An Author’s Four Point Quick Guide to Instagram

by Sahar Sabati

an author's four point quick guide to instagramInstagram is a fun, easy, and potentially beautiful way to discover authors and connect with readers. It might seem that a social media platform purely based on visual media would only suit those who work in visual arts, such as designers, interior decorators, fashionistas, etc. But an increasing number of writers are learning how to efficiently wield this powerful social media tool and have a lot of fun doing so. Of all the advice available out there, here are the four most useful ones to authors trying to build and maintain a fan base.

Be yourself, not just an author. You’re more than an author and your life is more than your writing. And since your life influences your writing, it will tell readers a lot about your book before they even know about it. Fun random discoveries; fandoms you are a part of; how you deal with universal issues such as organizing; what and where you read; where you draw your inspiration from; and the day to day activities that keep you from your writing; these are but few of the things you can have fun sharing on Instagram. This will humanise you as well as help prove yourself a worthwhile author. For example, someone who shares pictures of the many children in their lives would be a natural children’s books author, or a frequent traveler would be a perfect candidate to write a collection of stories each based in a different city.

instagram tips for authors_be yourself

Befriend and Interact. Just like on any social media platform, you can’t just post and expect followers to flock to your account, however amazing it may be. Follow other accounts and interact regularly with both the account holder and any person who posts an interesting comment. Follow authors, both those you like and those who write books similar to yours; follow book bloggers; follow organizational gurus. Find Instagram account holders whose interests overlap yours. For example, if you write women’s fiction focusing on the lives of young mothers, find Mommy Instagram Accounts. Their passion—mothering—and yours—writing about mothering—will eventually feed one into the other.

instagram tips for authors_interact

Promote Others and Host Giveaways. Sharing what you love is a normal part of life, so why not do the same with the best Instagram accounts you find! The easiest way is through an Instagram post of your own; if you have a blog, you can also write a blog post explaining more thoroughly why you like these accounts so much. Not only will you will be giving someone else exposure and introducing your followers to noteworthy accounts, you will get getting exposure yourself through potential follow-backs and shout-outs. Organize simple giveaways or more complex group ones such as “loop” giveaways*. You can giveaway book swag, electronic copies of your book(s), signed physical copies of your book(s), build a character based on the winner, and even give away some of the many books you no doubt read.

instagram tips for authors_giveaway

Use and Abuse Hashtags. I can’t stress this enough: learn to hashtag and learn to hashtag well. Don’t be shy—you’ll need some eight to 11 hashtags at least when using Instagram. Don’t hashtag in the text of your caption; rather, place a string of hashtags after. #No #one #likes #reading #hashtag #heavy #text and hashtags are effective wherever they are placed #truth #reallytheyare. Have some fun with hashtags; don’t just use something typical, like #book, #writer, #writing; do #somethinglikethis #seriouslyitworks #youcantotallybetongueincheekhere.

instagram tips for authors_hashtags

There is a lot more you can do on Instagram, but with these four points you can already make quite a splash! Let me know how my tips work out for you either on Instagram or Twitter.

*Be sure to check rules regarding giveaways in your state before hosting/co-hosting a loop giveaway.


saharAbout Sahar Sabati

The author of Spirit Within Club, Chills: A Short Story Collection, Love: A Short Story Collection, and Warp and Woof: A Short Story Collection, Sahar was born the first of three siblings and the first of eight cousins who grew up together. Thrust in the role of head of the brood at a very early age, she honed her imagination by creating stories and plotlines the eight of them could play to all summer long. But soon, her interest in the paranormal took its toll on said brood. Worried on the long-term effects (as well as potential therapy costs) of this continual exposure to increasingly scary stories her oldest was (too) expertly weaving for their terrified ears, her mother gave her a typewriter – and a writer was born. Over the years, Sahar branched out from books to screenplays, countless short stories, numerous essays, two blogs, and one Facebook page.

Connect with Sahar!

Twitter – @Saharou
Instagram (All images in this post can be found on Sahar’s Instagram!)

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