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Why Authors Should Use Instagram

lizandlisa Please welcome back guests Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke [1] who have been best friends for over twenty-five years and survived high school and college together. Together they have written The Year We Turned Forty [2]The Status of All Things [3], and Your Perfect Life [4]. Liz lives in San Diego with her husband and two children. Lisa, a former talk show producer, lives in Chicago with her husband, daughter, and two bonus children.

We are passionate about marketing our books because it’s a huge part of our jobs as writers. (We want people to read them!) And instagram is our favorite way to share information about ourselves and our novels because it’s laid back, fun and relatable. The way we hope our readers see us!

Connect with Liz and Lisa on their blog [5], on Facebook [6], on Twitter [7]…and of course on Instagram [8].

The Business of Being Authors

If you had asked us in high school what we thought being a published author would be like, we would have talked to you about the way a hardcover book feels in our hands, and how satisfying it would be to finally get all the stories dancing around in our heads out into the world.

Not once would we have mentioned marketing, publicity or social media.

Definitely not social media. Because, ahem, Facebook hadn’t even been invented yet. Or the internet. Or email.

So now that we’ve established that we’re old, let’s get to the heart of what this post is about. Being an author is hard work. And you must run things like you’re a kick-ass entrepreneur. Whether you like it or not. You may have wanted it to be just about writing (wouldn’t that be fabulous?), but the reality is that there is so much more to being a successful author than putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

If you want to sell books, that is. If you don’t care about selling books, read no further! And congrats on writing and getting a book published!

Getting your beautiful novel into people’s hands isn’t easy. With amazing books hitting the shelves each week, it’s getting harder than ever to stand out. And these days, you aren’t just promoting your writing. You are promoting you. But not in an obvious, scream it from the rooftops kind of way. You have to make yourself accessible. Human. Just like your readers.

We’ll try any social media app once to connect with people—Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, even Google Plus! And they all have pros and cons. But if we had to pick the best one for authors, our money would be on Instagram.

There are so many things to love about Instagram.

It’s easy

We’re not that technologically savvy. So Instagram was like a social media gift sent from Heaven! We’re still trying to figure out what Snapchat is. (Can someone please tell us?) And have zero clue how to use Tumblr (although we did figure out how to create a profile!) But Instagram takes a minute to set up an account and all you have to figure out is how to upload a picture. Then you are off!

The Year We Turned 40 final coverA picture really can say a thousand words

We love the way you can tell a story through pictures—that you can actually show your followers what you are experiencing on book tour. Whether it’s the first time you’ve seen your book in a bookstore or a selfie with the audience at your signing, it’s a simple way to give an intimate glance into your author life and even your personal life, too. We’ve taken photos of food we’ve prepared (don’t worry—only once in a while—we swear!) or our rescue dogs (once you see how cute they are, you’ll understand why!) and even nights out with our hubbies. Because readers want to know about what makes their favorite authors tick and Instagram is an easy way to show them.

It’s ok to post—a lot

Something about Facebook makes us feel guilty if we post too many pictures. But not on Instagram—that’s what it’s for! Or at least we think so. We consider it like an ongoing album that chronicles our lives. So on some days we’ll post a ton, other days not at all.

It’s a great way to connect

Book lovers LOVE Instagram. They use hashtags like #instabooks and #bookstagram and aren’t shy about quoting novels and tagging the author. And they take these amazing artistic photos with your books! So cool, right? Recently, The Status of All Things came out in France and voila! We were interacting right away with our French readers. We have no idea what they were saying, but we think they liked it!

We know. Social media can be overwhelming. Sometimes, it can even seem fruitless. So be sure to concentrate your efforts where you can get the biggest bang for your buck. In our opinion, that’s Instagram. Come find us there! We’re @lisaandliz [8].

Please share your secrets to getting your novel into readers’ hands. What’s your favorite social media platform?