Three Tips for Authors to Make the Most Out of “BookTok”

TikTok, or “BookTok”, as readers on the app call it, has had a massive effect on the reading community, to the point where even Barnes and Noble locations have BookTok stands in their stores for books that are trending on the app. BookTok has endless videos about all things books. You can find videos about favorite current reads, bookish trends that are going viral on the app, videos of towering TBR stacks, food and book pairings, or maybe even a feature about YOUR book!

No matter what the video is, lots of book lovers are flocking to BookTok, and Books Forward has 3 tips to help authors make the most out of it!

Post Consistently, Utilizing Trends and Saved Sounds

Posting everyday can get tedious–how do people come up with new ideas everyday? Well, a great feature on TikTok is the “saved sounds.” This means you save the audio from other people’s videos and use that audio file in your own video; that’s what our team at Books Forward did for this video. This helps with content ideas when you feel uncreative, and also gets you in on the action of trending sounds on TikTok. A lot of the time, trends on TikTok originate from saved sounds, meaning people all over the app are using the same sound and making similar videos with their own twist.

You do not have to post on TikTok everyday, because quality is still better than quantity. But TikTok does tend to reward accounts that are very active on the app, so if you have a bunch of video ideas, do not hesitate to post them!

Take Advantage of Hashtags

First of all, hashtags on TikTok are super convenient for helping people find exactly what they are looking for on the app. You can go to the search bar to find specific hashtags that interest you. A fan of romance books? Search #romancebooks and tons of videos with that hashtag will pop up for you to scroll through and interact with. So, if you are a romance author posting about your book, hashtag it with #romancebooks, or #romancebooktok in the description of your video, so that the video pops up in those hashtag sections for others to see. In fact, you can utilize any genre or hashtag that relates to your book (#yabooks #lovestory #historicalfiction, etc). Some other general hashtags you can use are #booktok, #bookish, #foryoupage, #fyp or #foryou. “For You” hashtags do not guarantee you a spot on the For You Page ( where basically all trending videos live), but it increases your chances!

Engage With Your Audience and Followers

BookTok is an active community of people who are genuinely interested in learning about new books to read. All. The. Time. They want to talk about books, look at books, post about books, cry over books, the list goes on and on! This is literally the IDEAL place for an author to be: interacting with people who love their genre. So what should you do? Talk to them! Play around in the #romancebooks (or whatever your genre may be) section of TikTok and find new people to follow! Comment on their videos, recommend books to them, engage with them! Not only does this help you build a genuine relationship with people in your fanbase, but it shows them that you are a real person who cares about your readership. If you build those relationships, chances are you will get follow backs and honest interest in the stories you write.

Do not get discouraged if your following does not grow overnight, because chances are it probably will not! Just remember to have fun talking about something all of us in the BookTok community are passionate about, the passion that started all of this: #books.

Influencer Marketing Tips and Tricks for Authors

The term “social media influencer” comes up often these days, though it is vague and meaningless to some people. Books Forward is here to help you find out who these people are, and how you both can work together!

Who are influencers?

Influencers are people who have a decent following on social media, full of an audience of people who are specifically interested in the influencer’s opinions on whatever topics or items it is they discuss. Some influencers are “fitness gurus” who post videos of workout plans, their healthy eating habits and fitness clothing brands they prefer. Other influencers post makeup tutorials and makeup brand preferences. In the book world, there is an entire community of influencers who make posts that center around books they love, books they are reading, books they are planning to read, books they bought six months ago but still haven’t had a chance to pick up, books with beautiful covers, books with sad endings. . . do you see the theme here? There is an entire social media world out there that focuses specifically on books. As an author searching for an audience, it is crucial and beneficial to tap into that!

What do influencers do?

All of the posts that influencers make on social media build their reputation on their platform. Twitter’s #BookTwitter, TikTok’s #Booktok, Youtube’s “Booktube” and Instagram’s “Bookstagram” accounts are popular platforms for booklovers to unite and discuss everything that is books. Twitter is a place where people typically discuss in-depth themes of books, while TikTok features aesthetically pleasing videos of bookshelves with books arranged by color, or book challengers for people to complete together. Youtube is a great place to find people talking through book reviews, and Bookstagram has beautiful, artsy pictures of books with thoughtful captions about the books featured.

Influencers with a large following are often sent book after book from many different publishers, so the books they decide are good enough to read, or have an attractive enough cover to post, hold significant value in the book world. However, large accounts can also be deceiving. Sometimes, sending your book to an account with a smaller following will garner just as many audience members because of engagement of posts and thoughtfulness in posts. People like to get an opinion on a book from somebody they trust, and when a well-respected influencer gives a raving review about a book on their account, it immediately gains leverage.

What Does This Mean for Authors?

This is the most important question, right? Why does this entire “book world” on social media matter? It just sounds like an outlet for people who are obsessed with reading, right? Well, that is right, and that is also why it is important for authors. Just like us, a lot of these influencers have their specific preferences. Maybe there’s one who LOVES historical fiction novels, or YA romance novels. If you are releasing your debut YA romance novel and manage to get an influencer to read and review your book positively, you now have a significant following of people listening. About YOUR book. Even if you only get the influencer to post a picture of your book, saying they are excited to read it, it gets your book in front of people who are potentially interested. You are tapping into a niche audience that was basically formulated for books like yours!

A lot of the time, influencers will be perfectly happy with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. A lot of bookstagrammers don’t post negative reviews so it depends on who you reach out to, but you basically send them the book for a post on their story, or a picture on their feed. Also they aren’t sent as many books as the bigger accounts and can be more thoughtful with posts.

Common Misconceptions

It is not always about the number of followers that a bookstagrammer has. If you get an influencer who has 100k followers to read your post your book, but your book is YA and the influencer prefers mystery books, the audience receiving the message is targeted to people who might not be interested in your book. It is best to find an influencer who’s brand lines up with yours, because the people representing your book are a reflection of it. You want people who support and appreciate your work as an author and your book’s genre. Accounts with smaller followings should not be cast aside because of their size; these accounts may look smaller but could have a high engagement level! This is something you should always consider when picking influencers to work with. Smaller accounts also don’t have as many books coming their way, and the chance of getting a review or post from them is higher. Reach out to a variety of followings, and focus on the branding of the individual influencer.