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The other day I was catching up with my friend and fellow author Andrea Dunlop, who is also a social media consultant. She mentioned that she'd had success promoting her debut novel, Losing the Light, on Instagram. Never having used the platform myself, I asked her if she could give me (and my loyal blog readers) some pointers, and she kindly agreed! Here's what she had to say:

A lot of authors are initially a bit baffled as to how to use such a visual medium for book promotion. To get you off on the right foot, here are four of the most common questions I get about Instagram from clients, answered:

  1. Who should use it? Any author can make great use of Instagram because, like Facebook and Twitter before it, the platform now has a critical mass of users, meaning that even niche books can find an audience with a bit of research and some canny use of hashtags. However, Instagram is especially good for any book that has visual elements (think cookbooks or design books) and books of any genre whose audience skews young and female. This is especially true for YA books but applies to plenty of literary and commercial adult fictions as well (and most fiction readers are female, FYI).
  2. What do I put on there? If you're using the platform primarily as an author, aim for at least 75% book-related posts. Note, I do not mean 75% posts about your book and your book only (please don't do that on any social media platform). Share reading recommendations, behind-the-scenes shots of your workspace, pictures of works-in-progress (marked up manuscripts, covers, page proofs, galleys) photos from book events, etc. Instagram gives you a lot of space to write captions, so take advantage and share some more in-depth thoughts on what you're reading or writing. You could really do all book posts if you wanted, but I think it's nice to use the platform to show off some of your personality as well with pictures pertaining to your hobbies, your pets, travel, where you live, etc. And don't forget hashtags! Some of the most popular for readers are #bookstagram, #instabook, #igreads, #bookish, and #booknerd.
  3. How frequently do I need to post? I recommend posting daily--three times per week at a minimum. Don't worry if it takes you a while to get the hang of taking photos, using filters, using hashtags, etc.
  4. What if I don't get very many followers? Not to worry. As with all social media, there's more to it than follower count. If you can build up several thousand followers or more, that's awesome, but you've got books to write, and this is but one platform in your overall marketing strategy. The best thing you can do is establish a relationship with readers and fellow bookstagrammers so that when you do have a book to share with them, you're already a part of a community who is excited to hear from you.

So, go, dive in! Feel the #bookish love. You can follow me (@andreadunlop), of course, and here are a few other authors who I think are killing it on the platform:

  • R. S. Grey (@authorrsgrey)
  • Tara Austen Weaver (@tea_austen)
  • Rachel Del (@racheldelxo)
  • Kevin Kwan (@kevinkwanbooks)
  • Liza and Lisa (@lisaandliz)

Many thanks to Andrea for sharing her expertise! To learn more about her consulting services, visit

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at

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Apr 10, 2017 8:06 AM sandraRAstar    says:

Thank you for the this useful information.