BFFs August Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter for our Books Forward Friends. This issue features highlights of our BFFs, fun titles available for review, and special opportunities for our friends.

Download the August 2021 newsletter here!

What to read when you’re still thinking about Mare of Easttown

Books you’ll love if you’re still not over Mare of Easttown

I don’t know about you, but I became obsessed with Mare of Easttown and came up with all sorts of theories of how it would end. Now that it’s over and all has been revealed, my hunger for thrillers and crime are at an all time high. So if you are looking for something to fill the void, check out some of these books!

1. The Trespasser by Tana French: French is a master of the genre and you’ll root for the tough female detective Antionette (very Mare-like) as she works to solve the murder of a pretty blonde who everyone assumes was killed by her lover.

2. The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup: This thriller is full of twists and turns as a kidnapping and a series of gruesome murders are found to be linked through handmade dolls made of chestnuts. The author is the creator of the hit show The Killing, and his ability to create suspense will leave you on the edge of your seat. I literally couldn’t put it down.

3. The Vera Stanhope series by Ann Cleeves: These books follow detective Vera Stanhope as she works to solve various crimes in the seaside town she grew up in. All of these books are perfect for crime lovers wanting to connect with a character over time. The backstory of Detective Stanhope and her connection to the town are revealed slowly, much like the slow-burn of information about Mare in the show.

4. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn: If you are looking for family drama mixed with murder, this book is right for you. Complicated relationships and past traumas come to a head in this book that was also turned into a television miniseries.

5. The Alienist by Caleb Carr: This is a classic crime novel all about young people being murdered and a group of people using profiling to come up with a suspect for the first time successfully. There are a couple twists in this novel that feel very Mare of Eastown that you will enjoy.

6. The Whisper Man by Alex North: Much like Mare of Easttown this book takes place in a small town, Featherbank, where past murders by The Whisper Man are brought back into the light as a young boy vanishes. The two detectives, Amanda Beck and Pete Willis, have to confront the past in order to save the boy before it is too late.

7. My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite: This book also looks at the question: “What would you do to protect the ones closest to you?” as a sister grapples with the knowledge of her sister’s murderous habit.

8. And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall: This story follows Grayson Skyes as she relentlessly looks for a woman who has disappeared, Isabel Lincoln. The more she searches, the more she uncovers about Isabel’s past secrets. A cat-and-mouse game between two smart women.

9. If You Tell by Gregg Olsen: This one can be hard to read because it is the true story of three sisters living in a house with an abusive and murderous mother. Like Easttown, it evaluates the lengths people go to in order to protect themselves and their family. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

10. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware: A much more straightforward mystery novel with a female protagonist who is finds herself in prison for a murder of a child she swears she didn’t commit. The twist at the end is what makes it a perfect fit for this list.

BFFs July Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter for our Books Forward Friends. This issue features highlights of our BFFs, fun titles available for review, and special opportunities for our friends.

Download the July 2021 newsletter here!

How Authors Can Take Advantage of TikTok “Trends”

TikTok “trends” are unpredictable. There is no way to tell which videos will go viral and be recreated by the masses, but paying attention to those that do, and recreating them in your own “bookish” style, is a way to have fun on the app while also staying relevant. Here are some examples and tips on how you can recreate some iconic TikTok videos as your own! If you’re still not sure if TikTok is for you or you’re unfamiliar with the app, check out our other TikTok blogs: “Is TikTok the Next Bookstagram?” and “3 Tips for Authors to Make the Most Out of BookTok.

This or That: This is an older trend that started out as people comparing “This or That” about personal preferences when searching for significant others. But the “BookTok” community took it over and made it their own! You can do the same, but tie it into your personal author brand by referring to books you’ve written, genres you prefer, or writing styles you like!

Pass the Phone: This trend was popular before Kourtney Kardashian and boyfriend Travis Barker took it upon themselves to create their own version of the video with their kids, but the entire internet blew up when they did decide to make their own. As an author, you may be wondering, “What does this have to do with me?” Well, you can also make the trend your own with personalized “bookish” responses! For example, here is Book Forward’s remake of the challenge.

Saved Sound: TikTok trends can also take the form of “sounds.” Whenever a certain song, monologue, or other sound is popular on TikTok, like this sound originally from The Notebook, you’ll notice that videos all over TikTok will start using the same sound in their videos, but they’ll adapt it slightly to change the meaning each time. As an author, you can take advantage of these sounds by saving them to your sound collection, and making your own video out of it! For this video for example, you could make it “bookish” by having the dramatic music kick in when a person mentions casually that they don’t like reading. That is just a fun and simple example of how to take advantage of a current TikTok trend!

If you do decide that you’d like to recreate some trending Tiktok videos in a way that makes sense for you, below are some tips on how to do so:

  • Hashtag the video with the name of the challenge. For example, if you recreate the pass the phone challenge, don’t forget to put #passthephonechallenge in your caption. This will place it in the same area as all the other pass the phone videos, and give your video a more likely chance of being seen.
  • Scroll through the For You page: Any videos that have a lot of views may be trending. You can click the hashtags in the caption of the video to watch other videos that were made with the same idea in mind. If the video is based off of the sound playing with the video, you can click the words scrolling by on the bottom of the video by this: 🎵 symbol, and hit “Add To Favorites”. Then when you go to create a new video at a later time, it’ll be stored in your favorite sounds folder, where you can access it! Or, you can click the sound and create a video immediately by pressing “Use this sound!”

I know TikTok can be intimidating, and creativity does not always strike when trying to recreate basic trends in bookish ways. But TikTok is a safe platform to experience and experiment with, because a lot of people come to the app to laugh or get inspired. The app is not as serious as a Facebook post or Instagram photo, so try to let loose and have fun with making these videos!

Did your book’s publication date shift? Here’s why that’s OK

I, for one, hate change. I’m a planner and a list-maker, and switching gears makes me dizzy. Checklists, deadlines and color-coded markers are the backbone of our society, sure, but when plans change, it’s better to adapt than to fight it out.

Why do publication dates change?

Publication dates can shift for a variety of reasons. However, it’s important to keep in mind that in every case, your team may suggest a date change because they believe your release would be more successful on a different day. Your team knows that publishing a book is more often a marathon than a sprint. While detours may add a mile or two to the journey, they can also better prepare you for crossing the finish line.

Here are a few common reasons for moving a book’s release date:

Production Delays: From editing and designing to printing and shipping ARCs, a lot of work goes into production, and there are often several eyes and hands working on a book all at once. A thorough publishing process opens up the possibility for delays. Editors often factor time into their schedule for a few things to go wrong. Even so, if a snag is hit in one department, it may cause others to fall behind too.

Unforeseen Circumstances: The pandemic is one of the most monumental unforeseen circumstances we’ve encountered in a while. Due to its impact on travel, many books that had planned in-person book tours had to adjust their schedules. To see some of the hundreds of altered publication dates, check out this spreadsheet from Publishers Weekly.

Competition for Media Attention: Say the planned publication date for your book was set for Election Day, or a similarly newsworthy date. As the day approaches, and you realize the impending media frenzy, your team may decide to move your release date out in order to give it a better shot at securing publicity.

Catching the Trend Wave: Book releases can also shift to earlier dates on the calendar! Typically, this is because your team is looking to capitalize on a seasonal or topically relevant trend that would help your book reach a larger audience.

How to make your date change work for you

If you haven’t begun promoting the book yet, it will be relatively easy to make a radical change, should you choose to do so. You can switch from a summer release to a fall one, for example, which was the route many publishers chose in light of the pandemic.

Or, if you’re simply recovering from a small production delay, your date may only shift back one or two weeks. In any case, let your publicist know about your date change ASAP, if they aren’t already in the know. This will be important as they begin to create press materials and organize their outreach to the media.

What if promotion has already begun using the old date?

If you’ve already begun promoting the book, a date change may feel a bit more stressful. Rest assured, though, it’s still manageable!

First, you’ll need to let your publicity team know ASAP about the new date. Your publicist may need to update interested media contacts, and they’ll want to have the correct information for their pitching moving forward.

Plan to spread the word of your date change on social media–here is where a pinned tweet may come in handy! A pinned tweet allows you to showcase one tweet at the top of your profile page, so it won’t get buried at the bottom of your feed over time. Pinning a tweet about your date change will make sure that it stays on your readers’ radars. If you’ve never pinned a tweet before, here are some helpful tips from Business Insider.

Also, be sure to make any necessary changes to your website and Twitter and Facebook banners. You may need to have new graphics made accordingly.

If you are using an email newsletter to keep friends, family, and fans updated, you should send out a special announcement of the date change as well.

What if readers forget about my book or lose interest due to the delay?

This is a valid concern, but it’s equally possible for the delay to translate into added anticipation for the release!

When in doubt, get creative: ask yourself what you can offer to readers that will be sure to keep your book on the forefront of their minds. This will likely look different for every author depending on your audience’s needs, but here are a few options to get you started:

You can plan a special giveaway in the interim, such as offering free signed bookplates to your audience. Or, you can set up a FB Live chat for your would-be pub day, where you play a few games and answer questions from your followers.

In the end, publication days may change, but our love for a good book never will.

 

Big Books to Read on the Longest Day of the Year

Summertime is the best time to read. With the weather finally getting nicer, we’re called to our back porches, parks, and beaches to enjoy the summer heat. But us readers know that these hours spent outdoors are a perfect time to read our books. What better way to spend the longest day of the year with a super long book? If you’re looking for a big book, look no further. These eight novels might seem too long to tackle, but they’ll also keep you intrigued the entire time.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – 827 pages long

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – 1007 pages long

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara – 720 pages long

Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light. Truly an amazement—and a great gift for its readers.

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke – 1006 pages long

Sophisticated, witty, and ingeniously convincing, Susanna Clarke’s magisterial novel weaves magic into a flawlessly detailed vision of historical England. She has created a world so thoroughly enchanting that eight hundred pages leave readers longing for more.

English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England’s magical past and regained some of the powers of England’s magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French.

All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative-the very opposite of Mr Norrell. Strange thinks nothing of enduring the rigors of campaigning with Wellington’s army and doing magic on battlefields. Astonished to find another practicing magician, Mr Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil. But it soon becomes clear that their ideas of what English magic ought to be are very different. For Mr Norrell, their power is something to be cautiously controlled, while Jonathan Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic. He becomes fascinated by the ancient, shadowy figure of the Raven King, a child taken by fairies who became king of both England and Faerie, and the most legendary magician of all. Eventually Strange’s heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens to destroy not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann – 1020 pages long

Latticing one cherry pie after another, an Ohio housewife tries to bridge the gaps between reality and the torrent of meaningless info that is the United States of America. She worries about her children, her dead parents, African elephants, the bedroom rituals of “happy couples”, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and how to hatch an abandoned wood pigeon egg. Is there some trick to surviving survivalists? School shootings? Medical debts? Franks ’n’ beans?

A scorching indictment of America’s barbarity, past and present, and a lament for the way we are sleepwalking into environmental disaster, Ducks, Newburyport is a heresy, a wonder—and a revolution in the novel.

It’s also very, very funny.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – 848 pages long

It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky. Richly evoking a mid-nineteenth-century world of shipping, banking, and gold rush boom and bust, The Luminaries is a brilliantly constructed, fiendishly clever ghost story and a gripping page-turner.

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas – 803 pages long

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami – 925 pages long

Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light. Truly an amazement—and a great gift for its readers.

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

Author: Simone Jung

Seven LGBTQIA+ Booktokers to follow for Pride Month, and books they recommend


June is a time to be proud of who you were born to be, and to increase the visibility of LGBTQIA+ people in the world! We reached out to Booktokers to recommend books that represent the LGBTQIA+ community. Get your TBR lists out, these are perfect to read in honor of Pride month, and beyond!

Read By Fin: “My recommendation is Once & Future by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta! It is a young adult sci-fi retelling of Arthurian legend! I loved the unique gender-bent world with casual LGBTQ+ representation! Filled with non-binary, lesbian, and queer characters, Once & Future tackles topics of climate change and what it means to be family. It is one of my favorite books that had me laughing out loud from the hilarious banter! With Black characters, queer characters, and more, Once & Future sets the bar for the inclusion and diversity we need to see in books today.”

Kevin T Norman: “My most recent favorite 5 star gay read was Less by Andrew Sean Greer. I even made this unique storytime TikTok convincing others to read it!”

Cityveinlights: “I would recommend More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. I recommend this because it was one of, if not the first, book I read that had a gay main character. Aaron’s journey of self-discovery and acceptance is one that speaks true to many people. It holds a special place in my heart, and is one I try to read every year. The writing is gorgeous and the different representations, specifically the Latinx representation, is enough to grab anyone’s attention.”

Shania Chante1215: “I recommend A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth. It is a fantasy book consisting of furies, fae and faeries. It is about 4 queer teens: Vehan (a fae prince) who is bisexual, Aurelian (a guardian of the prince) who is gay, Arlo (half fae and half human outcast) who is queer, Nausicaä (a fury set on revenge) who is a lesbian. Who have to come together to solve a series of murders that risks the exposure of the faerie world to humans. This books includes a Titan who identifies as non-binary and uses gender neutral terms (they/them), and consists gender-neutral pronouns such as “Xe/Xis/xemself”. Vehan has strong feelings for his guardian (Aurelian), which are mutual, but Aurelian tries his hardest to keep his feelings a secret (from Vehan’s mother as well as Vehan) to protect Vehan from the control of his mother. Nausicaä has sworn off emotions after the death of her sister, but eventually learns to accept her emotions and be more open, whilst unexpectedly falling in love with the Arlo (the only one who is not afraid of Nausicaä‘s bad reputation).

The book is set in the 21st century, where the fae world co-exists with the human world (in secret), which allows the fae kind to take part in protests for LGBTQ+ rights and women’s rights etc.

There is a wide variety of LGBTQ+ representation within the book, which was greatly accepted within the society in the book. Which I loved because the main focus was not on the characters sexuality or sexual relationships being seen as taboo, but instead about the characters dealing with their feelings for each other (whilst trying to stop a serial killer). The story line of this book was so engaging that I couldn’t put the book down!!! I would definitely recommend this book, and I hope to see a sequel written (due to the cliffhanger).This books also covers issues of mental health such as depression, suicide and suicidal ideation.”

The Sequel Nobody Wanted: “My recommendations would definitely be The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen. It’s a gorgeous graphic novel that follows a gay boy named Tién whose struggling to find the words to come out to his parents, because while they speak Vietnamese and struggle with English, he speaks English and struggles with Vietnamese. They end up communicating and spending time through fairy tales. It’s a story about how stories evolve to be what people need them to be. A language, a way to show acceptance or a way to learn things. It’s so brilliantly written, the art is gorgeous, and it quickly became one of my favourite books of all time after I finished it.”

The Laynie Rose: “My rec is gonna be Malice by Heather Walter! Reading this book felt like queering the narrative of my life and my childhood favorite fairytale: Sleeping Beauty. This sapphic retelling of the classic tale is magical and dark, perfect for those who love a good villain origin story. If you like seeing fairytales twisted on their head, queer retellings, and rooting for the villain, this book is for you!”

Emmm Reads: “My book recommendation: Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo. It is a gorgeously written book set in 1954 San Francisco, following a young Chinese girl as she discovers the lesbian bar scene, deals with the impacts of the Red Scare on her and her family, and falls in love with another girl.”

Eight BookToker Summer Reading Recommendations

Summer is fast approaching, and the warm weather has me wishing I permanently lived on a beach with a book in my hand. This list of summer reading recommendations from some of our favorite BookTokers is perfect to kickstart your summer reading list, so get ready!

  1. Nicole (@nicoleandbooks) starts our list off with: “A YA book I recently read called Melt My Heart by Bethany Rutter! This book is a perfect summer read as it takes place the summer before university, with the holidays vibes of the seaside, ice cream, friendship and romance! While being funny and cute it also has a great message of body positivity, loving yourself and figuring out who you actually love! Great fat rep and bisexual rep!
  2. Victoria (@thebasicbookworm) says: “My pick is my all-time favorite romance The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. This story follows Stella as she navigates dating, while also being on the autism spectrum. This book has the most lovable characters, a steamy romance, and great neurodiversity representation. Helen Hoang will make you cry, laugh, and swoon all at the same time, so The Kiss Quotient should be at the top of your TBR this summer!”
  3. Faith (@yabooktok) recommends: “Legendborn by Tracy Deonn! Legendborn is an own-voices YA fantasy based on Arthurian legends, with a hint of dark academia. I read this book last summer and it was phenomenal! It has mystery, magic, and it also explores important themes such as grief and racism, by highlighting many of the struggles faced by people of colour. It also features an amazing and diverse cast of characters, led by the badass Bree, who is very strong-willed and feels her emotions deeply. Plus, the love interests in this book, golden boy Nick, along with dark and mysterious Sel, are to die for! This is one of my favourite books of all time and I think you’ll love it too!”
  4. Fatima (@wanderbooks) highly recommends: “The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: “It’s a captivating, witty adult historical fiction with memorable characters and a WILD, mystery plotline that will have you on the edge of your seat. If you’re looking for a beautiful, melancholy ‘story within a story’ filled with drama, mystery and romance & just gorgeous, evocative writing all-round, try it out!!”
  5. Anny (@messermoony) says the perfect summer read is: “Heartstopper by Alice Oseman. It is an easy quick read and will immediately fill you with joy. It’s perfect to read out in the sun when you want a quick break and a comforting book. With Netflix adapting the books for screen soon, now is the perfect time to pick them up!”
  6. Lexi (@lexislibrary) says: “An awesome summer read is Sophie Gonzales’ newest novel Perfect on Paper. It’s a heartwarming Young Adult Contemporary packed full of lovable LGBTQ+ characters, witty banter, and adorable romance. It will make you laugh, it will make you smile, and it’s the “perfect” book to pick up this summer. Thank you so much for reaching out to me.”
  7. Erin (@erinreads) recommends a favorite series called: “The Mirror Visitor quartet, which was originally written in French! It takes place in a fantasy universe and follows the main character, Ophelia, who has the power to read objects’ histories by touching them and can travel through mirrors. She has to leave her family to be with her fiance, Thorne, who she was arranged to marry, and is faced with several dangers as a result. The magical plot is incredibly captivating, and the slow-burn romance between Thorne and Ophelia made my heart melt.”
  8. And lastly, as if the above recommendations weren’t enough, my recommendation is Summer Club by Katherine Dean Mazerov. The title hints that this novel is perfect for summer reading, and the story lives up to it. This hysterical, relaxed read has an ideal amount of excitement that keeps you constantly intrigued in the swim and tennis club antics at Meadow Glen. But apparently, dealing with club high jinks wasn’t enough for club president, Lydia. She also has to deal with a car following the club manager, a break-in at her home, and wait… a body in the river? Luckily as a former journalist, she’s perfect for the job!

BFFs May 2021 Newsletter

Check out the latest newsletter for our Books Forward Friends. This issue features an interview with a small business supporting indie authors, quizzes, reading lists, highlights of our BFFs and much more!

Download the May 2021 newsletter here!

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.