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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Social Media and the Impact on Trends

By Holly Butterfield, Gemma Mathers, Lucy O’Neill and Brittany Holness

 

TikTok, and its subsection of BookTok, has solidified its space in the social media sphere over the past couple of years. With millions of videos sitting under the hashtag, it’s created a space where readers can go for recommendations and to revel in their hobbies. Whilst there are thousands of creators posting all sorts of book recommendations across various genres, if you spend enough time on the app, it’s likely that you’ll start to see the same specific texts popping up over and over again. Critiques of these books discuss the fact that they are often lacking in diversity, leading many to resent TikTok for what it’s doing to the publishing industry. It’s hard to argue with the fact that TikTok has had a massive influence on promoting literature, and whilst many see this as largely positive, encouraging hundreds of new readers to pick up things they otherwise may not have tried, there’s also a downside of these trends, which arguably narrow the scope of literature that people read. We can definitely see this from both sides.

 

Social media platforms have become more than just personal accounts; they’re also a great tool for business. With the increased number of indie authors, writing the book is now just one step in the process. It is essential that the book is also marketed in order to reach its target audience. With an increase in social media presence, marketing books with aesthetic pictures or a popular quote from the main love interest have the added possibility of going viral and reaching more audiences. Many authors have benefited from social media and are now extremely famous names in the reading community, like Sarah J. Maas with her fantasy series and Colleen Hoover with her contemporary romance books. Some books have fed into the ideal genres and tropes and, as such in the reading community, have been recommended time and time again. This, while allowing some to reap the rewards of selling millions of copies, can also be the downfall of smaller authors. Although there is plenty of space for books of all kinds to be written and published, promoting the same books will also act as a barrier to these authors’ works. Additionally, some genres are notably becoming more popularised as a result, and therefore, as authors look at what is selling most, there is an added pressure to write books that will sell and feed into this popularity. Unfortunately, while this has been a turning point for these authors, few and far in between, several other authors have not seen such success despite their best marketing efforts.

 

As a result, several readers and creators have taken a stance against these books, steering clear of those ‘As Seen on TikTok’ tables that have become a staple of bookshops in recent years. A boycott from those who feel it’s important to beat these trends, even going as far as to dismiss the tastes of others if they’re deemed ‘too popular.’ This, in turn, has created a somewhat hostile environment online. Despite this, there’s a middle ground to be found in this space. Whilst it’s important that more than just a select few books get the promotion and publicity they need to find their audiences, there’s arguably space for all. With TikTok’s curated algorithms, it’s easy to tailor your feed to receive the types of recommendations you’re looking for without having to bash those of other creators on the platform.

 

A positive to the influx of Booktokers who promote books of a seemingly similar nature is that it may encourage readers to reach out for books which go against the grain of popularity. When constantly faced with the same front covers, readers may seek something new and different. For this reason, more indie books may be found, or hidden corners of bookshops explored with the hope of finding something new and undiscovered by the masses. This, in turn, might then influence the reader to share their special, secret find and create a new trend of their own. Consequently, Booktok leads to a new wave of trends, promoting books which had not previously been so popular and giving these titles their own voice and time to shine.

 

Possibly, the best part of trends and a book being included in a trend for an author is the popularity and, ultimately, the sales that this grows for their novel. If a book is well sought after and spoken about, it will fly off the shelves. This is brilliant for the book world as it encourages the wealth of literature and a great body of readers.

 

Social media is now extremely crucial for authors, whether they are independent authors or traditionally published. It's now possible to market the books in new and enticing ways. Often, awareness is the goal. While positive publicity is often what is desired, negative publicity is still publicity, and authors may benefit from either. The key for many is to create a social media presence and have audiences discussing their books, thereby increasing sales in the long run. After all, “all publicity is good publicity”.

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1 Comment


Daniella Hill
Daniella Hill
May 23

The article examines the profound impact of social media on shaping trends, highlighting how platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter influence fashion, technology, and lifestyle choices. It underscores the speed at which trends emerge and evolve, driven by user-generated content and influencer endorsements. This dynamic environment makes it essential for businesses to stay agile and responsive. Partnering with a social media marketing company can help brands navigate this fast-paced landscape, crafting strategies that leverage trending topics and maximize engagement. This collaboration ensures that businesses remain relevant and influential in the ever-changing social media sphere.

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