The Viral Book Craze

Over the past few days, I’ve seen a lot of discourse in the writing communities of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest over the rise of BookTok and the “viral book craze.”

From what I’ve read, some writers and readers are concerned about the quality of popular books that are being published nowadays—and for good reason. 

In today’s industry, it’s easier than ever to write a book, self-publish it (or even traditionally/small-press publish it), and randomly go viral on some social media network, like Instagram or Tik Tok. 

Disappointing Discoveries

But just because a book goes viral or becomes popular, doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the book is a good one.

And when you open up a popular book only to find a subpar plot, a bunch of typos, grammar mistakes, and other errors, it’s annoying for readers and a little insulting for writers.

After all, there are plenty of great, well-written and professionally edited books that have faded away into obscurity—simply because nobody realizes that they exist. Meanwhile, books with an OK-plot and barley-admissible editing go viral and become super popular seemingly out of nowhere.

Obviously there’s some great things about the books that have gone viral (or they wouldn’t be nearly as popular as they are), but from the perspective of an author who did “everything right” and still didn’t gain much traction for their story, it’s frustrating.

My Thoughts

I agree to a certain extent that a lot of books get more attention than they actually deserve, but if I look at how these books become popular, it’s usually because the author was posting about their story to these social media sites.

And if an author is doing their best to promote their story (whether it’s a good story or not), isn’t it fair to say that they earned their right to popularity?

Of course, we could always argue that it’s just the luck of the algorithm, but if that’s the case then that means that every writer has the same chance to go viral as long as they keep posting and putting their books out there for the internet and world to see.

So while it is disappointing to see subpar stories getting attention while stunning stories get ignored, the encouraging part is that it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Real Mission

I have a lot of trouble talking about my own stories, especially my book. After all, I don’t want to annoy people by posting or promoting it all the time, and since this is the first book I’ve published, there’s a large amount of vulnerability that comes with sharing the story—my words—with the world.

No matter how many good reviews I get, or how many people beg for me to release the sequel as soon as possible, it’s difficult to push past my fears and insecurities.

I have to remind myself that writing isn’t just my passion or my job. It’s my mission and ministry

God called me to write, and I know he wants to touch hearts and minds through the stories I create. But people won’t read books that they’ve never heard of.

Writers, keep posting about your stories. Continue putting your name out there and building your audience—without worrying about going viral.

As long as you continue to carry out the mission God gave you, He will do the rest.

Before You Go…

Have you ever read a popular book that wasn’t nearly as good as people claimed it was?

Let me know down in the comments!

Also, if you haven’t yet, check out my book, The Librarian’s Ruse, and leave a review with your thoughts!

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