The All Things Book Marketing podcast is a popular biweekly show featuring book marketing and publicity tips from the top voices in the publishing industry. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a new episode!
Our guest this month, Miral Sattar, is an accomplished Booktoker, influencer, and publishing professional. On this episode, she joins us to answer your pressing questions about promoting your book on TikTok including: who should join TikTok (everyone), how often you should post (often), and the type of videos you should share to sell more books and spread awareness with examples of book posts that have gone viral. Let’s dive in!
What is BookTok?
BookTok is a sub-community within the TikTok platform, and TikTok is a short form video social media tool. The beautiful thing about TikTok is that every video you post has the opportunity to go viral; each video gives you a great chance to grow your following. The BookTok sub-community, which grew popular during the pandemic, offers readers a chance to give recommendations for books that they love and to receive recommendations, as well. That’s what happened with Colleen Hoover’s books – she gained massive recognition primarily through her viral videos on BookTok.
How can BookTok help authors?
Since TikTok is such a hugely popular platform (1 in 5 people has an account), the chances of getting your book discovered as an author are higher than other platforms. The BookTok sub-community is incredibly active – the #booktok hashtag on the platform has over 115,000, 000, 000 uses, so that speaks for itself. If you are an author with a book, it would be smart to have a TikTok account and to actively use it and engage.
Is TikTok only beneficial to fiction or nonfiction authors, or both?
TikTok is beneficial to both fiction and nonfiction authors. Though what they post about and how they post about it might be different, there are enough people and potential readers on the platform that if you use the platform strategically to reach your people… you’ll do well. Fiction authors have had a lot of success, and so have nonfiction authors.
How can an author use BookTok most effectively?
If you want to “get discovered” on TikTok, an author should have a gameplan going into using the platform. As is the case with most things, consistency is key. An author who posts inconsistently simply has less of a chance of getting the most amount of eyes on their content. Look at each TikTok video you make as a lottery ticket – is this the one that will go viral? Even if each video only has 1,000 views, you will sell books for those thousand views. You will notice that book sales really do go up. But you most post consistently for that to happen.
Though TikTok is a video-centric platform, there are creative ways for authors to create video content about their book without appearing on camera over and over themselves. They can post about their writing process, for example.
Authors should also be aware of the TikTok algorithm and use it to their advantage. Who are you following on TikTok and which types of videos are you engaging with? Be sure you’re targeting and engaging with the types of content and creators who you want to associate with and who you want to watch and engage with your content. It’s important to think strategically when it comes to using TikTok to boost book sales, instead of just being a passive consumer on the platform.
Having a good hook for your videos is also important. The hook is what is going to reel viewers in and make them want to finish watching your video. The more people actually finish watching your video – most often accomplished because of an intriguing hook – the more the algorithm is going to show your video to others.
Another important tip to keep authors on track when it comes to TikTok is to stick to their niche. TikTok can be like a big black hole, and it’s easy to get sucked in to not only consuming content but to aimlessly creating content. That takes up a lot of valuable time! Make sure the content you’re creating is very strategic and targeted – come up with two to three topics you’re going to primarily talk about, find the relevant hashtags, and stick to that.
Thank you for joining another All Things Book Marketing episode, and be sure to tune in to hear Miral Sattar’s entire interview.
Miral Sattar uses data and analytics to help authors publish and promote their books, as well as social media tools to reach audiences through such platforms as her widely popular viral BookToks. Most recently, she has been devoting her time to her kids fiction podcast, Bearily Bear Stories, that was named Best Podcast of 2022 by Common Sense Media and promoted in Apple’s Podcast Homepage. Fans can also find her on TikTok and Instagram (@miralreads), where she raises awareness about diversity in kids’ publishing. She has been featured in TIME, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and NY Daily News, among other media publications. She holds an M.S. in Publishing (Digital + Print Media) from NYU and a B.S. from Columbia University in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. You can learn more at miralsattar.substack.com.