The rise of BookTok titles has meant less visibility for other titles, whether they’re longstanding authors or debuts.

From The New Publishing Standard:

“The rise of BookTok titles has meant less visibility for other titles, whether they’re longstanding authors or debuts.”

That’s per a post in The Guardian this weekend that takes yet another look at the BookTok phenomenon, happy to report easy-come quotes, but as ever short on analysis for what it means for the industry.

. . . .

“Groups of teenage girls regularly gather (in Waterstones Piccadilly, London) to buy new books and meet new friends, both discovered on the social media app TikTok.”

. . . .

Caroline Hardman, literary agent at the Hardman & Swainson agency: “It’s driving the appetite for romance and ‘romantasy’ in a really big way, so it’s having a strong effect on what publishers look for too.”

“When traditional publishers try to muscle in on the BookTok market, it never seems to work out quite the same way as an organic, viral recommendation.”

“BookTok is overwhelmingly a factor in Gen Z reading habits. In a poll of more than 2,000 16- to 25-year-olds, almost 59% said that BookTok had helped them discover a passion for reading. BookTok and book influencers significantly influence what choices this audience make about what they read, with 55% of respondents saying they turn to the platform for book recommendations.”

Link to the rest at The New Publishing Standard

Stop the world, I want to get off!

Boo Hoo. Publishers can’t figure out BookTok, so authors who are under contract with clueless publishers have next to zero visibility for the most likely purchasers of the latest .

It’s social media. TikTok will be old news some day, but social media is an important fact of life for this quarter’s revenues if you’re trying to sell to demographic groups who spend a lot of their time and get a lot of information, including information about what books are cool from social media.

BookTok sells way more books than The New York Times does, so all the times various publishers have taken the NYT book review editor to an expensive lunch don’t mean anything anymore. Besides, 95% of teenage girls have never read the New York Times or any other newspaper. They also don’t read print magazines targeted toward teenage girls.

When your readers have moved online, you better get online savvy or hire online savvy in a big hurry. That Mount Holyoke freshman who is an unpaid summer intern probably knows more about social media than the rest of the marketing department combined.

Some of the influencers on TikTok make money by promoting various products. Have your intern find out who they are and what they would charge to hype your next romantasy release and hire a few.

See what happens to sales on Amazon (because the outdated and weird publishing supply chain to book stores will take far too long to report how many books are being sold in bookstores and not returned and BookToker viewers are unlikely to spend a lot of time in bookstores anyway).

If a BookToker sells some books, send more books and more money and repeat. See, social media can be your friend after all.

1 thought on “The rise of BookTok titles has meant less visibility for other titles, whether they’re longstanding authors or debuts.”

  1. Not looking to BookTok for help selling mainstream or literary fiction; the influencers are looking to the largest potential audience for their videos, and they know where it is.

    Unless ‘it’ hits their radar – and they make it go viral. Something to aim for.

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