Thursday, March 28, 2024

Striking Social Gold

a cell phone sitting on a epoxy-marbled floor with the app store opened and social media apps: Instagram, X/Twitter, and TikTok displayed

Oh trends, what fickle things they are. 

If that sentence doesn’t tell you where I stand…then I guess I need to elaborate. This week we’re talking about TikTok. Technically we’re talking about Tick-Tock trends, Jeffe decided to keep the typo and I kinda like it. 

I also like what Jeffe said: only do the kind of social media you enjoy. I’m paraphrasing, so check out her post for the direct quote AND you’ll see some gorgeous book covers! But back to that author social media stuff. If you don’t enjoy it then you’re not going to do it well. Or often enough. Which means it’ll be difficult to reach readers through it. 

Videos aren’t my creative outlet, so TikTok doesn’t appeal to me. Yes, I get sucked into watching the feed on Instagram, who doesn't, but I limit the amount of time I spend on there. As for TikTok, I long ago decided if I’m not actively participating by posting my own content on a social, I’m not going to spend my time using. So this week’s topic got me curious about the positives that surround trends, specifically BookTok.

There have been a number of books that began as a concept or gainted a pre-pub following on BookTok take off successfully. One that I read and thoroughly enjoyed was Assistant to the Villain. There have been others I DNF’d. I didn't know Assistant to the Villain or the ones I DNF'd were BookTok books until after I'd read them and some because I looked up BookTok books to write this and found out their origin. Maybe I haven’t read enough BookTok-spurred stories, but I don’t feel they’re any better or worse than books I find in other ways. However, I acknowledge it’s a new avenue to reach publication and readers. 

It’s sort of like BookTok is the new Twitter-fest for books. #pitmad and #pitchwars were golden opportunities for savvy writers to craft 35 word hooks for their books. I know authors who landed publishing contracts that way. It was exciting and thrilling—the Twitter pitch-fests ushered in a new way to connect authors with agents online. It blew attending conferences in person for pitch sessions out of the water. Twitter provided authors a way to find publishing contracts and/or promote books from the comfort of their own homes—pantless! I'm sure there was a small percentage of people who were pantless. It seems to be a thing people crow about. 

What it really boils down to is our social media usage evolved and so did the way writers use it. And it’s not going to stop changing.

There will be another new social that people glom to and authors will find a way to sell their books and book ideas with it. And after that new shiny there’ll be another, and another. So it really goes back to: make sure you have fun with whichever social you choose. (if you read between the lines it says: don’t do them all, you’ll burn out) If you’re one of the lucky ones and you find an open door on a social—congrats! And I hope you remember what it was like when all you had were dreams and reach a hand back for someone else when you’re able. 

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