TikTok Basics for Writers

Reach new readers with short-form social media videos


Rebecca Regnier


Live on March 15, 2023, or watch recording


Writers new to TikTok


Closed captions by Otter; transcript provided with recording

TikTok isn’t just dancing for teenagers. This short-form video platform has changed the way readers find new books and driven tremendous growth in book sales throughout the US, Canadian, Australian, and UK markets. Big and small publishers alike are investing significant money into marketing on the platform.

But TikTok isn’t like other social media, and there are important things for writers to consider if they want to try it out for themselves.

TikTok is an algorithm, not a social network, which can be good for small creators or authors who aren’t household names. But your first steps will involve more than just opening a TikTok account. There are pitfalls to avoid and ways to explore the platform before making your first video. We’ll look at how videos go viral, and also why you don’t need to go viral for you to enjoy better book sales. The potential exists to reach thousands of new readers and sell books without spending a dime on ads. (For now.)

You’ll also be introduced to an array of TikTok creators with diverse content who are finding new audiences and expanding their reach. You’ll learn that short form video success and good stories are linked—and that’s good news for writers.

What you’ll learn in this class:

  • Best practices for setting up your TikTok account
  • Video styles that have proved highly effective for fiction authors—you’ll learn the popular styles that successful authors use to sell books, plus ideas on how to adapt a TikTok trend to a specific genre
  • Methods of getting TikTok users to read your books, articles and columns, blogs or newsletters, etc
  • Metrics available to measure reach, and others ways of tracking your success
  • How to share your TikTok creations on other platforms
  • The surprising reason that many authors have several TikTok accounts
  • A look at some breakout success stories for inspiration
  • How TikTok has changed in the last year: how writers can be realistic about current and future potential

Privacy concerns? Much has been written and discussed about TikTok being restricted or banned due to privacy concerns, but it has become clear that a new generation of readers has turned to short-form social media videos for entertainment and information. Becoming fluent in this new language is a huge asset for writers today, and you can put those skills to use in many areas, whether that’s TikTok, YouTube (shorts), Instagram (Reels), Facebook, or any other platform that comes along.

Who should take this class

  • Writers of all genres and categories who are new to creating short-form video
  • Writers of all genres and categories who want an introduction to TikTok
  • Anyone who assists or advises authors on social media marketing

This class isn’t suited for

  • People who are looking for a step-by-step technical tutorial (although resources will be offered)
  • Anyone who thinks Colleen Hoover is a business plan

What’s included in all of Jane’s classes

How do I attend the live class?

This class uses Zoom webinar technology (see system requirements). You will join through your Internet-connected computer or mobile device. When you register, you will receive information via email on how to join the class. If you don’t receive it within 1 hour of registering, please contact us.

  • When: Wednesday, March 15, 2023
  • Time: 1:00–2:15 p.m. Eastern / 10:00 a.m. Pacific
  • Fee: $25

The webinar is broadcasted via the internet with live audio delivered through your computer or mobile device speakers. The visual presentation is displayed directly from the presenter’s computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions read and answered by the presenter for the entire class to hear.

Closed captions are provided during the live class. We use Zoom’s automated closed caption service (powered by Otter), which is about 80%+ accurate. We also use Otter AI to generate an unedited transcript, provided with the recording.

About the instructor

Rebecca Regnier is an award-winning journalist, television host, humor columnist, author, and viral video creator. She is the author of women’s fiction and suspense thrillers (as Rebecca Rane). Her humor videos have gone viral, racking up millions of views on TikTok and Facebook. She writes a monthly humor column for AAA’s publication, The Extra Mile. Her work has been honored by the Associated Press, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and the Association of Women in Communications.

Rebecca was a dynamic and relatable presenter and handily dismantled the fear that most of us middle-aged folks have around using TikTok.

Student, 2022 Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop

This session was extraordinary! Very, very helpful and enlightening.

Student, 2022 Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop

Rebecca was phenomenal. Her workshop offered so much valuable information on how to use TikTok to find our audience and content we are interested in.

Student, 2022 Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop

All students receive the following

  • Access to the live class. After roughly 60 minutes, the instructor will take questions during class using in-class chat/text. The class will end after roughly 75 minutes.
  • A recording of the class—audio and video. This is especially helpful if you have a conflict with the class time or something comes up and you can’t make the session. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for 30 days. You do not have to attend the live event to access the recordings.
  • Presentation slides. All participants receive a copy of the slide presentation in PDF form.
  • Rough transcript. We use Otter to create an automated transcript of the entire webinar, which we’ll share with you in addition to the audio and video recording.
  • Additional resources: All participants will receive links to resources and apps Rebecca uses to create videos, plus a list of authors to follow to see how they use short-form video.

Event Attendance & Anti-Harassment Policy

We strive to provide an environment where all present—whether attendee, presenter, or staff—can feel supported. In order to ensure a welcoming event, here is what we expect from all who participate.

  • That the presenter and the presenter’s work be treated with respect by attendees and that all attendees treat each other with respect and a generosity of spirit.
  • That attendees will refrain from harassment of any sort including (but not limited to) comments or questions of a racist, homophobic, sexist/sexual, or threatening nature. This includes actions that disrupt or interfere with anyone’s ability to participate. Offenders will be disconnected from the live event.