Social Media Corner: Mastering BookTok

With new social media apps being created every day, you might be wondering what’s happening over on #Booktok anyway? What are the success stories, how do people make money, and what should I be doing to have some of that success?

By now, I’m sure you are familiar with #Booktok but if not, never fear. Here’s a quick definition to get you caught up. Booktok is just a term that is short for Book Tiktok and refers to the community of users on Tiktok who create videos revolving around all things books. Whether that’s reviewing books, marketing their own books, giving writing advice etc, that’s all under the hashtag Booktok on Tiktok! 

What’s the latest information about Booktok in 2023?

As of August 2023, #Booktok has racked up over 173 billion views. If you walk into Barnes & Noble, you’ll notice entire sections dedicated to Booktok recommendations. However, even with all of these positives, Booktok does not come without its fair share of criticism. Most of the recent criticisms include overconsumption of books, lack of diversity amongst the top picks, and “review bombing” new work if misinformation gets out about the author or illustrator. These are all valid reasons to be mindful of what content you choose to share on Tiktok but the positives (building out a community of like minded individuals and getting great recommendations) tend to outweigh the negatives!  

What is a recent Booktok success story?

There are many success stories that involve Booktok but some of the most compelling might be ones you haven’t heard about yet! 

Author Lloyd Devereux Richards’ book, “Stone Maidens” was originally published in 2012. But in 2023, his daughter Marguerite Richards decided to make a Tiktok account dedicated to her father and his writing. Little did either of them know that this account would go viral — causing Lloyd’s book to skyrocket to the top of Amazon’s Bestseller list in a matter of weeks. 

How do people make money on Booktok?

Now that you’ve heard all about Lloyd and his book, the obvious next question is how do authors and illustrators make money on this app anyway? 

There are two ways to make money via Tiktok. The first is through the Tiktok Creator Fund. 

To be eligible for Tiktok’s Creator Fund, you must “meet a minimum following threshold of 10K authentic followers, have accrued at least 100K authentic video views in the last 30 days, and post original videos in line with our Community Guidelines.”

Note: The Creator Fund is currently only available to creators in the U.S., UK, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain.

There is no one-size-fits-all in terms of how people are paid via the Creator Fund. There are several factors for how much each video can make you, including the total amount of views and engagement. For a lot of creators however, most do not make very much money through the creator fund (typically averaging 2-4 cents per 1,000 views). 

The second way to make money is through brand sponsorships. In an 2023 Vox article, some Booktokers noted making around $2,000-$4,000 per sponsored video. The number can change depending on usage rights, the amount of followers, and the engagement rate. To learn more about that, you can read Vox’s article here.

What should I be posting about? 

As with any social media app, the key is still to be authentic. You can post about your journey as a writer or an illustrator. You can talk about your own books or your favorite books! Whatever you decide to post about, I recommend creating some sort of nice background that truly showcases your own personality and interests. That will help you stand out from everyone else! 

Using relevant hashtags and following other creators like yourself can also help boost your engagement levels and help push you through the algorithm. The most important thing is to be consistent, engaging, and welcoming! The rest will follow!