15 ways indie authors can use TikTok to sell their books (with examples)

15 ways indie authors can use TikTok to sell their books (with examples)

Are you still only using TikTok for entertainment purposes? Stop watching funny videos with cats! Turn your account into a powerful promotion platform for the author’s book brand.

Today we will share with you 15 ways indie authors can use TikTok to sell their books. Let’s roll!

Should I use TikTok to sell books?

TikTok entered the market as an entertainment application actively used by children and youth. But today, TikTok isn’t only for teenagers anymore. There is an audience of any age here. Teenagers make up 25% of users, while 20-29-year-olds account for 22.4%, 30-39-year-olds — for 21.7%, etc. So whatever your target audience’s age, they likely use TikTok.

Good news for authors of women’s novels: Females dominate TikTok in the U.S.A. Women make up 61% of users of this platform as of March 2021.

However, authors of unisex books need not worry. TikTok has a very billion audience in general. For example, speaking about iOS owners, there are over 30.8 million active daily users. As for Android, more than 14.43 million people open the app every day. Therefore, the chances of finding thousands of potential readers are high anyway.

So should you use TikTok to promote books? Yes, it’s worth it. 

There is the only BUT: TikTok requires effort and time because you need:

  • Search for and come up with ideas for content
  • Shoot and edit videos
  • Publish content regularly
  • Follow popular trends
  • Comment on fellow authors’ and readers’ videos
  • Answer subscribers’ questions.

Are you ready to do those things? If yes, let’s find out some content ideas.

15 ways to use TikTok to sell more books

Unlike Facebook and Instagram, TikTok doesn’t provide a shopping button, so you can’t sell books directly from the app. However, since it’s a powerful marketing tool, using this platform, you can:

  • Increase your author’s brand awareness
  • Build an engaged community
  • Promote your books
  • Get feedback from your readers and communicate with them
  • Research your competitors
  • Entertain yourself.

By the way, a considerable advantage is that TikTok adds a user’s nickname to each video. So everyone will know for sure who is the creator of the clip they like and find you if necessary.

Now, let’s get to the point and discover what worthy types of content you should post on TikTok to achieve marketing goals.

1. Introduce your book in a creative way

How do authors introduce their books? Most just post them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. However, with TikTok, you can get more creative and make a bright, intriguing book release video. Let’s see some examples of how authors do it.

Abigail Hair doesn’t just publish information about her book. She adds beautiful images and music that help you quickly immerse in the atmosphere of her story:

@authorabigailmhair

Welcome to my YA Fantasy, From the Mouths of Sirens ⚔️ #booktokrecs #booktokrecommendations #yafsntasybooks #yafantasyrecs #yafantasyaddict #OutlanderChallenge #enemiestoloversbooks #enemiestoloverstrope #fantasybooks #yafantasyfiction #ireadya #readersoftiktok #yafantasybookrecs #booktokfyp

♬ original sound – ‍

MJ Woodman does the same thing as this trick sets the necessary mood and helps readers to imagine the story events:

@mjwoodman

Divine paperback and audiobook are out now #booktok #yabooks #enemiestolovers #writertok #fantasybooks #authorsoftiktok #bookrecommendations

♬ Enemy – TAYLOR MALONE

LK Wilde uses another method. She tells what her book is about in a narrative way revealing more details. In such a way, readers feel like the author communicates directly to them. 

@lkwildeauthor

Queenie of Norwich- based on a true story- available on Amazon-link in bio 🙂 #historicalfiction #historicalfictionbooks #historicalfictionwriters #booksaboutwomen #readersoftiktok

♬ original sound – LK Wilde Books

2. Make book cover reveal

The book cover reveal is always a fascinating and long-awaited moment before the book’s release. After all, the face of your story sets the mood for the entire novel. Without the right cover, readers may not even notice your book in the store.

Get creative with this moment with TikTok. For example, Ben Alderson makes several smooth transitions when presenting the cover of a new book:

@benaldersonauthor

SURPRISE COVER REVEAL for King of Immortal Tithe hardback! Art by 4Resna 🏳️‍🌈✨ #mmromance #bookart #author #writertok #fantasybooks #dejavu

♬ Like a G6 – Like a G6 Karaoke

Fiona Lucas doesn’t make a super creative video but shares her real excitement. Readers can see her live emotions, and such an approach always bribes the target audience.

@fionalucasauthor

What do you think? #fionalucasauthor #neverforgetyou #neverforgetyoubook #emotionalromancereads

♬ Golden – Harry Styles

Elise Kova puts on a whole little show when presenting the book cover. She literally tears the wrapper which hides the bright book. However, Elise does not show the whole cover, leaving intrigue and teasing the readers.

@elisekova

👀👀👀 #booktok #books #marriedtomagic #aduelwiththevampirelord #amreading #fantasyromancebooks

♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

3. Recommend some books to read

Talking only about your book is monotonous. Show that you are an expert in literature: You don’t only write but also read many fantastic books. You keep up with the news in the book industry, read your competitors’ books, and know what can attract your target audience. Here’s how you can do it:

You can simply show books related to a specific topic or genre in turn:

@kendramerrittauthor

#booktok #disabilitypride #disabilitypridemonth #diversebooks #tbr #oneforall #donnajonapoli #markoftheleastseries

♬ Summer day – TimTaj

In this video, Ceinwen Langley makes a selection of atmospheric books:

@feedthewriter

Sapphics in all genres! #sapphicseptember #sapphicbooks #bookrecommendations #witchybooks #horrorbooks #fantasybooks #scifibooks #bookish #booktok #feedthewriter

♬ Daffodil – Florence + The Machine

And M. J. Kuhn advises books depending on what you’ve read and liked previously:

@mjkuhnbooks

Another recap of some of my most recent game/book recs! #bookrecommendations #booktok #gamertok #videogames #zelda #masseffect #thewitcher

♬ Banana (feat. Shaggy) [DJ FLe – Minisiren Remix] – Conkarah

4. Share writing tips

It’s probably the most valuable content you can make as an indie author. It comes in handy for fellow writes and proves that you’re a master of your craft. 

Hannah Parker reveals many writing secrets in her videos on TikTok. She tells in detail where to start, how to develop characters, and how to make up some plot twists.

@hannahparkerbooks

my top 5 tips!! 💗 #authortok #bookwritingtips #bookpublishingtips #booktok #howtowriteabook

♬ Rivendell – Howard Shore

Besides writing tips, LK Wilde shares her experience in self-publishing, a burning topic for indie authors. 

@lkwildeauthor

#selfpublishing #indieauthor #selfpublished #selfpublishedbooks #indiebooktok

♬ original sound – LK Wilde Books

Elizabeth Stephens shares her experience and answers questions related to writing:

@elizabethstephensauthor

Reply to @authoralyssadisanza hope this helps! #writingdiversity #diversityinbooks #blackcharactersmatter #pocauthors #blackauthorsoftiktok

♬ original sound – Elizabeth Stephens | Author 📚

5. Show the process of writing

It’s always interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes. And writing a book is no exception. Your readers want to know how you create the magic of your stories, so why not share it with them? 

Abigail Hair shows the whole process of the book birth with a short but engaging video:

@authorabigailmhair

So satisfying 🌟it never gets old #authorsofbooktok #authortok #beforeandafter #processvideo #yafantasyauthor #yafantasbooks #yafantasywriter #writersoftiktok #yafantasyrecs #yabooktoker #booksoftiktok #selfpublishedauthor

♬ Continent – Adrian Berenguer

An aspiring author, Katelyn, shares her experience of writing a book for eight months, from the moment when the idea came to her mind to editing hundreds of pages:

@fantasy._author

i wrote a book! #writer #writing #teenwriter #writingabook #fantasybook #writertok #writersoftiktok #booktok #characters #worldbuilding #author #youngwriter #youngauthor #teenauthor #book #foryoupage #fyp #viral

♬ original sound – josh

Malay Writes shows how to solve different writing issues, for example, when you’re stuck with your character description:

@malaywrites

I live by these thesauruses. I mostly use them during the editing process to refine my characters! This is just one from my collection #fyp #writertok #authortok #booktok #blackauthor #fiction #writingtips

♬ We Don’t Talk About Bruno – Carolina Gaitán – La Gaita & Mauro Castillo & Adassa & Rhenzy Feliz & Diane Guerrero & Stephanie Beatriz & Encanto – Cast

6. Go see your books at the bookstore

What an incredible moment is to see your novel on the bookstore shelves. Isn’t it what every writer dreams of? Moreover, it’s hard to hide the excitement and genuine emotions when you notice your book cover among others. And you don’t have to hold back on this moment – share your feelings with your readers and followers. 

For example, Chloe Gong looks for her books at bookstores in the different cities she visits:

@thechloegong

my first @indigo.ca visit!!! #booktok #yabooks #authorsoftiktok #writing #bookrecs

♬ as it was x cruel summer x deja vu – matty james

And Caroline George is so happy that she saw her book that she even signed a copy for a random buyer:

@authorcarolinegeorge

Shoutout to my friends at @bnhaywood for making this experience so special! #authorsoftiktok #booktok #yabooks #thesummerweforgot #obx

♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

7. Unpack a box with your just-printed books

Getting your book published sounds like fulfilling a dream that authors may pursue for years. This event causes a real storm of emotions worth seeing the world.

Jade Bowler shared the moment of unpacking a package from her publisher and simply couldn’t hold back the tears when she received her just-printed books:

@unjadedjade

okay but WHY IS IT SO PRETTY 🥺🤧✨ #author #authortok #authorsoftiktok #studytube #bookreveal

♬ Lo-fi hip hop – NAO-K

Aiden Thomas made a funny video, but no less emotional: 

@aidenschmaiden

finally got my hands on the final copy of ☀️THE SUNBEARER TRIALS☀️! 😱😱😱 @fiercereads #thesunbearertrials #aidenthomas #booktok #authorsoftiktok #cemeteryboys

♬ Good Day – Nappy Roots

Elle can’t hold back the tears either. Watching such videos, we understand how much effort and time goes into each published book:

@authorjelle

Watch me see my book for the first time in print 🌟 I was NOT prepared 😅 Plus a bonus at the end 😉 #BookTok #writertok #wingsofebony #yabooktok

♬ original sound – AuthorJElle

8. Make a TikTok mask

Every TikTok user can add a mask that other people can try. It’s an excellent way to have fun and draw attention to your profile. As an author, you can make masks related to your book or literature.

For example, Waterstones, a well-known bookstore, makes many challenge masks dedicated to books:

@mujirianna

#booktok #books #წიგნები #წიგნი #foryou #fyp

♬ Steven Universe – L.Dre

One of the workable ideas is to create masks telling followers what characters from the book they are. You can do the same with your imaginary heroes:

@literaturewithlizzy

more filters babe #fyp #foryou #booktok #booktokfilter #whichfantasycharacter #fantasyfilter #trending #litwithlizzy #fantasy #enemiestolovers #villain

♬ Sexy Villain – Remi Wolf

In general, there can be many options for masks. It depends only on your imagination:

@authorjaslittle

Cuz WriterTok needed some effects #youreawriterbut #writing #writertok #writersoftiktok #amwriting #howtowriteabook #writingvideos

♬ original sound – Jasmine L

9. Do stitches with other authors

Stitches mean you are replying or reacting to another user’s video, and your subscribers see that video first. It’s an excellent way to interact with fellow writers, answer questions from your target audience, and find additional content ideas.

Kendra Merritt finds the perfect offer to stitch, allowing her to tell what her book is about:

@kendramerrittauthor

#stitch with @0kaybreezy Elevator pitch! #booktok #yafantasy #disabilitybooks #indieauthor

♬ original sound – kendramerrittauthor

Rebekah Weatherspoon does a stitch to share her writing experience:

@rebekaheeeek

#stitch with @becca_syme marry rich or sell 👣pics. @Kylie Scott – Romance Writer

♬ Lazy Sunday – Official Sound Studio

Jessica Arrieta, a booktoker, offers literature fans to answer questions by doing stitches. You can follow this example as well:

@exclusivepalmbeachliving

#bookcommunity #booktok #fypage #diversifyyourbookshelf #diversifyyourbookshelves #diversifyyourfeed #latinxauthors #books #bookworm #latinxcreatives #readersoftiktok #readers #readerproblems #readersgonnaread #readersofbooktok #petpeeve

♬ original sound – ✨Exclusive Palm Beach Reading

10. Share book scenario

Invite your followers to immerse themselves in your story. To do this, you should describe an event from your book and invite readers to imagine that they are a character. Such videos are intriguing and make you want to find out what really happened quickly.

Emily Blackwood does it using her printed book as a background:

@authoremilyblackwood

🥵🥵 my FAV TROPE #enemiestoloverstrope #morallygreycharacter #tendingtowoundstrope #faebooktok

♬ original sound – The Voice of Angels

And Ashley Muñoz also follows this famous trick:

@ashleymunozauthor

He may be a loner from the mountain but he knows exactly what he wants. #grumpysunshine #bookscenarios #bookishscenarios #booktokfyp #romancebooks #romancebooktok #smutrecs #spicybooktok #spicybookrecs

♬ original sound – Sam Smith

11. Add hashtags

#booktok is a vast and independent community on TikTok. In particular, if you enter this hashtag in the search, you will see that there are over 74.7 billion views. This community includes everyone who loves to read and, therefore, your potential readers. 

Besides #booktok, add other thematic hashtags, for example:

  • #authortok
  • #indieauthor
  • #writertok
  • #writerlife
  • #booklovers

 

12. Join book trends and challenges

It’s one of the entertaining types of content that will help build a community. You have probably seen book trends and challenges watching videos of fellow authors or readers. Join in!

For example, the ‘My publishing journey’ trend is an excellent way to tell the world about your way from draft to publication.

@ameliewenzhao

I was asked about my publishing journey! #authorsoftiktok #author #writer #writersoftiktok #publishing #aspiringauthor

♬ Feel This Moment (Riddler & Reid Stefan Club Mix) – Pitbull

‘Currently reading’ is both a simple and popular trend. Maybe you will find members of your target audience?

@loverofpages

what’re you currently reading? #booktok #bookish #currentlyreading #currentread #fyp

♬ original sound – bigzitti

You can find many exciting challenges under the hashtag #BookTok, for example, ‘Show me your’: 

@mina.undercova

Booktok show me your…🤍 #booktok #books #bookchallenge #booktag #reading #bookworm #readersoftiktok

♬ original sound – Rachel Baldwin

13. Use a trending sound

Trending sounds increase the chances of getting recommended by more users. It means that potential readers can see your account and books. Let’s see the example by Eden Beck:

@reverseharemauthor

No explanation needed #booktok #authortok #authorsoftiktok #fae #acotar #avotat #books #writertok #kindleunlimited #kindle #kindleunlimitedromance #reverseharembooks #reverseharem #reverseharemromance

♬ It’s Corn – Tariq & The Gregory Brothers & Recess Therapy

Elise Kova amusingly uses a famous sound and creates a video related to her book:

@elisekova

A Duel with the Vampire Lord is out August 18, 2022. 🔗in bio. #booktok #books #enemiestolovers #vampires #fantasyromance

♬ original sound – 🙂

14. Create funny content related to a writer’s life

It’s the type of content people want to share the most, which means you can significantly increase your reach. In addition, it is fun and will diversify your regular content. You can also create a reputation of a charismatic author with a good sense of humor that people want to interact with.

MJ Woodman shows one of the most widespread obsessions authors are familiar with:

@mjwoodman

The making of #bookbath who else wants to drown in books? #fyp #foryoupage #booktok #bookworm #authortok #youngauthor #yabooks #bookobssessed

♬ i am obsessed with this – mallorie

Amelia Ives shares a real pain of all writers when you finish the book, and it’s time to edit the manuscript:

@ameliaivesbooks

When @grammarlyofficial becomes your best friend #booktok #bookworm #bookclub #readers #author #readersoftiktok #fantasybooks #writer #editor

♬ original sound – jy_candles

Sabaa Tahir creates a lot of funny content, for example:

@sabaatahirauthor

Srsly how do you guys read so fast 😅😅😅😅 we love you tho!!!! #booktok #authorsoftiktok #amwriting #anemberintheashes #allmyrage

♬ vibe for this year – joseph fagundes

15. Cooperate with fellow authors

Unfortunately, few succeed in becoming successful writers without interacting with other authors. What would you choose: to become part of a writing community where everyone shares their experiences and helps each other, or to be a closed loner?

Therefore, do not miss the opportunity to interact with other authors. For example, you can comment on each other’s videos, make stitches and host joint broadcasts. 

@mjwoodman

BookTok unite ❤️ #booktok #writertok #authorsoftiktok #fantasybooks #bookrecommendations #booktropes #reader #writer

♬ I Wanted to Leave – SYML

Conclusion

If brief, promoting an author’s brand and books using TikTok is exciting and interesting, although it takes time and effort. Let’s briefly summarize the most effective ways to promote your book on TikTok:

  • Introduce your book creatively with vivid and intriguing videos
  • Make exciting book cover reveal
  • Show that you are a literature expert and recommend books to read
  • Share writing tips, experiences and journey
  • Go to find your book at the bookstore
  • Unpack just-printed books to show real emotions and excitement
  • Add a unique TikTok mask
  • Do stitches with other authors and booktokers
  • Share book scenarios to let readers immerse in your story
  • Add popular hashtags, such as #booktok and #indieauthor
  • Join book trends and challenges
  • Use trending sounds and create funny content
  • Cooperate with fellow writers.

What TikTok idea do you like the most? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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