BookTokers are dedicated. They care about words and ideas, and, yes, they care about you and your book. Creating book-oriented TikTok videos as an author can feel daunting, scary, and anything but fun. But I’m here to help! My latest book, Take Your Own Advice, has been a massive success on TikTok, garnering attention and positive videos.
If your goal is to get your book into the hands of readers who will embrace, understand, and love your creation, there are several ways to tailor your TikToks to spread the word. Maybe you’re not used to making videos and dread being on camera, or perhaps you’re already an influencer who aces going viral. Whoever you are and wherever you find yourself today, you can use TikTok to connect to your ideal readers. Here’s how:
You cannot put one over on the TikTok audience. Be upfront about what you want from them and how they should proceed. You also need to assess your book and describe why you feel it is essential. Please do this authentically. You don’t need to be “sales-y”—the more real you are, the better. TikToks center on personalities and human-to-human connections. You must show your honest and genuine self for a video to be popular. This is good news, because accurately offering yourself helps readers to contextualize your book and feel an immediate personal connection.
@thejeffreymarsh I was in Rolling Stone ✨️💛☺️💅💕 #lgbtq #nonbinary #trans #activism #transrights #pride #journalism #rollingstone ♬ original sound – Jeffrey Marsh
You need to share something you might not be comfortable revealing. If you want readers to open their hearts and minds to your book, you have to open a bit of your heart and mind on camera. This doesn’t have to be a huge secret. Sometimes just being radically upfront and saying something like, “I’m nervous, but this is important to me,” is a delightful way to convey that you care about your book and the impact it can have on any reader. The more you can be emotionally genuine rather than too polished, the better. How does it feel to have your book in the world? How did it feel to write it? Sharing your reactions and feelings helps draw like-hearted readers toward your book and you as an author.
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It is always best to frame your TikTok’s themes around what the reader will gain from your book. Will they be entertained or go on an adventure of the soul? Will they feel less alone? What will they learn? Clearly state the benefits and beautiful gains from reading your book, rather than just what the book is about. A TikTok has the lovely potential to stir something in the viewer’s imagination. If you want them to connect and to get invested, you need them to understand the value in the book you’ve written. As authors, we can (understandably!) assume that we are the center of what we create. But, of course, the reader is the center. Every reader is the “star” of your book as they experience, identify with, and absorb your words. Make your video mostly about them.
@thejeffreymarsh a very special book! 💛✨️☺️🥳🌈 #lgbtq #nonbinary #trans #author #book #bookstagram #joy #selfhelp #healing ♬ original sound – Jeffrey Marsh
If you focus on your honesty and vulnerability, any potential reader will feel connected to your book. When you lay out with authenticity the benefits and the gifts your book offers, readers who are a match for your work will be excited to connect.
Books and stories bring us together. Our stories bind us. Go and tell yours.
Jeffrey Marsh is a best-selling author, nonbinary activist, and viral TikTok and Instagram star. Their most recent book, Take Your Own Advice, was published by Penguin in May. You can reach them at hello@JeffreyMarsh.com.