The Writing and Marketing Show

Authors Rocking TikTok with Rachael Watson

July 27, 2022 Wendy H. Jones Episode 132
The Writing and Marketing Show
Authors Rocking TikTok with Rachael Watson
Show Notes Transcript

Today I am chatting to Racheal Watson who is taking TikTok by storm and growing followers at a phenomenal rate. She shares her hints and tips for using TikTok effectively as an author.

Wendy Jones:

Hi, and welcome to the writing and marketing show brought to you by author Wendy H. Jones. This show does exactly what it says on the tin. it's jam packed with interviews, advice, hints, tips and news to help you with the business of writing. It's all wrapped up in one lively podcast. So it's time to get on with the show. And welcome to episode 132 of the writing and Marketing Show, brought to you by author, entrepreneur, Wendy H. Jones. And what a glorious day it is not only for recording podcasts, but for going out and about because the sun is finally shining. In Scotland, it's a miracle is all I can say, Here we are in the middle of July. And we're, you know, congratulating ourselves on the fact that we've actually got some sun for the summer, but it always makes you feel better. And I'm recording this in advance because I am going away for two months. So I'm trying to get as much done as possible. By the time you listen to this, I will be just a few days shy of heading to America for my two month trip. For those of you that are in America, if you're anywhere near and Virginia, West Virginia, New York, Washington, DC, North Carolina and Maryland, then guys, you can come and say hello, because there'll be somewhere I'll be somewhere where you can come on, tip your heart and say hi. And I would very much like to meet you. If you go to my website, then my trip itinerary will be up on there. And it will be lovely to see you as I record. This is a bit of chaos going on. Because it's the government's in disarray in the UK. But do you know what it will all get sorted out? I'm not here to talk about politics. All I'm saying is if you look at things like that, it gives you lots of grist for the mill in terms of what you can put into books, because watching human nature unfold in this scenario is brilliant for characterization. And so today I'm interviewing Rachel Watson and we are going to be talking about writers walking tick tock, and she really is rocking tic tock. So that's what we're going to talk about today. Rachel is the author of forbidden healing and the dream key. The first two books in the Chronicles of the gods sage, she has studied a lot of subjects gained a handful of professional qualifications and worked various jobs, all of which took her further and further from what she actually wants to do make up stories about magic. So without further ado, let's get on with the short show. And hear from Rachel. This meeting is being recorded. And we have Rachel with us. Welcome, Rachel.

Rachael Watson:

Hi, Wendy, thank you so much.

Wendy Jones:

It's absolutely my pleasure to have you here. I've wanted to interview you for so long because I've been following you on Tik Tok, and you're amazing. So, you know, I'm really impressed with what you're doing. So I'm glad we're having this chat today. But before we do that, let's just get to know you a little bit. Where are you in the world at the moment?

Rachael Watson:

I am in West London. This is where I am permanently.

Wendy Jones:

Right. So West.

Rachael Watson:

Yeah, it's it's busy, pretty cloudy. And it's about to be the end of term. So some holidays are about to kick off, which means everything's gonna go slightly crazy. My routine will just finish.

Wendy Jones:

Yeah, I'm glad I managed to get this week before the kids come off. Yeah. Oh, Lex was another moment whether or not there's enough politics. Sure. But I'm not going to talk about politics. But all eyes in Britain around the television wondering what's going to happen next in Downing Street.

Rachael Watson:

I know I know. It's gone crazy.

Wendy Jones:

It's mad. But hey, we're writers and it's all grist for our mill. As they say we can get things from it, you know. But hey, I wanted to talk to you about tick tock because you are one of the authors who are doing phenomenal things on tick tock. And I'm curious, when did you join tick tock and why did you join it?

Rachael Watson:

i So I joined it in I want to say September last year. Why? Why did I join it? It's a good question. I think it was just floating around as one of those things. I'd read a few posts on several of the self publishing Facebook groups, you know, 20 books to 50k and the self publishing Formula One where people were talking about how much of an impact it has had had on the book sales and how it was helping them and how it had really shifted things overnight in certain instances. So I kind of thought as I was starting my self publishing journey, I was okay, I can't sit here in my room on my own and just write books because no one will ever know that they exist. So I'll have to embrace some form of marketing. And I wasn't going to do I wasn't going to spend money on doing adverts for just one book. I've heard it's not really viable. So kind of holding off on that. And I thought, well, I'll just I'll just plunge and do tick tock because it suited me more. I didn't like the idea of Instagram because I felt like everything had to look perfect and pretty invincible, and I didn't want to do that. It kind of it just wasn't really my thing. And also I did, I don't have the graphics, the graphic design skills to make to make pretty pictures. That is something that I intend to learn about tic tock was just so much easier for me once I got over the whole I've got to show my face thing, then I was fine with it.

Wendy Jones:

Excellent. You know, I know what you mean about Instagram, you know, you feel like you've got to get the perfect photo for Instagram. And I'm not getting it. Anybody that uses it because I use it as well. But it's just, but I use I use a thing called Book brush. Which really helps because they do all the fancy design stuff for you. It's marvellous. Really. Yeah. Yeah.

Rachael Watson:

No, I was just gonna say that it's on my list. Absolutely to learn how to make those pretty pictures or even to get bit brush or use Canva properly. But I just, I just haven't put it at the top of the list yet.

Wendy Jones:

No, I don't blame you. We've all got priorities, I have to say. And you're right Tik Tok, you can be yourself, it doesn't have to be all singing or dancing, you know. And you can do it wherever, whenever and just video yourself and you know, you can put a post in like 15 seconds if you want to, and the fact that but tick tock has all the graphic stuff in it, where you can talk to top, so to speak. The principal understand that when it's really good, so I know where you're coming from. So I know you've grown your tick tock following a great rate. What do you think has led to this? Is there anything my listeners can take from this to help them grow their own accounts? I think

Rachael Watson:

it's a kind of big question, Wendy, I think because a lot of it depends on what you're on Tik Tok for. And I know for a fact that there are people who have much smaller followings who might have you know, 1000 followers and are utilising the platform really, really well, because they their goal and being on there is just to sell books, so they won't do or you know, all of the extra random videos that I do. And they, they're getting straight to the point. And you can use it like that. And I think it can be very effective. For me it was it was also more about building a community. So allowing people on Tik Tok to see me and what I'm like, rather than just my books, because of course, when I joined, my books weren't out yet. So I was kind of prepping the stage for. And I would say, a lot of the things that get engagement for me are where I do amusing skits that relate to things, struggles that I faced as a writer or on the self publishing journey, or things that I found amusing. And I think that other authors can relate to those quite easily. But I wouldn't say it's necessarily the most direct route to sales. But I think it gets a lot of engagement because people like watching it. I mean, tick tock is primarily a visual, social media platform. It's about performance in a way. So that has worked quite well for me. But I know that there I mean, there are many ways to skin a cat windy. Yeah, so I was actually contemplating doing an experiment where for maybe a week or so I just posted purely videos about my book and then look and see what the correlation is between my sales as opposed to the ones where I randomly hop on and have a chat about my favourite young adult books or the book I'm reading at the moment or what I think about a particular TV show. So my platform is definitely a bit of a mix of all kinds of things. And I think it means that there are more hooks as it were for people to come and relate to me as a human being. But it's it probably doesn't have the targeted focus of making sales through tick tock that some other people might have.

Wendy Jones:

Yeah, yeah. I mean, you make a good point that it's a social media, but that didn't have it is social. That's why it's called social media. But with tick tock the advice is to be more focused, you know, so it's a fine balance, isn't it to try and get it so that you're, but you're still focusing on booktalk? And that brings me into my next question, really, because I know a lot of people say that tick tock has nothing for them as authors and I've got friends who say that, what would you say to them?

Rachael Watson:

Um, one of the things I've liked most about it is, it depends. Again, it depends totally on your goals. Tick tock booktalk particularly is an incredible power, incredibly powerful community of book lovers. That's why they're there. They absolutely love books. And if you can, concisely convey what your book is about the emotion that's going to move the audience you will find them on Tik Tok. If you can, you know, condense your premise into this amazing nine second video with an incredible hook. There is a possibility that it will go viral and people on booktalk buy they buy books based on one clip? I mean, it's there there. I don't know if you've seen her. There's an author on that I want. I can't remember her name. Wendy. I think it's Emily black. I mean, is Emily Stewart Emily Blackwood. Anyway, she has a book out and she had done one of these videos. And it went viral, it got over four nearly 500,000 views. And it went from making so in her first year of self publishing, she published a series three books out. And I think she'd made something like $182 that year. Yeah, she got this new book out, she'd written it specifically with certain tropes that would attract people on booktube, that would be easier to sell, there are things that are probably easier to sell. And this was a kind of a fantasy romance, which is huge on booktube. So she posted, you know, she decided she was news booked up to market it posted a lot of different little clips of I think it was something as simple as you've been, you've been sold to marry the fake King, and, you know, you think he's going to kill you. And it went absolutely stratospheric this tiny video that was, I don't know, 11 seconds long. And she made in one month $17,000. And that her income changed completely overnight based on one video. And I think the thing that booktalk is teaching us about selling books is that people aren't there and they're ready to buy it based on the one thing that they're looking for, whether it be you know, romantic fantasy where the Fae Prince locks up his princess or threatens to kill her and then falls in love with her or whatever it is that out there, they're looking for it. And if you can format it in just the right way with the right sound at the right moment. It can take off, and you don't really know whether or not that's going to happen unless you are doing it continually and showing up and repeating the format again and again and again. And then one, one of them will eventually go.

Wendy Jones:

Yeah, yeah, you make a good point, really, that you know, everybody. You never know what's going to happen on tick tock, you could have a video that sits there for forever, and then suddenly it just goes viral. Or you could do one that just resonates with the folks on there. And it goes viral. And but everybody's chasing viral. But there's also consistency helps as well. Being consistent in what you do. So it's again, it's another balance between it but everybody wants to go viral. Me included, Rachel, I want to provide I'm not quite made it yet. Yes. Yes. I

Rachael Watson:

always say that the the the author coaches on tick tock, and they're like, morality is not a strategy. And it's like, well, no, it's not a strategy. But you like you say if you if you show up consistently, even if they're not going viral, you will still be attracting that. That group of dedicated people that are interested in what you're producing turistic I would say it's, it's absolutely worth it. I mean, as a as a relatively new author, I wouldn't without tick tock, I wouldn't have been selling any books. You know, now there are people out there saying, Oh, my goodness, I love this, which is, which has been amazing.

Wendy Jones:

Yeah, no, it's great. No, virality is not our strategy, but it's certainly a dream. And I'm dreaming of it. That's for sure. We don't forget that.

Rachael Watson:

Yeah, well, it has the potential to shift everything instantly. Yeah. Which is pretty amazing. And I also, I find those kinds of little hook videos very interesting because they are almost like writing a book, like a small book, very, very short book, you know, you only have a very limited amount of time to catch the attention of your audience, which which is true, really, when we think about the first page of our book. It's kind of the same thing. And you you can see by the audience response, whether or not you're you're managing to catch on to an emotion immediately.

Wendy Jones:

Yeah, absolutely. And the short hooks are good. So I just say it's like your first line even written out your first line can get people going whoa, like this, and you know, so we're going to talk about different types of videos in a minute but You know, you've alluded to genre. And I have to say this tick tock or booktalk, should we say lend itself to any particular genre over another? Would you say all authors have a fighting chance to make a success of it?

Rachael Watson:

I think the potential is there. But I would say there are certain genres that probably are more successful. I mean, that could just be because that's the tiny pocket of booktalk that I'm seeing, you know, that before up just showing to me, but I would say fantasy romance is, is absolutely huge at the moment. And in fact, I went to the self publishing show live last week, and they showed us a graph of the different since the since COVID, the different genres that were on the uptick and the ones that were going down, and fantasy romance, dark romance is all on the way up. And this is kind of Amazon data. Yeah, and on the way down was things like dystopia. I think I think the world got so dystopian that no one wanted to read dystopian books anymore. But I think I can definitely see reflected in the videos that are very prominent on booktalk, fantasy romance, dark romance, and also anything that's like very spicy. Just because there are obviously limitations to advertising, those kinds of things elsewhere and Tik Tok allows you to do that. So a lot of those authors have have a lot of success on there as well.

Wendy Jones:

Yeah, and that's true. Actually. I mean, I don't know about tick tock, but I know that during the pandemic cosy mysteries went on the up, and then with darker mysteries went on the down. You know,

Rachael Watson:

people, people looking for comfort.

Wendy Jones:

Precisely. And I'm gonna say this, this is an aside, but I've got a lovely thread called Leslie Kelly. She's a Scottish crime writer. And she before the pandemic had ever been heard of, she was had a brilliant career. traditionally published author writing books about crime set during a pandemic, you can imagine what happened to her, but she didn't cover it.

Rachael Watson:

Wow.

Wendy Jones:

Everything she said in her books was true. And when COVID happened, so, I mean, really, and truly, it's just that people have their books, but they're picking up again now. But they dropped through the floor during COVID, for obvious reasons. Anyway, but yes, I think you do. I mean, if you're a crime writer, framerate crime rightness, big on top, do you get some phenomenal views, but you just need to plug away at it. You know, so different genres have. Just how do you do it? Anybody has a potential to go viral? It's an even playing field. Really. I know, this is a podcast, so you can't show us. But what types of videos tend to do particularly well on booktalk. I'm going to mention one of yours actually, because I loved it. And I went kind of, we would say semi viral. I think 13,000 is pretty viral. But hey, and it was where you were playing two roles. It was like cross play. And you were doing interviewing someone who wanted to come into book talk. It was like, welcome to book talk. I thought that was brilliant.

Rachael Watson:

That one read quite a lot bigger, actually. I think it's like 85,000 Yeah, it was, you know, it's funny, because even this morning, this is another good thing about tick tock is that once you've made your video, it's out there as long as you don't take it down. It's still kind of circulating, it might not be getting those huge views. But I will, I will still get you know, like little messages on that video. And and it'll be like, Oh, I'm sold. I'm buying your book. I'm like, oh, yeah, that's cool. Yeah, kind of working in the background, like little advert. But yes, that one was really popular. And I think it was popular because it was easy to watch. It was automatically engaging because it was like a little place of you know, welcomed book talk, what are you bringing, you've got a book, what's your book and then of course, I used it to say this is my book and this is where you can buy it. But it was visual and the interaction between two characters. Which I think is something that we're kind of used to watching you know, our experience of watching is on the stage or on the TV and that's what we've seen. So if you're seeing it and it takes off quickly, on tick tock, you kind of want to keep watching, you want to see what these characters are going to do. So those are those are effective and if you can take the time to draft a little script then then they do work really well.

Wendy Jones:

And then there are any other types of videos that do particularly well on booktube Do you feel

Rachael Watson:

once people are always looking for recommendations once that I mean this is not so much as an author but just generally from other readers. The ones that get a lot of views are these are these are the best dystopian books I've read or these are the best fancy books I've read or if, for instance, you like this particular young adult book, maybe try this adult version. And they just show the covers, and they'll do different transitions as one book moves on to the next, put some text in front of it. People will watch and watch and watch those. And and they they're continually selling books. I mean, the people on booktube should probably be on commission.

Wendy Jones:

They should really have to say, because it make a fortune. Well, they can't actually be on commission, because you can't do affiliate. That's an all nother thing, again, that we're not going to talk about today. And it's a rabbit hole, we really don't want to go down. I mean, the other thing that we're doing well for a while, but I think they've kind of died off a little bit was the Page Flip videos?

Rachael Watson:

Oh, yes. I think they're still working, depending on what you've what text you put on top. Really. I mean, that's what the one I was talking about earlier, you know, where she made $17,000 In a month off it, right. It wasn't a page flip. But it was just an image of her book behind. And then it doesn't matter so much what what the film is behind the texts that you put up? Yes, they can they, they can sometimes be effective. And then there are also the aesthetic videos that people make where they take pictures and add them all together very fast. And then they flick through with music, and they're like, this is the world of my book. Those can be quite effective. I mean, I think they're, they're a little bit everywhere now. So they're slightly less interesting than they probably were a few years ago. Those ones I also get slightly anxious about because I know lots of people get the images from Pinterest to use, and they and they use them. But technically, they're not really licenced for that purpose. So when I've made them, I've always found ones that are royalty free. But it does limit you to the, to the images that you can use.

Wendy Jones:

Well, yeah, no, I agree. I always go for royalty free because you never know when it's going to come back and haunt you. I had a situation and I was on a committee of an organisation I won't say which one, it doesn't matter. But somebody years before I'd even been on the committee. In fact, before I joined the organisation, we suddenly got we went 5000 pounds off, you use your start image without without permission. And this was we didn't even know who put the image in there in the first place. Because everybody disappeared off the face of the earth by that point. You know, so you can't come back to haunt you. It's just not worth it. You're right go for royalty free. Yeah, yeah, no, anyway, we didn't have to pay the 5000 pounds. Because I said, look, it's fine. We realise it was none of you and you're a small organisation and you don't have the money. But just remember to use royalty free in future it got sorted. But you don't want that to happen to you. Because they might not just drop off the face the earth gone, you've got no money, you know. So thank you for that. That's a very good point. Moving on from that slightly, we just say that, or any particular strategies that weren't were better than others, and why.

Rachael Watson:

One of the most important things, I think, is just consistency and showing up. I mean, it's like anything, you won't achieve your goals unless you're taking steps towards them. I also I think people really like authenticity. And I think that's probably one of the reasons why my account has grown relatively quickly. Because there's a lot of me in there. I think, or at least I hope that that comes across in a genuine way. Whereas the accounts that are primarily selling books, they're primarily selling books, and they are very effective. And if that's what you want to use it for, then it's a wonderful tool. But it's probably not going to grow your account as much as showing a human face. I would say.

Wendy Jones:

Yeah, people like the human face. And if I do one that doesn't have my accent in it, it's like a voiceover. I get a lot of comments going, Oh, I was here to hear your lovely Scottish accent. You know, so voiceovers kind of surprised people, especially when it's American voiceovers, you know. So you're right. They do want to see you the human side. And ultimately, we'll sell books. I think, again, we'll get on to selling books for it as well. But you're right. It's consistency. It's being there and being yourself. I couldn't agree more to be honest. So yeah, that's great advice.

Rachael Watson:

Yeah, it's like I am. I mean, there's always great debate about how we should be using tick tock and that kind of thing to sell books, but I did speak to another author and he made this point and I really liked it. He was like, There's So many books out there, but there is only one of me. So I sell me. Yes. And and then people, you know, want to buy the book because they know who he is. And they like him. It's just one, it's one way to do things and whatever works really?

Wendy Jones:

Yeah, it's true because the author issue should be a brand. Because if you're just see, if you're just doing your books, if you go on to a new series, you've lost those, those readers because the new series won't be anything like it. Whereas if you are your own brand, you are you and I love that there's only one of you, I'm going to use that it's brilliant. But if you are selling you, then people will move with you. And you see that oh over that people, you know, they do websites with the first book. Name is this website. And you think Well, that's all very well what happens when you move on to your to? Yeah, no, it's. So I love that. That's a great piece of advice. There's only one of you, I love it. I know you write young adult books, what would be your advice to any ye authors thinking of using Tiktok?

Rachael Watson:

Goodness, I mean, I think I don't know if it would differ that much from all other authors in general. They're out there. I think tick tock has a billion users, doesn't it? And I think we sometimes forget that actually, there are a lot of young people out there using it. Because I know it's particularly if you're if your books are aimed at, you know, from 12 year olds up, I don't know how many 12 year olds are buying their own books so often you are or in the past, you'd have had to be targeting their parents, whereas now you can directly be in the hands of a 12 year old. Well, maybe 12 is a bit younger. I don't know how old I don't know how

Wendy Jones:

what age people are keen to be on Tik Tok?

Rachael Watson:

Yeah. Is there an actual age? Yeah. I'm not sure my children have much too young too. So I haven't had to, to leap over that hurdle yet. But um, yeah, there are there are a lot of young people out there using Tiktok. So they will be able to see your book directly and you can sell it. Yeah, as anyone else will be able to sell their books, showing them a little bit about what what the hook of the story is what's going to sell it ultimately the emotional reaction of the viewer to whatever you are potentially offering. And that that applies to any book. And I think actually, as writers, it's almost like working backwards as writers what's going to help us make sales as if we have a product that is easy to sell. And tick tock is the kind of platform where you can experiment and see how easy your book is to sell. And if it's not, you know, you can sit back and think what would make it easier? Because and you can test I mean, you can test out on Tiktok concepts for books without having written the book. I've been thinking about this recently. I was like, Oh, I could I could pull up those little page flip videos or little hooks and see what the responses to these different ideas. And to try and find the readers for a book before it even exists. It's all I just feel like it's all there to play for at the moment with tick tock how long it will stay like that. I'm not sure.

Wendy Jones:

Yeah, it's like everything, you know, things rise and fall, you know, but most of them are tic TOCs just still growing exponentially. You know, it's growing faster than any of the other social media platforms. And you're right, trying things out. That's a great strategy as well. I've never thought of that. So I'm learning all sorts here. drying out concepts is great. No, I have to say the perennial question from any author as always, well tick tock helped me sell books. No, no, we've touched on this. What would you say to them?

Rachael Watson:

up absolutely will help you sell books if you show up with the intention that you're using it to sell books. I would say and and if whatever you're testing or doing if you've tried it for a while and it's not working try something else. And there are so many examples are on tick tock of things that have worked for other people that there's there's a limitless amount of things that you could try. And there will be certain genres where it perhaps is a bit harder. But yeah, I definitely I can even see where I've had that. For instance, I could see the little spike on my KDP Dashboard after I did that skip video. Yeah, it's gone to 1000 views, I can see that that kicked off a slight increase in sales. And that kept going for quite a while. So yes, if you if you if you show up and if you use it with that intention in mind, it will happen.

Wendy Jones:

Yeah, I think, yeah, I think you're right. It's, you will see a tick if you've got a video that's doing well. And I have to say that I deliberately switched off my Amazon ads, when I started on tick tock to see what the what would happen so that I knew it was Tic Toc, and my sales are doing well. So I think it does help you sell books, and you can't see an uptick if something happens. So that's a, you know, a good way of measuring it. Thank you. Now, we've been alluding to your books all the way through, and we know that why, but please, could you tell us about your own books?

Rachael Watson:

No. Okay. So then I decided a strategic decision, almost. And I would, that I would, rather than start with a standalone, I would write a series. So I've written the first two and a young adult, it's kind of fantasy dystopian series, set in a kind of generic mediaeval European setting. And I would say that the, the overarching themes are as with any kind of young adult coming of age type story, discovery, discovering that all the rules and laws that you've been living your life by, have kind of been made up by someone higher up the chain? And what do you believe? And how are you going to work out who you are outside of that structure that you've grown up in? So that is the arc that's happening to my main character at the moment, the first few books I've already published. The third one is coming at the end of summer is with my beta readers at the moment. So I'm in that kind of limbo stage where I'm waiting for feedback. But yes, there will be there will be four books in this in this series. And it's, it's essentially about a girl who wants to join the religious elite. And she's all set to go. But in this society, magic is forbidden and healing is magic. And only the gods and the priests can control healing. And the night before she's initiated, she's healed in the temple by this kind of by magic that hasn't been regulated effectively. And that kind of sets her off on this journey of discovery. Why is this happened? What can I do? I'm still in this state of believing that I want to join the religious elite. So I'm going to try and get there even though my whole system have faith is crumbling. So yeah, that's the path that she's on.

Wendy Jones:

That sounds fantastic. And really interesting. Now I write YA books. So I'm going to get these because hey, you've got to read YA books. If you write them, don't you? Definitely going to buy them. They sound fantastic. So my final question, Where Can my listeners find out more about you and your books?

Rachael Watson:

So there is my website, Rachel watson.com, which is very easy to remember. And TikTok. TikTok really is the place to find me if you want. I can hear my opinions about books and writing and that kind of thing there. I would say that's where I engage with most of my readers and other writers that that's where has, that's the place that has the most of my energy and focus at the moment. I do also have a reader group on Facebook, which is called the sacred core, which is the name of this elite religious society that she wants to join in the books. Yes, and obviously on the books are on Amazon. And there was a bit about me on there as well.

Wendy Jones:

Well, thank you very much for joining us, Rachel. I know you're a busy lady. So I appreciate you taking the time. Thank you very much. No worries. Have a nice day. Bye. That brings us to the end of another show. It was really good to have you on the show with me today. I'm Wendy H Jones and you can find me at Wendy H jones.com. You can also find me on Patreon where you can support me for as little as $3 a month which is less than the price of a tea or coffee. You go to patreon.com forward slash Wendy H Jones. I'm also Wendy H Jones on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Thank you for joining me today and I hope you found it both useful and suggesting Join me next week when I will have another cracking guest for you until then have a good week and keep writing keep reading and keep learning