A constant topic of discussion in the publishing profession is “how important is social media”? A lot of those discussions take the form of pressuring already harried authors to spend hours on social media promoting their books. As much as that is a reality, it leaves out another very important group of book people—those faithful Bloggers, Booktokkers, Booktubers, Bookstagrammers, and other social media reviewers who aren’t authors themselves. I can’t overstate how important these wonderful people are to the publishing industry. More than once I’ve had a review go semi-viral and lead to great leaps in the Amazon rankings, emails from screen producers, and once, a space on the Oklahoma bestsellers list!
But it goes beyond that, bookish social media fulfills any functions in publishing, helping open doors and close gaps, discover new voices, reanimate neglected genres, and much more. Below are 10 reasons Book Bloggers, Booktokkers, Booktubers, and Bookstagrammers matter:
- Bloggers, Booktokkers, Booktubers, and Bookstagrammers review and promote genres that rarely get media airtime including YA, romance and erotica, horror, and other genres that are typically maligned by mainstream publications.
- Book Bloggers, Booktokkers, Booktubers, and Bookstagrammers review indie published books. For an indie author to get a look-in at a major publication they need to be “a phenomenon” and even then, they are usually only profiled as some kind of offensive or embarrassing anomaly.
- Book Bloggers, Booktokkers, Booktubers, and Bookstagrammers come from all walks of life. You don’t need a degree in journalism from Stanford to be a book blogger. You don’t need to be the son of a prominent newspaper editor. You need a laptop and a library card. You don’t even need a laptop.
- Book Bloggers, Booktokkers, Booktubers, and Bookstagrammers can specialize in certain genres, and become not only experts in that genre but evangelists for it. Many focus on dark romance, paranormal books, or sweet YA for example.
- Book Bloggers, Booktokkers, Booktubers, and Bookstagrammers are often women, LGBT, POC and/or disabled and while some focus on books that represent a particular identity, which is both helpful and great, others read widely and celebrate, or criticize, whatever they see fit.
- Book Bloggers, Booktokkers, Booktubers, and Bookstagrammers come in all ages. Unlike the Baby Boomer dominated mainstream media, bookish social media has disaffected Gen X-ers, hyper-connected Millennials, and the online natives Gen Zs. Even “Alpha” kids as young as seven or eight post about books—it’s awesome.
- Book Bloggers, Booktokkers, Booktubers, and Bookstagrammers are not beholden to advertising. If they want to sing the praises of smut-tastic gay erotica, or pan a treacly and didactic Christian romance, no amount of pressure from Chic-Fil-A is going to stop them.
- Book Bloggers, Booktokkers, Booktubers, and Bookstagrammers ENGAGE with readers and writers. They don’t sit atop some Manhattan high-rise sipping kale smoothies with Jonathan Franzen while Joyce Carol Oates reads poetry in the light of an Arco floor lamp. They meet to drink cheap martinis in dive bars in Vegas or soy mochas in small town coffee shops with cats.
- Book Bloggers, Booktokkers, Booktubers, and Bookstagrammers are ON POINT with social media and new technology. If they like a book, not only will it appear on their blog, but it will be Facebooked, tweeted, pinned, YouTubed, Instagrammed, and Tiktocked up the wazoo. Not only that but they RULE when it comes to eReading and eBooks. If a book is exclusive to eBook, Book Bloggers, Booktokkers, and Bookstagrammers will be ALL OVER it. They love audiobooks, too.
- Book Bloggers, Booktokkers, Booktubers, and Bookstagrammers not only respect trends, they make them. They practically invented “Romantasy” which every major literary agent is now clamoring for. They love the New Adult category and are still trying to keep it alive despite the mainstream industry’s insistence to “stop trying to make New Adult a thing.” They have kept paranormal romance alive and kicking, despite agents’ weary protestations that it was “over”. Things don’t become “over” with Book Bloggers, Booktokkers, Booktubers, and Bookstagrammers. If one Booktuber gets sick of Shifter Erotica or dystopian YA, there’s always a Booktokker who just discovered it.
I could go on. While the mainstream media floats around in the haze of their own over-educated, organic lemongrass-scented farts, Book Bloggers, Booktokkers, and Bookstagrammers have revolutionized how books are written, promoted, bought, and read.
I, for one, am for it. You got this, girls (and guys). You got this.
About the Author
G.S. (Gabrielle) Prendergast is the bestselling author of numerous books for children and teens. She studied writing at the University of New South Wales in Australia, at San Francisco State University and the University of British Columbia. After years of working in the music industry, in social welfare, and the film industry, Gabrielle began writing books when she became a mother, so she could work from home. Her books have received nominations for the White Pine Award, the Canadian Library Association Award, the Vancouver Book Prize and several other honors. She won the BC Book Prize for her YA sci-fi Zero Repeat Forever and the Westchester Award for her YA novel in verse Audacious. Born in the UK and both an Australian and New Zealand citizen, Gabrielle now lives in East Vancouver in a permanent state of “under-construction.”