This novelist had 10,000 book pre-orders because of social media

Today I want to share a case study of an author who released her debut novel this week. Her name is Breanne Randall, and she just published The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic. Some highlights:

    • She is reporting more than 10,000 pre-orders.
    • She attributes the majority of her pre-orders as coming from social media.
    • 300+ reviews on Goodreads before publication.
  • 23 reviews on Amazon within the first day of publication. (61 reviews four days later.)
  • The physical book hit #48 in Paranormal & Urban Fantasy (Books) category and #53 in Romantic Fantasy (Books) in the first day on Amazon.
  • Each video she shares on TikTok gets thousands of views, and she has 37,000 followers.
  • Over on Instagram, some posts are getting tens of thousands of likes, and she has 70,000 followers there.
  • She has gained more than 7,000 email newsletter subscribers.

And here is some of the backstory that led her to this moment:

  • This has been a 10 year journey for her.
  • She has written 3 previously unpublished books.
  • She’s received (and persisted through) 500 rejections.
  • She queried her current book for more than a year, to 54 agents, before signing with one.
  • She said, “There was exactly one time I felt like giving up, and I got an offer of representation about a week later. Glad I stayed the course!”

With so many reviews up on Goodreads before publication (335 full reviews!) it is a good reminder of how much marketing happens prior to book launch. For many years, I have talked about how I prefer to work with an author on a book launch 12+ months before their publication date. This isn’t a hard rule, but today’s case study is a great illustration of all that can happen before your book is out in the world. Breanne herself said that she feels “the best time to market a book is while you are writing it, or before you’ve even begun writing it. What this allows you to do is bring your readers on the journey with you and build a community as you’re going.”

Today, I simply want to share some things that I’ve observed as I’ve watched her launch this book.

(NOTE: In my analysis, please keep in mind: I am celebrating what she is doing and her success. I am simply trying to understand what tactics and strategies she is using as a way to analyze what may be helpful to other writers.)

Let’s dig in…

Social Media Growth

From what I can tell, Breanne started on Instagram in November of 2018. Her first posts were all baking related!

Breanne Randall


For more than 3 years, her content focused on “recipes, remedies, and more,” and I see a lot of photos of her family and home life. In the 2019/2020 timeframe, she mentioned that she had 11,400 followers on Instagram.

In early 2022, she began to share about writing and reading more consistently.

Breanne Randall


Then, in late 2022, almost a full year before the release of her book, she began talking about it. This coincides with her starting on Tiktok in October of 2022, with a similar video. Her first TikTok video seemed to go viral, with 4,900 likes and more than 300 comments.

From then on out, most of her content focuses on her book and process as a writer.

Why does all this matter? A few things I’m thinking about:

  • She hasn’t spent years becoming a “book influencer.” She shared as many people do, focusing on the inspirational moments of life, her interests, and trying to help others.
  • She has been promoting this book on TikTok and Instagram for a solid year. Post after post after post. I’ll talk more about the specifics of that below, but it’s worth pointing out. So many writers say to me, “Oh! I don’t want to start talking about my book too early, people will get tired of it.” But Breanne’s story is a powerful example of how sharing early and often can really pay off.

She reported 17 days after starting on TikTok that she already had 3,500 followers, and it was all due to people really resonating with the description of her book.

Breanne Randall


There seems to be some overlap in content between the two platforms, but in mid-2023 she began posting collage videos primarily on Instagram. It’s neat to see all the different styles of videos she has tried over the years, honing her skills, messaging, and connection to her ideal readers. This is work, and she is putting in the time to go from good to great.

Throughout this year, she has been reporting on a wide range of data illustrating her growth: newsletter subscribers, TikTok followers, and how many times her book was added to shelves on Goodreads. Here is an example of one of those updates:

Breanne Randall


From what I have observed on her TikTok, this is the progression of pre-orders for her book that she has reported:

January 26: 179
March 16: 600
March 18: 1,100
April 15: 1,300
April 18: 1,500
May 18: 1,863
May 24: 2,000
June 11: 2,500
June 21: 3,500
June 30: 4,000
July 16: 4,600
July 24: 5,418
Aug 4: 5,640
Aug 18: 6,700
Aug 31: 7,455
Sep 6: 8,300
Sep 17: 10,000
Sep 19: over 10,000

Defining (and Repeating) Her Key Messages

When I work with writers, I talk a lot about defining your Key Messages. These are a series of messages that define what you create and why.

Breanne’s first TikTok asks, “Would you read a book that’s like Practical Magic meets Gilmore Girls?” That is a line that she will repeat again and again in the next year. So much so that it has become the primary way she refers to her book, instead of the title. I assume she has found that it is a powerful way to hook people into her story. So she will say less often, “My book, The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak & Magic.” Instead, she will refer to it more often this way: “My Gilmore girls meets practical magic book…” or she will add the word “witchy” in front of it, “My witchy Gilmore girls meets practical magic book…”

Breanne Randall

Another Key Message I see her using is about the journey she’s been on as a writer, how long she has been at it, how many rejections she has received, and how she has persisted. Phrases I see again and again:

  • “I almost gave up.”
  • “I didn’t give up.”
  • “I had hundreds of rejections.”
  • “I wrote 3 others books before one sold.”
  • “This took 10 years.”
  • “It has taken me 12 years to reach my dream.”

This backstory quickly communicates to the viewer that by supporting her, you are supporting writing, art, and creativity in general. That you can be a part of helping to make someone’s dream come true.

Another Key Message I see her using is celebration, and including the reader as an important influencer in her story. She has been sharing the pre-order numbers as they grow, and will often say things like:

  • “This is all because of social media.”
  • “You made this happen”
  • “YOU are the ones making my dreams come true!”

In January, she reported 179 pre-orders on the first day it was available. Throughout the year, she has updated that number again and again. I mean, what a fun journey to go on as a follower of hers! This is what most people dream of, that they create something, and that it resonates with people, and grows and grows.

Analyzing the Video Style That Works Best for Breanne

How she shares is clearly an important part of how she is engaging her fans, and gaining new ones. Many of her videos have text on the screen, music playing, and she doesn’t say anything. Instead, we see her express reactions to what is happening with her book. So in this 6 second video, this is a snapshot of some of her reactions:

Breanne Randall

This fascinated me as I considered why these videos were so effective for her. These authentic expressions of emotion are so powerful. Reading her words, and then seeing her express (what looks to be) feelings of shock, gratitude, amazement, humbleness, celebration, etc. — these are things that we all want to feel, and that we want to be supporting in others.

There is so much to learn here. What she shares is a wonderful example that you can create short videos that don’t require you to talk. Focus on clearly communicating your Key Messages, and then connect on a human level. If you have followed my work for any amount of time, you may remember I have a phrase that explains my ethos of Human-Centered Marketing. It is putting the connection between people first as we share what we create. Breanne does that in such an amazing way.

She has many other ways that she creates videos on her TikTok and Instagram feeds, and each feels like they could become their own case study in how writers can show up for readers online.

Are there other things Breanne and her team have been doing to ensure this book reaches readers? Of course! But from what she has shared, she has said that social media is the primary driver behind pre-orders and awareness of her book, so I wanted to do a case study on that today.

You can find Breanne and her book in the following places:

And here are some other recent case studies I have shared: