Victoria Aveyard, Ayana Gray, and Xiran Zhao TikTok screencaps. Image: screencaps.

9 SFF Authors You Need to Follow on AuthorTok & BookTok (a.k.a. TikTok for Readers)

"The girls that get it, get it —and the girls that don't, don't." Mikhaela Jennings.
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According to TikTok, in terms of community-driven content, BookTok ranked at number three globally (following Small Business TikTok and Olympics TikTok) and number one in the U.S. in 2021. BookTok is all the rage, and while much of the recommendations and trends are reader-produced and shared, authors are also very much on the platform having fun, too.

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Technically BookTok and AuthorTok (sometimes under #AuthorsonTikTok) are two different things, but there are a lot of crossovers between these creators. They will talk about writing tips, behind-the-scenes aspects of publishing, and their books. However, almost all of these creators brush up with BookTok elements like recommendations, talking about tropes, engaging with book news, and combining memes and book topics. So I’m gonna share with you some of the most entertaining and insightful public (keyword there) SFF author accounts on TikTok.

While I didn’t intend this list to be primarily made up of women and non-binary creators writing (more often than not) YA SFF, it ended up like that, and I’m not mad. I suspect it has something to do with traditional publishing pushing more promotional work on authors, especially ones they deem “risky” (a.k.a. marginalized.) Also, the men that do write in SFF and do video content might just be more active on YouTube, like Brandon Sanderson. Quite a few popular SFF authors are on TikTok, but they (like most people) aren’t making videos, so I’m not going to link them either because that would be reductive?

And so without further adieu —

Xiran Zhao

@xiranjayzhao Parents can no longer judge my life choices!! 😤 #booktok #yabooktok #yabooks #books #ironwidow #yugioh #yugiohmemes #animememe #weebtok ♬ original sound – Xiran Jay Zhao

Between highlighting them as one of the fashion icons of YouTube, their book on September 2021’s TMS Bookclub, and their charity auction of a copy of their book they sat on (which raised over $3,000), ya’ll should know Zhao by now. On TikTok, they’re just as eclectic and yet still very on-brand. Videos range from how to pronounce the Chinese names within Iron Widow to referencing Yu-Gi-Oh a lot. Of everyone on here, Zhao is a top-tier shitposter in the best sense. However, they aren’t afraid of getting serious with videos on history (often Asian and European), speaking up on political issues, and answering questions about their books too.

Chloe Gong

@thechloegong what is a husband if not a fellow spy #booktok #yabooks #foulladyfortune #bookclub #bookstan #authorsoftiktok #writing #reading #bookworm ♬ original sound – s

Like Xiran and many others, Gong stays plugged into meme trends—especially regarding TikTok. She’ll often share snippets of out-of-context bits from upcoming books and videos of readers sharing advanced reader copies (ARCs) and fanart. Because her series These Violet Delights is set in a ’20s Shanghai, some of my favorite videos are of Gong sharing fashion inspo and visual references. Swifty readers and those that love Shakespearean retellings will fall in love with her account.

Victoria Aveyard

@victoriaaveyard

TEAM FADE TO BLACK

♬ My Life – Billy Joel

Best known for her titles in her YA fantasy novel series the Red Queen, Aveyard is now also very popular on TikTok. She posts mostly information on her upcoming new book, lifestyle content, and publishing. Regarding publishing, she says in her traditionally published YA to Adult Fantasy lane when giving advice and speaking on the challenges of writing.

Aiden Thomas

@aidenschmaiden ✨just QTPOC author things 🥰✨ #cemeteryboys #aidenthomas #authortok #authorsoftiktok ♬ Dating in your…… – Jamie Buckley pt and actor

Writer of YA folkloric fantasies like Cemetary Boys and Lost in the Neverwoods, Thomas often shares other books they’re reading over on TikTok. While they started their TikTok before the COVID-19 pandemic (many people, especially authors, jumped on the app during quarantine), Thomas really started posting semi-regularly in spring 2021. They share promotional videos for their books and memes on what it’s like being a Trans Latinx fantasy writer. For those that have gotten to Chapter 23 of Cemetary Boys, they made this video just for you.

Ayana Gray

@ayanagray No hate, I think it’s incredible and I wish I could do write that fast 😭 #brandonsanderson #fantasy #fantasybooks #authortok #viral #LinkBudsNeverOff #OREOBdayStack ♬ original sound – Marcial

I featured fantasy writer Gray’s TikTok back in February when announced why the Beasts of Prey was changing mid-series. While she does do some lifestyle and trendy content, Gray focuses on promoting her books and answering questions about writing. She doesn’t hold back on throwing shade at how poorly Black characters are often seen as disposable in storytelling. Sometimes this is at specific books or (more often) publishing at large.

Charlie Jane Anders

@charliejaneanders sometimes it’s just really hard to convince your characters to do what you need them to do #writing #writingtips #books #booktok ♬ original sound – Charlie Jane Anders

Bestselling author of Even Bigger Mistakes and Victories Greater Than Death, Anders is a friend of TMS. We’ve highlighted her books, and she occasionally writes guest articles and essays for us. We love being able to feature her, because everyone on Earth and in space should be reading Charlie Jane Anders. One of the most unique elements of Anders’ TikTok is that she will often do skits where she as the author talks with her characters. She’ll also post writing tips, read excerpts from her novel, and occasionally opens bookmail. Anders speaks up regularly about transgender visibility and rights, and how to use creativity as an act of both healing and resistance.

R.F. Kuang

@therfkuang #duet with @ermreading NO BUT YALL ARE KILLING ME ILYSM 😭😭😭❤️❤️❤️❤️ #booktok #enterbabel #rfkuang #authorsoftiktok #thepoppywar ♬ original sound – El 📚🏳️‍🌈🎮

Of everyone on this list, Kuang arrived most recently on BookTok. However, she came with DRAMA as she revealed her highly-anticipated next book Babel as her first video. Most of her videos thus far feature her responding to people begging for Babel ARCs, publishing behind-the-scenes, and sharing book faves. Because her very adult historical fantasy series is about war and power, Kuang can’t do all the cute trends even if she wanted to. However, Kuang does find joy as she shares fan reactions. Also, she confirmed that more Poppy Wars content was coming too.

Sabaa Tahir

@sabaatahirauthor #duet with @esenachoman when your favorite author is slow as hell #BookTok #slowwriter #veryslow #slowest #yabooktok ♬ sonido original – Esenachoman

We just featured Tahir’s newest book on March’s TMS Book Club and while that is not SFF, she’s mostly written fantasy (Ember in the Ashes series) up until this point. The former journalist shares book recommendations, the struggles of being a writer (mainly deadlines), TikTok trends, and letting her haters know they aren’t original. Now, this can be a red flag for some authors when they call out readers’ public reactions, but Tahir is especially pointing to those that leave racist reviews or one-stars and tag her.

Sara Raasch

@sara_raasch #stitch with @heyitsstuart it’s not his fault okay #authortok ♬ original sound – Sara Raasch

Writer of YA fantasy series such as Snow Like Ashes, Stream Raiders, and Set Fire to the Gods, Raasch mostly posts lifestyle content, self-promotion, book recommendations, and lots of writing tips. Some of these tips are little series on her account and others are just one-offs. Raasch started sharing Dungeons and Dragons content to help fellow writers build characters and also see how they can get them 3D printed.

Did you find one of your favorite SFF authors on BookTok? If so let us know in the comments who (especially if they’re self published) and stay tuned for another list with a different … spicier … genre theme.

(images: screencaps)

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Image of Alyssa Shotwell
Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.