By Victoria Garcia
You’re scrolling through TikTok when you get a video about a book on your FYP (for you page). You find the book interesting so you leave a like. Due to TikTok’s algorithm, you begin to get more TikToks on books. Without even knowing it, you’ve found BookTok, the corner of TikTok for readers, writers, and book lovers.
Table of Contents
What is BookTok?
BookTok is a specific TikTok hashtag used by creators who create content on books. Creators range from published authors and popular publishing houses to book reviewers and anonymous original poetry writers. BookTok is full of different kinds of content, including study tips and the next big YA books.
BookTok also has its own trends such as the recent “convincing you to read this book based on the aesthetic” and “convincing you to read this book based on the first sentence” trends. These trends have enticed many readers into checking out new books.
BookTok grew in size when books such as The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller and They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera blew up in popularity, taking BookTok by storm. The popularity of these books showcased the interest in and demand for diversity in the book community, as these books have POC and LGBTQ+ characters.
The kind of books and creators on BookTok that grow in popularity are usually POC and LGBTQ+ writers because of the recent demand for diversity. Many BookTok creators create TikToks explaining and breaking down the harmful stereotypes in which POC and LGBTQ+ characters have been written and portrayed, such as the “Spicy Latina” and the “Studious Asian” stereotypes.
Stereotypes like these are how POC have been represented in media for decades, and have been the only representation for these marginalized groups of people. But now that POC and LGBTQ+ voices have a platform, they are opening people’s eyes to what proper representation needs to be.
An example of POC authors using the platform to make their voices and feelings heard is TikTok user Christabelle Marbun, known as confusedchristabelle on TikTok. Christabelle Marbun is an Indonesian poet and an Amazon bestselling author. They recently made a TikTok targeted towards Andrews McMeel Publishing, and explained why Andrews McMeel Publishing should publish their work so it will be available to buyers in stores. Marbun showed some of their published poems and detailed the unique format of their second book, Uncharted Existence, which is organized like a dictionary and defines the words by what they mean to them. Marbun then asked their followers to tag Andrews McMeel Publishing in the comments, which are currently up to 1k comments.
How to Use BookTok to Market Your Young Adult Novels
BookTok has become a great tool for book marketing as starting writers can create videos sharing their book ideas with readers to build a fanbase. Many YA writers have become published authors due to the following they gained on TikTok.
An example of how to use BookTok to market your young adult novels is TikTok user Carrie Aarons, authorcarriea on TikTok. Carrie used a trend to grow her platform. She interested readers in her book, Fool Me Twice, by employing a trend where you interest viewers by explaining the plot of a book as though it was a real-life experience for you. In the book, the main character must complete the bucket list left to her by her deceased friend.
With 96.6k current followers and a rising number of published books, Carrie Aarons uses her TikTok page to promote both her published books and her forthcoming books.
Another creator who uses BookTok as a book marketing tool is TikTok user Audra Winter, audrawrites. Drawing on the popularity of astrology and zodiac signs, Audra Winter revealed in a TikTok that she has been writing a YA fantasy novel based on the zodiac signs for six years.
While she has not stated where it can be purchased, Audra has recently titled her novel The Age of Scorpius. Audra has promoted her book as pro-LGBTQ+ and POC due to the lack of representation she noticed in many YA fantasy novels. Audra’s content is centered around her zodiac-inspired novel and has grown a fanbase of 67.8k followers.
How to Promote Your YA Books on BookTok
To use BookTok to market your young adult novels, you must understand what BookTok is about. BookTok has grown around diversity, acceptance, and originality. To promote your YA books on BookTok, remember that you are speaking to people, including Gen Z and Millennial readers, not publishers.
If you hope to use BookTok as a book marketing tool, use the hashtag #BookTok, and take advantage of trends to attract readers. Don’t be scared to interact with other BookTok creators and followers, and don’t be afraid to hop on trends—there’s a reason why they are trending!
While BookTok is built for book lovers, it is still TikTok, so you must gain an understanding of the humor of TikTok users since many are of the younger generation. Check out the BookTokers above and study their methods before making videos yourself.
Final Thoughts on BookTok to Market Your YA Novels
As a BookToker myself, I encourage you to use BookTok as a form of book marketing. I have my own BookTok page where I post original poetry under the user imsadnanxious, and I have recently received a comment asking if I ever plan on writing a book. It feels like a great achievement for me as a writer to know people like and connect with my content.
BookTok has proven to be a useful marketing tool for many writers and creators. While it may seem intimidating at first, you can become successful by getting familiar with the app, embracing its values, and interacting with readers.