I woke up late today thanks to a late night of research for the next part in my short series on Whiteley Strieber’s abduction. Thankfully my kids slept in too. My morning has included dog walks, cleaning, breakfast and coffee, running my son to a friend’s and paying a few bills.
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In between those moments, I’ve been watching my TikTok account to see how my latest video did.
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If you’re not familiar with BookTok and you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck on social media, then you’ll want to tune in for this week’s article. It’s the new big thing for authors, particularly indie authors. Some people have even won publishing deals with traditional publishing houses after their book did well there.
BookTok encapsulates a hashtag on TikTok that umbrellas a unique subculture on the social media platform. It’s a place for book lovers and writers to get together and love on books. I’ll get into the nitty gritty of that on Friday, but for today, I’ll tell you what I’ve done so far and what I have left to do today.
I started my TikTok account on January 1st, just after taking out a paid ad in Anne Friedman’s newsletter. The inspiration was of course cost driven. Anne’s newsletter goes out to 55,000 loyal subscribers. Getting visibility there is incredible. But only 40 odd subscription’s came out of that, which means I paid $3 per subscription. That’s expensive!
It was a great experiment for me, mostly because Anne’s people are not my target audience. I write horror, supernatural suspense, and paranormal non-fiction, which isn’t typically what gets posted there. I thought if I could win them over with my clever copy, I’ll kill in front of the weirdos who enjoy speculative fiction and ghost stories.
It’s a bass-ackwards way of doing things, but I don’t know. My brain is funny sometimes. I guess I wanted to see the worse case scenario, feel the weight of it, and then go, “Okay, this is as bad as it gets.” Get it over with and out of the way.
So to TikTok I went. Because after thinking it over, free advertising on social media makes way more sense than taking out paid ads all over the place. Especially because it’s hard to know if those users will stick.
Just between us, this week I posted the second chapter of a novel I’m working on, Dying Light. It’s disturbing, and since sending out that post, I’ve lost 4 subscribers. But I get it. I won people over with my adorable ad above who maybe didn’t realize what this was going to be about. That’s the price for going outside of your “market.”
Since January 1st, I have acquired…422 TikTok followers. Last night it was 325.
All this with very minimal effort. For any of you trying to get subscribers, you know how radically ridiculous this number is! I mean, it’s nothing to write home about as far as internet math goes, but I’m happy with the results vs. effort.
And as of the posting of the above video, I have 1 Substack subscriber.
Not bad! I didn’t expect to get any.
I’ll break down what I did on Friday, but I wanted to clue you guys into this weird world of influence. I have read so much great writing on Substack. I’m convinced that it’s about getting that work in front of the right people. TikTok has a lot of eager readers, book lovers of all genres, and they love to support, review, and buy books. You don’t need a million subscribers to make it. You need a few thousand dedicated ones. I know that they’re out there. And I’m determined to find them.
This Friday, I’m going to break down every aspect of getting started on TikTok. From creating an account to understanding the #booktok culture and trends, analytics and finding out what is already popular in your genre. This will be an ever expanding journey, but I’m so excited to share it with you. And if you want to follow my TikTok to see the embarrassing things I do to test the algorithm, go right ahead.
Please comment if you have any questions that you need answered or want to share any information that has helped you along the way. Until then, I’ll see you Friday!
I’m really excited about this. I’m so hesitant about TikTok so maybe this will be the motivation I need to start one. Thanks!