As of June 2016, Instagram officially reached 500 million users—and it’s still rapidly growing and evolving! This makes it an excellent platform for authors who are looking for new ways to build a fan base and promote their work. But you may be wondering: How can such a visual, image-centric format effectively accommodate the written word? Many writers have already discovered that Instagram isn’t simply about posting pictures of your lunch; it’s also about telling a story. And who better to tell a story than a writer? Here are a few ways you can promote your writing in a way that will connect with your audience on Instagram.
Share Your Work Space
In almost any writer’s Instagram feed, you’re likely to find images featuring a laptop next to a Venti Starbucks Frappuccino. So wherever your work space might be, pull out your phone and take one or two photos from different angles. Natural light gives the best results, so flip open the blinds! And don’t forget to add a filter: There are nineteen to choose from, and the effects can make your photo stand out. If you want even more photo editing options, apps like Google’s Snapseed and VSCO allow you to tweak your images even further.
Show Off What You’re Reading
What could be more writerly than a selfie with your book collection? No need to be shy—pick up the book you’re currently reading and snap a picture. Try different poses with the book to best show off your personality. This shows that you’re engaged with the reader community as well as the writer community in a fun way. And don’t forget to add tags to your photos to increase your odds of being seen! Add a comment and use hashtags like #reading, #books, #writing, #literature to give your image more opportunities to be “liked.” If you’re looking for inspiration, Emma Watson’s reading group Our Shared Shelf is chock-full of people posing with their books.
Record A Video
Instagram now allows you to post 60-second videos—so you can speak directly to your readers and fans! You can update your audience on the progress of your new book or talk to them about your struggles with (and solutions for) writer’s block. Give them a tour of your writing studio or show them a hobby or locale that appears in your work. You can offer a short reading of a story or poem you’ve been working on! (But more on this later; see the last section of this article.) You can even record a simple “thank you” for all your readers and followers to show your appreciation.
Share What Inspires You
Whether it’s a busy city street, a quiet lake, a party with friends, or a favorite record album—as a writer, you know how to find inspiration anywhere. Capturing moments that make an impression on you will also help prompt your creativity when you’re looking for new writing ideas. You may find that you enjoy being a photographer almost as much as being a writer!
Snap A Photo Of Your Writing
You’ll notice that handwritten pieces of prose or poetry are often shared on Instagram. Nowadays, with so many writers using computer keyboards, sharing a handwritten piece offers your followers unique insights and nuances into your writing process. The personal touch of handwriting will entice more people to stop and read your post—and become familiar with you and your writing.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re going to post a written piece or a video of you reading your work, keep in mind that some editors will consider your work “previously published” in this format. Be sure to only post excerpts or work that you have already published or intend to self-publish.
QUESTION: Who is your favorite writer to follow on Instagram?