As a romance reader – and just as a person who enjoys Instagram – there are some fundamental issues that I see time and time again in people’s feeds that really make me cringe.
As a romance author, what you post on your social media channels is an extension of yourself. It’s your brand. A way to connect to and connect with potential fans, buyers and bloggers.
So the way your feed looks and how you present yourself online could mean a fundamental difference between success and failure as an author.
As such, here are 5 quick & dirty tips for your Instagram feed as a romance author to make it the best it can possibly be.
Why are you using Instagram?
I recommend having one Instagram for your friends/family/private life and another for your author persona – even if you don’t use a penname.
I mean, I’m sure your sister in law had a great 40th birthday party, and your nephew was really cute for his first dance and those 20 pics of your child/grandchild are definitely adorable…but that’s not what I’m here for.
If you don’t want the hassle/work of 2 instagram accounts – just focus on why you’re using instagram.
If it’s to promote yourself as an author and the books you write – then before posting hundreds of photos about intimate details about your life and family, pause to see if it’s something that your followers (who most likely follow you because you’re a romance author) will want to see.
If you’re there to connect with friends and family who know you as you – not just as an author – then maybe make your profile private, or don’t advertise the fact you’re an author.
A little of your personal life in your romance author feed is still a good thing – but be aware of your audience at all times.
Keep it simple – don’t split images!
It’s proper cute that you’ve planned this giant image made up of all the square posts you’ve made…
…but here are some problems with that idea:
- It only looks cute if someone looks at your profile – most people are just scrolling their feeds.
- When I scroll my feed and just see a random word, half word, elbow, nipple – it looks ridiculous. It looks shoddy. It looks like you don’t know how Instagram works.
- Post one more pic and the whole image un-aligns in your feed. Not pretty.
- If your image is so good – just post it as is. Keep it simple.
I mean, it’s all about the square – that’s really not a hard rule to follow.
Chopped off pics, quotes with the first words of each line missing, book promos where you can’t see the pertinent information – it’s not a good look. If you’ve got an image that’s not square, just paste it onto a square before posting to Instagram. You’ll have white (or whatever colour you choose) space at the sides, but at least people will be able to see and appreciate your posts/pics.
Be yourself but not too much
I’m normally all ‘be yourself’ and ‘do you’ but sometimes things (self-deprecation?) just don’t translate.
I followed an author the other day and the first post of hers I noticed in my feed was one of her looking gorgeous (I mean, this lassie was tall and slim with #goal hair, model good looks and flawless make-up). In the caption for her image, she put: Having a bad hair day.
Now, she might have been joking. She might have really bad self-esteem (yet still like posting selfies on Insta!) but girl, seriously? You look like a douche. A hot douche but a douche nonetheless. If you want someone to tell you you look good, ask your mama.
So be yourself, but not too much!
Content is key
You can post whatever you like – obviously – but try to keep the following in mind:
- Don’t steal other people’s content then claim it as your own (if you’re reading this and you can no longer find me on Insta – I’m talking about you!)
- Fuzzy images never look good
- Don’t continually post the same content (whether that’s 20 images of your upcoming book or 20 images of yourself as a little cartoon character). Keep it fresh.
- Don’t be a douche. Your political opinions, religious opinions, footwear opinions may be important to you – but just remember not everyone feels the same way and just because they don’t, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Respect the right for someone else to disagree. But also – don’t call anyone else a Helen Hunt.