8 Exciting Instagram Content Ideas For All Authors

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.


Instagram on Laptop

Coffee+Instagram by Casey Fiesler

Without the written word to express your thoughts, ideas and feelings, indie authors may find it challenging to share their story through images. Unlike the big players such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, one set of updates will suffice across all mediums. We have become very proficient in cutting, pasting and re-adjusting our posts to fit in the limitations of each platform. Essentially however, they have the same message and all we are trying to do is ensure we capture a broader market.

Instagram however requires a whole different set of communication skills. What Instagram content would be suitable and would I have enough to sustain a continual dialogue? Note that Instagram conversations are not based solely on you posting images but also relying on others to create content for you through hashtags and communicating with them. Here are some ideas.

This is a great platform for followers to get to know you as a person. How much you wish to divulge is at your discretion but your readers may like to know anything from your hobbies, travels, and pets, right through to everyday mundane things like what you ate for breakfast. It brings out the human aspect of an otherwise very formal and professional authorship.

You can post images of anything that inspires you. Quotes are especially popular, especially if they are your own. They are a great way for you to store your inspirations so that you can refer to them at any time. Use well thought out hashtags to facilitate ease of search as well as taking advantage of trending hashtags.

You could share your writing process with your fans. From photos of you literally writing, broken keyboards from frustration, research being conducted in the library to crumpled papers on the floor. If it takes you 12 months to finish your book, that’s 12 months of content.

If you are collaborating with an illustrator and you’re allowed to share the creative process, Instagram the drawings. Fans would love to see the production of illustrations from sketches to the end product. Images could also be teasers such as a cover being broken up to 9 squares and you sending each square per day until the “puzzle” is complete. The ideas are endless!

A book launch is an excellent content creating activity. Take images of your new book including the inside cover, some pages and the back of the book. Include any media activities as well as any book launch events.  Take images of your guests and your fans. Take some selfies!

If you are a novelist, take photos of different sections of your book/s. They can just be artistic images to promote your book, they can be a specific line or sentence you wish to talk about in detail or perhaps you have a new edition with a new foreward you wish to show off.

You can share images of beautiful photography about anything related to books, writing or the subject of your book. I personally love black and white images of anything to do with books, libraries and people reading in interesting places. Therefore I could re-gram images from Instagram or find creative common pictures on the internet to share for no other reason than the fact that I love them!

Post images of you working. It could be anything from attending a conference, being interviewed on a radio show, doing a school tour or doing a book signing. Take lots of photos of each occasion, not just one so you can post continuously. Be creative and also post photos of the surrounds of your work. E.g. if attending a book fair at an exhibition centre, take a photo of the building for its architecture, any advertising and signs of the book fair, the interior of the fair at its busiest or even some exhibitors and delegates.

Check out what people are following and what is popular. Adapt it to yourself and your book/s to capitalise on what is trending. Copy what other people are doing and make the necessary variations to suit your needs.

I am sure I have only scratched the surface but this should get your creative juices going. If you write YA or MG or novels that appeal to an age group between 16-35, this is the medium for your book. It’s certainly a great way to capture a different set of readers that your other social media platforms can’t.

Important Instagram Dos and Don’ts. Social Media Faux Pas!

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.


Little Boy in Library

Library by David, Bergin, Emmett and Elliott

Much like all social media, there are some rules and etiquette one should follow to maintain a healthy Instagram account. Yes, yes, rules are meant to be broken but if you’re starting off and learning the ropes, it wouldn’t hurt to explore some of these dos and don’ts.


Same Username
If possible, try and have the same username across all your social media platforms. Improves your overall branding and makes it easier for people to find you.

Focus On Engagement
The most addictive thing about social media is watching your follower count tick over consistently. We get very caught up with how many people like your post and how many readers are following you.

The most important thing about social media is getting organic followers and learning how to retain them over time. I can run a competition where you have to follow me on Instagram but the drop off rate post the competition is high. They are not following me because they like my content. They are following me because they want a stab at the prize.

One way to help retain followers is engagement. You have to communicate and talk to your Instagrammers. Once off flybys don’t work either. It has to be consistent, regular and genuine.

Consistency And Regularity
It is important to post images frequently. This way you are always in contact with your followers and they are constantly reminded you’re still around. If you start to create a pattern for posting, your followers will get to know your routine and start to look forward to your next instalment. Don’t disappoint them!

It is also important to be consistent in your type of posts. Followers are habitual and they are following you for a reason. If you are always posting photos of books and libraries, don’t post images of your pet dog or your favourite cocktail bar. Consistency could also mean your colour palette and only using 2-3 filters. You could post entirely in black and white or always filtering with Nashville to give that blueish hue. Check out @fotosingh.in below who posts photos of travel in India with a very colourful palette. Instagrammers are fickle and you will lose their interest if you sway too far from your brand.


Find A Niche And Be An Expert
You need to give people a reason to follow you. Should your account be too broad, you are not giving Instagrammers a reason to follow you. As an example, your account is about food. It is too broad a topic however should you narrow it down to just donuts you become an authority on all things donuts! Check out @shortstopmelb below.

Shortstop Melbourne

Tell A Story
Your pictures must tell a story so followers can identify with you. If your account is about books and you took a photo of a vintage Enid Blyton hard cover book, tell your followers why that was important to you and the nostalgia attached with it. Don’t just post a picture with captions #enidblyton #book #nostalgia #childhood #kidlit #greatbook #literature #secondhandbook

Enid Blyton Hashtag

Be Creative And Find Your ‘Thing’
There are millions of photos on Instagram. How will yours differ to that of others whilst trying to sell your book? As a crazy idea, I thought of incorporating travel with my book. I would place my book in the oddest locations, not prominent, perhaps peeking out randomly and take photos everywhere I go. It was a quirky idea I am yet to execute!

Look at @muradosmann. He found such a creative way to express travel with his wife. He only has 243 posts but 2.9m followers!

Murad Osmann

Use Popular Filters
Some filters are more popular than others. Research trending aesthetics and give it a go. It is also important that you update your app regularly and take advantage of new inclusions.


Crappy, Awful Photos
Whatever you do, don’t post terrible photos. I realise I am stating the obvious but you would be surprised at some of the images that are on Instagram by the very people who are trying to make a living from it.

As a writer, photography and imagery may not come naturally to you but know that you don’t have to have the latest photographic technology to create an amazing picture. There are many Smartphone only Instagram accounts that show off their wares purely with a phone. They don’t even take pictures with an actual camera. Turn on your square mode on your smartphone so all your photos are already perfectly cropped.  You will eventually come to see what your style is and followers will eventuate naturally, particularly those who identify with your creativity. Practise makes perfect!

Soliciting Followers And Spamming
Don’t spam. Don’t post too many photos continuously and clog up the Instagrammers feed. They want a little dose of you, not every other photo every single day! This includes over re-gramming other people’s photos.

Don’t be overly aggressive and continuously ask for Instagrammers to follow you. It doesn’t work. There are over 300 million users out there, be original and they will come.

Too Many Hashtags
Whilst the usage of hashtags on Instagram is much more acceptable compared to other social media platforms, many users still over use it. Posting one image with 30 hashtags doesn’t make for a good story. The user is trying to cheat the system and hoping the image will appear on all major trending searches. I have seen many photos with hashtags that are not even relevant to their image just to appear on searches.

You would be better off using less hashtags but more specific and relevant keywords. It also makes searching easier as you’re not lost in over $12.8 million photos for #books.

Too Much Selling
As an up and coming self-published author, Instagram is about publicity so don’t use it to just sell your books. You have to be social. If all you are doing is taking photos of your book and doing the hard sell, no one would be interested and a sure fire way of losing any followers you may already have.

This is a great way to start your Instagram journey. As you become more proficient with the application, you will start to get a feel of what works and what doesn’t. Tomorrow, I will be exploring some ideas for content for self-published authors. Stay tuned!


Top 25 Interesting Instagram Facts For Indie Authors

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.


Abraham Lincoln Quote

“Let the people know the facts and the country will be safe” by particlem

I don’t use Instagram as a book marketing tool. But I love using this application personally. Therefore, I have decided to collate a list of interesting facts that will help me decide if I should adopt another platform (not that I don’t already have enough!). Yesterday, I explored Instagram for Self-Published Authors, as a general research piece to convince me it’s worth thinking about. However I felt that I needed more evidence to propel me further in making this commitment.

So here are some fascinating and interesting facts:

  1. Facebook owns Instagram
  2. There are over 300 million Instagram users in the world today
  3. There are more than 70 million photo and video shares each day
  4. Overall there have been 30 billion photos shared through the application
  5. 41% of Instagram users are aged between 16-24 years
  6. 20% of internet users have an Instagram account
  7. 95% of these users have a Facebook account whilst 83% of them have a Twitter account
  8. The breakdown of users over the continents is: 25% in North America, 33% in Latin America, 16% in Europe, 34% in the Middle East/Africa and 16% in Asia
  9. 61% of Instagramers like at least 1 posting a day
  10. 51% of users are male while, 49% are female
  11. 70% of Instagramers have already taken part in a contest or might do so
  12. Top 3 reasons why users follow brands on Instagram: 62% because they love the brand, 54% to discover new things, 48% because they find content interesting or funny
  13. On average, posts by top brands receive 216 comments, with 50% of comments being posted in the first 6 hours
  14. The average caption on Instagram is 138 characters long, including hashtags
  15. On average, posts that include another user handle in the caption receive 56% more engagement than those that don’t
  16. Adding a location results in 79% higher engagement
  17. 47% of adult users access Instagram from a smartphone. 53% use a tablet
  18. There are around 2.5 billion Instagram likes every day, or 8500 new likes each second. 1000 comments are left each second
  19. Around 25% of Fortune 500 companies use Instagram actively. They usually post on Thursdays
  20. The more hashtags you add, the more likes and comments you will get. Instagram allows up to 30
  21. Instagram users prefer desaturated photos. They get up to 600% more likes!
  22. Don’t leave too much blank space in your Instagram photos. Busier photos get more likes
  23. The number of Instagramers in the U.S. will reach approximately 106 million by 2018
  24. 26% of users earn an income of $50,000 – $74,999 whilst a further 26% earn over $75,000 per annum
  25. The average Instagram user spends 21 minutes per day using the app.

There are many more statistic I could have filtered however I felt this was sufficient to paint the picture. There must be at least a couple of facts above which caught your eye or perhaps peaked your interest in how you could use it sell your books and increase readership. Please feel free to share your Instagram experiences.

Instagram Blog: 300 Million: Sharing Real Moments
GWI Infographic: Instagram Users
Iconosquare Blog: 11 Instagram facts every marketer must know
Sprout Social: 5 Insightful Instagram Statistics That You Should Know
LinkedIn Pulse: The 2015 Instagram Statistics You Should Know
Agora Plus: 8 Little Known Facts About Instagram Pictures, Filters, and Hashtags
Pew Research Center: Demographics of Key Social Networking Platforms
Econsultancy: 20+ Instagram stats marketers need to know



Why Every Author Should Use Instagram For Book Marketing

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.


Instagram Scrabble

Instagram Scrabble

Instagram is perhaps the most underutilised social media platform for authors. In this post I would like to explore this notion and perhaps give you food for thought about possibly incorporating Instagram as part of your social media marketing.

Instagram is blogging with pictures instead of words. You are telling a story through photos and short videos via a mobile platform.


  • It is FREE
  • It is a different way of communicating to readers and allows you to connect with a very different market
  • You can share your photos on Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr and Twitter, further expanding your social media repertoire
  • It is visually stimulating
  • It capitalises on our very short attention span. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words
  • It is fun to use and taps in on a different creative side
  • It is easy to use and the least technical of all social media platforms


  • Just like all social media platforms, you need to select a user name that is easy to find and one that your readers can identify with
  • Create an effective profile with an engaging profile picture and 150 characters to tell the world who you are. You may also enter your website address here
  • Hashtags play an important role in this platform. Unlike Twitter, over usage of hashtags tend to raise fewer eyebrows
  • Important to understand how one can do searches on Instagram so you can utilise it to its full potential and gear our images and captions in the right direction. You can search by top searches, people, tags and places. The search field also auto-fills which allow you to see what is trending so you can use those tags for your photos
  • There are numerous filters you can select from, all with editing capabilities. There have even been studies done on which are the most popular filters and what emotions they extract from viewers. They help set the mood of the image and aids in your storytelling process
  • There is a News tab which allows you to see the activities of the people you are following. Sometimes they give us great insight to other users who may be of use to you
  • They also have a @username function so that you can communicate with your followers and your followers can share your image
  • It allows you to post 15 second videos which are just long enough to convey your message but short enough for followers to not mind watching what you have to share. Great marketing tool!

It is easy to see why Instagram took the world by storm with approximately 300 million users and why Facebook bought it for $1 billion. Don’t underestimate what this social platform can do for you. I will be exploring how self-published authors can use Instagram for book marketing. Stay tuned for future instalments of Online Book Marketing Tips.