Self-published indie authors are always looking for new ways to begin marketing themselves and their books. There are several tools available for this purpose. Instagram is one such tool.
Can you market your book with Instagram?
The short answer is … yes. You certainly can. However, you do have to understand a few things. You will probably not generate a lot of sales via Instagram. In fact, Instagram does not even allow you to link to your book’s page on Amazon.com with your posts. But, it is still a valuable tool for establishing yourself as an author and networking with other indie authors, publishers, or editors. Or, to share ideas, experiences, and writing tips as well as promote your book in those circles.
Instagram is visual. It is about the picture and building your image and your personal brand. It is about putting yourself and your work in front of a growing audience in a way that builds your brand recognition and establishes you as a author to be remembered. You may even sell a few books, but that is not the focus on Instagram. So, if that is your intent when using Instagram, it is likely you will be disappointed. There are better places for sales-orientated marketing. Again, Instagram is about establishing yourself as an author.
Marketing your Image
You can certainly put purchase information for your books in your posts. However, the absence of a direct “buy” link is a real obstacle to sales. Certainly, if someone is simply dying to buy your book, they will go to Amazon.com and search for it. After all, they have the title, the author’s name , and you can certainly put your book’s URL in the image. It is just not “clickable.” Here are some samples of Instagram posts I have used with good results.
You will see information about where the book can be purchased of course. But the post and this image is about setting a tone or theme, and establishing myself as an author of military action thrillers.
It is exciting and catchy. It certainly did get a good number if likes. There is a definite feel to it.
And yes, it might even generate a sale or two. But, the focus of this post on Instagram is really about establishing my brand as an author. It is not about selling books.
Here is a second example. This one includes the URL to the paperback version on Amazon.com, but again, the URL is not clickable. The viewer of this post would have to type the URL into their browser window. And, some Instagram users might even do that.
However, most will not. But again, this Instagram Post is about creating a brand for myself as an author first, and books sales is a secondary consideration.
I also promoted this post on Facebook on my fan page where it is getting a great deal of attention. It has generated a lot of “likes” and has been shared by over 30 viewers to-date with several days to go.
Use the right tool for the job!
Social media can be a great tool for authors to market both their work and their brand. It is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each social media tool. Research the tool to see what it can do for you as an author and then use it to do that. Do not try to drive a nail with a screw driver.
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14 thoughts on “Marketing your book with Instagram”
Some great insights here, thank you… I am currently working on 4 books, travel guides actually which I am going to have to publish myself as they will only be available in PDF and your guidance here has been very helpful.
I am glad you found this post helpful. Thank you for stopping by and for your nice comment.
thank you for your reply…. I do have one question, did you produce the advert banners for your books yourself? if so which software did you use? sorry that’s two questions…
Stephen, I do produce them myself. I use an online tool called Canva combined with stock photos. I also use the Bing Images Feed which allows you to search for and download photos. I filter for those photos which are free to be modified, edited and used commercially. Darren
oh really, wow…they look very professional Darren…. I have had my book covers done professionally at a cost of £40… check out pixabay.com for free to use stock pictures. I also use unsplash.com another free to use stock picture site..
I will certainly check out Canva as I have almost finished two guides now and so will require adverts for both.
One of the other issues I am struggling with is price? not really sure where to place them in the price range…… other issue is that there is NO other books like them to compare…..
I have to check out those tools. Thanks for sharing.
Price is a hard one. I would think it would be better to error on the side of a bit too low and as sales increase, gradually increase the price.
Darren, what is your thoughts on pre publication promotion?
Definitely do it. I did not pre-promote for my first book, Serpents Underfoot. Being a newbie I had much to learn. 😎
But, I did for my second book, Adirondack Bear Tales, and it has made a difference.
Building a presence on social media before your release date can create anticipation for your book.
Also, using advance release copies (ARC) to get a few early reviews can certainly help.
Having a few bloggers review your book in advance will also help.
oh ok Darren, thank for that,
umm sorry as a newbie myself, the questions might seem a little stupid, but should I use my book cover and back cover write up or maybe an extract from the book to promote?
I would concentrate on the front cover, a well-crafted book description (different than the back cover write up) designed to make readers want to order your book at that precise moment, and about 10 to 12 short but exciting marketing snippets to use on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
cheers for that Darren…. its all a learning curve hey…. I sometimes feel like its like pushing water up hill with a tennis racket!!
Had to change cover design, first one was not good, but now got that right I think…. and about to have it produced professionally by the guys on fiverr…
Not sure if I told you before, I am using a ghostwriter for the project, the first one was not in anyway any good, so had to find another… this one is great by the way….
I will work on your guidance over the next few days.. thank you again
Always glad to help if I can! Good luck with your projects!
Hey Darren, Thanks for posting such great marketing ideas! keep it up!
Hey Clara, Will do. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!