However, this move has sparked worry among authors who fear that the social media giant may prioritize promoting its own books, potentially jeopardizing the organic success of BookTok.
BookTok, a vibrant community of book enthusiasts on TikTok, has become a powerful platform for authors, particularly in the romance and fantasy genres.
Through viral videos and discussions, both established and emerging writers have experienced newfound fame, with some achieving unexpected success without actively engaging with TikTok’s content creation.
Nevertheless, authors are expressing concerns about ByteDance potentially exploiting its algorithm-driven feed to prioritize the promotion of books from 8th Note Publishing over other works that may have otherwise organically gained popularity.
Given the desire to reach BookTok’s vast audience, authors fear that their books might be overshadowed by the company’s own publications.
Ella Fox, a self-published author and TikTok content advertising specialist, emphasized the value of getting exposure to BookTok’s engaged audience and the concern surrounding ByteDance’s potential bias towards its own books.
This worry stems from the knowledge that securing such visibility is highly coveted within the publishing industry.
Publishing professionals echo these concerns, emphasizing that while viral success can attract attention, it does not guarantee actual book sales.
Cindy Hwang, the vice president and editorial director of Berkley, a prominent publisher of mainstream commercial and genre fiction, highlighted the disparity between gaining online popularity and converting it into tangible sales.
Moreover, the 8th Note Publishing has yet to offer authors competitive advances when compared to traditional publishing houses.
This financial aspect raises further skepticism about the benefits and support authors might receive from the new publishing venture.
In response to the apprehensions raised, TikTok assured SurgeZirc SA that 8th Note Publishing would function as a separate entity from TikTok itself, aiming to alleviate concerns regarding preferential treatment.
As TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance ventures into publishing with 8th Note Publishing, authors on BookTok are wary of potential bias towards promoting its own books.
While viral success on TikTok can generate exposure, questions remain regarding its impact on actual book sales.
Additionally, 8th Note Publishing’s lack of competitive advances compared to traditional publishers adds to the concerns voiced by authors.
TikTok has assured that the publishing venture will operate independently, seeking to address apprehensions about favoritism.