Millions of Followers? For Book Sales, ‘It’s Unreliable.’

There is a growing awareness in the industry about the difference between the number of followers and how engaged they really are, according to executives in the field Do they have anything to say about it? No, they don’t.

Eric Nelson, the editorial director of Broadside Books, said, “There are people who stop being famous who still have their millions of followers, or people who left office eight years ago.” “The question is, why is this person being talked about?” It all boils down to “what motivates participation.”

With the rise of TikTok as a major force in book sales, this conversation has taken on a new dimension. Rather than authors hawking their own work, “BookTok” titles that do well are typically promoted by readers who are gushing over them on their camera phones. However, TikTok stars’ book proposals are now being accepted.

It was only recently that Hachette Books publisher Mary Ann Naples came across a proposal from an author who had quickly built a large TikToken following. Mary Ann Naples: Because of the price increase, Ms. Naples could no longer afford to buy the book.

She said, “I couldn’t go up to those heights because I didn’t feel safe.”

Wally Koval’s coffee-table book, “Accidentally Wes Anderson,” is a good example of a book that sells because it features photos from around the world that look like Wes Anderson set pieces, like a bowling alley decorated in a rainbow of colours. When the book was purchased, Mr. Koval’s Instagram account, which shares the same name and concept, had more than 1 million followers and now has 1.6 million. Since its publication in January, the book has sold more than 100,000 hardcover copies, according to the publisher.

As a holistic psychologist with 4.4 million Instagram followers, Dr. Nicole LePera’s book “How to Do the Work” performed well. According to BookScan data, her book has sold about 216,000 copies.