This post was updated in February 2021.
As a keen Bookstagrammer, digital marketer for a literary festival and former book production manager, I come across author accounts all the time. Some are brilliant, but it’s become increasingly clear that many writers aren’t sure how to max out their pages. As a marketing tool, Instagram involves more effort than Twitter or Facebook but if done well, then it can reap many more rewards because there’s a passionate community of readers (known as bookstagrammers) on this particular platform. In this post I’ve stuck to seven Instagram tips for authors which should help writers to boost their Instagram accounts.
1. Join the Bookstagram Community
What is Bookstagram?
Bookstagram is the name of the reading community on Instagram. This is not a defined group, but rather a collection of bibliophiles who post mainly about books.
How do you join Bookstagram?
Anyone can join in. All you need to do is post bookish content and use book-orientated hashtags.
I recommend that you dive in straightaway – whether published or soon-to-be-published. Find the readers who enjoy reading the type of books you write and read. You can also search for your book and/or genre hashtags and like people’s posts. If someone has given you a rave review then comment and seriously consider following them. You can choose to follow hashtags so I would recommend following your own title (if you’re published) to make sure that you acknowledge positive posts about your book.
2. Be A Reader
I’m guessing that you write books because you love reading. Post about your current and favourite reads as well as the ones which have influenced your writing. For many people it’s much easier to identify with a reader than a writer. Also, if people are drawn to your reading tastes, it’s very likely that they’ll enjoy the books you write too.
If you’re brand new to Bookstagram, then check out our list of Bookstagram post ideas which gives an overview of the different styles that you can find in the community.
3. Instagram Hashtags for Authors
Big hashtags such as #bookstagram and #currentlyreading are not so great for finding followers because your post is likely to get lost.
When you type a hashtag you should see how many times it’s been used. Go for 5 figures and below. Don’t use #follow4follow or any of the spammy hashtags – this will only attract the bots.
I would recommend that you look for hashtags that only have between 1K and 100K when you start off. Bear in mind that you can use up to 30 in every post. I’ve listed generic Instagram hashtags for authors that fall into this category in June 2020. Bear in mind that these are designed to connect you with other writers rather than sell your book. This a good thing though. Instagram is about community first and foremost.
The best way to use these is to mix them up with other Bookstagram hashtags which refer to your genre, reading tastes and lifestyle.
4. Share Crisp, Bright Photos
This really needs a post of its own and is one of the harder Instagram tips for authors to master. As a general rule, shoot in natural light where possible or if not, use a free app like Snapseed to increase exposure (not saturation) and reduce the yellow tint from artificial lighting.
Bookmark photos that you like on Instagram and try to emulate them (do credit the original creator if it’s an obvious match). If you’d like to learn more about photo editing, have a look at our post 5 Easy Tips for Improving Your Bookstagram Feed.
5. Be Consistent
The biggest growing accounts post every day, but very few people have time to do this and to be honest, no one wants to be flooded with tons of material. As a general rule, I would say aim to post quality content at least twice a week with a max of one a day (if you love taking photos).
6. Grow Organically
Of the Instagram tips for authors, this is probably the most important. If you’re a writer then you also have a brand to nurture. Don’t chase likes or numbers, but rather focus on building a quality following that’s made up of people who relate to your content. Similarly, try to follow accounts that interest you. There’s a lot of emphasis placed on having fewer follows than followers but as long as you maintain an equal balance this is fine. It’s about connection not game-play which leads me onto a note about the follow/unfollow strategy.
For those of you who aren’t aware of follow/unfollow tactics – it’s where Instagrammers follow lots of accounts (usually small ones) so you’ll follow back and then they unfollow you a few days after in the hope you don’t notice. Please don’t do this! Many account holders are wise to these tactics and it can undermine your authenticity. Better to build slowly and with integrity – this way you’ll gain many more true fans.
7. Link Up Your Accounts
Make sure that you link your Instagram with your other accounts or at least promote it on your other social media pages. You can then share content across all platforms which will cut down the time you spend on managing your digital presence.
So for a solid, basic Instagram account – you should be aiming for connection, consistency and clarity. It takes time to develop something meaningful, but if you do it with heart then your audience will be more likely to listen when you have something important to share.
If you found this helpful see our other Bookstagram tips.