Instagram is a hyper-visual social media channel where you can post photos and videos.
Numerous businesses have tapped into this channel to grow their audience and engage with their customers.
Likewise, you can leverage Instagram’s massive reach to connect with readers around the world. Here are some content ideas for both fiction and non-fiction authors.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. I will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase through these links. Your support encourages me to continue blogging and help with the costs of hosting this site. Thank you!
As an author who writes books, this should be your no. 1 prop. Posting pictures of books will also allow you to reach your target audience—avid readers.
Your Own Books
It’s okay to promote your own books or announce when your new release is live.
However, do take note that self-promotion shouldn’t be excessive or occur frequently. You shouldn’t be posting about your books every day. Instead, spread it out and post some photos of other things in between (scroll down for more ideas~).
Books From Other Authors
Spread the love by posting photos of books from other authors or your author friends. You could also post pictures of books that inspire you or help you.
For instance, you could feature a book that improved your writing skills. Or even a book that you read recently.
Do write about your thoughts after reading the book or what you learned from the book in the caption.
Planning Process: Plot Notes, Mind Maps, Story Outlines
An important stage of the writing process is planning. This is where you build the foundation of your book by planning your characters, creating your fictional world and brainstorming topics.
Consider capturing this crucial stage of your writing process and sharing it with your readers. Such behind-the-scenes content shows your readers what’s happening behind each book, your planning process and the efforts involved in creating the books they love. This also helps readers understand your business better and makes you more relatable and approachable.
Since everyone’s planning process is unique, there are a variety of pictures that you can post
- Wall of post-it notes
- Plot notes in your digital notebook
- Story Outline in your physical notebook
- Mind Map of topics that you’re including in your non-fiction book
- Character Profiles of your protagonist, major and minor characters
- Worldbuilding notes of your fictional world
- People, items or landscapes that inspired you
Another important stage is researching. This is where you add depth to your book by substantiating claims with evidence and facts for non-fiction and making your fictional characters and world believable.
Research takes many forms and is obtained from various sources. Just take a photo of what and how you’ve researched for your book and let your readers get a glimpse of your research process.
- Interesting articles, facts or statistics
- Search engine results page
- Pinterest board filled with pictures
- Books or journals about certain topics
- Annotated screenshots of important information with Evernote Web Clipper
- Research notes in your Google Keep or Evernote
And of course, the actual writing.
Most of your time will probably be spent on writing your manuscript. Hence, you should showcase this to your readers.
Let them know what you’re working on currently, how your writing process works and what your writing routine is.
- Word count from your tracking sheet/app or Scrivener
- Current page you’re writing
- First paragraph of the new chapter you’re writing (this is a great teaser!)
- “THE END” on your Microsoft Word document
- Using Dragon Dictation to write faster
Editing is another crucial stage. Whether you self-edit or hire an editor to edit your manuscript, you should share this with your readers. This way, they’ll know that the final product which is your book has gone through many rounds of revisions to be what it is today.
In addition to showing the actual editing of your manuscript, consider also sharing your editing process and routine.
- Pile of papers with comments in red ink
- Listening to Microsoft Word’s text-to-speech
- Correcting grammar, spelling and punctuation errors with Grammarly or ProWritingAid
- Comments from your editor and beta readers (this will build buzz for your book!)
The publishing stage is where you finally create the book.
Most people may have the wrong idea that it’s a simple click of the “Publish” button. But this isn’t the case. There are many tasks that you need to do before you can hit publish. Let your readers be a part of this process.
- Designing book covers
- Formatting for paperback
- Shortlisting narrators for audiobook
- Crafting the blurb/synopsis
- Hiring freelancers on Fiverr or Fiverr Pro who specialize in the above tasks
The journey to success will take a long time for most authors (unless your debut book is a bestseller). Moreover, writing a book is a marathon that might take months or even years, especially for slow writers.
Therefore, it’s crucial to note down key milestones that mark your progress and growth as an author.
This is the time to commend yourself for the hard work and effort you put in. It’s also the time to thank your loyal readers. By highlighting these milestones, you’re celebrating with your readers and inviting them to accompany you in your journey as an author.
- Your 10th book published
- Your book getting the “Best Seller” badge on Amazon
- Sold 10,000 copies of your book
- 1,000 newsletter subscribers
- Your own street team
User-generated content (UGC), also known as user-created content, is any form of content, such as images, videos, text and audio, that has been posted by users on online platforms such as social media.
Such content is created by real people based on their experiences. Hence, UGC will appear more authentic. UGC also puts your customers front and center where you’re letting their voices tell your story for you. Another benefit of UGC is that you’re encouraging customers to share their experiences.
Here are some UGC examples that you can leverage to drive engagement
- Repost fans’ pictures (eg. photo of your physical book or your eBook on Kindle): do ask for their permission to repost and tag them by including their username in the caption
- Highlight readers’ review: again, ask for their permission and include “Spoiler Alert” if the review gives away the ending, plot twists etc.
- Feature fan art or fan fiction: besides asking for their permission, I think you should really give them a shoutout (this takes a lot of effort so show your appreciation~)
Your workspace is where the magic happens. Readers are curious about where you work, whether it’s a single fixed location or different locations depending on what you’re working on.
This workspace is unique to you and your business. Share it with your readers so they have an insider glimpse into your cozy office!
- Desktop with fiction writing books
- Your desk and chair (or even better, your room!)
- Typewriter with plot notes
- Laptop with a cup of coffee at a café
As an author who writes, you’re probably a lover of words too.
Are there any motivational or inspirational quotes that touched you deeply?
Quotes are the best way to highlight the power of words. A good quote will resonate with people and evoke an emotional response. It’s also a great way to show what your values are and what you believe in.
Take me for example. I have the habit of collecting quotes in a notebook. You can consider posting pictures of quotes that you like.
You could also post a quotation from your book and elaborate on what inspired you to write this.
Layout & Angle
When you’re taking photographs for Instagram, do pay attention to the layout and angle.
How you arrange the items and where you take the photo from will affect the overall impression of the picture. For instance, bird’s eye view and bug’s eye view as well as low and high perspective will give you a different viewpoint of an object.
The layout and angle will direct your viewer’s eyes to the focal point—what’s important in the image.
Here are some ideas you can try to spice up your photo
- Flat Lay: a photo of objects arranged on a flat surface, captured from directly above
- Focus on one item: place it in the center, let it take up two-thirds of space or make it the focal point and blur the background
Bonus Tip: Learn From Other Authors On Instagram
The best way to get ideas for your Instagram photos is to learn from other authors. These authors have the same target audience as you—readers. By learning from them, you’ll be able to find out what your audience wants to see.
Check out the profile of other authors on Instagram, scroll through their Instagram feed and analyze their photos.
- What type of content do they post (eg. photo, video)
- What type of content work better
- Post Frequency (how often do they post): the key isn’t posting numerous times in a day but posting consistently
- Do they use hashtags & if they do, what hashtags do they use
- How do they interact with their audience (do they engage in conversations, do they respond to comments): you can learn from them and improve your interaction with your audience
Consider following these authors. You could even like or bookmark their posts.
Bonus Tip: Keep An Instagram Swipe File
Just like how marketers keep a swipe file, you can keep an Instagram swipe file for inspiration.
A swipe file is like a drawer of ideas that keep your creative juices flowing. You can use it to collect creative ideas from other authors and ideas that you plan to work on in the future. It’s also a way to keep track of industry trends. By owning a swipe file, you’ll have a constant source of inspiration at your fingertips which you can tap into at any time.
As mentioned earlier, bookmark Instagram posts so you can review them later.
Now It’s Your Turn
What do you post about on your Instagram? What kind of photos or videos received a lot of likes or comments?