TikTok challenges can range from the sublime to the ridiculous and even the dangerous. There are challenges over art projects, school bathrooms, and sometimes fatally, boat jumping. Now, TikTok may have a challenge for publishers.

In May, TikTok’s China-based parent company, ByteDance, sought a trademark for its own book publishing imprint, to be called 8th Note Press. TechCrunch and others have reported the fledgling publisher is approaching self-published romance authors with offers for book deals. The advances aren’t large, but the implications for the industry are enormous.

TikTok has already made the fortunes of many authors, particularly in trade book publishing, and especially for the romance genre. Mark Gottlieb, vice president and literary agent with Trident Media Group, believes the video-sharing platform is also having an impact on other publishing markets, including business books.

A TikTok Challenge for Publishing

“Even while TikTok is primarily known more for its entertainment-oriented content, it has definitely a growing community of business professionals and entrepreneurs who share their tips, their insights, and their recommendations related to the business world,” Gottlieb tells me.

“TikTok’s ability to present information in these short or bite-sized, engaging videos can make complex or otherwise difficult-to-understand business concepts a lot more accessible or easily digestible to a broader audience,” he explains.

“So business authors and experts can leverage TikTok to promote their books. They can share a lot of the key takeaways, engage with readers, and thereby potentially expand their reach and influence. The platform’s algorithm-driven content discovery can help business books gain visibility and reach new audiences. So TikTok serves two functions – discovery, in terms of preexisting business books, but also identifying people who could be writing business books.”


Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's Velocity of Content podcast series, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Senior Director, Marketing, he is responsible for organizing and hosting programs that address the business needs of all stakeholders in publishing and research. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Independent (London), WBUR-FM, NPR, and WGBH-TV.
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