November is NaNoWriMo, but that's just the beginning of the writing journey. National Novel Writing Month is an international creative writing event that promotes creativity and manuscript writing. Whether self published or traditional published, authors have the (often daunting) tasking of promoting their work. But what is the best way to promote your book? Home to many niche online communities, TikTok has exploded in popularity. One of such communities is known as BookTok, the place for all things authors and books. Viral BookTok videos have been credited with landing books a spot on the New York Times Bestseller list, and many book stores now include "Recommended on BookTok" displays. Personally, it’s one of our favorite places to get indie author recommendations. BookTok is a great tool for anyone to utilize, but the low cost makes it especially helpful for self-published and first time authors. Keep reading for our three tips on how to use BookTok as an author.
1) Utilize the TikTok Algorithm
This applies for just about any type of social media presence you're going for. As frustrating as it can be, you need to pay attention to the site's algorithm and do what you can to get on its good side. TikTok directs its users to find new posts on a "For You" page. The posts here are algorithmically determined based on the user's engagement history. Once you start watching, liking, and/or commenting on certain kinds of videos, the algorithm will funnel more similar content to you. In order to capitalize off of this mechanism as a content creator, you need to stay on top of what's trending within your desired niche. Use trending hashtags, audio, and challenges when posting and creating your content. These posts will be more likely to appear on the For You pages of users interested in similar videos. You also need to post consistently (consider making a schedule to hold yourself accountable) and interact with any type of engagement on your posts. Remember: the goal of the algorithm isn't to hit everyone, but to hit the right people. Don't use trending hashtags that are unrelated to your content. Don't tag creators who are part of a different niche. The goal is to stay focused on the audience that wants to see your content.
2) Talk About More Than Just Your Book
The key to a successful account is to not exclusively promote your book(s). If it seems like all you're doing is making ads for your content, users are not going to want to watch. If you want to grow an actual following online, you need to offer value in your content. Many content creators on BookTok discuss tropes, such as "enemies to lovers"; "morally gray villains"; "right person, wrong time"; "found family"; and many more. Break down any of these patterns that might show up in your own writing, and tease the nuances that enhance your version of the trope. You also need to be discussing other books in your genre and talking about your favorite authors. Maybe do a deep dive of some of your greatest literary influences and how they manifest in your writing. You can get really creative, and even make videos as literary characters. Many authors on BookTok also give writing tips and behind-the-scenes looks at writing, editing, and production. Remember: You want your content to offer something (and that something shouldn't JUST be an ad for your book).
3) Connect with Influencers
This might sound like a big ask, but it's not as bad as you think. When we say "influencers," we're not talking Kim Kardashian or Charli D'Amelio. The great thing about an online space as niche as BookTok is that there are small influencers who can maintain a large following on the platform because of the strong online community. These influences are always looking for more content to talk about. Dig deep into your niche, and let yourself fall down a little BookTok rabbit hole. Find the accounts that specifically cover your genre of writing, and send them free copies of your book. Do not ask for a promo or any sort of deal--simply ask for an honest review. Let them know that you love their content and wanted to share your work with them. Along those lines, be sure you follow their account and engage in their posts. You're asking a content creator to support you, so it would be insincere and incredibly inconsiderate not to support them in the process. Obviously, not everyone you reach out to will make content about your book. Reach out to as many relevant influencers as possible (staying in and around your niche of writing!), and don't get discouraged.
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