If you are trying to work out how to use Instagram to promote your writing and your books, here’s four ways that are being well utilised by other authors.
Where I Write
Read any interview with a writer and it will almost always include questions around the topic of when and where the author sits down to write. Sharing photographs of your writing desk, a sneak peek at a page of the manuscript on the desk or the cup of coffee beside the laptop, these are all ways to give readers a sneak peek into your writing life. It helps them to relate to you as a writer too.
Adding a caption will explain the context of the photograph too, for example, a messy desk might need to be explained by a caption saying you’re coming to the end of your research for your book or a bare desk can be explained by revealing your need for absolutely no distractions.
@JJoongie has shared a photo of her desk, using the hashtag #whereIwrite and emphasising her approaching deadline. All writers need tasty snacks to recharge their batteries and provide brain fuel. I like the way she has taken a “birds eye view” of the plate of goodies, obscuring her manuscript and yes, the light filtering across adds interest too.
Although the expression ‘never judge a book by its cover’ is well known, it is often the cover that draws people to it and what better place to share your book cover art and if relevant, your illustrations, than on Instagram. Elizabeth Gilbert has created an image as an effective count down to publication day.
An illustrator for a children’s book could share the whole process of coming up with the characters’ appearance and building out the page with more colour and detail.
Many writers share samples of their writing too, either as scribbled notes, typed on old typewriters or glimpses of their manuscript. A new method (initially started on Twitter) is to share a line from your manuscript using the hashtag #1lineWed. Eache week has a different theme (this week’s is similies and metaphors) and here’s one from @Hell4Heather.
Many of the ‘writing’ hashtags are so popular your image would be lost amongst all of them and while it’s relevant to still use them, using a new hashtag like #1lineWed means a community of other writers become aware of you and it’s a bit of fun too. You can search for writing themed hashtags on Websta too.
Your Readers As Ambassadors
Get your readers to share photos of your book in various locations. Your ambassadors will do it without being asked or you could run a contest with a prize for the most creative or appropriate location shot for your book. Don’t forget to tell them to use your personalised hashtag for your book too.
Some publishers do this too – here’s a typical example by Penguin USA and you can see that they are using it to run a contest too.
Readers love books and yes, they love seeing photos of books on shelves, piles of books, single books. Whether it is a picture of your newly published book on a bookshop shelves or images from your own bookshelf, they do tend to be popular.
This photograph of all seven Harry Potter books was taken to commemorate JK Rowling’s birthday and yes, it will be appreciated by many Harry Potter fans. Take photos of books that would be of interest to your target reader and share them on your Instagram account.
If you’d like to learn more about using Instagram, our eLearning Instagram course starts on 7th September and runs for three weeks.