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The TikTok army of America’s biggest author

Colleen Hoover is the biggest author in American publishing, says Laura Miller in Slate, and by quite some margin. Every week for more than a year, the 42-year-old Texan has had between three and six novels on Publishers Weekly’s top 10 bestseller list. She currently holds three of the top five slots on The New York Times’ list, the most popular of which was published some six years ago. Hoover’s output is much more varied than that of most bestselling authors. She started out writing young adult fiction, but has also dabbled in romantic comedy, ghost stories and gothic suspense. And she does a good line in “steamy romances” – Ugly Love, about an affair between a nurse and an airline pilot, “I estimate to be about 70% sex scenes”.

But it’s not just her writing that has propelled Hoover up the charts. Much of her success is down to “BookTok”, the segment of TikTok dedicated to readers and authors. Known as “CoHo” to her fans – who call themselves “Cohorts” – the former social worker is the subject of countless videos in which young women “record themselves sobbing, screaming, gasping in astonishment, and pressing her books to their hearts in winsome displays of adoration”. It’s easy to mock these gushing tributes. But they perfectly reflect what Hoover’s legions of fans love about her writing: it “delivers power jolts of unadulterated feels”.