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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