Five Reasons to Add Instagram to Your Author Toolkit

Instagram is one of the buzziest social media platforms on the block right now—and for good reason! With upwards of four hundred million users and growing, Instagram is a tool you should consider making part of your social media arsenal. Because it’s photo-centric and extremely mobile-oriented, it might not seem the most obvious choice for author-ly social media (it didn’t to me initially), but as with every social platform, it didn’t take long for people to get creative and make it a hub for any number of things, including books. And all the normal rules apply: be about community, maintain good boundaries, use it consistently, et cetera. Much like other platforms, the use of hashtags (#) is crucial, and you should tag other users and brands whenever possible (@). Here are five reasons to give Instagram a spin: It’s Where Readers Are (Especially the Younger Ones)

#bookstagram has become a hugely popular part of Instagram. Influencers like Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Lena Dunham can light a serious fire under a book by posting a mention. Vogue even called Instagram the new Oprah’s Book Club, and looking at the numbers, I can’t disagree. Along with the usual big names, there are scores of dedicated bookstagrammers out there spreading the love posting shots of themselves curled up with a novel on #socksunday or tableaux of a book perfectly placed next to a steaming cup of coffee or a plate of macaroons stacked just so—all with mini reviews posted in the captions. Following accounts like the Book Baristas or Book Marauder will not only introduce you to new reads, but also give you a renewed appreciation for the beauty and importance of cover art.

You Can Blog There Too

Instagram’s elegantly spare, photo-oriented platform may seem a surprising place to see people blogging, but the ability to write long captions gives Instagrammers the option to share some deeper thoughts along with their enticing photos. Marketing expert and author Jason Sperling even published his book on Instagram, releasing a page at a time for 160 days. With social media users (especially young ones) becoming increasingly less likely to leave one platform to go to another (i.e., follow a link to your blog), giving them content where they’re most apt to consume it is an excellent strategy. You might even land a book deal like Alicia Cook did.

It’s Visual . . . and That’s a Good Thing

Word-oriented social media sites like Twitter are a natural fit for writerly types, but forever churning out new written content can get exhausting, especially when you’re trying to save some of that mojo for your actual book! If you’re an author, you’re probably always reading, and fortunately photos of book covers rather speak for themselves. You may not think that photos of your bookshelf or work space are that fascinating, but you might be surprised by how much your followers would love a peek behind the curtain of your life as an author. If you’re on a book tour, this is the best possible moment to bust out your Insta-skills: bookstores are a great place to put your amateur photog hat on and snap away! Conferences are fun for this too and a great place to share the love. Bookstagram is a great reminder that part of the reason print books haven’t gone the way of compact discs is that books, as physical objects are beautiful to look at (and photograph).

It’s Fun

I, of course, happen to think that most social media platforms are pretty fun, but I’m having an especially good time with Instagram right now. With Facebook being such a personal space—increasingly I see announcements of serious illnesses and even deaths in among the engagements and baby photos—and Twitter being a go-to news source for many, Instagram feels like pure delight. Instagram is a place we can go to dream that we too are currently sitting in a café with a perfectly foamed latte, a plate of macaroons, and the hot new debut novel everyone is buzzing about.

Girl Friday Is There!

We like to put our money where our mouth is around here, so you can catch Girl Friday on Instagram starting now! I’m on there too, as are Devon, Kristin, Ingrid, and Emily. Come say hi!