Instagram for Authors: Building a Platform & SELLING Your Books

Instagram for authors has been one of the best ways to build an audience and sell your books…

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re an author and need a little help boosting your Instagram account and overall book marketing efforts.

Worry no more! You’ve come to the right place.

In this post, we’ll be discussing ways to help you, as an author, navigate through Instagram and grow a large following.

instagram for authors

Here’s how to use Instagram for Authors:

  1. Create relevant content
  2. Post on Instagram regularly
  3. Post consistent types of content
  4. Create strong aesthetics
  5. Use high-quality photos on Instagram
  6. Engage with your audience
  7. Share about your life
  8. Host giveaways
  9. Repost relevant content
  10. Use effective hashtags
  11. Just be genuinely yourself

NOTE: If you’re ready to stop making excuses and take control over your life as an author, make sure to check out this free training to learn how! Learn more about it here

Instagram for Authors: The Breakdown

This social media app is all about the photos; choose a good nickname or use your name and a profile photo and you’re good to go!

It’s that easy to set up an account and it’ll take you only a couple of minutes.

On Instagram, it’s all about the followers!

Yes. And no!

You might have a larger following, but if your followers are not engaging with your content, you might as well have half of those followers.

Usually, only 10-20% of followers will interact, but you want to make that interaction a good one.

How to Effectively Use Instagram for Authors

Instagram is a huge medium. There are millions and millions of users and that makes it really beneficial for not only connecting, but also for selling.

And in the case for authors, it’s useful for selling more books.

Here are our top tips for using Instagram the right way.

#1 – Create relevant content

Don’t panic already, ok? This doesn’t mean you’ll have to take photos of yourself or strip down for a good number of likes.

What I mean with creating relevant content is make your Instagram account about something you truly love.

Yes, you’re an author, but what kind of author? Will you share with your followers about your struggles of being an author?

Will you share your process your writing? Will you snap pretty pics of other books you’re reading and loving? Of your pet? Maybe your garden?

The point is, you’ll love it and your following will feel it and love you more for it.

#2 – Post regularly

Many often forget about this one, but you betta believe it when I tell you, this is probably the most important one!

By posting regularly, you’re showing up more often in other feeds and that will increase your chances of getting likes and comments on your photos, and even visits to your profile.

There are many arguments about when you should post and how many times per day, but there are also some great apps that evaluate what works best for your audience.

I always advice posting a photo once a day and not more because you don’t want to overdo it.

In general, the best times for posting are between 4pm and 7pm, which is when people are going back home from work.

However, you should also do what you feel is natural for you and your account.

Less is more but once a day is a must!

#3 – Post consistent content types

Now, when posting, you’ll have to think about what you want to post. This is your part of your job after all, so you should plan it just as you plan your writing.

The best rule to follow is post the same content. This might sound boring to you, but the most successful accounts started this way.

The same type of content, over and over again, and then they opened up to other things. But, in the beginning, it’s important that people will recognize your account as a whole and will want to follow you because you’re consistent and have a structure.

For visual ideas on how to do this, I recommend checking out this Instagrammer, who I love! Marlene uses the same type of content, similar backgrounds, several nuances of the same color, but every picture is unique and makes me wanna go back to her profile!

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency.” – Dwayne Johnson

#4 – Create strong aesthetics

If you’ve noticed from the above screenshot of Thanks a Latte Blog’s account, you’ll find it extremely soothing and inviting. The reason why is her aesthetics.

When creating content and posting it, she’s clearly thinking it through.

In the first phase, you’ll have to do the same!

This might bother some of you, but no one can deny how beautiful an account like this looks. It appeals to the eye as a whole, but each photo is also carefully laid out.

For similar outcomes, look for a color palette and stick to it.

Using one main color and different nuances works out great and it won’t be a lot of work for you to figure out what goes well with what.

Another thing you can try to use is repetitive miscellaneous: either décor pieces you have around the house or flowers in the background, what’s important is that there is a nice wave between all your photos.

If you feel inspired looking at your feed, your followers will too!



#5 – Use high quality photos

You don’t need a professional camera for this! Don’t start making excuses.

Nowadays, our smartphones have good cameras that will just do if used in the best way possible. You’re starting out, you don’t need to spend all that money on something you probably won’t even know how to use!

The best advice for high-quality photos is natural lighting.

Honestly, it’s that simple. Natural light helps your photos look more alive and colorful and it’ll take you a whole less time to edit them—if you edit them at all!

If you’re on the lookout for a good photo editor (that is free!), I recommend using Lightroom or Snapseed.

They’re both really simple to use and many creators on the internet have developed presets that you can buy and use on your photos. If you really don’t know what to do with a photo editor, just buy a preset or two and you’ll be fine!

Just remember! Natural lighting!

#6 – Engage frequently on Instagram

Imagine this: you’re scrolling down on your feed, see a photo you love, you like it and decide to comment.

instagram marketing for authors

A simple comment but it’s there. You see another photo, like it, comment and so on. The first Instagrammer actually answers your comment on their photo.

Who do you think you’ll be more inclined to interact again with?

This is a no-brainer and it’s true for every and anyone out there. You’ll feel like you have a connection with this person, even if you’ve never met them in real life.

Answering every single comment, you get might be a difficult task to accomplish, especially if you have a larger following, but it’s Instagram 101.

Not to mention, all your lovely readers will feel SO special because their favorite author answered them!

One of the authors I’ve noticed does this extremely well is Ella Maise. She just knows how to connect with her followers in what feels a very natural way.

Make someone’s day: reply to them! 

#7 – Share about your life

Now that we’ve discussed replying to your followers’ comments, I would like to tell you how important it is to use Insta Stories.

Again, you might be an introvert or a very private person, and that’s ok! But you can always share a few snaps that didn’t make it into your profile or a few short videos of your daily life.

You don’t even have to share your face, just record them when you’re taking a nice walk or doing something out and about.

I do recommend speaking though, because I feel that there is a special relationship that is developed when followers hear your voice and what you sound like. (It’ll be weird at the beginning, but you’ll get used to it pretty quickly, I promise!)

“Happiness is only real when shared”


#8 – Host giveaways on Instagram

Not to quote Oprah or anything, but she was onto something! Hosting giveaways is one of the best ways to get out there and get some free promotion.

You’re an author with your author Instagram now, so it makes sense that your prizes are books.

I’d recommend starting with other author’s books because you can include them in the giveaway. For example, to win, one has to follow you, the author and comment on both profiles something related to you or the book. It doesn’t get much better than this!

To host something like this, it might take you a little longer to plan than just posting a photo, but the rewards might also be much higher.

Giving will translate into receiving…

#9 – Repost relevant content

Definitely repost photos and stories on your Insta Stories! I LOVE it whenever I get a notification that someone has re-posted a photo of mine and added a little thank you note or just simply tagged me over on their stories. It makes it personal and I always feel more likely to interact with that person again.

When reposting, I suggest going for anyone and everyone.

However, remember that popular Bookstagrams might help you get to larger audiences, so their support might be very well needed.

I’m not saying you should butter them up, but it is in your interest to interact with them. They also might be reviewing your books and publicity is always great!

As with everything, just don’t overdo it and your readers are your main base so don’t forget to share their stories too!

You’ll make their day!


#10 – Use the right #Hashtags

You want to connect with a specific audience.

What kind of audience do you have in mind?

Are they a niche audience?

Do you want to promote to everyone from the Bookstagram community?

What is your main target?

It’s important to know this beforehand because the use of hashtags is incredibly necessary to start things off on Instagram.

You’ll reach more people by using them and by choosing the right ones, you’ll reach to the audience you want/need for your account.

These are some of my favorites to use when targeting the Bookstagram community:

  • #bookstagrams
  • #bookish
  • #bookworm
  • #amreading
  • #bookaholic
  • #readersofinstagram
  • #booklover
  • #currentread
  • #bookaddict
  • #booksofinstagram
  • #bookishfeatures

Hashtags are the new author bio.

#11 – Last but not least…Just be yourself!

These guidelines won’t work if you don’t feel like this is something natural in your life. Yes, it’ll take some time to get used to it, but in the end, if it makes you feel stressed or you start overthinking it, just ditch these!

Your Instagram account needs to be a reflection of your life as an author, of the things you love to do and everything you’re willing to share with the people who love and support you the most: your readers!

Whatever, however, and whenever you want to give them something, share with them, give them sneak peeks of future books or just talk about your day, they’ll be there for you!

Instagram is supposed to be fun, a lot of fun! If you spend too much time tying to snap the perfect photo, you won’t have any time left for your book! Just jump on the rollercoaster (hopefully now, after having read these tips, with a better security belt) and see where it takes you.

Most importantly, enjoy the ride!

Ready to start your author life today?

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What other tips do you have to share about Instagram for authors? What else can we do to make it on Instagram? Do you have a specific time you post on there? Let us know everything in the comments below!

Catarina Pinto

Catarina Pinto is a blogger and languages teacher, unfortunately not in that order. When she’s not creating new stories or sharing her life online, she’s probably reading Jane Austen (or a hot steamy romance), drinking coffee or calculating carbs and insulin. Come chat with her: Instagram

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