Swoon Author Nikki Katz: Bookstagram Tips for Budding Authors
I’ve been using social media for promotion and connecting online since what feels like the beginning of time! Unfortunately, there are new apps constantly appearing, and it is increasingly difficult to decide where to invest your time and energy. Although I have my largest following on Twitter, I tend not to go on much because it’s a lot to scroll through. My social media distraction of choice is Facebook, but that’s not where I’m going to connect with a teen audience for my novel. My teen daughters spend a ton of time on Instagram, so that’s been my social media focus with the launch of The Midnight Dance.
Here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate content in Instagram:
I really love looking at the stunning bookstagram layouts containing books and props, so I set out to do my own as soon as I had finished copies of the book! I bought a yard each of different fabrics in rich colors, a couple of masks, used pointe shoes, and my friend made an amazing ballet marionette chalk drawing on a gold frame. We staged the book with the props and fabrics to set out a series of photos. I then used those in the days up to my launch to visually entice (hopefully!) people to buy the book.
There are a variety of different Instagram accounts that set up monthly challenges, and there are several specific to authors. Each day is a new theme, for instance “first line” or “romance.” You’ll find ones that focus on the author, the writing process, or even the writing itself. The goal is to take the theme, incorporate it into an image, and post each day through the month. It’s the perfect way to have content easily available at your fingertips when you’re lacking for inspiration (like I frequently do!)
There are a variety of bookstagram tours available (most for pay) that work with Instagram users to stage your book for their audience. You can easily get in front of 100k of followers, all who love books! Giveaway incentives can also grow your audience. I gained approximately 250 followers in a five-day bookstagram tour leading up to my launch.
Giveaways are a great way to build your follower base, because who doesn’t like free books? In my 2017 Debut group, there were ten of us interested in setting up an “Eerie October” giveaway. We are posting it across social media and require an email for entry (to build our newsletter database) but it also helps me to get exposure and build my following on various accounts.
A few tips in general…
· Use quality photos. That’s probably a given! You can filter and manipulate pics, but my favorite thing to do is to look through Instagram and see what jumps out at me and try to emulate that stylistically. You can use apps like canva to incorporate interesting fonts, layouts, and backgrounds.
· Be consistent if possible. If you post every day, post every day. If you post 3x a week, post 3x a week. Obviously you will have days where you post more than once, or blips in content, but consistency is key.
· Use hashtags! I use a variety of hashtags to try to get new followers to see my posts. Common ones are #authorsofig #authorsofinstagram #bookstagram #booksofig #amreading #amwriting #YAlit #writersofig #TeenReads and then I will throw in a few extras tied to the photo.
· Interact with others. Don’t just jump on and post and go on your merry way. You need to engage with others. Follow accounts, like photos, and comment on your favorites. You may find more success engaging with smaller accounts than those with thousands of followers.