How Indie Authors Can Take Advantage of BookTok – Miles Oliver | Guest Post

TikTok has taken the social media world by storm to become one of the top platforms across the globe. With nearly 140 million users in the U.S. alone, individuals and businesses alike have used TikTok to promote themselves in unique and creative ways.

Because of its popularity and huge audience, TikTok has established plenty of subgenres, including BookTok. By using the #booktok hashtag and following people who are interested in reading and writing, you can immerse yourself in a community of other authors and/or avid readers.

If you’re an indie author, you can also use it as a marketing tool. After all, anyone can make a TikTok!

Let’s take a look at how indie authors and publishers can take advantage of the BookTok community. Whether you want to promote an upcoming book, drum up some hype, or get your name out there, TikTok could be the best way to do it.


How To Use TikTok

Again, anyone can make a TikTok. As long as you have a phone and a basic understanding of the app, you should be able to promote yourself. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your videos will get noticed or end up on anyone’s “For You” page. Being able to use TikTok to market the right way will boost your visibility faster and help you end up in the right community.

To start, you have to think of yourself as a business and influencer all in one.

Gaining followers will be your biggest challenge as you get started. One of the best things you can do as you’re trying to build your audience is to focus on your content. The better your content, the easier it will be for people to follow you. Remain consistent with what you’re posting. Consider investing in some basic equipment, like a ring light or phone tripod, that will help your videos look more professional.

As you continue to post quality content, identify your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? If you’re writing for a specific age group or demographic, you should be focused on reaching them via the platform. You can do that in several different ways, including:

  • Participating in TikTok trends/challenges;
  • Using appropriate hashtags;
  • Engaging with other relevant creators;
  • Posting at optimum times.

It’s also important to spend plenty of time on the app and in the #BookTok community. You’ll see what other authors are doing to promote themselves and their work, and you can connect with people who might be interested in your genre or what you have to say. Make sure you like the videos that interest you, and your #fyp will start to be filled with BookTok content.


Find Your Niche

Chances are, your writing fits within a specific genre or niche. That can make it easier to market to the right people, but it can also be beneficial when it comes to spreading awareness. TikTok is a fantastic platform for spreading awareness of important issues like Black Lives Matter and mental health problems. It’s a way for people to recognize that they’re not alone, no matter what they’re going through. That feeling of comfort and acceptance has allowed many people to open up on the platform about things they’re struggling with, including intergenerational trauma.

If you have a unique niche or perspective within your writing, you can use TikTok to share it. You never know who might benefit from your work if you’re bringing awareness to specific issues. For example, writers of books like It Didn’t Start With You, which focused on intergenerational trauma, could use TikTok to connect with others who are struggling with this type of trauma and might need help.

Finding your niche on BookTok can help you promote yourself and your work without coming across as too “sales-y.” Today’s consumers are more likely to trust a brand or individual that’s interested in showing off their human side and forming relationships. TikTok is a great place to do that, especially if you’re willing to open up about the “why” behind your writing and talk about how it might be able to help or influence others.


Become a Part of the Community

Speaking of connecting with others, one of the biggest draws of BookTok is that it feels like a big community. The last thing you want is to jump in there and commercialize yourself. Instead, focus on becoming a part of that community and engaging with others who could potentially become fans of your work.

Follow your favorite authors and other popular BookTok accounts, and take advantage of resources that can get you noticed. For example, you can now link any Penguin Random House book to your video via a link. When users search for that book, your video could pop up in their feed.

Once you have a few followers and you’ve started to gain an audience, your biggest priority should be engagement. Try some of the following to keep your fans and followers interested in your account and your work:

  • Host live sessions;
  • Post on specific days/times;
  • Stitch other videos;
  • Respond to questions and comments.

When you’re a part of the BookTok community, you’ll start to see a boost in word-of-mouth advertising. It’s a great way to start a grassroots marketing campaign while letting your fans and followers promote your work via the app (and other social media outlets).

As an indie author, getting as much exposure as possible is essential to your success. Take advantage of BookTok as soon as possible. You’ll meet great people, build relationships, and promote yourself in an effective and genuine way.



Miles is an independent writer with a background in business and passion for writing, psychology, news, and simply helping people live happy and fulfilled lives. He has lived and traveled all over the United States and continues to expand his awareness and experiences. When he is not writing, he is most likely mountain biking or kicking back with a cup of tea.

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