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TikTok Transformed a Self-Published Author into a BESTSELLER

By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Book Marketing

TikTok has become a major hot spot for influencing in a range of different fields. When it comes to the literary world, influencers use this digital platform to promote different books and authors in the TikTok community known as BookTok. Read more about BookTok and its benefits in an article I wrote here.

BookTok’s influence has been taken to the next level with “The Shadow Work Journal,” written by Keila Shaheen. This journal is a spiritual guide based on the concept of “the shadow self” by psychoanalyst Carl Jung. It is meant to help readers acknowledge and repair their deep-rooted emotional wounds. The debut, self-published book is now a bestseller thanks to TikTok. So how exactly did Shaheen rise to BookTok fame?

An Influencer’s Influence

TikTok influencer Kohn Glay (@girldadsos) played a critical part in the book’s success. Glay passionately promoted Shaheen’s work, telling his viewers that they needed Shaheen’s workbook to shepherd them in their spiritual journey. Glay’s viewers began to purchase Shaheen’s journal directly through TikTok Shop. According to The New York Times, “Shaheen went on to sell more than a million copies,” of which almost 700,000 were sold through TikTok Shop.

Targeting the Audience

Shaheen promotes shadow work on her TikTok profile with aura cleansing and sound healing, as well as leading viewers through some of the exercises in her journal. The escalation of Shaheen’s sales further proves a point that I made in my article on BookTok, which is that “many users, especially the younger generations, are drawn to organic promotions directly from their source rather than traditional advertising.” TikTok users want to see videos that are short and straight to the point.

If a video drags on baiting the audience for too long, they’ll lose interest and scroll. TikTok influencing is about catering to short attention spans, which is why influencers like Glay were so effective in their promotion of “The Shadow Work Journal,” diving right in at the beginning of his videos to get people hooked on the topic.

Not only was Glay strategic about his marketing, but his endorsement of Shaheen’s work is authentic and real. It is evident that he truly cares about his viewers discovering shadow work in order to better themselves, and this is what made his influence so impactful.

TikTok Sells

As stated in The New York Times, Shaheen has made history with TikTok “by fully harnessing its potential not just for marketing, but for direct sales.” Glay’s viewers were directly influenced by his videos on Shaheen’s work, which caused them to switch tabs and purchase it immediately through the app. This is a true testament to the ability TikTok has not only to market and promote, but to actually sell a book. With over 1 billion users, TikTok has the potential to not only reach a wide market, but its rapid and convincing format has proven to convert leads to meaningful sales.

Bending the Rules of Becoming a Bestseller

Shaheen signed with publisher Simon & Schuster after her book became a bestseller. She was able to reach this point solely because of the way the app launched her into success. Agent Albert Lee of United Talent Agency told The New York Times, “It breaks all the rules of what makes a best seller,” because the book was self-published by an unestablished author with no expansion beyond the United States. Shaheen is a prime example of the truly revolutionary things TikTok is doing for authors.

For advice on jumping on the TikTok train, check out David Alan Arnold’s Facebook Group called How to Grow on TikTok. He is the author of Help From Above as well as the Deadliest Catch helicopter cameraman, and he has 1.8 million followers on TikTok (@davidalanarnold). “I will show you the good and the bad,” Arnold says, “Let’s help each other grow.”

The Bottom Line: Start growing a profile on TikTok now! Use the app to your book’s advantage, and you could be the next author to go from debut to bestseller.

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Book Marketing at https://www.WestwindBookMarketing.com or contact Lorenz at [email protected] or 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist. Want help titling a book? Check out Scott Lorenz’s new award-winning, bestselling book: Book Title Generator- A Proven System in Naming Your Book www.BookTitleGenerator.net.

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