Should YOU be using Instagram?

How authors should be using Instagram

With over 300 million users a month, it’s hard to see the downside to using Instagram when it comes to promoting your book(s). Authors are unique in the way that they write these incredible stories that connect with readers in ways they could have never imagined. The beauty of social media for an author is allowing their reader to get a glimpse into the life of the person who wrote the words that touched their life.

I understand why some authors may not see the value in Instagram because it’s a social media platform based on photographs and visual appeal…but isn’t that what a book cover is? Here are a few reasons you should be utilizing Instagram as an author…

Bloggers are on Instagram

Book bloggers are using Instagram…to share their love of books, what they’re reading, and offering followers a glimpse into their real lives. You can connect with book bloggers by searching specific book-related hashtags or research some of the largest book bloggers in your genre and follow them (#bookblogger #amreading)!

Connect with your audience

No one wants to follow an author, musician, brand, etc. that has a third party running their social media all the time. There is a level of trust that is lost with your followers when posts seem artificial or fake. Instagram is a perfect way to give followers a glimpse into your REAL life…a mix between posting about your book and posting about your everyday life– including family, hobbies, inspirations, and (of course) your pets (#catsnbooks).

Target Your Hashtags

Hashtags are a strategic way to target your audience and potential new followers. It’s important to have at least 1 or 2 unique hashtags—for example, instead of #reading you could use #readingBreakingDawn. In addition to your unique hashtags, it’s also important to use widely popular hashtags targeted at your audience—for example, #amreading #bookworm #booksncats. Instagram users can search specific hashtags and discover new accounts.(see Giveaways below for more hashtag tips)

Product Placement & Giveaways

Following and connecting with some large-follower accounts can be beneficial to getting your book in front of their followers as well. For example, let’s say you have a new young adult book and you follow a YA book blogger on Instagram that has 10K followers. It’s in your best interest to send that blogger a copy of your book and ask them to Instagram a picture of your book with one of your unique hashtags!

If your book is featured in some local bookstores or boutiques, ask them to also post a picture of your book in the store on their Instagram account and use your hashtags!

This would be the perfect opportunity to have the book blogger or bookstore do a signed copy giveaway to their followers—have them post a picture of your book & ask them to share the photo and use your unique hashtag!

Cover Art

Cover art is everything when it comes to sales. Imagine yourself walking through a bookstore looking for a new read…what draws your attention first? The book covers. As you go through the design process for your book cover, post pictures of your changes on your Instagram & ask for follower input! Some authors even do social media cover contests so that the followers can vote on which cover they like best…this is a great promotion to do when you have a series or trilogy.

To read more about the importance of book covers, check out our blog post Cover-to-Cover by Courtney Stevens.

Author Support

The beauty of the writing community is that authors support authors! Follow authors you admire and know on Instagram and show them support—share & comment on their photos! You can also get some great photography and marketing ideas from fellow authors who are touring and doing events. 


Instagram allows you to upload and post 3-15 second videos. Utilize this option by compiling a short video that has pictures of your novel or characters from the book. You can give a quick “hello” to your followers too or announce an Instagram giveaway contest winner! There are some really useful apps that can help you compile a short video! Here are a few apps that will make your Instagram videos easy to create AND amazing!

  1. PicPlayPost (
  2. Lapse It (
  3. Videoshop (