With publishers looking to figure out BookTok and the effect this new frontier of social media has on the industry, indie authors should know what they’re dealing with! Rebecca Regnier took her old media experience and explored what it takes to succeed in a new media world. In this week’s SPI, she joins us to talk about getting the most out of TikTok and Reels as an author.
Author and award-winning journalist Rebecca Regnier turned an old newspaper column into a viral video on TikTok and opened up a whole new avenue for her work. With over 25,000 followers, 400,000 likes and millions of views for her most viral video, Rebecca will discuss how to use small snippets from your work to gain more views and connect with new readers.
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Rebecca Regnier, Kevin Tumlinson
Kevin Tumlinson 00:01
It is show time, or so StreamYard likes to tell me, and I’m glad that we’re all here. Thank you for tuning in to another week of Self-Publishing Insiders with Draft2Digital. And this time, we’re going to be talking about TikTok and Reels. And the person, the only person who is qualified to lead us as a Sherpa on that journey is Rebecca Regnier. Welcome, Rebecca, to the show.
Rebecca Regnier 00:26
Thank you so much. I think there’s probably a lot of qualified folks, I just …
Kevin Tumlinson 00:30
Nobody else on the show.
Rebecca Regnier 00:33
Sure. I’m the most qualified person in this double frame.
Kevin Tumlinson 00:35
Yeah. Everyone who has showed up on screen right now, you are certainly the most qualified. So. Hello, thank you for joining us. Now, before we jump into what you know, I might consider this scary stuff. Not really, I’m not really scared of it. But I don’t know much about TikTok, I have a very special person on my team. And she knows everything. So I let her do all the work. But before we jump into TikTok and things related, why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you’re bringing to the table.
Rebecca Regnier 01:09
My pleasure. So it’s a kind of important thing to get the background a little bit because I do think my background does have something to do with why TikTok and Reels are an environment that I feel comfortable in. So I originally, I live in the midwest, for 20 plus years I was a television news anchor and television news reporter and television news host. So my background really is in visual storytelling, which I think is important to point out. I’m used to using the camera to tell a story, and to tell it briefly. So a lot of us that are going to be tuning into these you know, 50, 60, 70,000-word tomes. With TikTok, it’s a short form, short form video and television news, you have a minute and a half to tell a story, nine times out of 10 that’s your limit. So I was used to those kinds of things. So I did that for 20 plus years. And then, kind of towards the end of my television news career, I came upon indie authorship as a possibility. I always kind of thought about being an author and had done some of the traditional publishing steps earlier and thought, oh, I don’t know if I can. So I started in the end of my career started doing indie authorship and the publishing did well enough so that I could say, you know what, I’m tired of getting up at three in the morning to go to the television station. I like to sleep till eight o’clock. I was able to transition careers. So I’ve been a full time indie author from 2018 on, my main genre used to be paranormal women’s fiction, but recently, I’ve done a lot with women’s fiction kind of beachy read type women’s fiction. And then I have an alternative pen name, Rebecca Rane, which is R-A-N-E, and with that I do suspense thrillers. So I have three suspense thrillers on that other pen name, so two pen names. And right now beachy fiction is my main reason that I’m using TikTok, the thing that I’m using to get the word out.
Kevin Tumlinson 03:08
So weird, that’s my pen name. Beachy Fiction.
Rebecca Regnier 03:12
Beachy Fiction. What’s your name? Oh, well, Nora Roberts is my pen name.
Kevin Tumlinson 03:20
Nora Roberts. Grisham. You heard of me. So that’s very cool. So you and I discussed a little before the program that we have a kind of a shared background and in programming and television, that sort of thing. So I’m curious now because I haven’t seen your TikTok stuff. I’m sorry. Poor research on my part. But do you tend to treat that like a segment?
Rebecca Regnier 03:51
No. So I started out with TikTok like a lot of people did in the pandemic. I mean, it was totally entertainment completely. You’re bored. You’ve watched everything on Netflix, what are you going to do now? Kind of thing. So I started that way. I’ve never been afraid of social media. I wrote a book about Twitter in 2010. Okay, so I’ve never been afraid of like diving in on a social media platform and learning about it and enjoying its environment. Staying with TikTok and because of the pandemic, there was such amazing content on there. So I started an account, started watching, started enjoying just like everybody else, you know, dancing videos or cute puppy videos, or you know, whatever it is that you hear about TikTok, I totally loved all that stuff. I tried to do some lip syncing at first, like my early account, you can see and, you know, me doing whatever the form was at the time I was trying. But I realized kind of quickly that I am a content creator. So my other job that I’ve done for 20 plus years as a as a humor columnist for a newspaper. And so I thought, I’m a creator. I’m creating books. I’m creating columns. I should create for this platform versus just always lip sync or try to do other stuff like that. So I made a commitment. Once a day, I’m going to try to post some original piece of content. And once I did that, it’s kind of a classic TikTok tale. I posted, I looked at some of my old columns, and I posted a video in relation to one of my old columns, and put the phone down, went about my life, and like two hours later, I looked and there was like, half a million views. Within a day, there’s a million. Within three days, I hit 3 million. So and that was original content, my own, not of my own little brain and saying that, okay, this is the place, this is the way I’m gonna move forward on TikTok with things that are mine that I come up with. And I’ve since gone viral a couple of different times like that, were there, this is my observation or my humorous little bit of whatever. And I grew my account pretty quickly to around 30-some thousand followers, and I realized that I probably should be marketing my books here, too. So I tried doing that. And I had some success with that. But then that really got me into TikTok for fiction authors, like how are people using it? What works? What are the avenues that I need to learn get better at. So when I launched my latest series, which like I said, is beachy fiction, I decided I’m gonna go with an account that’s specific to that. So I have Rebecca Regnier on TikTok, which is just basically Gen X humor, it’s Gen X moms that are my followers, that relate to what I’m talking about. But it’s pretty much in that niche. If those are the if I put a video up in relation to those type topics, it’s gonna go pretty well for me, if I get out of that niche and start posting about books that I’m writing, it doesn’t do as well. So I thought, I’m going to dedicate one account, to writing to my writing to specifically to my beachy fiction, not even you know, it’s not suspense writing, it’s not paranoia, more normal women’s fiction, it is beachy fiction that I’m writing so that a second account I started in, right, when that those books were coming out, I started that account this summer, and there’s way fewer views, I have a viral or two in the beginning. But it’s more about connecting that content with those books. So that so I have two accounts. One is whatever I want to do on it. And if that if that pops, that’s great. And if you liked me, and you want to know more about me or think I’m funny, and that’s a great platform, great. But I don’t kind of restrict myself to trends, I don’t restrict myself to this has to be marketing, it is literally authentically, whatever comes to mind.
Kevin Tumlinson 07:37
You treat it as its own thing, right?
Rebecca Regnier 07:39
It’s its own little lab of exactly. The other account, which is probably more what we’ll be talking about today is about how do I set up an account and feed content to it that then funnels people towards my fiction. And so that’s what I’m doing with that other account. And I mean, a lot of people have heard all kinds of amazing success stories with TikTok. And when you think about that, you think of someone like Colleen Hoover, or Emily Henry, or Sarah Moss, or you name some big authors that are really seeing the benefits of TikTok and but there are two sides to that, which is those authors had fans who made BookTok accounts, used their BookTok accounts and said, I love this book, we need to get behind it. Here’s what I love about it. So that’s one area of TikTok to talk about. And that’s amazing. And you know, if that happens for you, it can be a career game changing moment. But that’s also difficult to replicate. You can’t, you know, approaching a bunch of book tigers isn’t the best business plan. So you want to find out how can you do the other side of that is if I have a book, if I have a TikTok as an author, how do I promote my work? How do I build a community around what I’m doing? So that is the other more controllable, more definable thing, you know, if a book talker never does anything about my book, I mean, bummer. But I’m still on there doing things to promote my work and to share, you know, to share whatever I’ve got going on in the author world. So that part is what takes a lot more energy and more study and more what’s happening, what’s working. And that you know, so that that part is where I focus most of my attention and my intentional content.
Kevin Tumlinson 09:33
When you did the post about your that related to your column, like what was the story there? So you said you’re writing humor. So I’m imagining it was just sort of a, you know, a funny note to it or something?
Rebecca Regnier 09:47
So what it was is, when parents … this is basically true of all children, whether they’re adults or teens, but when your parents text you what they’re really asking is, are you alive? Yeah, it’s not what do you want for dinner? It’s not, you know, did you have a nice day? Every text we send to our kids is, are you alive?
Kevin Tumlinson 10:05
Yeah. They always respond with ransom demands.
Rebecca Regnier 10:09
Well, and also you only have, like point four seconds to respond as a teen. If your parents text you, you have like half a second to respond or we’ve gone off the deep end. So basically, that was the TikTok. That was the gist of the column. And that was the gist of the TikTok. And it went viral because it speaks to so many in every single part. And then people sharing it with their kids, meaning if I’m texting you, this is what I want to know. So it was very, super relatable to a wide variety of parents and kids. You know what I mean? Okay, so that’s what originally went viral for me.
Kevin Tumlinson 10:48
Did you relate that, when you say you related it back to the article, like did that increase traffic to that article?
Rebecca Regnier 10:54
So what it did is increased my following. And with TikTok after you have like a thousand followers, you can put a clickable link in your bio. So for me, I have a clickable link that would mean, at one point, my latest column, so whatever I’m talking about latest column, go into clickable link, and you can go read the column. When it comes to books, it’s obviously your latest book, or if you have a preorder, or whatever, you make your link tree really simple, but really directed towards whatever it is you want those viewers to do. So for me, that viral video. And again, it was a surprise, you know, you don’t plan for a button. I’m gonna have a viral video. Yeah, it doesn’t work like that.
Kevin Tumlinson 11:37
I was thinking I would knock one out after this call, actually.
Rebecca Regnier 11:40
No problem. So yeah, it is almost like having your door open. It’s like having your car door open on the freeway. Because it is like, it’s a little bit overwhelming and you have all of a sudden then put something out there that other people are going to weigh in on. You know what I mean? So you have to, yeah, it is, it’s unsettling. I’ve had a viral on Facebook, about Blue’s Clues. Almost the week before. I’m talking millions of views on Facebook. About Blue’s Clues. Yeah. So but it will it took me even after being in television for 20 years it when you’re on TV, if people are yelling at you from the other, you know from their family room? I don’t know. Right? That’s true. When you do a viral unless it’s your family. Right? Let’s it’s my mother, you. Yeah, that’s wrong with your hair. So no, the viral video, you’re seeing the comments. Yeah. So you do have to learn? How do I want to respond? Do I want to respond? How do I want to feel about other people’s reaction to this thing I did. So there’s a little bit of, you know, you need to, you know, buck up and decide how will I move forward? If you have a virus? How will I feel if I have a viral? But yeah, so those are the two levels, though, one, viral Tiktok would be as a book writer, you have fans that make something that goes viral, and you reap the benefits of them coming to your book. The flip side is we as authors are always trying to figure out how to market our books. Yeah. So with that, a lot of people are having success. It’s one of these things I have people authors ask me, Do I have to be on TikTok? It’s like, I’m 40, do I have to get that checkup, or …? Yeah, you know what I mean? Yeah, it feels like an obligation to some. Yeah. And to those I say, don’t do it, then, you know what I mean? Like, there are plenty of ways to market your book. If TikTok seems like an anthem, I do not want to do this, then. Don’t worry about it. But I will say it is, at this point, it’s a lot more open than other social medias in terms of I’m not, I’m not doing advertisements on TikTok, I am creating TikToks that either are hitting my audience or they’re not. But I’m not paying. What I’m paying is time. I mean, that’s another thing before you get in there, you have to understand that it does take time to create content for TikTok, and it’s it is for sure addictive. It is for sure. Like, oh, I’m into it. And then you start thinking in terms of TikTok, like this would be a good TikTok video. I mean, so it does worm into your brain. But if you are looking for a way to market your books without spending a bunch of cash, it’s really it’s something to explore.
Kevin Tumlinson 14:20
But you did hit the nail on the head, though, and this I’ve talked to a lot of authors about that before, is that you’re going to pay something. You’re going to pay money, or you’re going to pay time. And you know, sometimes the money is preferable just because you can’t get the time back. But when it comes to a platform like this, like if you have no overhead and you’ve got the time to do it, that sounds like it would work really great.
Rebecca Regnier 14:42
Well, and I like it, so I became … and a lot of us will get on social media platforms for our book marketing, and then abandon them. Like, how many times did you forget to put your latest post in your Facebook group or your Facebook page or Tweet it or … You know, I started this thing and then I’m not doing it. So for me, it was really something I enjoyed doing. So it’s not so much a challenge to find something to post every day. So consistency is key with TikTok. It’s not that you can’t go away and come back, but to build to have success you’re going to want to be posting consistently. I recommend to people that there are ways to do it that people are starting to learn are good and bad or best practices and not best practices. So if you’re starting on TikTok and you’ve never done it before, you almost want to have two accounts because like my Rebecca Regnier account as me, I can look at whatever I want, I don’t care what the algorithm does, I don’t care, I’m just enjoying the environment. Right? The other TikTok, Rebecca Regnier Books, it’s a very creative name. That TikTok, I was really specific. And I think that if you want to market your books on TikTok or build a community on TikTok, you have to be specific, so what a lot of authors do is almost prime the account. So let’s say, you know, it’s Jane Smith books, you go on TikTok, and you start. When you go on TikTok at first, you’ll see everything. You’ll see the dancing videos, you’ll see the cute dogs, you’ll see whatever is trending at that moment. But if you’re doing something to stay in BookTok, or Author Tok, what you need to do is scroll past all of those really entertaining videos that you think are, you know, viral, what you’re trying to do is find author and book content. So you can search for hashtags or authors you’re interested in or book countries you’re into. So then anytime a book type video comes up on your feed, that’s when you stop and watch the whole thing, that’s the one you like, that’s the one you comment on. And it almost takes a couple of days of being on TikTok, before you start seeing the feed that you want to see. Yeah, so once you go on there and start seeing, okay, I’m seeing bookshelves, I’m seeing authors talking, I’m seeing pageflip videos, I’m seeing aesthetics of a book type video, then you know, okay, this algorithm for this account understands that I’m talking about books or interested in hearing about books. Yeah. Yeah. If you don’t do that, you will be in the general population TikTok, and you’re gonna see everything in the world which again, I totally love on my other account. Oh, much twerking. So much.
Kevin Tumlinson 17:28
So what what’s what should people be aiming for? Like, I know their limits, and I’m ignorant of those limits, but like, time wise, you know, how long are each of these videos?
Rebecca Regnier 17:40
So TikToks are very short. I mean, you can do a long TikTok. But for the most part, authors having success with TikTok marketing their books or sharing their books are doing short video, they’re doing even a 7-second, 15-second, 32-second videos. They’re short, I wrote these down, so don’t forget it. But there are also kinds of forms of videos that you’re seeing, you’re seeing page flips. So I’m sure if you’ve ever gone on there, that’s where so they’re just flipping the pages. And then you’re seeing just a little snippet of the book, a little teaser of the book, or maybe even a scene or an exchange between two characters. That’s one type of video that some people love, and some people hate. But it has been successful for authors in getting people interested in their book. And then going over to those buy links and finding out what book did this come from? There are aesthetic videos, which just give you okay, your book is set in a small town in the fall. And it’s a cozy mystery. And so you get to see, oh, this is what I feel like when I’m watching this TikTok. And maybe that is the book for me. There are point of view videos, and this is one I’ve done. You could do it where you’re the character of your book. I tried that once, but it didn’t feel natural for me. You know, some authors do an amazing job at that, you know, they’re on camera. They’re not even talking, they just have kind of the scene coming, you know, scrolling on their face, and they react to the scene and I felt like because I’m a columnist and my face is out there to do other things it just it felt like wait a minute, is she Rebecca Regnier or is she now this … for me, it didn’t feel natural. So guess what, I don’t do it, which is totally what you should do as an author if it doesn’t feel like your jam, move on. Totally fine. And then other authors and this is what I do the most of in my BookTok account is I have since these are beach kind of books. I have really great video that I got myself at the lake, on the boats, on the beach, like anytime I thought this looks like my book, I shot tons and tons of videos. I have my friends, you know, hey, if you’re by the water, just send me the videos.
Kevin Tumlinson 19:45
The old B-roll trick. That’s true.
Rebecca Regnier 19:49
Yeah, it’s 100% that. And so I’ll give you a beautiful scene and then I will you know sometimes it’s in the voice of my character. You know, my husband left me. I am out of a job, I went back to my hometown by the lake or whatever. So it’s a first person kind of thing. Yeah, those have been the most successful for me. But again, you can do what you want to do. And these things change, like book flip, page flip videos are super popular right now. But people do get sick of certain things. So you want to kind of be a tune, like I spend, I don’t just post the video I spent at least about, honestly, 10 minutes a day, 15 minutes a day on that account, in that account, looking to see what’s out there, what’s happening, what are other authors doing what’s going viral, explore hashtags, and see what kind of hashtags are people using for the books that I’m writing? Or the kinds of books I’m writing? So there’s some research before I jump in and put up my TikTok.
Kevin Tumlinson 20:47
How much time would you say, in general, you spent each day producing and posting the content?
Rebecca Regnier 20:54
I would say now, I’m at about an hour a day. I’ve tried to put up so a couple of months ago, everyone complains about algorithms all the time, we always are talking about, you know, everybody’s algorithms, or whatever. Yes. And how do I figure it out, and TikTok is no different. It is an algorithm. And so gosh, three, four weeks ago, everyone was saying, oh, my views have plummeted, I was getting this amount and I’m getting this amount and, and there does seem to be changes. There are days or weeks or months that is, wait, what was that? So I had that experience 2, 3, 4 weeks ago and kind of the conventional like, I think you need to be involved with other book TikTokers to really get the most out of it. So I’m in a group called TikTok for Authors on Facebook, and I could see oh, other people are experiencing this. So it’s really helpful to know okay, what’s working to move the needle for these authors? Could it work for me? And, and I want to put a big plug in for Lila Dubois and Jane Rylan. They actually have a course called TikTok Sells Books. I mean, it’s straight up that’s what they teach. So, I did not take their course but I have interacted with them many times. And they are super informative also, and they work on mostly fiction, you know, how to how do we sell books with our, with our TikTok? So I didn’t write those different groups and associations. When I was experiencing a lull, I could go in there and we’re all saying, yeah, my views are down, what’s working for you? And how do we get out of this? And in that case, three weeks ago, four weeks ago, whenever this was happening, it was a matter of okay, you’ve got to post three times a day, they gotta be short, they gotta be really hooky. You know what I mean? Like, don’t quit, keep plugging. And even if you’re not a big fan of TikTok, I have to say what it has given me is the ability to better synopsize my books, you better zone into a wait a minute, that’s what the hook is of the scene. Better figure it out. Wait, no, there isn’t any stakes. There aren’t any stakes to this particular part of my book. No wonder no one’s gonna watch this TikTok, because it’s the who cares, right? So it does force you in a super short amount of time to say, oh, this scene here. This scene is good. This is what is going to pull someone into the rest of the story. So it kind of helps you with that concept.
Kevin Tumlinson 23:21
Yeah, using using TikTok to help sharpen your storytelling skills is, that’s an absolutely …
Rebecca Regnier 23:28
It’s absolutely good and helps with your blurbing, like when okay, in my Amazon blurb, I have this TikTok that got 100,000 views. And yet when I look at my Amazon blurb, it has nothing to do with this to the story. It’s in the book if you buy it and it’s on page 45 or whatever, but the blurb doesn’t mention this component. So it really helps you align.
Kevin Tumlinson 23:50
I kind of like that, as a kind of research tool.
Rebecca Regnier 23:54
Absolutely and you can A/B test on TikTok just like you can with anything else like. Okay, same video, same song. But I’m gonna use this phrase or this phrase, which thing is pulling people or getting the reaction that I that I want to have. So it’s super easy to A/B test.
Kevin Tumlinson 24:17
Do you do that? I think that every author says. you know what, we really should A/B test.
Rebecca Regnier 24:22
Yeah, someone else should do that. No, I do know people that do that. I want to. Here’s what I do do. If I find that a video has done well, I will take it apart. I will say okay, what components did do well about this video, what hashtags did I use? What sound was a trending sound? Or was it something that speaks more to someone’s generation? So the ones that are viral, it’s very much, I don’t A/B test, but I do pick it apart.
Kevin Tumlinson 24:48
You should come up with a term for that, it should be like A/Z testing. You’re testing now to see why it did okay, so you’re going with the final result so it’s AZ, or A Zed, if you’re Canadian.
Rebecca Regnier 25:01
Yes, what components resonate of this particular TikTok. Yeah. And so and you can’t always solve it but another successful thing that authors do on TikTok is when they do have a viral, they write that way for a good long time, you know, that okay, everyone’s interested in, I know I have 15 books out but this particular book is the one that is popping on TikTok so let’s make sure that we stay with this book that we you know, use that knowledge that okay, the BookTok world likes this, how can I keep doing the videos and tell, okay, now we’re not seeing as much interest anymore. So if it works, keep working.
Kevin Tumlinson 25:43
What is the principle difference between TikTok and YouTube Reels?
Rebecca Regnier 25:50
So YouTube calls them shorts.
Kevin Tumlinson 25:55
Instagram Reels. See, now my social media manager is going to jump my case.
Rebecca Regnier 26:02
Well it’s hard. The most interesting thing that I think to know is that because of TikTok, all of these social media platforms have a similar type deal.
Kevin Tumlinson 26:11
That’s why I get them all confused. So let’s drop YouTube. And what makes it different from an Instagram reel. Reel talk now.
Rebecca Regnier 26:21
Okay, I mean, in that they’re short form videos. They, you’re using hashtags. You’re, they’re a little bit delayed. In that, you’ll see a trend on Tik Tok. And then you’ll see oh, wait, that sound that was trending there is now trending here. So they haven’t quite caught up to usually, the trend is usually going to start on TikTok if it’s a short form video, and then you’ll start seeing it ported over to Instagram reels. I will say, when we were all, a lot of the authors were experiencing maybe lower views, I and others started putting those reels up on our Instagram accounts more consistently. And I was seeing the same video, same sound, same words, same hashtags, one on TikTok that would be like nothing. And then on Instagram reels, I’d see 6000 or 7000 views. So now the difference with Instagram reels also is they don’t seem to last very long. You’ll have a nice amount of views on Instagram reels. And then day two, that’s it. It’s over. It’s done. With TikTok it is, I can see something that I posted several months ago start getting new views, new comments. So it isn’t necessarily tied to the most recent post, which is kind of nice. Some people on TikTok will remove their non-performing videos and I just never have. I’ve always thought look, here it is warts and all, this one flopped. This one did well. So I keep them up there. Because there are times where I just like I said, a year ago, I promoted one of my paranormal women’s fiction books that I’m not promoting as actively right now. And sure enough, I got comments yesterday. Oh my gosh, this looks so interesting. So I’m going to buy your book right now. I’m like, okay, see, I shouldn’t take it down. And it’s out there for people to consume. And so yeah, it’s another thing to keep in mind with TikTok is, it’s a cold audience most of the time. So this is why that’s good. You know, we talk about on YouTube, I want all the subscribers, I want all these people following me on Facebook or all the places. With TikTok, you don’t have to have millions of subscribers or followers to reach millions of people. Right? If it resonates with a small core group, it will get pushed out to bigger, bigger, bigger groups, regardless of how many people are following you. So you don’t have to chase subscribers in a way. And that I think is a little bit freeing to some degree.
Kevin Tumlinson 28:58
That is because it’s the, it’s that chasing subscribers, it starts to make you feel like you’re a failure.
Rebecca Regnier 29:04
Right. So you don’t have to do that. And I want to be perfectly frank to with people, there is success when it comes to TikTok where people are like, and I feel like you have to decide what is your metric versus for success, right? In my opinion. I was able to start seeing that I’m getting five or six people clicking on my links in my profile. They’re not always converting but I’m getting five or six people with every day’s worth of posts like okay, this is fresh this people new to me people. And so I wouldn’t say I’ve had a viral but it definitely had a better launch than I’ve ever had once I can find TikTok and Amazon as all the things, all the things that we all have to do. On the flip slides, there’s some people that are just working working working to use TikTok to promote their books and they’re not seeing that conversion as much, so it’s not a magic pill. And so if it’s something that you find, and I’m not interested that it’s not like, oh, well oh, now my author career is in the tubes. I’ll never, it’s not like that. For me I look at it as that. I mean it used to be used to say seven touches for advertising before someone would buy. I obviously I think now it’s like a billion. It’s way more, but I do see it as okay maybe they saw me on TikTok. Maybe they saw a reel of mine. Maybe they saw a short or a Pinterest or my Amazon ad or even me like so. I just look at it as that.
Kevin Tumlinson 30:27
Yeah, it’s more points of contact. Yeah, yeah. I and I was going to ask too, because, I mean, is there a reason why you would pull videos from TikTok or Instagram? Beyond …
Rebecca Regnier 30:38
I think the reason people do it is you know, when I work really hard on something, and I put it out on social media, and it’s crickets. It’s like, well, that’s embarrassing. I thought this was really funny, or I thought it was really clever. And then it’s like nothing, hello, is this thing on? So it’s embarrassing. I mean, so I think for me, it’s more like well, that failed. Elise Myers, if you’re not on TikTok. You might not know who Elise Myers is, but she’s a huge creator on TikTok, and she doesn’t dance. She basically tells hilarious stories, that’s her main thing is connecting you with hilarious stories from her life. And she’s like, it helps other creators to see our failures. If I don’t have a million views, I’m not taking it down. I’m gonna let you see that this thing was an attempt. It’s valid in its own way. Just because a million people didn’t watch it doesn’t mean that it’s still not something to have up there. But I think want to be perceived as knocking it out of the park every single time. Maybe, I don’t know.
Kevin Tumlinson 31:43
I mean if that’s the brand you’re trying to cultivate I can understand it.
Rebecca Regnier 31:47
I’m a rock star at all times.
Kevin Tumlinson 31:49
I’ve never understood this mentality, it’s like the authors who put their books out wide. And they don’t sell well on say, you know, Kobo, and so they pull the book off Kobo, that’s not selling on Kobo. You know what’s not going to happen? It’s not going to start selling on Kobo if it’s not on Kobo, right? It’s the same thing to me. Like, why would you take it off of reels? Or maybe it’s different? I mean, I don’t know if, you know, sometimes I learn that things like, if it doesn’t do well, it can hurt your ranking or something. You know, so I don’t know.
Rebecca Regnier 32:22
Well, for me, I will say I have been curating in the in the not Rebecca Regnier but in Rebecca Regnier Books, I have curated really specifically in terms of who follows me. If it seems like that’s just someone interested in dating me. Which I had to put at one point, I’m happily married 53-year-old woman, please stop messaging me. Because when you’re in the little bit of a romance sort of area, it can be if your TikTok gets thrown out there to someone who thinks this is real this, this woman is out there single and she’s having a hard time, I’m going to save her life. No, this is a book. So I did have an influx at one point of people that were misinterpreting my TikToks. And so I had to curate those people like okay, this is clearly not a typical women’s fiction reader. So I try to make sure that the people that are following me are people that are interested in my content, or in my book specifically. So I’m just really careful. At one point, I was trying to answer comments, like no, this is a book. My husband did not like, ruin our lives by gambling and send me to prison. I had like the book points in this one thing, and I’m answering all these comments, and then I realized, you know what, they’re not getting it. This is not right. So yeah, no, I have turned off comments at different points. I had a super popular one that was clearly in the stream of not BookTok. But okay, these are a bunch of people that are looking for love. Like, okay, and I didn’t get rid of it. I just put it to friends only. So people who are following me, because they know I’m an author, and that seemed to calm it down. So there are weird, you can go left and right with TikTok in a way that was like, oh, I’ve learned some things.
Kevin Tumlinson 34:10
Yes. Sometimes you just want to embrace your weird brethren and let them get their freak on in the comments. Speaking of, for those of you watching, you can get your freak on in the comments and leave us a question and we will answer that question or give it a shot anyway. And if we don’t answer it, there are folks hanging around down there that will. But we actually do have some comments. I’ve been starring as we go here. So, or a couple of questions. So this one comes to us from YouTube. Sorry, my eyes failed me there. “Hello guys. Is TikTok good also for nonfiction books? Do you have any experience about that? Thank you.”
Rebecca Regnier 34:52
Well, yes, so I my experience as a columnist is really where I’m going to go back to. So there are a couple of people that are doing book deals, humor book deals, I think also diet and fitness guru types that are really using Tiktok to expand their brand and their platforms. TikTok is just about a platform and it’s about storytelling. So if you have a story to tell us about your nonfiction, you know, your nonfiction also has to tell a story and solve a problem specifically for nonfiction. So absolutely, whatever your area is, in nonfiction, you’re going to want to use TikTok to talk about this problem you’re solving with your nonfiction, or memoir, or whatever, you know, your nonfiction is involved in. But yeah, absolutely. It works for nonfiction, it might even work better because you don’t have to make that leap of I am not the person. I’m not the character. I’m the author.
Kevin Tumlinson 35:42
And you don’t necessarily have to be overwhelmingly entertaining, I suppose.
Rebecca Regnier 35:48
Right? Well, I hope that helps. But honesty is what people really relate to, I have heard it said and I think it’s true. On Instagram, it got to be a point where it you had to look perfect, and you had to curate every picture and you had to look like your life was just so glossy and wonderful. And the grid it’s all, yeah. Whereas on TikTok the more real you are, the more messed up, the more like oh wow, that is definitely laundry behind her right now. Whatever it is, yes, people on TikTok can sniff out false presentation better than anyone I’ve ever known. So, you really being real about it is what TikTok is all about versus on Instagram it felt like, oh, well, if I’m not a 20 year old influencer with gorgeous hair and skin and you know, 100 pounds or whatever, then probably this isn’t for me. Where’s TikTok is, the more messy the better.
Kevin Tumlinson 36:43
Yeah. Well, I fit the description you just gave, so I am TikTok worthy. Speaking of TikTok and cringy things I’ve said, Lexi, it says that “I may have cringed when you said YouTube reels.” So yeah, there you go.
Rebecca Regnier 37:00
I do upload my stuff to YouTube also. But you want to be careful on music, sounds, watermarks, all that kind of stuff. It’s not interchangeable. You need to do a couple of things to make sure that you’re not just taking one to the other, which I do spend some time doing.
Kevin Tumlinson 37:16
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I can see the challenge there. Being from media, Elyssa asks, “How do hashtags fare between platforms. Can we use the same between TikTok and Instagram and others?”
Rebecca Regnier 37:28
Well, it depends, like if you’re on Instagram it’s going to be Bookstagram. You know, I mean, it was
“tagram” on everything. And TikTok definitely is Tok, it’s BookTok. But things like #women’s fiction #women fiction reader beachy reads, and reading BookTok channeling is so depending on what you’re doing, hashtags work very similarly, but there are Instagram ones versus BookTok. So yeah, they work the same, but you just have to do a little research. And that just requires start searching around for them and seeing what …
Kevin Tumlinson 38:00
And there are tools out there for some of these platforms to help you find what’s trending or whatever. Okay, so Matthew asked a question and I want to put it up here just in case I’m wrong about what I think he’s gotten wrong. Okay. So he asked, “What is B2 fiction?” Now, I think he means, I keep hearing you say beachy fiction. But, just in case you did say B2 fiction, somewhere along the way, I wanted to give you a chance to answer the question.
Rebecca Regnier 38:27
It’s the sequel to B1.
Kevin Tumlinson 38:30
B1 fiction came along, it did so well. That they did it again. Spielberg said we’re gonna do a second one.
Rebecca Regnier 38:41
Beachy fiction, like books you read on the beach, books set at the beach, summer reads, those kinds of things.
Kevin Tumlinson 38:47
But B2 fiction would be fiction that you could find through books2read.com. If you hop over there. We like to put two in everything because we like the author to be number one. I’m a marketing guy. Yes. Here’s a final question from YouTube. “So do you have any recommendations about using TikTok for nonfiction books? This is a follow up to the previous question.
Rebecca Regnier 39:12
Well, my recommendation is to definitely do some research before you, you know, make your account start searching around whatever your area of nonfiction is, you know, start looking at self help if you’re doing that. You start seeing what’s out there. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time. What we can see is okay, this is working for an author who’s talking about you know, midlife second chances, or this is an author that’s talking about diabetes or whatever it is, you need to take a look and see in your genre or in your area what’s working out there. If you’re giving advice, find out who’s out there. There’s a woman right now who I can guarantee she’s going to have a book in about a hot second. She’s a crisis communicator. She does PR and marketing for people who have who found themselves in the crosshairs of bad publicity for whatever reason, and she’ll talk about whatever’s in the news, but then she’ll also talk about how she advises crisis communication. I want to tell you, she’s fascinating. And she’s gonna wind up with a book or a business speaking tour regardless.
Kevin Tumlinson 40:16
If she’s listening, when she’s done with that book, she can publish it through Draft2Digital.
Rebecca Regnier 40:20
Exactly. I mean, that has nothing to do with …
Kevin Tumlinson 40:24
That’s a great topic, though.
Rebecca Regnier 40:25
Yeah, there’s a woman who is an advocate and she’s in Texas, and she’s an advocate against child trafficking. And so she uses her TikTok to explain what’s happening in her area to talk about court cases to talk about legislation. This is not dancing and singing.
Kevin Tumlinson 40:44
That’s heavy stuff.
Rebecca Regnier 40:47
There’s a guy that explains all about the music that we’re listening to what is an interpolation? What’s the sample, what you know, he’s like an expert in music. And so he’ll take a cut from whatever’s on the radio and say, actually, here’s the interpolation from this, which is actually a cut from, I mean, it does not have to be it’s, you know, we’re in BookTok world, but almost any subject, any subject that you can talk about, is on TikTok. And because of that billions of people are now on TikTok. It’s like 1.3 billion people on TikTok. You’ll hear people say, oh, it’s really good for romance or urban fantasy, or these specific, specific genres. But that’s just because it’s new-ish. There are so many people such varied interests, that we’re going to all find other people who want our content, like it’s a little harder to do my suspense thriller marketing on TikTok, or it’s harder to find that community, but I’m slowly finding it, you just carve it out over time.
Kevin Tumlinson 41:47
I say that about books a lot. You know, there’s an audience for just about any book. And the advantage. I think social media has that kind of which books had is, you can search by hashtag for content on social media. Great, you know, so you can actually specify there’s nothing like that on fiction, you can do that in nonfiction. Nonfiction is you’re searching for a topic. And here it is, but fiction’s a little harder. It’s like, how do you find, I want something like Stephen King’s last book, and how do you how do you do that?
Rebecca Regnier 42:16
And you know, you can, and I’m starting to see more horror novels. But like, at first, it felt like it was all spicy romance like, oh, my books aren’t really spicy. And like, well, I fit in here. And I started to see more and more horror authors out there and thriller authors and suspense. So it’s cozy mystery authors are starting to be because there are so many people out there, it’s starting to kind of congeal around these different communities, and you can start to see oh, okay, and you know, sometimes every once awhile you don’t even put a hashtag out there and say, if you’re seeing this, I write cozy mystery. Drop a like in there on TikTok, we’ll figure you out. Oh, my gosh, there it is. Yeah, and I’m an older person. I’m not a 20-year-old. So there’s hashtags that helped me find my Gen X romance or Gen X BookTok or midlife talk or so over 40 time, there are ways to find people that are in your generation to like, I might not be funny to someone who’s 21 years old, but a 50 year old woman who’s having a hot flash, she thinks I’m hilarious.
Kevin Tumlinson 43:24
I am hilarious to all those people. Lexi asks, “Do you feel like platforms like Tiktok have made it more accessible for authors and people in general to build their own independent platform without a big business behind them?”
Rebecca Regnier 43:37
Oh, yeah, for sure. Yeah. I mean, back in my media days I would explain to reporters and anchors and managers that everybody can broadcast now. Everybody is a broadcaster. Now there’s certain responsibilities. I take those responsibilities really seriously. I’m a broadcaster, even if it’s on TikTok and not on 13 ABC in Toledo, Ohio, broadcasting. But because we have social media, now we can all be broadcasters, whether or not people come to our message and come to watch our content or enjoy our stories. That’s a different story. But if you’re someone that is working to connect with your content, you have so many options. When I first did a live shot in 1990 whatever, let’s not say. It was me, a photographer, an engineer, a gigantic radio tower. There was people back at the station. I had to have an earpiece in. I mean, doing a live shot 25, 30 years ago versus today. All you need now for your live shot is this phone, so yeah, absolutely. There’s definitely been some massive shifts. But yeah, I always say you can be a broadcaster and that’s important for broadcasters to know too. You’re not the only game and the six o’clock news isn’t the only game in town anymore. So um, yeah, absolutely, it has taken. It’s taken a huge turn. And if you want to have a message out there, you don’t necessarily have to go the traditional way. I mean, indie publishing is also that, we now have so many options to tell our stories, that it’s mind blowing. When I was first trying to get published in, you know, 15 years ago, I mean, you could do it, but it was so many barriers to entry. Right now, especially through Draft2Digital, I tell people all the time, you have a book and you and you want to get it out there, you do not have to be a tech wizard. So yeah, I think the game has changed.
Kevin Tumlinson 45:35
There are a lot of people who are coming along to make every aspect of it so much easier. You know, it’s just, it’s just all so much easier.
Rebecca Regnier 45:43
And if you’re looking for BookTokers, there are services that can help you connect to BookTokers. If you’re not, if you’re not doing it yourself and want someone to connect you with BookTokers, you’re gonna start seeing that more and more to like, I don’t want to TikTok but I want a BookToker. So there’ll be more and more and more of those kinds of things out there. Yep.
Kevin Tumlinson 45:59
It’s all growing, especially by the way, I have to run this. Soyou’re familiar with having to run a spot to support the show, so hang out for just 30 seconds. Okay, I’ll be right back. So everyone else, you watch this and be hypnotized, it looks great. “There’s just something about having your words in print. something you can hold your hands, put on a shelf, sign for a reader. That’s why we created D2D Print, a print on demand service that was built for you. We have free beautiful templates to give you a book a pro look. And we can even convert your ebook cover into a full wraparound cover for print. So many options for you and your books. And you can get started right now, when you sign up at draft2digital.com/printbeta.” That guy has such a great point.
Rebecca Regnier 46:50
I want to have those.
Kevin Tumlinson 46:53
That would be like the world’s worst TikTok video right there. But that said, make sure you do check out D2D Print. And for now we have come to the sad conclusion of our program, Rebecca, but I’m so glad that you were a part of the show. Thank you so much for guiding us through the TikTok and Instagram real landscape and a little bit of the YouTube shorts a little tiny bit.
Rebecca Regnier 47:22
And like, if you’re looking for a course, I don’t sell any courses or anything like that. But TikTok Sells Books is a course that I would look at if you’re certainly a fiction writer and want to talk sells books, okay? Yeah, they’re really great. They’re really, really great.
Kevin Tumlinson 47:38
And they find that if they come looking for you and say hello at your website.
Rebecca Regnier 47:42
No, no, I just like those guys. Okay. Well, I’m just saying if they come to me, I’m not selling a course or anything. You can watch my TikToks and see if you can learn anything. Like how it works, but me, I sell books.
Kevin Tumlinson 47:56
Okay. Well, for everyone watching, let’s help her out by purchasing those books. And go find her at RebeccaRegnier.com. That’s our I’m going to spell it for the people listening. Sorry, Rebecca. We spell here. But RebeccaRegnier.com. Just play it back slowly. And you’ll get it. And of course, you could probably a link to that if you go over to draft2digital.com and check out the blog. But make sure you bookmark D2Dlive.com, where you’ll find programs like this and others and things counting down every single week. And recently we put up a whole like, well, what do we call this now? Sorry to stumble through this but this is, I’ve lost the link is what’s happened. We’ve put up this whole thing called D2D Essentials. If you go to D2D.tips/essentials, you’ll find a whole bunch of articles about all the 101 of your author life. So that’s it. That’s the end of the promotional stuff. Rebecca, thank you so much for being a part of the show.
Rebecca Regnier 49:07
Thanks for having me. It was very, very fun.
Kevin Tumlinson 49:11
Absolutely. And everybody else, thank you for tuning in. Tune in next time, and we’ll see you next week.
Rebecca Regnier 49:15