Children’s Publishers on TikTok
By Rosie Pinder and Holly Allwright
Would you go to TikTok to find your next read? With BookTok booming and bookish content at every scroll, it is becoming the go-to platform for many to discover their next read. And children’s publishers know this! Many publishers have launched TikTok accounts in recent months, aiming to target consumers directly and make their big titles and upcoming events stand out. But traditional marketing techniques don’t always work on TikTok where sounds and micro trends run the algorithm. As a result, we’ve taken a look at what some of the children’s publishers on the app have been creating, to try and understand the varying degrees of success their accounts have had.
House of YA
Penguin Random House launched their House of YA TikTok account in June, and it has been very active since, with multiple new videos posted every week – some amassing over 50k views. Based on numbers, it is certainly a success story. The regularity of posting alongside the use of trending sounds and author interviews (including one with Jacqueline Wilson!) seems to be working. Recently, the account was also used to advertise the House of YA Bookfest in partnership with Waterstones, which toured many cities across the UK in August.
With 297.2k followers, House of YA’s older sibling, Penguin Teen, is a hub for all things teen and literature. The incredibly active account has amassed over 10 million likes through its varied content which features collaborations with authors, the following of popular trends such as “girl math” and many witty series including, my personal favourite, “cook that book.” In this series, books are broken down into their core values such as world-building and romance and a book is then cooked up in their kitchen. In a world of social media and internet usage, it is an incredible way to hook the younger audience into new literature and this is just one example of the number of fantastic ways that Penguin Teen is fostering reading on TikTok.
The home of authors such as Holly Bourne and William Hussey, the Usborne YA TikTok account is a relatively new addition to the platform with its first post appearing in May of 2023. So far, they have heavily leaned into collaborations with “booktokers” on the platform to discuss reading habits, new releases and more. Like many other pages, they have adapted popular trends on the app such as the love of tropes like enemies to lovers and found family. As well as this, they recently focused on the new season of The Summer I Turned Pretty, the YA adaptation that has taken the platform by storm!
Head of Zeus
Independent publisher Head of Zeus also has a great TikTok page, which although is not directly dedicated to Children's books, certainly has a YA focus. They also create a lot of content designed to give a behind-the-scenes look at the publishing industry, including talking about what various roles across the business involve, which is a great way to target a slightly different audience on the app.
Electric Monkey Books
Home to YA bestsellers such as Twin Crowns, The Society for Soulless Girls and Five Survive, Electric Monkey Books (part of HarperCollins) have been on TikTok for a while – well, since 2022. Their account is a great example of a publisher championing their key titles. A quick scroll will leave you able to name their top authors and new releases. So, the account is certainly building up recognition. They have also started to include behind-the-scenes content for book signings and author events.
Hot Key Books
Amassing 1.4m likes across the page so far, Hot Key Books seem to know what they’re doing on TikTok! Another independent YA publisher, they post a range of content. But what stands out are the numerous interview clips with authors that they have included, which often lead to discussions in the comments. This kind of content that fosters interactivity seems to be a great way to engage potential consumers on the app.
These are just a small selection of children’s publishers on the app and over the coming months, many more are likely to launch accounts as it becomes clear that TikTok’s influence is not going anywhere. Keep an eye out on your FYP (For You Page) for bookish content – what are publishers doing to get your attention?