The Truth behind BookTok – Common Questions and Misconceptions

BookTok, the side of TikTok dedicated to talking about books, has been steadily growing for the past year. However, as it gets more attention, there have been several common themes in discussions surrounding the platform.

As a BookToker, I’ve learned quite a bit about this platform. So today, I want to share my thoughts on the conversations I’ve been seeing about this community, and hopefully clear up some concerns.

BookTok is a fairly new platform that is constantly changing. If you’d like to learn more about the beginning of the platform and my thoughts on the direction it might be going in, I discussed those subjects in another post. In that post, you’ll also find a list of creators I highly suggest following!

Do authors need to have a BookTok account to sell their books?

Authors don’t have to be BookTok if they don’t want to!

Yes, TikTok can help authors sell books, but it also can be time consuming. In order to do well on the app, it’s important to stay on top of trends, which usually involving hours of scrolling on your FYP (For You Page) to see what other content creators are making.

If you don’t already enjoy being on TikTok, then making videos on the app might only make you miserable. Instead, it might be better for you to reach out to BookTokers and see if they’ll work with you to promote your book.

With so many creators on the platform, there are plenty who would love to help your book find the right readers!

Do BookTokers make a lot of money?

This is probably the topic I’ve seen discussed the most, so let’s dive right in.

Yes, BookTokers can get paid, but they aren’t making as much money as you might think.

There are two main ways BookTokers can make money: sponsorships and the creator fund.

They can opt into the creator fund if it’s offered in their country and if they meet the requirements. However, it only pays creators around 2-4 cents per 1,000 views. So, for most creators, this doesn’t add up to a lot.

Sponsorships are the better way to make money on the app, but they’re also not a reliable source of income. Only some creators, who usually have large platforms, get offered sponsorships. And even for those creators, they’re rare.

For those BookTokers who do get sponsorship opportunities, the amount they make can vary. Every BookToker’s sponsorship rate is different, usually depending on their follower count and average reach. However, I will say that I don’t know anyone who’s made thousands of dollars for one post.

Note:

The conversation around BookTokers making money is often linked to how book bloggers are not paid for their work. And while I wanted to clear up misconceptions about how much BookTokers make, I think it’s also important to emphasize that book bloggers work incredibly hard and deserved to be paid as well.

Are BookToker’s authentic? Do they disclose their sponsorships?

Yes! All BookTok videos must comply with FTC guidelines, so creators will always disclose when they’ve been sponsored or sent an item by a brand.

Typically, you’ll see this in either a spoken or written disclosure in the video, as well as in the caption. TikTok has also created a new feature in the app to ensure videos follow these guidelines.

Also, while some BookTokers might be paid or sent free books, those videos are not the majority of BookTok videos. In addition, being sent the book doesn’t necessarily mean the BookToker isn’t genuinely excited for it. I understand concerns about authenticity, but BookTok, like any other book community online, is full of fans who are just excited to talk about the books they love.

Do all BookTokers only recommend the same 5 books?

I have seen this comment since the beginning of BookTok, and I think I know why it’s so common.

The FYP shows you videos based on what it thinks you’ll like and interact with, and people have a tendency to interact more with videos that include books they recognize and love. Because of this, the algorithm is more likely to push out videos featuring popular books.

This causes BookTokers to want to talk about those books more, but there are BookTokers talking about other books. They can be hard to find, because those videos tend to not perform as well and are shown to less people.

If you want to see more videos featuring underrated reads, the quickest solution is to make sure you interact whenever you see one! This will teach the algorithm that those are the types of videos you want more of.

Is BookTok easy?

I can understand why many people might think this, but trust me, it’s not.

Some videos might come easily to you, maybe taking 20 minutes to an hour to film and edit, but I’ve also had videos take weeks (and sometimes months) to put together.

And while TikTok videos are short, that can become more of a challenge than a benefit. It can be hard to condense all of your thoughts into 60 seconds, and still be entertaining.

The platform itself also encourages frequent posting, with most creators posting 2-4 videos a day. This can lead to burn out really fast, if you’re not being careful.

So, in the end, BookTok isn’t inherently easier than any other platform. Each one has its own benefits and drawbacks, and it’s important to understand them so you can better prepare yourself for creating content!

As this platform continues to grow, and more people get introduced to it, I imagine there will only be more questions. If there’s anything you would like to know that I missed, leave a comment and let me know!

I have a few more BookTok posts planning, the next one will come out in the next week. I’ll be sharing advice for anyone looking to get started on BookTok, whether as a reader or author.

In the meantime, if you’re looking to join BookTok, or looking to grow your account, I have a post discussing some BookTok tips and tricks!

- cait









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One thought on “The Truth behind BookTok – Common Questions and Misconceptions

  1. Susana @susanalovesbooks

    This post was really insightful! I personally don’t have tiktok but I’ve heard some of the concerns you featured, such as the one about book bloggers not being paid for their work. There has been a lot of discourse on that lately from what I saw in one of Jess Owen’s videos. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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