I’m not much of a TikToker, but I’m trying to be one

If you haven’t already noticed in my social media links, I now have a TikTok account. I will be the first one to admit that I’m not very good at it and I doubt the Chinese have any interest in the metadata of a independent author of fantasy and steampunk novels. It was the next logical step in further promotion and marketing as an author. I am nowhere near the expertise and zaniness of some of the people on TikTok. I primarily use it to promote my books, events, special announcements, and even some personal holiday fun. Beyond that, it’s difficult to wrap my head around this social media giant.

It’s so much easier in Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to just post a photo and write-up. With TikTok, I have to create a video, add music, stickers, effects, and text. It’s such a process to post a simple thirty second video. I think why I am struggling with TikTok. It’s too much work for one simple person. I mean, I use Hootsuite to publish to my other social media sites (highly recommend it to burgeoning indie authors). It’s FREE for up to three social media accounts and you can schedule up to ten times. There is a paid version but the free works well enough for me to stay ahead of the game.

TikTok, on the other hand, takes time and patience. There are a lot of great people that are fun to watch and they make it look so easy. Maybe its the old man in me. I am nearly 60 but I’ve stayed up on technology since I first typed on a TRS-80 (look it up if you don’t know what one is). I just can’t get into the videos of repeating voice overs of comics or famous movie and television scenes. Even the weird filters aren’t me. I just want to talk about my books, show videos from the events I attend, and that’s it.

There are a lot of great connections on TikTok. I met Teri Schnaubelt (@terischnaubelt on TikTok) a voice over artist who read a section of my book The River of Souls. It was great having a professional do something like that for FREE to hear my words come to life. Pop over to her TikTok page to hear more great books being read by a true professional and great lady. The other authors on there are supportive as well, promoting your books to readers and even giving ideas. Someone posted a video of using mini-candy bars as giveaways by wrapping them in book covers to look like little books. I did that and they came out great. You can really find a lot of good ideas on TikTok.

So, if you are on TikTok, come find me, follow and I will follow back, and hopefully I can get the hang of this new social media and make some fun and interesting content. I’m always open to suggestions.

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Mark Piggott is an award-winning independent author of several fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. A 23-year U.S. Navy veteran, his stories will take you from the shores of eternal Avalon to a dystopian steampunk future and other worlds.

The Forever Avalon fantasy book series—including Forever Avalon, The Dark Tides, and The Outlander War—is available online at Amazon and other booksellers. His fantasy steampunk novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for The River of Souls fantasy novella from Curious Corvid Publishing. Coming in 2023 from Curious Corvid—the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel. Stay tuned for more new fantastic stories from the imagination of Mark Piggott.

Writers beware! Social media will not let you write!

It’s safe to say that, in this world of perpetual quarantine, we have become a society “social media” parasites. We are living vicariously through our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Twitch, Zoom, and more. It is the only way we are communicating, coming together, and sharing ideas.

For writers, especially independent authors like me, social media is our bread and butter when it comes to marketing. I work at least 20 hours a week on social media, between designing posts and imagery to scheduling them, responding to queries, etc. When you’re working a full time job, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for eating, sleeping, or writing for that matter.

Plus, there is the draw, the allure, of social media. Between crazy cat videos, cute puppy videos, TikTok girls, creative artwork, and inspirational quotes, there is a constant draw into the world of social media. It’s part of the constant distraction of the internet, the kryptonite of authors. We want to sit and write, but the flow is interrupted. 

“If your content isn’t driving conversation, you’re doing it wrong.”Dan Roth, LinkedIn’s executive editor

Social media is a necessary tool for today’s authors. Through it, you can collaborate with other authors, find new readers, and promote your latest novel. It’s how we “IndieAuthors” find our niche in the book world. It’s the cheapest form of marketing an author can do. I can design a post and then use that same post for Facebook or Instagram as an ad. It’s an easy way to carry over from one form of advertising to another.  I can spend $100 a month in Facebook and Instagram ads that reaches nearly 30,000 people. That’s money well spent, but only if it turns into books purchased or downloaded.

“Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes, it’s an ad.” – Howard Gossage, real-life MadMen inspiration

The other problem is that there are so many “one-off” author support sites for independent authors like me. I belong to a couple of different sites, allauthor.com and bookbrush.com, that I pay an annual fee for tools in designing ads and social media posts, direct posts to other authors and readers, and a support network of other independent authors. They have been a great asset for me, but there are some out there that are scams who want money to send out tweets about your book to imaginary lists of people. So, beware before you buy into it.

Lastly, don’t be a social media butterfly or wallflower. You need to be aggressive in everything you do. If you aren’t paying attention, responding to comments or retweets, you might lose your audience. Don’t hesitate and be assertive, but always remember. Being a writer is the most important aspect of your job, so don’t stop writing for the sake of social media. You have to write, blog, and post, all at the same time. Multi-tasking is a bitch, but a necessary one. Remember that!

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse Publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available from Austin Macauley Publishing.