The key to these promotional videos is that the content on TikTok is randomized—this means that anyone can stumble upon the store’s account, which makes reaching new customers relatively simple. By reaching out and establishing a presence in communities like BookTok, independent bookstores can definitely increase sales and establish more loyal customers.
When J.K. Rowling disgraced her transgender fans, the fan community rose up and pushed her out, taking control of the fandom for themselves.
It’s normal for films and TV to display warnings and ratings, and even in the publishing industry we sort material into age-appropriate categories based on content and language. Now the discussion is underway about advancing this one step further to include specific content warnings—also called trigger warnings—as we contemplate accessibility and how we can incorporate mental health practices into our work. But what is a content warning exactly, and how does it apply to book publishing? When is it appropriate, and when is it redundant? Is it only the finished, printed book that needs to be properly tagged, or is it important for authors querying out to agents and publishers as well?
Consumers often choose companies that they can trust and that they feel connected to. Transparency goes a long way with current and future customers.
I think that honest representation makes marketing a book easy because the novel speaks for itself. Authors need to write their own stories, and I hope in the future they are represented and supported by publishers so that these stories—the ones with honesty and vulnerability—can reach the young adults who need it.
Marketing is an intersectional endeavor. As publishing professionals, we need to talk to our editors and acquisition teams about the kind of content we are publishing, we need to talk to the artists who are creating covers for our books, and we need to combine all of these elements together when we create our copy and really ask ourselves if what we are doing is an accurate representation of the work we are putting out.