“a Broken Blade” blew up on TikTok and was picked up by a publisher

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  • Melissa Blair anonymously self-published her book “A Broken Blade” last year.
  • She launched a viral scavenger hunt for creators to discover her as an author.
  • Now, the famous TikTok book has been picked up by a national publisher and goes on sale August 2.

After falling in love with countless romantic fantasy novels discovered on TikTok, Melissa Blair wrote and self-published her first book, “A Broken Blade.”

But the creativity did not stop there. He also planned an anonymous launch campaign in which 25 #BookTok creators received a box containing their book, a letter, and a series of clues they would have to unscramble to reveal which of their fellow BookTok writers wrote the seductive fantasy.

Blair’s campaign quickly went viral, garnering more than 2.6 million views under the hashtag #abrokenblade as readers tuned in to the slowly unraveling mystery. After two weeks, Blair was finally revealed and now her book will be officially published by a major publisher.

What is “A Broken Sword”?

Romantic fantasy books like “A Broken Blade” are popular on TikTok and regularly go viral among BookTok creators: the hashtag #fantasybooks has over 522 million views and #fantasyromancebooks has 20 million. While paranormal and romantic fantasy novels captured Blair’s heart, she knew a perspective was missing.

“I found that most of the books take place in colonial societies, but that part of the world is rarely explored,” says Blair. “As an indigenous person, he wanted to know more about the people of these lands, how the transfers of power had taken place, how they were talked about and how they affected the people. Other books didn’t seem to want to tell that story, so I decided to give it a try.”

“A Broken Blade” is a dark and romantic fantasy starring Keera, King’s Blade, her favorite assassin and the most talented spy in the kingdom. When a mysterious figure called the Shadow threatens the crown, Keera begins hunting the enemy across magical Faeland, trying to discern whether the Shadow is mortal, elf, or halfling, until she makes a shocking discovery that leaves her questioning. who the real enemy is and he remembers a promise he made a long time ago.

How “A Broken Blade” blew up on TikTok

Melissa Blair is an active creator and member of the Booktok community, so when she came up with the plan to write “A Broken Blade”, her launch campaign naturally came together with it.

“When looking at and creating content, I knew that people would love a bit of mystery and intrigue; it would give them their own mystery to solve,” says Blair. “I wanted people to work together, make new friends and collaborate to unmask me as something fun to do as a community.”

In early December 2021, Blair anonymously sent 25 boxes to BookTokers that included her book (without her name), a letter explaining the mystery, a segment of a coded message, and two wax seals. The creators would have to collect all five segments of the message to decode it, which meant they had to find unboxing videos from different creators, which encouraged them to work together.

The final part was video clues that Blair posted anonymously on TikTok under the account @abrokenblade, hinting that the coded messages were letters that the creators needed to unscramble.

“A group of BookToker creators started working together to create a Google Doc where they could post all their advice, theories, and ideas. They called themselves the Scooby Gang and spent hours live reading the book, interacting with me on the anonymous account. on TikTok and trying to figure out the message,” recalls Blair.

“Eventually someone on his Live suggested that the waves were a reference to the publisher I had published for, Nibi Books,” he says. “Nibi” is the Anishinaabemowin word for “water”.

“Once they translated ‘thank you’ to ‘miigwetch,’ the Scooby Gang was able to decipher the message from a jumble of letters to: ‘This book was written by Melissa Blair. Miigwetch for humoring me.'”

How to buy and read “A Broken Blade”

In March, Union Square & Co. announced it would officially publish “A Broken Blade” and the rest of “The Halfing Saga,” a “surreal” opportunity for Blair.

“I’m very excited that Keera’s story will continue as Union Square & Co publishes The Halfling Saga, but I hope to publish other books as well,” says Blair. “I promised myself that if I ever became an author, I would become the storyteller that I needed to grow up. So, that’s my goal. I’m going to write extensively with stories centered around indigenous and queer characters… And if you end up reading them, all I can say is chi-miigwetch!”

“A Broken Blade” will be published on August 2, 2022, but you can pre-order the book now.

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