The Future of Book Marketing on TikTok By K.M. Robinson

The Future of Book Marketing on TikTok By K.M. Robinson

TikTok is a rapidly evolving platform that has helped authors organically sell their books faster than many that require paid advertising. With its ever-changing, constantly-evolving community, staying ahead of the curve is incredibly important for authors who want to successfully market and sell their novels.

Right now, the BookTok community—and TikTok as a whole—is shifting toward two main types of content: highly relational content and highly produced content.

The most recent evolution of author marketing on BookTok has included faceless, minimum-effort page flip videos, quotes over character art, and higher-effort on-camera conversations where authors answer questions. While these will still be valid forms of building an audience, the way they are created will have to evolve so that growth won’t be stifled.

For a community that craves connection, viewers are now actively seeking out what they consider to be more raw, real, and in-the-moment content. They’re looking to form parasocial relationships with writers on the app. Readers are hoping to live vicariously through authors as they sit down and have real-time discussions on real world topics, including books. To the authors’ benefit, this means they can be less polished and put together when on camera. Discussions while getting ready or doing household chores are not only accepted but expected. Asking readers for their opinions, talking about non-book-related likes and dislikes, and creating a community is what’s going to grow. When content feels less planned out or strategic, and offers more “big sister vibes,” it’s going to perform better.

But, the community is also heavily investing their time into leveled-up content that shows more effort and planning. Content can no longer just have a script, but needs to show elevated editing, filmography, and have a cinematic quality to it. When viewers can tell time, effort, work, and skill went into the creation of a piece, they’re likely to give it more than the typical 6-second watch time before they scroll away.

We’re seeing two ends of the spectrum with this new wave of content—one on the heavily produced side, and one that is messy, and feels like the creator picked up their phone, spoke their mind, and posted without other thought. The middle ground still has some viability but, if that’s all that’s posted, it will limit reach. Creating that deeper connection by letting the viewer in on the more private side of things, or showing the viewer respect by creating higher-level content, is what’s going to stop the scroll in the coming months.

Additionally, TikTok has heavily been pushing for both frequent livestreaming and longer form—and horizontal—content on the platform. For many of their top creators, TikTok has actively requested they livestream for several hours a day, every day, because they’re seeing so much success with it. They’re also offering incentives for longer form videos over two minutes long, changing their ads revenue to focus on content that allows more ad space to be run. They’ve accommodated horizontal video in hopes that YouTube content will be brought to the platform in longer increments, and are leaning into pushing the new-to-TikTok format.

The next iteration of content creation on TikTok boils down to the viewer feeling more cared for, be it because they’re let in on our lives more than they were before, or that we took more care to create something entertaining for them. Taking time out of our day to connect, and taking time to learn new skills to elevate our cinematography and presentation are what will make authors stand out in the very saturated author space on the app.

Implementing advanced skills, bringing in content that’s longer and more engaging, and focusing on developing more personal connections with the BookTok audience is what will drive sales over the next several months on the platform. Those who put the effort in will grow beyond what those who keep to the same older types of content will be able to do. While authors don’t have to be Hollywood-level, any advancement in skills will likely translate to more success on the platform.

K.M. Robinson is a social media marketing educator and speaker, bestselling fiction author, and Top TikTok Creator who works directly with TikTok to help authors grow their brands, thrive on social media, and save time and effort on their content creation. Here’s a link to all of her TikTok tutorial videos!


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