Social Media for Historical Fiction Writers, Part 5: Instagram

Okay, I know I said part 5 would be about Twitter, but I’m running a sort of mini-experiment on it, so let me get back to you.  Also, I fully admit that I was a little sidetracked this week; more on that later, maybe in a seperate post later this week.

Onto the post!

Social Media for HF Writers Part 5

Honestly, if social media scares you, that’s okay.  It’s pretty terrifying to have to write up posts to share, especially if you’re a relatively private person or don’t feel comfortable with being creative on the fly.  No judgement!  That being said, social media is still important, but something like Instagram might be the platform for you.

“But K., it’s an app for sharing pictures.  My pictures, that I’ve taken!  How is that better?”

1. It’s Informal

For starters, it’s a lot more relaxed.  As long as your picture isn’t completely inappropriate, it’s welcome.  That means you can share anything from a quote in picture form, nabbed off of Google, to your dinner, to your desk or your latest work.  Have ads you want to share?  Post them on Instagram!  Not sure how to make a professional-looking social media ad for little to no money?  Canva has you covered – pay for the usage of a stock photo (usually $1), or choose from their freebies.  Instagram is a lot more informal, too, so you don’t always have to talk about your work/writing quite like you would with a Facebook page.  You can share pictures of your dog or cat, your kids, even your plants!  Whatever you love, you can share.  It’s a way for your audience to connect with you on a personal level, so show them your latest read or favorite hangout!

2. It Shows You More About Your Audience

At the same time, you should use that to your advantage.  Let’s say you’re writing about the apparent decline of penguin chicks per year (bear with me).  Check out your followers.  Do they post recent reads?  Do they visit places you think would be interesting?  Are they part of clubs you think might contain more of a possible reader base?  Are they the type to write manifestos about the lack of research into penguin mating seasons?  Do they post pictures of adorable fuzzy penguin babies?  Do they post pictures of orcas and seals eating penguins?  Do they not care at all?  It’s all about finding a connection – to what kinds of people do you appeal?  Is that your intended audience?  If yes, how do you intend to reach more of them?  If not, how should you market yourself to break into that niche?

I sell historical fiction books.  I’m interested in knowing if my Instagram followers are interested in an indie author from Michigan who sets her novels in the Middle Ages.  As such, I look for people who support indie authors, people from Michigan, often read historical fiction, often post about Renaissance Faires or related items (such as costumes), or a mixture of any of those things.

3. Hashtags

Hashtags are the answer.  It’s easy to “tag” your pictures however you want.  Let’s say you want to show off your latest book signing to the maximum amount of people.  I’d say using #books, #author, #booksigning, #authorslife would be the automatic tags to use.  To make things specific, add your genre, the location of the signing (city and state at least, possibly the specific place if the tag is popular enough), and a few tags about your book itself or some related topics.  Be wary!  Instagram does have a limit for tags, but I haven’t quite worked it out – I heard it was 20, but I’ve used more than that in one post and not had my caption wiped.  I suggest doing your captions in a notepad app and copying them to Instagram, so you don’t lose everything.

So, for example, if I wanted to show off this specific ad

I might caption it as: “Come see me at Past Tense Books in Holly, #Michigan, on September 24th!  It’s only 15 minutes away from the #michiganrenaissancefestival! #book #booksigning #localauthor #michigander #medieval #authorslife #author #event #historicalfiction #writer”.

However, if I was sharing something about working on my upcoming book:


I would definitely caption it with: ” #amwriting!  Can’t wait until #December – #LaReyna is sure to be a #Kindle and #createspace hit! #thetrastamaraseries #historicalfiction #author #historical #fiction #writer”

The tags I think every author on Instagram should know include:

  • #amwriting, #amediting, #amreading, etc.
  • #book, #books, #bookstagram – for pictures of your book itself
  • #author, #writer, #authorslife, #writerslife, #authorsofinstagram, #writersofinstagram, #authorsofig, #writersofig.
  • Their genre tags.  For me, this includes #historicalfiction, #hisfic, #historical, #fiction, #medieval, #14thcentury
  • Their specific tags.  These are made by the author themself.  I use #TheTrastamaraSeries, #KMGuerin, #LaBasarda, and #LaReyna (the latter two are not specific for my book, but they are rather well-trafficked).
  • #Ebook, #paperback, #Amazon #bookstore…  Tailor to your needs as necessary.

4. You Can Post Whenever

Unlike Facebook, Google+, and even WordPress, Instagram is used at pretty much all hours of the day.   People will see your posts at any time.  Now, there’s an issue with following, where you basically have to doubly-follow certain people to see their posts, but I’ve found it’s relatively rare, unless the account you’re following doesn’t post very often.  😀  There might be a slight optimization depending on your location and where your followers are located, but generally, Instagram is always busy.  You’ll always get likes (hearts or “doubletaps”, so nicknamed because if you tap on a picture twice, you like it.  It’s convenient, and can be a bit too convenient when you’re scrolling through a new follower’s older pictures and accidentally like something from years prior.  Oops.

I think that’s it on Instagram, for now.  Thank you so much!

Note: I’ll be out of commission over the next few weekends, so I’m going to write a couple of posts and schedule them ahead of time.  Not all of them will be social medias.  Also, I may have another post either later this week – Wednesday or Thursday, perhaps?  I might have a few updates. 😀


One thought on “Social Media for Historical Fiction Writers, Part 5: Instagram

  1. This post is going to help me a lot! I haven’t even looked into using Instagram. I’m putting the finishing touches on my first novel. It’s an 18th century America historical set in SC and NC. I’m 64 years old and really having to play catch-up when it comes to social media! Thanks so much for your blog posts!


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