Are you an author? Do you wish there was something that allowed you to post about and promote your book in a fun way that had a serious reach, without spending a huge amount on marketing?
Well, there is. Instagram is perhaps not the most intuitive social network that you might think of joining as an author: ‘isn’t it all photographs and not much text?’ Yes, it is mostly photographs, and that is its big selling point. Instagram explains why Instagram for authors is not as daft as it sounds, and here is why.
The old saying goes ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ and it is very true. Try describing, in writing, absolutely everything that is going on in your favourite picture, and you will find it quite hard to be accurate and thorough within only a thousand words. This means that a meaningful picture of your book, you hard at work, your favourite view, or even your pet, will say so much more to your followers than a carefully worded sales pitch text comment.
Speaking of text, being faced with a solid block of text is hard to deal with, and many people will turn away from it. They may save it to read later, but many will forget and more will simply not bother – the abbreviation ‘tldr’ exists for a reason. (It means ‘too long, didn’t read’). On the other hand, pictures are easy to absorb. You can look at a picture for as long as you like, and in a fraction of the time it would take to read a long blurb, you will have taken in all the salient points of the picture. For this reason, it is a great idea for any wannabe author to get their Instagram en pointe and get into the habit of posting well and regularly.
Some good tips for photos to include are:
Pets – people love to see pictures of adorable animals. If you have any doubts, be reassured that even bestsellers do this. Stephen King often posts pictures of his gorgeous corgi, Molly, and her playmates, fellow corgis owned by King’s wife and son; and J K Rowling’s West Highland Terrier, Bronte, is well-known to her legions of fans.
Writer At Work – seeing their favourite author getting down to business is a glimpse behind the mystique that many fans would give their eye-teeth to see. Other aspiring writers, too, will pay slavish attention to techniques and tips that work as they try to get their first major work completed and out there. A well-lit, carefully chosen photo of you behind your writing desk, with perhaps some esoteric books carefully in shot, is a great way to win fans over.
Let fans get to know you – pictures of you in your home, inviting the viewer in, in a sense, will make your followers feel like your friend. They will want to support you and help because they feel they know you from your images, and they will be rooting for you to succeed. Of course, do be sensible with the images you chose to put out on the worldwide web. Make sure that no one can work out exactly where you live, ensure any school logos are hidden from pictures of your children in school uniform, and exclude any famous landmarks from photos taken on regular walks – it is far better to be a little stand-offish, rather than risk the safety of yourself, your home and your family.
You may be surprised how much Instagram can help you. Work at getting lots of followers, get the right hashtags trending and you’ll be surprised how your reach improves – and your sales are sure to follow! It is not just for celebs and foodies. Instagram for authors is here to stay!