Want to Promote Your Book on TikTok?
As you may have noticed, I’ve become obsessed with TikTok lately! It seems like people either love TikTok or they hate it. If you’re one of the latter, that’s fine. To each his own. But if you’re enjoying TikTok or haven’t explored it yet, there’s definitely an opportunity there to promote your book on TikTok!
There are currently 1 BILLION active users on TikTok, and of those users, there are tons of book lovers and authors who are doing really cool things on the platform.
This recent New York Times article tells a fascinating story of an author who experienced an uptick in her book sales last summer (6 years after its publication). She came to realize that the new sales were a result of readers posting about the book on TikTok! Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Videos made mostly by women in their teens and 20s have come to dominate a growing niche under the hashtag #BookTok, where users recommend books, record time lapses of themselves reading, or sob openly into the camera after an emotionally crushing ending.
These videos are starting to sell a lot of books, and many of the creators are just as surprised as everyone else.
After researching hundreds of authors on TikTok, I compiled a list of 19 ways authors are promoting their books on the platform. None of these are “one and done” ideas. They all can be done numerous times in different ways. Let’s get started…
19 ways to promote your book on TikTok:
1. Post an unboxing video
Have someone take a video of you opening a box of your books when they arrive. Here’s an example of a really simple unboxing video by romance author @brookekfox.
2. Post a cover reveal video
Here’s an example by @authorsavrmiller. Want to find more examples? Just search “cover reveal” on TikTok.
3. Summarize the synopsis of your book
Here’s a great example by @jenevarosebooks. I got hooked on this one at first because I thought it was her own personal story. Then I loved the book drop at the end.
4. Ask a book reviewer who’s on TikTok to review your book
Ask a book reviewer who’s on TikTok to read your book, post a review, and share it on TikTok. Here are some hashtags you can search on TikTok to find some of these folks: #BookTok, #BookReview, #TikTokBookClub.
5. Run a giveaway for your book
Look for examples of how other TikTokers are doing this to get ideas (search: #bookgiveaway).
6. Take advantage of TikTok trends
You have to spend some time on TikTok to understand this. Once you watch TikTok videos for a while, you’ll start to notice that people post videos that are similar—similar sounds or similar themes. These are trends or “challenges.” Look for ways you might be able to take advantage of those themes to promote your book. There are endless opportunities here!
7. Reveal your writing space
What’s special about your writing space that viewers might find interesting? Do you have trinkets on your desk or an amazing view or any pets around you?
8. Tell viewers about your writing experience
You can turn this into a daily or weekly update on your writing experience. Or provide tips for aspiring authors. You’ve been there! What do you know that would be helpful to them?
9. Tell viewers about your publishing experience
You can turn this into a daily or weekly update on your writing progress. Or provide tips for aspiring authors. You’ve been there! What do you know that would be helpful to them?
10. Duet your readers
Here’s an example by @brookekfox. You can also duet other TikTokers when their videos are relevant to you or your audience (or just to have fun!).
11. Share quotes from your book
You’ll have to get creative with this one. This isn’t a platform where you can just post a quote. You’ll have to come up with interesting and engaging ways to do this.
12. Create videos to share any events you participate in
If you do a book signing, attend an award ceremony, or do a reading at your local coffee shop, be sure to capture some video to share.
13. Stitch other videos
I recently posted a video calling all authors to #StitchThis and tell the TikTok world about their book. Do it! There are lots of videos like this on TikTok where someone will ask you to stitch their video with your response. Watch for opportunities to do this.
14. Create a Scene
By “create a scene” on TikTok, I’m not suggesting you do something crazy, although sometimes that can work very well to build followers! What I really mean is: What is your book about? Where does it take place? Think about the ways you can show viewers the scenes from your book.
15. Share Your Book Reviews (Good and Bad)
You can highlight your reviews, both the positive and the negative ones. It can be very entertaining when authors make jokes about negative reviews, even if they’re not showing an actual negative review for their book. It reminds viewers that authors (just like you!) are real people who have emotional reactions when it comes to their reviews.
16. Participate in Author Challenges
An “Author Challenge” is a type of video where another TikToker asks authors to show (or tell) us something about them and/or their book(s). Search the #AuthorChallenge hashtag to find Author Challenges you can participate in.
17. Share Highlights From Your Book
Highlight something that happens in you book—something that will grab their attention and make them want to go find out more about the book.
18. Share Your Morning Routine
Create a video showing yourself getting ready for a writing session or just letting viewers get to know more about you with a “day in the life of an author” theme. Search “GRWM author” (GRWM stands for Get Ready With Me) to find some inspirational videos.
19. Attract your target audience in other ways
You don’t have to always plug your book. If you know your target audience well (which, hopefully, you do!), you can post other videos that help them discover you. If they like what they see, more than likely they will visit your profile and poke around to see some of your other videos. They may even follow you which means they will then see the videos you post in the future.
Here are a few more tips if you want to promote your book on TikTok:
Use your bio space wisely
You only have a few lines/characters for your bio, so use this space wisely. The beauty of limited space or options is that it requires you to get concise and creative. Tell viewers who you are and about your book(s) in as little space as possible. Check out what other authors are doing to get some inspiration.
Get strategic with your link
You have to have a certain number of followers on TikTok in order to include a link in your bio. I don’t know what that number is because I’m not there yet, but once you have that, you have one link, so use it wisely. For example, you could set up a LinkTr.ee so viewers would click one link to get to a page with all of your relevant links. Or, set up a specific page on your website with all of the information/links you want your potential readers to have access to.
This is how you will build a following on TikTok. Aim to post a video every day or two if you can.
Use hashtags to help people discover your videos. Do your hashtag research! You will have limited space so choose wisely (and doublecheck your spelling!).
Post videos showing your face and the cover of your book(s) in creative ways
You want to be sure your videos have a lot of variety. In other words, you shouldn’t just promote your book in every single video (see next tip), but you can still create lots of videos that promote the book as long as you’re doing it in clever, expressive ways! I love this one by @rachel_writes_books.