What is Booktok?
The first thing you should know when you hear people refer to Booktok, is that they are talking about a sub-community of users on the TikTok app, or as some would call it, “a side” of TikTok. This section of TikTok, separated from other sub-communities of TikTok by being hashtagged “Booktok”, focuses on, well, all things books! It ranges from book review videos, book lists, funny book references, relatable feelings as a reader or author and inside jokes all about books, authors and writing. The book genre on Booktok ranges, but the largest Booktok communities on the app are typically readers of romance, YA and/or fantasy. A big part of TikTok is trying to make relatable, funny content for other users to engage with, and that typically happens by utilizing a trending sound on the app that people will turn around to make into a funny joke about books or reading.
Why should you start a Booktok account?
The community on Booktok is huge, and the effect it has had on the book world is undeniable. Barnes and Noble has tables set up specifically for Booktok famous books. Once a book gains popularity and momentum on the app, it can garner major publicity for the book and author. An example of an author’s work going viral on TikTok is Colleen Hoover, who is now verified on the app and has close to 1 million followers. An author who puts their book directly into a community of readers has a huge advantage when it comes to developing an audience for their book. Authors who write romance, YA and/or fantasy should definitely get started on the app, but there is a niche for literally EVERYTHING on Booktok, meaning you can probably find an audience for your book somewhere on the app.
How do you get started on Booktok?
Create an account. Go to the TikTok app and create an account. TikTok will need some basic information from you, such as your birthday, email address and your preferred username. A way to spark interest right off the bat with other users is to use “author” in your username. For example, @authorjelle. TikTok will also ask you some questions about your interests.
Share your interests. TikTok will ask you some questions about your interests as you are signing up. This helps give TikTok an idea of what kind of videos you would like to see on the app and engage with, while also giving TikTok an idea of what kind of accounts to suggest to you to follow.
Optimize your profile. What are you trying to accomplish with your TikTok profile? We’ve established that if you’re reading this blogpost, you are probably interested in the world of Booktok. Below are some ideas on how to make your profile appealing to users that engage with Bookok:
- Use your author headshot as your profile picture, or whatever photo you are using as your photo on your book/s, and on other social media platforms. This makes it easy for users to find you across all platforms!
- Customize your bio to include what genre you write.
- Add a link to your website in the bio, or a link to your Instagram or Facebook page. Wherever you’d like to drive the most traffic!
- Add accolades to your bio if you have some. For example, “Award-nominated author”.
There isn’t much room for your bio on TikTok, so you can also consider getting a link tree or something similar to fit everything!
Follow other users. The “For You” page will be the main spot you are scrolling through TikTok videos. Follow some of the accounts that TikTok suggests on that page! Another way to find some users to follow is to utilize the “Booktok” hashtag on TikTok, by going to the search bar, typing in Booktok, and following some accounts that come up. This is where you can get very specific with who you would like to follow. Are there videos focused around books in your genre? Do they use other hashtags that relate to you and your genre? If so, give them a follow! Hashtags are a great way to find out who to follow and engage with. You can follow a few new users a day. You never know, they may follow you back and start engaging with your content!
Start posting! This is the fun part! You can get creative here, and follow the trends you see on #booktok, or from other accounts you are following! You also don’t have to stick to just videos that relate to being a writer, author, or books. You can post about your hobbies, the city you live in, traveling, family, pets; post about whatever you are passionate about outside of your life as an author.
Engage with followers/users you are following. Like and leave comments on videos you enjoy. Respond to comments you get on your videos! Even consider following any accounts that like your videos. This is a great way to build up a following and also a relationship with your audience.
While Booktok can seem like a daunting place to get started, the main thing to remember is that most people get on the app to be entertained. Just have fun with what you create, and try to genuinely engage with your newfound audience!