Authors are well aware of the importance of utilizing social media platforms to help market their self-published books. While it is well known that Facebook serves this purpose well, writers are quickly learning how extremely useful Instagram is for writers looking to promote their books.
With over a billion users, Instagram offers a potential goldmine for aspiring authors wanting to get themselves noticed. Of the billion subscribers, about 60 percent log in daily, providing a steady flow of potential readers once you master this powerhouse social media platform.
Authors who are in the know have learned the ins and outs of using this popular platform to help market their books. Instagram happens to be host to a thriving and highly engaged community of book lovers. Using Instagram for writers who want to connect with them is a marriage made in heaven. Continue reading to learn how to use Instagram to introduce your book to potential fans.
How Authors on Instagram Can Spread Awareness of Their Work
There’s an increasingly active and vibrant book community on Instagram. With new posts tagged #bookstagram every day, millions of users are finding and talking about books on this platform all the time. This means that Instagram can be an extremely useful marketing tool for writers.
There are a ton of reasons for writers to join Instagram, such as:
- To connect with other authors on Instagram and find a writing community
- To build a following of potential readers that you can interact with
- To promote and advertise your books to increase your sales
- To create a brand and digital identity to establish yourself as an author
Learn how Instagram works for writers who want to spread awareness of their work:
1. Stick to a brand strategy.
From the start, decide on a brand strategy for your Instagram author page.
Using a cohesive visual theme or style that fits your genre and helps define your brand. For example, if you write chick lit, maybe go with a spicy vibe. If you write humor, try a quirky approach.
Whether you draw inspiration from your genre or want to showcase your writing journey, integrate a theme or personality into the accompanying captions and images.
Most importantly, plan your posts to make sure your content does the following:
- Represents or reflects your products (your books!)
- Showcases your personality and values
- Presents a unified or identifiable brand that your audience will recognize specifically as “you” or your work/aesthetic
- Adheres to your visual aesthetic, color scheme, and/or theme
- Lets your audience get to know you better!
2. Use Instagram’s newest features.
Social media is continuously evolving to feed hungry appetites for content. Instagram is no different.
Instagram recently added some new features that can enhance authors’ feeds. The highlight option allows you to save your best Instagram stories to your feed instead of allowing them to disappear in 24 hours. Reels are a new Tik Tok-like feature that allows authors to create short videos to share with their followers.
3. Use author hashtags.
Use the power of well-chosen author hashtags when you post on Instagram. Like other social media platforms, Instagram uses hashtags to connect relevant content and users. For example, the bookish community on Instagram is widely known by its hashtag: #bookstagram.
That is one of the many hashtags that can be useful on Instagram for authors. You can find more hashtags by searching #books or #bookstagram to see related hashtags on the platform’s search page.
Some popular Instagram hashtags for authors include:
To find more relevant hashtags for your book or genres, take a quick search in the tags on Instagram! #RomanceBooks is a popular genre-specific hashtag, for example. You’re sure to find a few that work for your book or project.
Where Should You Include Instagram Hashtags for Authors?
Some users prefer to include their author hashtags directly in the post caption a few lines down from the description. However, other authors will add a comment with all their hashtags instead. Placing hashtags in the first comment box helps your captions maintain a clean appearance. Where you choose to include your hashtags doesn’t directly impact performance, so it’s all just what you decide!
4. Curate an attractive grid.
Instagram is all about visual impact. Pay attention to your Instagram author page’s overall aesthetic value. #Instagrammers want to see posts with photos that fit an aesthetic.
Try to cultivate a visually appealing grid by coordinating the color schemes or stylized aspects of your posts. This usually means that popular posts include photos that almost look professionally taken — with good lighting (soft, natural light works best) and well-composed backgrounds.
5. Include URLs and Calls-to-Action.
Curating an aesthetically pleasing grid and building a following is great! Just make sure you also put links to your writing, website, or book sales pages in your “bio” section of your profile.
Authors should end each caption with a call-to-action, such as “link in bio” to direct them to a platform where they can purchase the book. You can also point to your website, where they can read your blogs and have access to multiple links for purchasing. Always include your URL in your Instagram bio.
This will ensure your followers can find your work and help boost traffic to your website or increase sales for your books.
6. Write a compelling caption.
Instagram is a visual-dominant social media platform, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect captions.
Your Instagram captions offer an opportunity to share some behind-the-scenes glimpses of your book writing process. Use the captions to pique interest in your book. You can describe the writing experience itself or share snapshots of your creative world. Make sure your captions are typo-free and well crafted.
7. Tease with excerpts.
Build anticipation for what readers can expect in your book. Tempt followers to pre-order by providing book excerpts.
Use a visually appealing post that contains one sentence to get their attention, and then provide a paragraph or two within the caption. This strategy can be used at any time but is particularly useful prior to the book’s launch.
8. Create a signed copy giveaway.
Who doesn’t like free stuff? A fun way to attract new followers is by setting up a signed copy giveaway.
Provide a stunning photo of your book and a caption that offers a free, signed copy. Select a date when the winner will be announced, and require that each entrant tag at least one friend.
9. Promote your website.
Many authors have a vibrant website where they post book topic-related blogs and news items. If you have a website, be sure to provide links to the main bookseller platforms for visitors to purchase your book and use Instagram to drive traffic to the site. Website content can be extremely useful for engaging readers and promoting your book.
What Should Authors Post on Instagram?
Access the visual power of Instagram to help writers showcase their brand. Consider these effective Instagram author page examples that you can modify to make them your own.
Author Dan Brown uses provocative collages to form full images on his grid but then uses simple, random captions to accompany them.
Share attractive photos of your book.
Instagram is all about visual composition. See how author Bianca Marais shares a stunning photo of her book.
Hold book-signing events.
Best-selling author Kristin Hannah uses her Instagram feed to announce book signing events.
Include a personal touch.
Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing, shares a photo that enhances her personal journey.
Announce countdowns to publication.
See how writer Cora Reilly used Instagram to drive interest in her book launch:
Curate Your Book Before You Worry About Curating Your Instagram Feed
Instagram is a powerful vehicle for positioning your self-published book. While the guidelines we’ve listed for you above are geared toward helping you successfully use Instagram as an author, don’t limit yourself. Be creative, break the rules, and do what works best for your goals and vision.
Before you launch your social media author strategy, you first need a stellar self-published book. Haven’t published your book yet? Take the plunge into your dream writing career and get a free quote or consultation with the self-publishing professionals at Gatekeeper Press.