Using TikTok to Build a Readership. #1

TikTok is a social media app that mostly involves lip syncing teenagers and dance routines. It is not a place for literature… Seems like the perfect place to chisel out a niche.

If you are unfamiliar with the format, here are the basics:

There are three ways to post content; a 15 second video, a 60 second video, or a photo montage.

You can easily add special effects and filters. You are limited to 100 characters in your description, which must include your hashtags.

You film your short video, post it, and with any luck you start to amass likes and followers.

I am new to TikTok but I thought it might be interesting to share any insights and tips that I glean along the way.

Here is the first TikTok I made with my manifesto –

I’m writing a dark fairy tale horror based on the Brothers Grimm story, Gnome. I will be documenting my progress and process regularly.

I will also be posting writing tips (sometimes serious, and sometimes not so serious, as in the TikTok below).

It is important as authors that we experiment with different ways of reaching and interacting with readers. This TikTok thing might crash and burn, but it might not. Either way I’ll be doing weekly updates with stats right here on my blog. So please follow me if you are curious about how this goes. Maybe you’ll decide to take to TikTok too, in which case you must let me know; we’ll do a duet.

I’ll get into TikTok duets in another post but, should I gain momentum, a duet is a way of giving new TikTokers an introduction to like minded followers. We’ll grow together.

The link below will take you straight to my TikTok profile. Feel free to cringe at my early attempts at content. Eesh. It’s a learning process, right? And don’t forget to press that follow button!

So, I’ve been on TikTok for three days so far. At the bottom of each TikTok update on this site I’ll publish my stats so you can see my growth and decide if it would be a worthwhile venture for yourself.

I’ll share my failed posts, my successful ones, everything; the good and the bad. Things are going to get experimental and weird. Until next time.


The Drinker’s Fallacy

Pub where Poet John Berryman (C) is talking to other customers. (Photo by Terrence Spencer/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

I might need to apologise in the morning, but…


Is this a poem? –


I stood in my kitchen staring at the floor,

so many gatherings happened here,

and now I am hungry

and the kitchen is empty.


Or just a sentence that has fallen down a stair case? Splitting a sentence up over several lines does not make a poem.

The above is original but it is an example of a lot of stuff that is out there at the moment. It is why I have failed to enjoy poetry when I have tried. I have, for some unknown reason to myself (as I am a novelist at heart), started writing the stuff. I don’t think poetry needs to sit in the romantic teenage angst corner of the literary world, but it is hard for the stoic amongst us to find our way in. I love words, and I think poetry is well suited to them, but the above is just a pointless cop-out.

There is a satisfying cadence to the English language that can be showcased with poetry. Breaking up sentences and pretending it is art is an insult to that. Write better.




Walk Between the Rain (a short Haiku story)


A man in a coat

Poured whisky into a glass

Trapped in by the rain


The bar was crowded

All around him people talked

Hunched over his drink


He glanced to his right

The rain pounded the window

He refilled his drink


The barman knew him

He lets him keep the bottle

Only when it rains


The rain keeps him in

So he drowns himself in booze

The sun dries him out


The rain keeps, he stands

Leaves fifteen quid and a tip

Walks between the rain

New to Haiku


And now; a haiku

Five syllables, seven, five

The rules are simple


I need a subject

So I can give this haiku

Some needed substance


Haiku’s stand alone

Three pithy lines and no more

But I like stories


Good, I think that’s it

Haiku’s are pretty easy

I am a turtle


And now I’ve had a practice I’ll turn my hand to the dark and horrid world my writing normally inhabits – Walk Between the Rain (a short Haiku story)

Charlie Hillman


Charlie Hillman set off one day

He had nothing but a song and his own good name

He had no money, no house and no car

Just a road and an old guitar


His feet was saw now and the road was long

Three more steps and the sun was gone

He stood alone on an empty road

Nowhere to sleep and the night was cold


But Charlie was determined and wise and sure

He camped in the doorway of a local store

He slept while his fingers strummed a riff

It was a song about strife and defeating the rich


The sun was up now and Charlie was gone

A man silhouette against the heat of the sun

A one way journey to deliver his song

For in his jacket was concealed a gun


And in an office not far away

A meeting of suits was underway

“The profits are up now by 6 percent,

And we only had to fire thirty men”


The men they laughed and smoked cigars

They had nice suits and brand new cars

But in worn out shoes, not far away

Was a man who had nothing but something to say


Charlie arrived at the big HQ

The building was tall and it ruined the view

The receptionist said, “Hey, who are you?”

And Charlie said, “Nobody, just some dude.”


“Could you help me out, miss, where’s the lift?

I got some urgent business.”

She said, “I’m sorry, sir, you’re not booked in.”

He said, “Well, listen, you better call their next of kin”


On the top floor executive lounge

Men in suits just hung around

They seemed to be finding something quite funny

They’re pockets were full with piles of money


And there stood Charlie Hillman

He said, “I’ve come to kill you, you starved my children.”

“But before I do,” he said kinda sly,

“I’ll play you a song, it should explain why.”

Mother of Squalor

Mother of Squalor

She tipped her hat against the wind and squinted through the rain

Her life was a novella of pulp in a moonlit motion picture of class

Her high heels kicked through puddles that reflected street lights

The book in her bag was damp from intruding weather


Her coat held closed, her umbrella shielded her lipstick from the thunder

The lightning flashed, silhouetting her shadow against the passing cars

A busker stood against a wall emptying water from his guitar

A bottle of wine stood safe on her kitchen counter


The coke in her bag gave a clue to her hurried trot through the streets

The dwindling spring in her mind was racing to indulge some more

Men in pubs behind her spread rumours about her allure

Her legs were food for their hormonal hunger


At last she arrived home and discarded her twisted umbrella in the garden

She fished for her keys with dripping hands and unlocked the front door

Inside she fell against the wall and stumbled into her lounge

She paid the babysitter and put on a record


She carved out her last lines on an old record sleeve. It was a Bob Dylan vinyl

She laid back on her couch and fumbled with her backie to roll a cigarette

With no money left she used a straw to snort the last particles of white

She kicked off her shoes and pulled off her dress


Sprawled naked in the bath she let the hot shower rinse off her soiled elegance

A wine glass toiled between her fingers. She hummed a half remembered tune

She had the sense of mind to towel before she crawled to bed

She slept for an hour before her daughter cried her awake.


The Prince of the Skunks


Withered and wicked was the prince of the skunks

God damn his reputation in the pubs of the drunks

They knew him locally as the holder of the bar

His legend ran deeper than the depth of his scars

For which he had many


On the stage at the piano he pressed his keys

One by one, black and white, a fucked-up melody

Bewildered and confused, he was the minor freak

He used every musical quip to defend his sheep

For which he had none


Hat covering his eyes, stage light shielding nothing

Lyrics full of lies causing lips taught from bluffing

His life was far weirder than his fingers could say

But not one man could know what he loved or why

And neither could he


He sings to old whores, broken strings, and beaten lyrics

No shoes, the mad artist spoke in vitriolic polemics

People in the pub followed the movement of his jaws

But had no idea what a fucking vitriolic polemic was

Not one word


He coughed and laughed in the face of the gods

Beer in his veins and static in is heart

The breakdown of reason

Where are my shoes?

What is this mess?