By Iqbal Hussain
Can you imagine reaching over 29 billion people looking for book content in one place? Sounds surreal and yet TikTok has destroyed this benchmark. #Booktok is everyone's guilty little secret. We have all heard it or used it, but the truth is it has become its own entity.
TikTok's part in the book community is here to stay. From reviewers and authors trying to be heard, to the debates over what is better: Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) or the Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare? A debate still yet to be decided.
Some authors have seen a 60% boost in sales between 2021-2022 due to the popularity of the platform, spreading the word from the latest romance novels to the mythical fantasies that have kept us hooked until the early hours of the morning (we’ve all done it).
It is no surprise ByteDance the owner of TikTok has decided to throw its hat into the ring to monetise the marketing impact of their app. It has recently launched its publishing house, 8th Note Press, to obtain rights to new, upcoming and independent authors, for its forthcoming focus on the eBook market.
What did TikTok have to say for themselves you ask? They described it as not only a publisher, but an ecosystem where people can find, buy, read, review and discuss books. You can imagine why this has trended in the news, and how this could have repercussions for the rest of the publishing industry.
Have you ever wandered into an independent or high street bookshop and noticed dedicated sections highlighting books with messages stating #Booktok? Well, other imprints and publishing houses have noticed too. Adding fuel to the flame, ByteDance has hired publishing veteran Katherine Pelz, the former Penguin Random House editor, to lead acquisitions.
What secrets we can tell you, is that the offers being made to these authors, who have gone on to vocalise them in the public domain, are less competitive than those who are already established as independent authors. The deals are also less than what is being provided by traditional publishing houses.
That being said, there is an untapped potential for authors who have novels that are ripe for the taking, ones that may not have previously been appreciated enough and are just awaiting a chance to shine.
And like everyone else, we are excited to see what BookTok has planned next and who they acquire in the next coming months. Stay tuned for future updates!