TikTok author who went viral after posting fantasy novel sparks bidding war

Author who put her fantasy novel online because she thought ‘no-one would print it’ reveals her shock as it becomes a best-seller – after fans on TikTok sparked six-figure bidding war

  • Olivie Blake, 33, become a TikTok literary sensation after self-publishing novel
  • The writer, from California, sparked a publishing bidding war for The Atlas Six
  • The novel, the first in a trilogy, is now available in hardback in the UK – and has shot to the tops of the fiction best-seller charts

An author has revealed how she’s gone from self-publishing a book she thought didn’t have mainstream appeal to the top of the best sellers’ list – after TikTok users loved her novel so much she was snapped up by publishers.

Olivie Blake, who lives in California, says she still can’t comprehend the success of her book, The Atlas Six, which has dreamed of success after a bidding war between publishers.

The fantasy novel has quickly racked up more than 20 million views amongst book lovers on TikTok and is currently at the top of The Sunday Times bestseller fiction list, only a week after its publication as a hardback in Britain.

She told The Sunday Times: ‘It’s fairly impossible for me to wrap my mind around any of this.’

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Olivie Blake, 33 (pictured), from California sparked a publishing bidding war when she posted her fantasy novel online

Olivie Blake is the pen name for California born writer Alexene Farol Follmuth, who said she couldn't have predicted the reaction to her novel

Olivie Blake is the pen name for California born writer Alexene Farol Follmuth, who said she couldn’t have predicted the reaction to her novel

The author, who self-published the book two years ago, says she had no idea her book would appeal to a broad readership and did not even think to approach a publisher with it.

Thanks to social media, she didn’t need to – as seven leading publishing houses approached her to bid for the book last September – with a six-figure sum eventually being paid by Pan Macmillan.

British publishers described Olivie’s novel as the ‘runaway TikTok must-read fantasy novel of the year.’

The UK-based publishing house published the novel under its ‘Tor imprint for fantasy and science fiction’ label on March 3rd.

TikTok has been credited with shining a light on unpublished authors – thanks to a corner of the platform known as ‘BookTok’, which has attracted 43 billion hits since it first became popular.

The novel The Atlas Six was won by UK-based published house Pan Macmillan for a six-figure sum hand, published under its Tor imprint for fantasy and Science on 3rd March

The novel The Atlas Six was won by UK-based published house Pan Macmillan for a six-figure sum hand, published under its Tor imprint for fantasy and Science on 3rd March

The Atlas Six plot features a group of aspiring magicians competing for places in a secret London society that is guarding the knowledge of ancient civilizations.

The 33-year-old author – real name Alexene Farol Follmuth – had contributed to fan fiction websites, writing new stories about characters from other writer’s books and had also self-published several other novels, which were largely ignored.

Alexene took her pen name from a random name generated that had missed Olivia; but she LOVED the sound Olivie so much more.

Amazon has acquired the film rights to the series and is developing it with Brightstar, the production company founded by The Crown producer Tanya Seghatchian and Cold War producer John Woodward

Amazon has acquired the film rights to the series and is developing it with Brightstar, the production company founded by The Crown producer Tanya Seghatchian and Cold War producer John Woodward

The Atlas Six quickly attracted millions of TikTok views and Olivie said it was ‘a really weird experience’ that she didn’t ‘fully understand.’

The book is the just the first in an intended trilogy with the next volume, The Atlas Paradox, due in October.

Going from one strength to the next, Amazon has acquired the film rights to the series and is developing it with Brightstar, the production company founded by The Crown producer Tanya Seghatchian and Cold War producer John Woodward.

Bella Pagan, publishing director of Tor UK, described The Atlas Six’s plot as ‘one of those classic storylines where people compete for a place and there’s a Lord of the Flies element, with people forming shifting alliances against one another.’

posted Reviews to the Waterstones and Goodreads websites are mainly complimentary.

One reader said the book was ‘incredibly entertaining and insatiable complex.’

However others complained the book at been ‘over-hyped’ and that the characters were annoying.’

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake (Macmillan Bread) £15.29

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