publication is brutal. Write One book is difficult enough, however sale It’s another challenge that most authors feel unprepared. social media It’s always been a bit of a crap when it comes to selling anything, But somehow, TikTok has built a massive cohort of readers and writers who have the power to make any book — even one from a small press by a unknown author-A bestseller.
Shawn M. Warner, the first author of Leigh Howard and the Ghosts of Simmons-Pierce Manor, which was released by Black Rose Press in Texas in November 2022, was lucky enough to go viral on BookTok after a young man filmed him selling his books. Warner was polite and happy to answer questions, and his serious demeanor and grandfatherly demeanor immediately garnered him fans on the social media site. So many fans, in fact, that his book has jumped to the top of the Amazon bestseller list.
This incredible rise in the lists due to a stray social media post is not unprecedented. We all remember your friend and mine Mr. Bigolas Dickolas Wolfwoodwho sent earlier this year This is how you lose the time war by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone to number one on the bestseller list. While both examples are extremes, this phenomenon has been around for about five years, enough to affect publishers started recording the sentence “BookTok Sensation” in PR Copy.
In general, I have a pretty pessimistic view of BookTok. Not because of the content or the people who participate, but because publishers have started to rely on going viral or starting to go viral as a method of selling and acquiring books, which makes me oddly sad. It’s not about who deserves to be published, but I do have concerns about the increasing reliance on social media as a method of selling books in general.
BookTok has done a lot of good for a lot of people, but it’s also created an inflated attention economy where books become collateral. exchanged in hopes of attracting attention. It’s a strange space at odds with book production, where years of craftsmanship and care go into a single book. In some cases, wWhether a book is sold out or not might the bestseller list is now up to BookTok-wHI may be very good for the people who benefit from it, but appears to be a way to encourage large-scale reliance on an algorithm that is largely a black box of random content.
If Warner is reading this, congratulations on your success and I hope that you continue to write books that bring joy to many people. If a potential author is reading this, please don’t rely on BookTok or go viral. Who knows how long one of these will last social media websites will take time.
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