Monday, February 28, 2022

Writers: The TikTok Market 101

Thistletoe Q. Packrat puppet & Friend

My main social media concentration lately on promoting my books has been a chosen few: Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. I wouldn’t have considered TikTok except that an author in my NM-SCBWI chapter—Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators—created ten videos, each in a different place in her house, and is in the process of posting them on TikTok.

I had been operating on the assumption that TikTok viewers weren’t my market—just young kids fooling around. Wrong! My friend the enterprising author told me that TikTok attracts viewers of all ages. According to Brian Dean’s Jan. 5, 2022 article (among others), TikTok has 1 billion active monthly global users. Out of 4.48 billion active social media users, 22.32% use TikTok on a regular basis. How many Americans use TikTok? Dean: “eMarketer estimates suggest that TikTok has 73.7 million monthly active users in the U.S.”

I decided to jump in.

How Does TikTok Work?

First, I needed to understand what TikTok is and learn how it works. Basically, “TikTok is a social app used to create and share videos.” (Maggie Tillman, “Pocket-lint” article, Aug. 9, 2021) TikTok users can film videos of themselves doing any number of things, such as in our case, creating a 15-30 second introduction to our books. For more information, Tillman’s article offers a good rundown of the “how-to” of creating a video, or go to the TikTok site, open an account, and explore your options. 

TikTok Influencers

There is a way to narrow down your audience by locating them on TikTok “influencers.” Oh my. Since I write books for young children, my basic market, mainly moms, is in the 20-49 age range. According to Dean’s article, that accounts for over 50% of TikTok viewers. In the U.S., female users outnumber males 2:1.

TikTok Influencers, therefore, bear considerable exploration. More information on TikTok Influencers can be found by studying information provided by Neal Schaffer.

How to Get Started

At Staples, I purchased a Halo-Light Pro kit for about $50. The kit includes a 10” LED ring light, and a tripod, phone mount and microphone, with a flexible stand that extends to 5 ft. The ring light has 12-Watt output, 10 brightness levels, and 3 light modes: white, natural, and warm. My reasoning for this choice is to ease into the market. Later, more sophisticated equipment might be necessary.

So far, I’ve practiced creating videos with my kit. I’m glad I took the time to do this before “air time.” There were a few things to learn about myself. I wrote a simple script on a 3x5 card for each book and held the book up while talking. Yikes! I found that I wasn’t smiling the whole time. Smiling made my presentation lighter and more fun to watch. I have this bad habit of looking up to the right and to the left at different times if I’m thinking about what to say next! Good to know!

Where to hold the book turned out to be the biggest challenge. Should I hold it in front of my face while telling what the book is about? No. Hold it to the side. Fine, but care needed to be taken to show the entire page, not just part of it.

One of my 30-second (timed on my phone) scripts goes something like this:

"Hi, my name is Linda Wilson. I write books for young children. I’d like to introduce you to my picture book, Tall Boots.

Tall Boots is about a young girl who loves to ride horses, but she has to wear her old red galoshes for riding lessons. Her dream is to wear tall, shiny black boots: real riding boots. How does she earn her tall boots? Find out by scrolling to “Books” on Amazon and writing in Tall Boots by Linda Wilson. See you there!"

What else Can You Do with Your Ring-Light Kit?

Another way I’m putting my ring-light kit to use is by creating videos of puppet shows. The Moriarity school system, about 40 minutes from Albuquerque where I live, requested interested authors from my SCBWI chapter to read our books on Google Meets. The schools were celebrating the recent 2022 World Read-Aloud Day, on February 2nd. We would be assigned a class. I practiced the puppet play for my picture book, A Packrat’s Holiday: Thistletoe’s Gift, using puppets, props, and the book. Alas, a snowstorm that day closed the Moriarity schools. Not to worry. I now have prepared materials to present this puppet play and other puppet plays on videos with my ring-light kit and in person to schools and libraries. The practice was a big help.

The biggest surprise is how much fun I’m having! I think the effort to create videos will be worth it, not only for TikTok of course, but for my website and all other social media.

Many of you reading this post are most likely experts at what I’m just now discovering. If you have tips to share about TikTok and creating videos, please leave a comment. We at Writers on the Move would love to hear from you.

Sources: 

https://support.tiktok.com/en/getting-started/creating-an-account 

https://backlinko.com/tiktok-users, “TikTok User Statics (2022),” by Brian Dean.

https://www.pocket-lint.com/apps/news/146960-what-is-tiktok-the-musical-ly-successor-explained




Linda Wilson writes stories for young children. Visit Linda at https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com. Sign up for Linda’s quarterly giveaways. Choose your prize! 

Find Linda’s books at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor.

Connect with Linda: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

Tweetable: @LinWilsonauthor




7 comments:

Terry Whalin said...

Linda,

I was fascinated to read these details about your use of Tik Tok. I've been watching this social media platform but haven't taken the plunge--yet. I know particularly on Book Tik Tok, it is selling books. Cheering your success,

Terry
author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition)

lastpg said...

Thank you, Terry. I'm still practicing and will open my videos to the world soon!

deborah lyn said...

WOW Linda, thank you. I've never heard of Tik Tok - glad to know :)

Jennifer Bohnhoff said...

I haven't touched Tik Tok yet. You give me hope that I might just do it! Good for you.

Karen Cioffi said...

Linda, I'm so impressed with your marketing endeavors! I know TikTok exists, but thought of it as a kids' site. Thanks for the detailed tips on getting into it. I just added Instagram to my networks and trying to find time to learn it. Next I'll look into TikTok. Thanks for sharing!

lastpg said...

You're welcome everybody! I hope this post helps! I'm still gathering my courage to jump onto TikTok!

Angela said...

Thanks you Linda for this post. I'm still learning TikTok too. I love having a ring light, this was a great investment for me. I use it for Zoom meetings and everything.Most of my TkTok posts are based on crazy things that happen to me in life. I'm still trying to figure out how to make it work for my book and connecting with that audience. Your article has given me the push to explore that more.

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