A thriving reader community makes TikTok fertile ground for book marketing.

Despite being a video sharing platform, social media giant TikTok has become a popular marketing tool for book authors in recent years. Through short videos (three minutes at the longest, though most are much shorter) TikTok users are discussing their favorite books, finding like-minded readers, and influencing others on the hottest trends in fiction and nonfiction.

This literary TikTok landscape centers around the now massive hashtag community known as #BookTok.

The #Booktok hashtag began as a way for users to find relevant content about reading, and quickly grew into a user subset all its own encompassing both readers and writers. #BookTok participants discuss their favorite books, create short reviews, compile book recommendation lists, and even film their reactions to especially emotional stories. Users who review books can gain massive followings and become king-makers with favorable reviews of new titles.

#Booktok has become so popular that even brick-and-mortar book giant Barnes & Noble dedicates space in store and online for popular #BookTok titles. You’ll find just about all genres represented, including fiction genres, nonfiction, and young adult books.

Could TikTok be the right place to market your nonfiction book? Here are 6 things to consider about using the platform to promote your writing.

1.     Make sure your target audience actually uses TikTok.

You should know your target audience and understand your book’s purpose before you make any moves toward marketing, and that includes social media marketing. Read up on the user demographics of any platform you’d like to use.

TikTok’s users break down fairly evenly between age groups 10-19, 20-29, 30-39, and 40-49, with the over-40 crowd representing a slightly smaller slice of the pie. By contrast, only 11 percent of all TikTok users are over the age of 50. In other words, if your target audience is 50 and up, TikTok may not be the most fruitful platform for your book.

Videos that follow trends or challenges will net more viewers. More viewers turn into more potential followers—which means more eyeballs on the posts you make about your book.

A TikTok “trend” is an element in a video that becomes popular and is reused by many other videos. These elements might be sounds that are edited in, certain background music, visual editing styles, and challenges. If you see something like this trending, consider how to work it into your own video in order to get more views.

A TikTok challenge, according to LifeWire, is “a call to take some sort of action and record it via TikTok video.” This call to action might be something as simple as performing a specific dance, filming your reaction to a popular book or movie, or filming a pet eating a certain food.

Whatever the trend or challenge, you should make it your own. TikTok users frequently put a unique or humorous spin on a trend to keep it on-brand for their personal channel.

Stay active on the platform to stay abreast of popular trends and challenges. Observe how different users make trends their own. Then get creative with your own version!

3.     Use the hashtags your target audience uses.

Hashtags play a huge role in user behavior TikTok, and the right hashtags can draw the right audience to your profile. On the flipside, the wrong hashtags will draw users who may have little interest in your book.

Again, you need a strong understanding of your audience. If you know who they are—age, gender, interests, job type, etc.—you can find users who fit the profile on TikTok and see what sort of hashtags they use. When you see certain hashtags crop up again and again, consider how you can use those tags in your own posts (but do make sure the hashtag is actually relevant to whatever is in your video).

Besides #BookTok, the TikTok book community tends to use #booklover, #bookrecommendations, #bookreview, and many others. Keep in mind that hashtag trends may change over time, so you’ll want to research those trends on an ongoing basis.

The hashtags that draw your audience may not all be specifically about books. If you’ve written a book about money management for millennials, you might make videos with the hashtags #millennialmoney or #debtfree. Millennial readers who could benefit from your information may be searching those tags. If you write about chronic illness, you might try hashtags like #invisibleillness or #chronicpain.

Watch for the hashtags that trend among your audience and your audience’s influencers.

4.     Follow TikTok account best practices

To generate success on any platform, you need to learn best practices and keep your account active. Use the following checklist for TikTok:

  • Join niche groups dedicated to your book topic and/or writing in general
  • Interact with other writers in your genre
  • Post regularly
  • Give likes and comments to other videos regularly
  • Be authentic
  • Jump on trends promptly

Taking these steps will give your account more visibility and hopefully grow your followers.

5.     Go Beyond Self-Promotion

Users don’t follow TikTok accounts just to have creators plug their work. They follow accounts in order to be entertained or get interesting information. If you want users to follow you, your videos should give them value beyond just selling your book.

Share information and insightful, funny videos about the topics that interest your audience. This may not be limited to the topic you’ve written about in your book. For example, readers who enjoy books about horses might love animals in general and binge funny cat videos. People reading up on faith and spirituality may respond to inspirational quotes and ideas.

What hobbies do people in your target audience pursue? What do they find amusing? What types of viral videos do they share? Answer these questions and you’ll have inspiration for posts.

Even posts that speak directly to your book can still offer readers additional value. Post writing tips, or film a “10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Publishing” video. Help other voracious readers and writers benefit from your knowledge.

6.     Post about your book

We listed this last for a reason. As stated above, your account should be about more than book promotion. However, once you have a following and are ready to make book-specific posts, here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Give an enticing synopsis of your book.
  • Do a “cover design reveal” video.
  • If some of your followers have already read your book, have them film themselves reading their favorite passage and tag you in the videos.
  • Create a challenge and promise a copy of your book to your favorite resulting video.

Whatever your niche, invent creative ways to talk about your book and spread the word about publication.

Publishing Help

TikTok marketing advice is all well and good if you have a book to promote. But what if you don’t have a publisher for your nonfiction book—or even a completed draft?

If you’re still in the writing and editing stage, or can’t figure out how to get started, contact The Book Professor® to learn about our writing coach and publication services. Our curriculum teaches you how to find your book’s purpose, write an effective first draft, and polish it to perfection. Those who complete the course with our professional writing coaches can access publishing opportunities through our sister company Stonebrook Publishing.

Contact The Book Professor® today and let’s talk about your project.