TikTok is more than just challenges, dance videos, and jokes. It’s a great platform for promoting any book and personal brand. And TikTok is now the #1 website in the world – details here.
A bit more about TikTok
If you’ve seen a viral video or two on TikTok and don’t quite know what it is all about, here are some key points:
TikTok videos are usually 5-15 seconds and occasionally up to a few minutes long. These ‘snackable’ short-form videos don’t place a burden on users’ attention span, which is a big reason for the app’s popularity.
TikTok offers a slew of features to individualize and enhance videos, including video editing, filters and effects. Social sharing, reactions, hashtags, live streaming, push notifications and likes and comments are among other features to present your content and expand its reach.
Celebrity TikTok is a real thing, and teeming with stars from the movie, fashion and sporting worlds. The app also has its fair share of popular creators or TikTok stars.
A huge draw of TikTok is the opportunity to participate in contests to win gifts, collaborate with brands and earn gifts during live streaming.
You can run ads on TikTok. Ads start at $10 per CPM and you’re required to spend a minimum of $500 on a campaign. The BooksGoSocial approach to TikTok is to first help authors reach a big audience without paid TikTok ads.
Real-time analytics clue you in on the likes, comments and live viewers you attract.
These features present opportunities to reach out to large audiences in creative ways and capture their attention. Like any social network, the trick is to attract quality followers who will consider buying your book or reading it for free (if available that way) and in an ideal situation, become long-term or even life-long fans.
As of 2020, TikTok had attracted 2.6 billion downloads
In 2021, TikTok surpassed 1 billion users
TikTok is popular across age groups:
– 28% of users are under 18
– 35% of users in 19-29 category
– 18% of users in 30-39 category
– 19% of users in 39+ category
TikTok’s largest markets are Brazil, Indonesia and the United States
Prior to being banned in India, TikTok had 190 million users in the country
TikTok is used by 18% of global internet users in the 16-64 category
The big question: Are authors doing well on TikTok?
Absolutely! Authors have made their presence felt on this popular social app in unique ways that generate curiosity and attention. Here’s a look at writers who’re benefitting from being on TikTok.
Chloe Gong (@thechloegong)
The Chinese-born New Zealand author of young adult fiction made it to the New York Times best-seller list with her 2020 debut novel These Violent Delights. With over 130K fans and 5.5 million likes, she suggests that authors create enjoyment for followers and leverage TikTok trends rather than pushing their books before the app’s users. And her account walks the talk with its variety of interesting content, which includes jokes, insights into her publishing journey and glimpses of her daily life. Make sure you check out Gong’s page for inspiration.
Colleen Hoover (@colleenhoover)
Colleen Hoover is an author of romance and young adult fiction, whose 2012 novel Hopeless entered the coveted NYT best-seller list. Her TikTok is a mix of wholesome – such as glimpses into her family – and a showcase of her personality, such as her idea of a fun time. Hoover’s live Q&As are also big hits. In a nutshell, Hoover keeps it fun and focuses on authentic engagement, a huge reason why she has over 540k followers and 9.8 million likes.
Aiden Thomas (@aidenschmaiden)
The Latinx-American author of young adult novels has featured on NYT’s best-seller list and whose book Cemetary Boys has won several awards as well as recognition from Publishers Weekly, American Libary Assocation and School Library Journal. They have used engagement tactics such as bookstore trips, unboxings and time spent with their pets to gain over 49K fans and 811K likes.
Victoria Aveyard (@victoriaaveyard)
Best known for her fantasy novel Red Queen, the YA and fantasy fiction author and screenplay writer does a great job of sharing information useful to wannabe authors. If you want to learn more about or update your knowledge of the publishing industry, Aveyard is the author to follow.
Preeti Chhibber (@runwithskizzers)
Preeti Chhibber is a popular YA author, speaker and freelance writer who offers fun insights into her writing for Marvel and Star Wars, and shares tips on comic writing, a skill she excels at. She is also generous in sharing writing tips and showcases interesting sides of her personality, which includes her love for coffee.
Sara Raasch (@sara_raasch)
The author of young adult fiction and NYT best-selling trilogy Snow Like Ashes and These Rebel Waves keeps it interesting and fresh with a variety of content, including writing tips, book gift guides and worldbuilding skills. She is very helpful to aspiring writers and like Aveyard, answers burning questions on traditional and self-publishing industries.
Dante Medema (2dantemedemabooks)
Dante Medema is a popular author of books for young readers, whose debut novel The Truth Project was nominated for the YALSA Quick Pick for reluctant readers in 2021. Her TikTok is full of inspiration and knowledge, comprising posts on writing and publishing tips, including an amazing guide into transforming sticky notes into a complete novel. Needless to say, Medema’s TikTok account has over 81K fans and 3 million fans.
John Green (@literallyjohngreen)
The author of Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars needs no introduction. His immense popularity among younger audiences reflect in his fan count and number of likes on TikTok. Green’s experience as a YouTuber and podcaster has helped him create his own niche on TikTok. If there’s a takeaway from his content on the app, it is to be your authentic self and avoid blatant book promotions.
TikTok tips for authors
To grow your followers and generate awareness about your books, plan a content and reach strategy. Your content strategy includes the types of content you believe will connect with your target audience. Your reach strategy covers the ways to make your content reach your audience.
Use video titles
By now, you know that to succeed on TikTok, you need to make entertaining and engaging content. Aim to hook users within the first 2 seconds of your video. An effective tip is to use titles that are impossible to ignore. For the record, TikTok videos do not need titles. As a writer, you’re aware of the effect of a powerful opening line of a novel or headline of a feature article.
Applying the same logic to TikTok videos, announce the title of your video in the first 2 seconds to grab attention and motivate users to continue watching. Of course, the content that follows should meet users’ expectations so as to maintain their interest in your TikTok page.
Choose the right hashtags
If you use social media, you know that strategic hashtags can boost the reach of your posts. Adding a hashtag to your TikTok video is exactly the same as you would do for Twitter or Instagram. But how do you create a hashtag strategy? Here are some tips:
Consider who exactly you’re trying to reach through your videos
Determine whether you want to focus on a niche audience or reach out to as many people as possible
Check out appropriate trending hashtags and obvious genre hashtags too
Take a look at the common/general hashtags that are popular on Tiktok, such as #love, #happy and #comedy
Leverage less competitive hashtags that suit your videos
Use 3 to 7 hashtags in each video post
Think of creative hashtags that attract users who may not even know they need your content
TikTok offers a feature known as ‘hashtag challenge’ to help users drive mass awareness. Here, you ask people to perform a certain task and tag them using a specific hashtag. The idea is to make users find videos they’re interested in, join communities and connect with your TikTok account.
Keep the challenge focused on your book or something associated with your author brand. Ponder on the relatability of your challenge and its appeal among the audience you’re trying to attract. Promote your challenge on all your social media feeds to maximize exposure and action.
Ready to make a mark on TikTok? Join a BooksGoSocial TikTok Team!
BooksGoSocial is building teams of TikTok authors to support each other on the platform. If you have not joined do so here. It’s free.
Here are the Getting Started recommendations for all team members:
Start testing different video types to see which works for you. Try reading a few paragraphs, posting a video of your home town or the thoughts of a character or the ideas in a non fiction book. You can be controversial too, but don’t claim to be able to able to cure disease or have sure fire money making tips. You know this already, right! Test, start today. Start with one video post a week and go up from there.
Find a good spot to take videos, with good light on your face. Don’t worry about perfect aesthetics. This is not Instagram, but do look your best, whatever that means.
Get inspired by other authors on TikTok. Use the Search button – top right on the main TikTok page – to search for your genre and then click on Users, near the top, to see a list of people with related TikTok accounts.
Every day, follow 25 of these Users, by tapping the red Follow button opposite each user. The whole process can be done in under one minute a day. You need to do this on a Smartphone to see the button. Do this every day for 10 days and you will see a jump in your followers.
Use Trending or popular sounds in your videos.
Start with small edits to your videos and experiment. It’s fun.
Use 3 to 7 hashtags in each video post
Make it interesting at the beginning and ask for people to Subscribe at the end, either with text or audio.
There will be additional support for our TikTop Team members. If you have not joined do so here. It’s free.
If you don’t have a TikTok account please get one now and start by searching – top right – in the main TikTok page for subjects that interest you, If you see videos that don’t appeal to you – dancing teenagers for instane – flick up quickly and you will train the algorithm to stop showing you those. Watch with purpose and you will get a better TikTok experience.
See you inside in your team, if you do join.
This is not an instant book boost service. This is positioning yourself to reach a new audience over time.
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Founder BooksGoSocial & The International Dublin Writers’ Festival