Whether you're just starting your journey as a writer, or you've already got a book or two published, being active on social media is extremely important for your career. It not only allows you to make connections with other authors in your genre, but it's also a great way to introduce yourself and your writing to potential readers.
Remember, the more someone gets interested in an author, the more they get interested in the book.
It might seem like an obvious statement, but sometimes we can get so caught up in our writing that it's easy to forget people want to know about us, not just our books.
There are many (many, many, many) social media platforms you can use to build your brand and engage potential readers, and I encourage you to try a couple and stick with what works best for you. However, I will caution you to not spread yourself too thin. You don't need to be everywhere to create an effective social media platform.
However, as the title suggests, this post will focus on Instagram.
So, Andi, why Instagram? I'm a writer, not an artist! I can't just post a gazillion pictures of my Word Doc as I slowly add 3 lines a day. I don't have anything interesting to post!
Well, that's a great question, and you certainly have valid concerns. However, I'm here to tell you that you do indeed have topics (and pictures) to post! You just need to think outside the Word Doc box.
To start, let's concentrate on the first reason for using social media.
Connect with other writers.
Ask yourself what sort of posts will help you connect with other authors, and vice versa. What would your fellow writers like to see? Are you having difficulty with a certain chapter? Did a lightbulb moment happen during your last writing session? Are you trying to write in the dark hours of the morning before your tribe wakes up? Are you writing at a coffee shop during your lunch break?
Guess what, you're not the only one experiencing these things! Share your experiences. Let other authors know what worked for you. Ask questions, engage your fellow writers, and see what experiences you share. This is a great way to build your community, and you'll find that people in the writing community will be happy to share in your triumphs and encourage you during your struggles.
But, it's not all about getting people to come to you. I honestly can't stress this enough. Follow hashtags such as #authorlife, #writinglife and #writingcommunity. See what other writers are posting about. Like and comment on their posts. Engage with them, and they'll engage with you!
Connect with readers.
Connecting with readers is extremely important. Yes, even if you don't yet have a book published! There's no such thing as connecting with potential readers too early.
Let me repeat that.
There's no such thing as connecting with potential readers too early.
The more you engage potential readers, and the more things they find that they have in common with you, the more interested and hyped they'll be to buy your book when it comes out. Again, you need to brainstorm what kinds of things your readers might be interested in. A good way to do that, is to think about what you like as a reader.
Is there an upcoming release you're excited for? Do you have a favorite series or a favorite character? What about book or author quotes? Did you finish reading a book? Share your thoughts. Have your followers read it? Ask them to share their opinions.
Don't forget about your writing! Just because you might not be published doesn't mean there isn't anything for you to share about your own writing!
Share one of your favorite lines from your current WIP. Talk about your characters. Share inspiration photos. Do a cover reveal.
It doesn't all have to be about books! Share your hobbies or interests. Chances are, people with similar interests as you will also have the same taste in books!
Again, as I mentioned above, it's not all about getting readers to come to you! Follow hashtags like #readersofinstagram, #readingcommunity, and #booklovers. See what other bookworms are saying!
Thinking of Instagram as a community instead of an advertising space, will help you grow your presence, number of engaged followers, and in the end, interest about your book.
Be open and honest. Be helpful and supportive of others in the community. Let both readers and writers see that you're willing to engage with them! Reply to comments and messages. Like posts, and don't forget that you can repost as well!
And remember, once again for those in the back, don't expect engagement to happen just because you're you! Unless you're J.K. Rowling, it's not going to happen. Make the first move. You'll be surprised how much more engagement you'll receive!
Have you had success with Instagram, or are you struggling to find the right groove? Share your Instagram experiences in the comments!
Want More Instagram Author Hashtags?
To make your Instagram journey a little easier, I've created a list of over 50 Instagram hashtags you can use to help you connect with writers and readers alike!