Updated: Jan 31
As an indie author, when you publish your first book, you’re probably unknown, unless you’re a celebrity or Instagram influencer. And the thing about being a new or relatively unknown author is that your book doesn't matter–you do. I had to learn this myself on my journey into this industry, and now that I’ve mastered it, I’m here to share with you best practices for marketing yourself as a new author on Instagram.
The first thing to remember is readers don't know you and they don't know your book, so they have no reason to buy it, especially considering how many literary options they have out here today. So the chances of them just scrolling through Instagram and being inspired to buy your book just because they see it posted on your page is slim to none. It ain't gonna happen, boo. I've said it a million times: People are emotional beings. We respond to how things make us feel. So it's your job as a new author to make them feel good about you. Once they buy into you, they'll then buy your book because they like you. That's the reason—you.
Constant “buy my book” posts on your page every single day, a hundred times a day, just don’t work. Not only does it not incentivize people to buy your book, but it's annoying, and it makes people stop following you, which is the opposite of what you want.
Instead of all the salesy, spammy, buy my book posts, try this:
1) Open up
Show your personality. Show people who you are and why they should like you. Show your target reader what you have in common by discussing topics you know they're interested in and will provoke engagement. Post candid shots and videos of you just being a regular person—a parent, a spouse, a couch potato, a party animal, whatever. Let people in. Show them who you are.
2) Bring your book into real life
Discuss some of the topics in your book as they relate to current events or the topics that are important to your target reader.
3) Get real and go behind the scenes
Be personal about your journey as an author or just as a regular schmegular person. Show yourself out in the field doing author work. Post videos talking about your experience as an author. Show pictures at book events, book signings, and book club meetings.
4) Be a reader
Post your reviews or opinions on other books that are in a similar or the same genre.
5) Lend your expertise
Show your expertise by discussing some of the topics in your book based on your own experiences. Or share tips for aspiring writers.
Be a real person, not a salesperson. It's social media, not seller media, and, yes, you must remind your followers that you're an author who has a book to sell, but limit the salesy, “Buy my book” posts to only a few times a week. Remember, you're selling yourself first and your book second. Once your target reader buys into you, the sales will follow.