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#BookTok: The Rise of TikTok in Book Marketing

April 19, 2023 (Last Updated May 11, 2023)

Marcy G.

Even if you are not on TikTok, you may have heard of a popular hashtag movement: “#BookTok.” The hashtag has become so common that even book retailers have embraced it, setting up displays of BookTok- certified favorites. If you visit your local Barnes & Noble, you will most likely see a “BookTok Reads” section. The power of BookTok has led authors to reconsider how book marketing should be done. Are you ready to embrace TikTok in your marketing plan?

So, what exactly is BookTok?

Online Community

BookTok is a subsection of the popular social media video sharing app, TikTok.  BookTok entered the zeitgeist in August 2020 and has steadily become a known hashtag in the TikTok universe, contributing to an uptick in book sales since 2021.

There’s an array of content topics that fall within the BookTok umbrella, but the hashtag started with TikTok users sharing their love of books with reviews, reactions, and recommendations. Authors quickly took the opportunity to establish followings and use the trend for book promotion.

You may have heard of Colleen Hoover, author of It Ends with Us, a New York Times Bestseller in 2022. But did you know that it was originally released in 2016? That’s right – six years later, Colleen Hoover’s book shot to number one on the NYT Bestseller’s List thanks to the BookTok community. Her popularity has skyrocketed ever since, releasing It Starts with Us in 2022, selling 800,000 copies on the day of its release.

It’s important to note that Hoover started as a self-publisher before being picked up by a publisher. She’s not the only author to experience a startling rise in book sales. Authors Casey McQuiston and Adam Silvera have also seen massive success with book sales, all thanks to BookTok.

 

BookTok in Marketing

If you need further proof that BookTok is profitable, just look at the numbers. According to a survey by Nielsen Holdings, BookTok users accounted for almost 90 million book purchases in 2022. In 2021, over 825 million physical books were bought – the most on record since 2004!

Authors have embraced the BookTok movement by jumping on the viral trend an establishing a TikTok following. The romance genre in particular has seen great success with finding an online audience, leading self-publishers to make a name for themselves, even in niche genres. Because of the success of BookTok, the book industry has pivoted from an eBook boom during the pandemic, to a steady increase in physical book sales, allowing self-published authors to reconsider their approach, releasing exclusive book cover designs and bonus material for their loyal followers. We’ve seen this firsthand at 48 Hour Books.

So, how do self-publishing author stay on top of the BookTok viral trends? Consistency. Having a consistent posting schedule, keeping up with what is popular on TikTok and BookTok specifically, it’s important to know what TikTok users are engaging with. If you plan to incorporate TikTok as part of your book marketing plan, it’s important to spend time on the app, follow the BookTok hashtag, and see what users are gravitating towards. TikTok trends come and go fast, so make sure you’re dedicating ample time on the app, while creating content that is relevant for that day, week, or month while they are still relevant.  

If you look on TikTok and search the BookTok hashtag, you will find a large community of self-publishing authors. It’s time to jump on the bandwagon. Even if you’re not the most tech-savvy person when it comes to social media, it’s good to know what’s going on in the self-publishing world when it comes to book marketing and the book market as a whole. It’s undeniable that BookTok I holding a firm grasp on the market, so why not take advantage of that?

 

48 Hour Books – Your self-publishing partner

Many authors with a BookTok presence have utilized our services to provide a high-quality book for their avid readers. With free book templates, special cover options, and a fast turnaround, we’re here to help! Contact us today to get started.  

Oh…and follow us on TikTok ;)

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