Social Media

Tik Tok, You Don’t Stop!

How to build and grow your Author Tik Tok Account to reach more readers, become more visible, and sell more books!

Tik Tok is the number one social media app and has been since early 2020, so if you’re wondering if you should be on Tik Tok as an author, the answer is YES! YES! A thousand times, YES!

And in this post, I’m going to explain WHY you should be on Tik Tok, then, I’m going to share all the secrets of how to use Tik Tok as an Author to attract the right readers and have them craving each book you write!

In the past two years, Tik Tok has grown in popularity like the kid in school who spent all summer before freshman year bench pressing weights, buying new clothes, and slathering on acne medicine!

Despite this, many authors are still struggling with the decision to join the app. Either that, or they have joined, but they’re still not using Tik Tok to its fullest potential.

I’m going to start by addressing some of the most common objections I hear from authors then dive into the How-To.

“Is Tik Tok really the number one social media app?”

Back when it was still, the app was mostly consumed by young teens through those in their early twenties. 

BUT when COVID reared its ugly head in February 2020, GenZ, GenX, and even Baby Boomers began scrolling through the feed, mostly out of boredom and a voyeuristic interest in what “those silly kids” were up to.

Suddenly, our interest in Tik Tok went from morbid curiosity to a genuine interest in how refreshingly different the overall atmosphere is on this app, especially when compared to the growing negativity, arguments, and overall hatefulness present on other apps, which shall remain nameless.

If you know me, you know that I’m an avid and adept researchist. There’s just something about digging for the truth and having the facts rather than suppositions that intrigues me.

To that end, here are some facts and figures, which will speak for themselves and answer this question effectively.

  • The app reached over 1 BILLION monthly active users in September 2021!
  • The average viewer spends 1 hour each on the app!
  • The engagement rate is around 18%!
  • There are 689 MILLION average monthly active users!
  • The app was downloaded more than any other app in 2020!

And whether some people refuse to admit it yet or not, self-published authors now make more in book sales and revenue than traditionally published authors.

So, if you want to be successful as an author, you have to be willing to adjust with the times, accept that the industry and the markets are changing, and PIVOT.

And since Tik Tok is absolutely KILLING it right now, to put it plainly…if you want to sell more books, then why would you NOT take advantage of the number one social media app of all time?

“But I’m shy/an introvert/afraid to show my face!”

Listen to me now.

You are not the only one who feels uncomfortable in your own skin.

Many authors are homebodies, at least, and extreme introverts, at most. Sprinkle insecurity on top of that, and it can be a recipe for turning into a full-fledged member of the Society of Self-Conscious Hermits.

But here’s the thing…readers are consumers, and consumers are a thousand times more likely to buy from a person they trust than they are a THING (product, book) they have no experience or confidence in.

YOU are the face of your brand, and your brand is about you – the author – not your books.

Readers need to see YOU.

They need to be invested in indie authors in a way they never had to before with traditionally published authors.

Back when trad pub was king, readers bought books because they were either on a bestseller list or because we knew the author’s name already (think James Patterson, Stephen King, Patricia Cornwell, et al).

But as indie authors, we don’t have the luxury of having our faces plastered on park benches, the sides of buses, or on the inside of magazines.

We have to start changing the way we approach branding and marketing because the face of publishing has changed drastically, and trust me, you want to be riding the trend waves if you want to have a chance at being a successful, full-time self-published author.

“Okay, great. But how do I get over my shyness/fear and face millions of strangers?”

First, you have to stop thinking everyone is judging you. 

They aren’t.

Are there always going to be Negative Nancies, who judge people for the stupidest reasons and have nothing better to do than comment on our hair color, weight, or anything that makes us unique? 

You betcha.

But that’s going to happen in life no matter what you do. Instead, embrace what makes you unique.

And start changing your negative self-talk into more positive self-talk. Remind yourself that anyone who judges you, as an author, for any perceived differences or uniqueness, they are the a-holes, not you.

Put on your favorite outfit, do whatever health and beauty routine makes you feel your best, get some good lighting (try this ring light, just like mine!) and start snapping selfies of yourself in different poses.

It will feel uber weird. And you’ll feel like a total dufus. That never changes.

But the more confident you become, the more fun the process becomes and the better your images turn out.

Bottom line is…stop worrying about how people are going to judge you because you can’t stop haters from rearing their ugly heads every blue moon. But you can change the way you react to them, and eventually, your feelings about those trolls will change, as well.

“I’m ready! Now. How do I get started?”

Before you can even begin putting content on the platform, you must first build a profile that will get readers’ attention and make them curious about you and your books when you show up on their FYP (for you page).

By the way, these tips and tricks are what helped me shoot up to over 84,000 followers and 1.5 MILLION video likes in 6 short weeks!

1) Username

Be sure the username you choose clearly shows your author name and tells everyone you are, in fact, an author. Let’s say your name is Nancy Smith, and you write romance novels. Your handle could be @nancysmithauthor, @nancysmithbooks, @nancysmithromance, or any combination of author-ish words.

2) Profile

Here’s that tricky part. We’re authors, and as we’ve already established, we’re a big messy pile of introverts on a good day. But you MUST put your best face forward because readers want to get to know you and your story before they take a leap of faith and follow you blindly. Be sure the picture you use for your profile is well-lit (always put the source of light BEHIND the camera, not in front), smile, and show a bit of your personality. Here’s mine:

3) Link

Similar to Instagram, you can only insert one link on your profile, and as authors, we have ALL the links. Am I right? There’s social media, landing pages, websites…but I have the best solution for you, and it’s TOTALLY FREE! I’m sure you’ve heard of LinkTree. But that’s SO yesterday. The best profile link builder is now! And if you use this link right here, you can sign up for a free account courtesy of yours truly.

Use this account to include links to all your social media profiles, your website, landing pages, sign up for your newsletter, link to each book’s purchase page, and so much more! Then, all you have to do is say, “LINK IN BIO!”

4) Bio

Tik Tok is similar to Instagram here, too, in that they only allow 80 characters for you to write your “bio.” It takes some thinking and some crafty writing skills, but I have faith in you. You write entire books. You’ve GOT this!

But here’s the key…talk to the readers! Tell them what makes you different from other authors they find on Tik Tok!

One example would be if you write dark romance novels. You could say something like, “Author of dark, steamy romances featuring kickass heroines and dreamy bad boys.”

You get the idea. 

Here’s mine…

“Profile? Check. Now, how do I get more followers on Tik Tok?”

First of all, you do NOT have to dance. I repeat. You do NOT have to dance. This is the most common misconception many people new to Tik Tok hold.

The most important thing to keep in mind when building your AuthorTok account is that your content must be:

  • Entertaining
  • Engaging
  • Educational

These are the Three Es of video content! Viewers are way more likely to stop what they’re doing and watch you for 15 – 60 seconds IF your content is well-thought-out and it’s either engaging, entertaining, or educational.

Americans have a teeny tiny attention span of only EIGHT SECONDS these days (true story). 95% of the most liked videos on Tik Tok are less than 10 seconds long.

And most importantly, one constant in their algorithm is how long each viewer watches each of your clips! So, the shorter the clip, the higher the odds of viewers watching 90% or more!

I know. Trust me. But it’s the one piece of advice agreed upon by most experts.

Don’t panic!

Planning your content a week in advance is a killer strategy and it saves you tons of time each day. And if you learn how to repurpose your video content, that’s even more time saved!

Tips on Content for Tik Tok

Emulate other creators (don’t copy)!

Try to use one of your two or three posts per day to pay homage to one of dozens of currently trending videos. It’s fine to “copy,” but here’s the key – be as original as possible! Put your own unique spin on each trend, and more importantly, make it fit your brand/niche as closely as possible. You can easily see what’s trending every day by scrolling through the “Discover” page.

Use trending sounds!

Whether you’re copying trends from the Discover feed or creating totally original video content, it’s CRUCIAL that you still choose trending SOUNDS. It’s nearly impossible to choose a favorite song or any other non-trending sound clip and get any traction with it, and using “recommended” or “trending” sounds actually does factor into whether you end up on the FYP page for your target audience.

Have a hashtag strategy!

There’s conflicting information on the most effective hashtag strategy for Tik Tok. However, one thing most gurus agree on is that you do need to use them. You don’t have much room for hashtags on this platform, so I recommend 2-3 “big” hashtags (high user numbers), 2-3 “medium” hashtags, and 2-3 “small” hashtags. This is called “stacking,” and it seems to be effective on most platforms, including Tik Tok.

Engage with your followers!

The most effective Tik Tok strategy is to engage with ALL your followers and even those who don’t follow you but comment on your posts…yes, even the nasty ones. Kill them with kindness. The more comments you get on a video, the more the algorithm recognizes your content as “engaging,” so you get pushed higher and higher up on the feed.

The point here is to give as much as you receive…or more. So, don’t skip this step! But you also want to spend time every day (15-20 minutes) and don’t just scroll through Tik Tok. Comment on readers’ videos. Share them. Follow them. Trust me. You cannot fail by engaging with like-minded folk. In fact, you will be ten times more likely to convert those people into YOUR followers, as well. Try implementing Gary Vee’s Dollar Eighty Strategy!

“I’ve been on Tik Tok for a few months now, but NOTHING is happening! Why?”

First, ask yourself if you truly have tried everything you can to make your Tik Tok account effective and turn it into the sales machine it absolutely can be. Have you kept up with expert tips, tricks, and advice on YouTube, in blogs, on podcasts, etc.? Have you tried every possible technique (as I just outlined above) and then some? Or have you simply kept doing the same thing over and over, maybe with minor tweaks, and then growing frustrating that the app “doesn’t work” for you?

The truth is that not every video you post will get thousands of likes. Hell, you may even spends weeks or months trying different tactics before you HIT on Tik Tok.

But while there is no simple, magical answer to making this platform really work for you, there are a few things you want to avoid as much as possible.

  • DON’T treat Tik Tok like Instagram or Facebook (it’s a whole nother beast)!
  • DON’T aim your content/talk to your fellow authors in your content (they aren’t your audience)!
  • DON’T delete content (videos often wind up going viral weeks, months or even a year later)!
  • DON’T delete even negative comments (let the haters show their ass and rank you higher)!
  • DON’T try to be like everyone else (emulate, not copy, and put your unique spin on all)!
  • DON’T give up, like, ever (so, you never go viral…you still get tons more eyeballs on your brand)!

Now that I’ve divulged all my Tik Tok secrets, I hope you go out there and you crush it!

And I tell you what…if you find me on Tik Tok (@BookBossAcademy) now and follow me, I promise I will follow you back.

And if you post on my Q&A Feed and tell me you read this post, OR if you post a video and tag me in it, I WILL stitch/duet you! I have helped several of my clients boost their following doing this, and I’m more than happy to do it for you, as well.

Finally, if you would like to work one-on-one with me to grow your unique brand, reach more (of the right) readers, get more exposure, and prepare for a successful book launch, reach out for a FREE 30 minute consultation by clicking this button below! 

I’ll show you how I can help you reach more readers, become more visible online, and sell more books!

And I’ll make sure you walk away with at least one actionable tip you can start using IMMEDIATELY!  


Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to reach out for help! 

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