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William Dozier’s love for books has given him internet fame

The University alumnus has also recently published a novella of his own

<p>As an avid reader, Dozier finds it important and meaningful to share book recommendations.</p>

As an avid reader, Dozier finds it important and meaningful to share book recommendations.

Those who have recently turned to social media, especially “BookTok,” for book recommendations might recognize the face of William Dozier. A Charlottesville resident and class of 2018 alumnus, Dozier has amassed a substantial following on “BookTok,” a subcommunity on TikTok dedicated to talking about books, authors and literature. In addition to his more than 115,000 TikTok followers, Dozier boasts over 164,000 followers on Instagram and over 17,000 subscribers on YouTube

On his social media accounts, Dozier recommends books he has enjoyed reading, like the works of Cormac McCarthy and Toni Morrison. Dozier said he feels he has successfully filled a void on TikTok with his platform. According to Dozier, many “BookTokers” focus on recommending older classics. Dozier said that his platform takes a different approach and is a space where he recommends more modern literary works, such as “The Overstory” by Richard Powers and “Birnam Wood” by Eleanor Catton, in addition to classic works.

“I was recommending a lot of books that are fun to read, have literary merit and are more modern in some way,” Dozier said. “There are a lot of people who are looking for those sorts of books.”

On YouTube, Dozier posts longer videos for his viewers, such as a tour of his personal bookshelf or thorough reviews of famous novels, like “The Stranger” by Albert Camus or “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt. As an avid reader, he said he finds it important and meaningful to share book recommendations.

“There’s so much content on the internet, and it feels good to be posting about something that feels like it's got some merit to it,” Dozier said. “I’m teaching people something at the end of the day.”

When asked what advice he would give someone trying to discover and fall in love with more books, Dozier said to not be afraid to put a book down or change courses if you find a story unsatisfying. He also emphasized the importance of stepping outside of comfort zones when choosing books.

“Don't be afraid to try things that you think are going to be stupid,” Dozier said, “because sometimes a book you think might be stupid, you’ll actually end up loving.”

In addition to reviewing and recommending books, Dozier has also recently published a novella of his own. The story, which was entirely self-published, is entitled “FUMES” and tells the thrilling and violent tale of a man seeking revenge in a small town in North Carolina. Dozier’s keen attention to detail, layered characters and subtle storytelling allow the brief yet action-packed story to sustain intrigue and pose puzzling questions.

Dozier said he started his social media accounts with the goal of building a following to promote his writing.

“I started out posting just because I knew that I wanted to self-publish a story at some point in the not-too-distant future,” Dozier said. “I knew I was going to be trying to put that story out there, and I wanted to have platforms to do that with.”

Dozier said the journey of publishing his work has been exhilarating for him, with people from all stages of his life reaching out to congratulate him. He posts on social media and writes stories on top of working a full-time job, but publishing his first novella was a step toward his lifelong dream of being a published writer. 

“You could liken [publishing ‘FUMES’] to a rapper putting out a mixtape,” Dozier said. “‘FUMES’ was a project that I worked on mostly by myself.”

Dozier’s next goal is to publish a full-length novel, which would fulfill another one of his dreams — making a living from his written work. 

Dozier plans to continue reading, writing and publishing content, and he says he rarely goes more than one or two days without dedicating time to writing. For Dozier, reading and writing go hand-in-hand and, because he loves to talk to people, he says he sees his reading and writing as a series of conversations.

“When I'm reading, I feel as though I'm just listening very intensely to something,” Dozier said. “The effect of that — because I'm a chatterbox — is that, over time, I have to say something back.”


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