Today, I (and many other writers) received a survey from a marketing mentor asking about TikTok. Apparently, this is the direction advertising and selling books is heading. Mind you, for a young, tech-savvy fifty-year-old, I am perfectly comfortable with video, including platforms like TikTok. Chatting with an audience is easy if I know in advance what I want to say. But, like many folks (both young and old), I have to prioritize where I’m putting my energy. There’s just too much social media to keep up with. I use a social media aggregator, and hired a social media manager to fill it up for me because I don’t have enough hours in the day to manage a Twitter, 5-6 FB pages, etc… and still have time to write. I don’t auto-post to Instagram because, as an amateur photographer, I want to keep that as a place to share photographs. And I manage my main FB page and FB reader group along with this website. I just don’t have the time or inclination at the moment to add a TikTok to the mix, too. (Video editing can take a long time and be rather tedious). There simply aren’t enough hours in my day to do it all. At least not right now.
Years ago, someone told me to stick with ONE social media platform and do it well. Social media for writers is not about selling books. It’s about being SOCIAL with your readers. TikTok is the same thing. Be social with your readers, and selling books is the natural result. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I’ve sold more books having conversations about cats and common interests than I have from constantly pushing my books in people’s faces.
My marketing mentor is right. TikTok is the new hot thing for writers/readers, and everyone in between. But writers are going to have to weigh adding yet another social media platform to their schedule against whether or not they’re going to have time to write the next book. I’m guessing readers want the next book more than they want a 30 second TikTok from their favorite writer. When you don’t have a lot of time – you have to pick one or the other. Writers and their readers can’t always have both unless the writer has oodles of spare time.
What say all of you? Do you think writers should keep chasing all the marketing trends and do them all, even if it’s half-assed (and spread themselves thin and release fewer books)? Or should they focus on one or two social media platforms (and do it well), write the books, and not chase the TikTok trend if it means taking time away from the actual writing?
EDITED TO ADD: The one time I would tell a writer to drop their current social media and jump on TikTok is if they’re writing Middle Grade, YA Fiction, or New Adult Fiction. Because TikTok is where those age groups hang out (primarily).
PLEASE NOTE: I am not dissing TikTok. If you’re a writer and that’s your platform — more power to you. I’m just saying it’s not my platform at the moment, and I’m not sure I want to spread myself thin by trying to turn it into my platform right now.