TikTok for Authors: The Ultimate Guide by Kindlepreneur.

tik-tok for authors

How do I get my book noticed on Tik-Tok?

Besides using the #booktok trend and posting with that hashtag and audience, here are some more general ways to get your book noticed on Tik Tok:

  1. Spend time on Tik-Tok. Kind of a no-brainer, but the more you use the app and see the content being posted, the better idea you’ll have of what kind of content does well. In general, Tik Tok is about creativity, authenticity, and entertainment. Even if you aren’t extroverted (I hate dancing!), you can still use Tik Tok with background music or even other audio that is cute or funny to create engaging content.
  2. Leverage trends. It’s pretty easy to spot the trends on Tik Tok. When you do see it, think about creative ways you can use it to engage your specific audience. For instance, a lot of times, trends occur due to background music on that video. Can you use the video to make your content pop? While it’s good to leverage trends once in awhile, try not to follow too many as this could impact your organic reach. So use it now and then, but don’t let that be your only focus when creating content. Which leads me to my next point…
  3. Showcase your personality. Be genuine – you don’t have to a do dance number or sing to be engaging on Tik Tok. You could share funny moments, insights, or even quotes that relate to your book journey.
  4. Use Hashtags Strategically. Research other hashtags you can use (besides #booktok), but don’t go overboard. Use 2-5 hashtags that are trending or relevant to get your content seen. Eventually you’ll be picked up by the algorithm and won’t need to be as focused on hashtags as your content will be recognizable.
  5. Engage! Build connections with dueting or stitching videos, or just simply leave comments. This will boost your visibility and create a sense of community around your book.
  6. Be Consistent and Patient: Building a presence on Tik-Tok takes time and consistency. Keep posting regularly and refining your content based on what resonates with your audience. Stay patient and persistent – success doesn’t happen overnight!

 

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3 Steps for Getting Started on Tik-Tok

The following instructions from Tik-Tok will help you begin using the platform as an author.

Step 1: Download the TikTok app

To setup a TikTok account:

1. Download TikTok from Google Play or the App Store.
2. Open the app.
3. Tap Profile in the bottom right.
4. Choose a method to sign up.
5. Follow the prompts to create a username, nickname, your bio, and profile image.

Keep in mind:
•  Your username can be changed once every 30 days.
•  If you give up your username, you will not be able to add that username to an account for a short period of time.
•  Changing your username will also change your profile link.
•  Usernames can only contain letters, numbers, underscores, and periods. However, periods can’t be added to the end of a username.

Step 2: Follow BookTok creators and hashtags

Tap on the home icon at the bottom of the screen. Then tap on the search icon at the top right. Search the term “Booktok”.

From here you can browse top video, videos with the #booktok hashtag, users, and more.

Look for users or videos in your genre and follow, like, and comment on these videos to let the algorithm know you are interested in this content.

You don’t just want to consume content or post your own content. Instead, look for ways to interact and engage in a genuine way with other users.

Step 3: Dive into the World of BookTok (Tik-Tok for Writers)

Once you’ve immersed yourself in the captivating world of BookTok, it’s time to unleash your creativity and craft your own videos. But what kind of content should you create?

Consider kicking things off by sharing reviews of your favorite books or offering insightful quotes and tips from authors you admire. Incorporate about 20% of your own content, such as book promotions or snippets from your blog posts and articles. While it’s essential to stay true to your genre or niche, avoid being overly promotional. Remember, social media is all about building connections and fostering a sense of community, not just pushing sales pitches.

As you delve into TikTok for writers and explore the vast array of content, you’ll find inspiration on how to grow your own account. Don’t stress too much about what to post initially – let your creativity flow and have fun with it. Keep engaging with others and interacting with content that resonates with your interests. You might even consider teaming up with reviewers or fellow authors to amplify your book promotions and reach a wider audience.

Final Words

Navigating the wild world of TikTok – it’s a rollercoaster of good and bad vibes, but for us authors, it’s been a total game-changer.

From teaming up with reviewers to magically transforming into the next big thing, TikTok has paved the path for dreamers and doers to easily get in front of their audience.

Think of TikTok not just as a promotional tool, but as a virtual hangout where you can let your hair down and show off your quirky, authentic self. Spice up your book promotions with a dash of fun, ditch the boring sales spiel, and watch your audience grow faster than you can say “bestseller.”

While TikTok might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s certainly worth a shot for authors looking to sprinkle a little magic onto their book marketing journey. With a little bit of creativity and bravery, you can watch the magic of social media work for you and your writing projects.


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