In 2019, I decided that it was time to fulfill a lifelong dream and write a book. I managed to get all the words out and on paper, hire an editor, proofreader, and cover designer.
Pretty book in hand, I finally had a finished product. I was an author!
Wait! Now what?
After spending a small fortune to create my product, I needed to figure how to market it. That proved to be harder than writing it.
Amazon doesn’t allow you to see the data, but estimations have over 9 million eBooks on their website. That’s not including paperbacks.
So, how on earth do I get readers to find little ol’ me? Especially during the pandemic.
Initially dismissing it as a GenZ app, I didn’t even consider its value to me as an author. Foolish me!
By February 2021, TikTok claimed over 1.1 billion active users. 100 million active monthly users in the United States alone.
It’s the most downloaded app next only to Disney. That’s right, Disney.
With everyone stuck at home, suddenly Millennials, GenX, and even Baby Boomers, couldn’t download this crazy app fast enough.
Lip syncing, dancing, storytelling? Sure, why not?
Your children will tell you that all the ‘old people’ are ruining it, just like they ruined Facebook.
Now it includes great recipes, fitness inspiration, dubious life hacks and endless pet videos.
Parents suck the joy out of everything. Just ask my kids.
The more I heard about TikTok, the more I thought there might be some potential in the massive audience reach.
Remember that 1.1 billion number? Some of those people must read, right? Could this be a way to connect to other bibliophiles and authors, now that book clubs have been cancelled?
There was only one way to find out.
I downloaded the free app on my phone, and stepped into the world’s biggest, friendliest, and smartest book club.
I found people who love books! #booktok
Inside TikTok the world there was a whole subculture of folks, connected by using the hashtag #booktok.
As I write this, the hashtag has 7.7 billion views. That’s a lot of people who like books!
TikTok – A Disneyland for Readers and Authors!
It was amazing. A little like Disneyland for readers.
Excitement over new releases, new authors, and memories shared of our most beloved books.
It was a positive community built around a mutual love of all things book.
Here, I could make a video about books I’ve read, talk about the process of writing, the pain of editing, and lip sync my favorite song.
No judgement, just encouragement.
With TikTok, I finally had an opportunity to interact with my readers in a way I never could before. And it was so much fun!
How TikTok Supports Indie Authors
Self-published authors don’t always have the support of the traditional publishing industry, or readers.
At times it’s warranted. I use editors and professionals that help me present the best product possible.
Unfortunately, there are writers out there that after placing that euphoric final word of their story are impatient in the process and hit publish immediately.
Sometimes the price of even basic editing can be cost prohibitive.
That can lead to disappointed readers when the quality that editing often brings, simply isn’t there.
But that’s where TikTok comes in!
Readers can get to know you before they spend a single cent of their hard-earned money.
They can see the care and effort that you put into your craft and most people want to support that work.
Like the popularity surrounding many Kickstarter campaigns, people want to feel like they are part of the journey.
From the start of a project to the end.
And on TikTok, they are a part of it all. Sending out ARC’s (advanced reader copies) to readers who are interested and excited about your upcoming books or holding giveaways to put your books in new hands, is just the start.
I sent out an Advanced Reader Copy to a woman tonight. It was the first one I had ever sent, and the first she had received.
We were both over the moon.
A beautiful win-win for reader and writer. The amazing thing is that it’s not just readers.
Authors are starting to flock to the app.
Realizing the potential to connect with readers and sell their books.
And the great thing, authors can work together too. If they like another author’s book they can recommend it!
This also provides opportunities to find fellow authors in similar genres and really network.
From cross promotions to writing clubs, there seems to be an endless ocean of writers in the same boat.
For some authors, they want to know the nitty-gritty of the business.
The numbers behind the flashy covers. Is spending time on another social media app worth my time?
Each person will have their own experience. I can only tell you what has worked for me.
And that’s TikTok. I Recommend it to All Authors!
TikTok Works Better for Me Than Any Other Social Media Platform and I Sold More Books on TikTok in a Short Time Than I Did the Whole Previous Year!
If you are a non-fiction writer, you might have more engagement on Twitter.
Instagram has been a hit or miss. Facebook is still inconsistent and very expensive.
TikTok is a different beast. On one video, I had 164k views. Yes, one hundred and sixty-four thousand!
I haven’t been in front of that many people since my wedding, and I had a ridiculous twenty-one people in my wedding party!
The joy of a very, very large family.
Now, keep in mind I am a small author (at least right now). I don’t have a huge back log of books out; most are still swirling about my head.
But in the month that I have been on TikTok, I have sold more books, especially paperbacks, than I did in the entire previous year. Read that again. In the ENTIRE PREVIOUS YEAR.
Not only that, my new release, Determined Hearts, that comes out shortly, already became a #1 New Bestseller in its category.
I have not advertised that book anywhere.
It’s completely based on the supportive reading community behind indie writers there. All of that hasn’t cost me a penny in advertising.
I couldn’t be more grateful to such a wonderful group of people.
So, if one were to ask me if joining TikTok has been a positive, I would say absolutely.
Not just in my readership and sales, but in the people themselves. I have also found great books that I would never have found otherwise. How can any of that be a bad thing?
If you are still on the fence, I understand. I was there too.
Think of it this way. TikTok is a place where you can sell your books, order a tiara or crown, wear it on camera, holding your favorite book and no one will blink an eye.
In fact, they will applaud.
When not writing, she is reading, and creating cakes that almost always include fire and failing at ways to keep life at home running smoothly.
A best-selling Canadian author, Samantha has lived in multiple provinces and currently resides in Calgary, Alberta.
She is giving away a FREE novella to all www.HowToLearn.com readers.
Click here if you are interested: FREE Copy of Where Hearts Begin