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Swoon Author Katy Upperman: A Beginner's Guide to Instagram Story Templates

I love Instagram. It’s my favorite social media platform, and I use it almost daily, posting photos of the books I read, the books I write, the treats I bake, the places I visit, and my family. Most of my Instagram engagement is via my feed, though I post in my stories from time to time, too.

Something I recently created in conjunction with my latest release, How the Light Gets In, is an Instagram story template. My hope was that my followers would get excited about the template, fill in their answers, share via their Instagram stories, then post a blank template so their followers could join the fun. It totally worked—I was thrilled by how many people participated!

Creating my How the Light Gets In story template was very much trial and error. I’d love to share my experience so others considering template creation can benefit from what I learned along the way.

Before creating my template, I thought a lot about How the Light Gets In, and what sorts of questions I could ask my followers that correlated to the story. To narrow my focus, I referenced the book’s Love List, which is my list of concepts and items that relate to the story—things that made me feel inspired and excited back when I was drafting and revising the book. Reminding myself of the things I love about How the Light Gets In was a huge help in formulating my IG template’s questions—so helpful, I created an IG story slide with my Love List on it. That way, my IG followers could learn more about How the Light Gets In, and get a feel for what inspired my template questions.

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Once I reacquainted myself with How the Light Gets In’s Love List and brainstormed my template’s questions, I went to Canva, an easy to learn (and free!) graphic design tool. Canva made the creation of my Love List and IG story template super simple. I was able to complete both graphics in a couple of hours and—if I do say so myself!—they look pretty good. :)

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Here are a few tips for those considering Instagram story template creation…

~ Choose a background that goes along with whatever you’re working to promote, but one that won’t compete with the text you’ll add over it.

~ Select fonts that are eye-catching, yet easy to read. I used two—one to highlight my book’s title, and one that’s clean and simple.

~ If your template relates to a book, add the book’s cover.

~ Include your name on the template.

~ Along the same lines, include your Instagram handle. (I didn’t do this, but really wish I had!)

~ Choose questions that give participants a chance to show their personalities. I found that a combination of open-ended questions and “this or that” questions worked well.

~ Test your template in your Instagram stories before posting. Be sure the font is easily readable, and nothing is unintentionally cut out of the image.

~ Save a blank copy of your template to an IG story “highlight” so anyone who comes to your profile looking for the template can easily find it.

~ Ask your followers to tag you if they post your template in their stories. That way, you can engage with them—which is the whole point!

~ Finally, answer your template’s questions, and post the image in your Instagram stories along with the blank template so participants can learn about you, too.

Best of luck with your template creation! If you have questions, ask in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to answer.

Author spotlight

Katy Upperman

I'm a wife, mama, avid reader, and country music fanatic. I like baking, sunshine, social media, Jelly Bellies, and yoga. …

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