Marketing My Books: Adventures on TikTok


The problem with being an author and/or publisher is always the marketing of the products. Poetry, notoriously, doesn’t sell well. And my Pentridge books, I have always thought, are probably for a niche market anyway. Then, I made some poor decisions about the printing – mainly, an over-optimistic print run instead of going straight to POD and ebooks.

So it was exciting to come across an affordable course in which a poet who markets her work VERY successfully on TikTok teaches other writers how to do likewise. She says that after exploring marketing via social media, she has found that TikTok is the platform which gets the best results.

I have now, a little belatedly, looked up her poetry and found that it is the kind currently very popular, which addresses issues like staying positive (one of her tags is 'mental health') and which doesn’t go in for much in the way of poetic devices. I’m putting it as kindly as possible, because her course itself IS practical and useful. I’m just not sure any more that the kind of poetry I write is going to sell any better on TikTok than anywhere else.

However, a kind friend sourced a tripod for me and had it delivered, and I’ve been practising like mad.  It’s been relatively easy to work out what lighting is best and where to situate the tripod, but OMG, the presentation! When I’m in live performance, I’m still a hit; I get lots of applause and people compliment me on how I ‘own the stage’ – but  on video, so far I sound and look incredibly stilted. Ah yes, it is indeed a different medium. So I haven't posted any of my attempts so far. I'll need to do a lot more experimenting yet.

TikTok itself has been quite a revelation, though. It’s kinda nuts, and much to my surprise I adore it. (Even though there's a lot of stuff I just skip over.) Almost immediately I stumbled across an Aussie comedian called Carl Barron. He’s rude, laconic and REALLY funny, in a distinctively laid-back Aussie way. I’m in love!

Somehow, I have already posted a video which I didn't mean to. I didn’t make it, at least not on purpose. Maybe TikTok gave it to me without being asked, or maybe it was some kind of accident thing in the course of my exploring the place and the buttons. Anyway, it’s my profile pic plus a funny little pop song thing which is a far cry from my kind of music, telling people that if they go away they won’t be here, or something like that. And people keep liking it – people I do know and people I don’t know. Weird! But hey, I’m not knocking it. It’s a pleasant surprise to get any likes and followers, especially with content I haven’t actually created.