5 Ways to Use Instagram in your Book Marketing as an Indie Author

by | Nov 24, 2017 | Book Marketing Basics, Social Media for Authors

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As an indie author your book marketing approach should include some social media, and for some genres, it should include a lot of social media!

Pew Research Center’s report released at the end of 2016 shows us that:

  • 28% of all U.S. adults use Instagram
  • An estimated 59% of online adults ages 18 – 29 use Instagram
  • 33% of 30 to 49-year-olds use Instagram
  • Female use it more than men, 38% to 26%, respectively

So very clearly, if your reader demographic is women between the ages of 18 and 49, Instagram is a pretty solid place for you to spend part of your book marketing time.

Use it to nurture relationships with fans and draw in new buyers!

If you’re new to Instagram or haven’t even attempted to set up a profile, here are some tips for making it work for you as an indie author. Instagram is only part of your indie author real estate.  Don’t worry that this overwhelms you!

Know it’s all about the images

You don’t have to take a photography class before embarking on Instagram, but definitely keep in mind that the quality of your images will impact your book marketing return.

Find a filter app or two that you’re comfortable with and put in the few extra minutes it takes to turn your images into something that people will really appreciate.

Here’s a breakdown of some of your options (but in reality there are dozens!).

Be consistent

Remember that social media is an extension of your indie author brand.

Find ways to tie everything together. Maybe a particular filter fits the theme and time period of your story, maybe you use font that matches your cover font.

Color is another important factor!

The goal is to get people to recognize “you” in all the places you choose to be online, even if we covered up your name and profile picture.

Post regularly, but keep it classy

Posting once a day is about right for Instagram. Every other day is fine, but generally no more than 3 posts per day.

Just remember, your presence is something your fans should be able to count on, because it plays a big role in developing loyalty.

Make it casual yet personal

As a general rule, Instagram is not the place for an indie author to spout off cold facts and political opinions. Leave that to Twitter and Facebook, and even then, be cautious, unless getting political fits your brand.

Instagram is about pretty things, and inspiration, and positivity! With everything going on in the world, this could be a major factor in its dramatically increasing popularity.

Share pictures of your writing space, give followers a glimpse of your real life.

But highlight the beauty in the mundane! If you take a picture of your morning coffee, consider having it resting on a pile of hand written notes you’ve taken for your next book.

As indie publishers we don’t have a big publisher’s brand stoking the fires, so the more you can put yourself out there and make your reader connections personal, the better you’ll do.

Understand hashtags

Hashtags are often misunderstood and misused in book marketing.

Yes, there’s some comic relief in creating super specific hashtags for a particular image or situation, but as an indie author, trying to grow your brand and sell more books, you need to be strategic.

Here’s a great article on using hashtags on Instagram.

There are definitely author hashtags, like #amwriting and #amediting and #authorlife. But there are genre-specific hashtags too, like #womensfiction or #chicklit.

Here’s a solid collection of ideas to get you started.

The takeaway

Instagram is a fabulously creative outlet that’s highly addictive and really easy to use. So if your reader demographic is likely on Instagram I encourage you to take the plunge, or take your current social media book marketing up a notch.

Just keep in mind that as an author, you’re also a business person, so don’t just wing it. Include it as part of your book marketing plan, and make sure Instagram works for you.

Ready yourself for big media by practicing these book marketing strategies. If you need help, it’s ok to say you need it. Contact me if you need personalized help and guidance.


  1. Shawn Robinson

    Thanks! I find Instagram to be a confusing one. I keep asking myself, “why would anyone want to see a picture of me?”
    I’ve been growing in this area and using it more, but it’s slow going!
    Thanks for your help!

    • Penny Sansevieri

      It can seem daunting, yes. Imagine it almost like the way for others to see everything through your lens. See what you see.



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