I’m ending the year of incredible guest authors with an indie author that will have your heart-melting. Not only is Sarah Sutton an incredible YA romance writer, she’s also a rockstar when it comes to book marketing.
No creative type wants to feel like a used car salesman when marketing a book, but we all want our books to make it into the hands of our desired audience. Have no fear, Sarah’s below tips help make book marketing on Instagram less icky and more exciting!
Without further ado, I’ll let Sarah tell it!
How to Rock Marketing Your Book On Instagram
By Sarah Sutton
Depending on who you ask, marketing can be one of the toughest parts of self-publishing. Maybe you want to talk about your book, but you feel like a spammy cold-caller shouting into the void. Or maybe you don’t want to talk about your product, and every time you do, it feels so cringe-inducing that you want to crawl under a rock. What kind of caption do you write for a photo anyway? How do you make it engaging, a post people want to interact with?
Marketing is a skill, and an important part when it comes to growing your readership. And just like any skill, it can be taught and there’s always room for improvement. It’s not something you have to fear or dread! We just have to figure out some ways to make it fun, and here are the tips that worked for me!
Easier said than done, right? You just wrote this 60,000-word book, you edited it to the best of your ability, published it, aaaand…you still don’t want to talk about it. The idea of trying to talk about it to anyone makes you nearly break out in hives. I get that. It’s hard to talk about something we’re passionate about. For me, it’s because I’m afraid no one will listen. That no one will care enough about me to listen. That they’ll criticize me and my book baby.
But here’s the thing. If we don’t talk about our book, no one’s going to know we even published it.
Whoa, Sarah Sutton just published a book? She never talks about it!
Oh, she published her book already? I only saw her post once or twice about it weeks ago!
Thus the book will fall to the dusty corners of book vendors, never to be read.
So when it comes to talking about your book, be confident, even if you have to fake a little of that confidence! Write a caption and pretend like you’re only posting it for yourself or a loved one. Pretend that you two are the only people who are going to see it. The good thing is that, with practice, talking about your book becomes easier and easier.
Social media is one of the best places to share more about you and your life, and since we’re gearing our content toward writing and our published books, it’s the perfect time to make things personal. A tip I like to give everyone who feels stuck in their posts or captions is to share the ups and downs. For example, let’s say you have a super cute picture of your latest book release. It’s the most gorgeous flat lay photo you’ve taken in your life. It would be a travesty if we were to give it a simple, bland caption of “buy my book” or “this book is available on…” There’d be no depth, no personality to such a gorgeous photo.
So, instead, let’s spice it up!
Share what YOU love most about this book! Share what the hardest part to write was. Share how you feel about the main character. Share how many pages it is, what the tropes are, what your favorite song from the book’s playlist is. Making it personal is immediately more interesting, and not to mention it holds the viewer’s attention for much longer. It’s intriguing. You’re teaching the reader more about this book, telling them why they might enjoy it, why they should pick it up. You’re teaching them about yourself, too, which people love! People follow other people on social media for who they are, so getting personal isn’t something to be afraid of!
*One side note: if your goal is to sell books and use social media as a business-like platform, I would avoid overly personal posts. Think of your social media page like a page of a business. If the CEO wouldn’t post the photo—say, of his breakfast?—it might not be something you want to put on your page. Or, if you want to post a picture of your breakfast, tie it back into your writing. Maybe your main character likes the exact same cooked eggs and toast? When it comes to personal posts, try to always make them somehow connect back to writing, publishing, and books!
This one is one of the most ambiguous tips, but one of the most important. “Spam” can mean a lot of things, but in this instance, I mean don’t push links on people who don’t ask. Which means a big no-no to DM-ing people just to ask them to buy your book. It’s not professional and definitely not a way to build friendships and connections. It also means don’t spam the same content over and over. Don’t post the same caption, day after day, with just the few lines of “buy my book.” This isn’t effective marketing. It’s not drawing a potential reader in; it’s not getting them curious to learn more. And if they got a cold-call DM like that, it might actually make them run straight to the block button. So when it comes to promoting your books, don’t spam.
Don’t Worry About “Aesthetics”
For the longest time, I stressed about aesthetic for my Instagram feed. You know, the beautiful 9-photo layout that people see when they’d open my page? I wanted everything to be perfectly cohesive and gorgeous, and it made me want to pull my hair out more often than not trying to plan it all. Quite honestly, I found myself not posting content I wanted to post just because it didn’t fit my “aesthetic.”
And guess what.
A lot of people don’t really care about a perfectly curated feed.
It’s not a requirement of marketing. And in fact, when you’re first starting off, I recommend not even thinking about it! Take photos of your book that you enjoy and think are pretty. Learn that marketing skill first, how to properly promote your book, and once you feel confident in that arena, you can move onto figuring out a more “aesthetic” feed. Worrying about two stressful things at once can be too much—it’s too much for me!
Asking questions in your captions is the best way to capture engagement. Why? When someone asks you a question, you want to respond, right? Let’s say the question is “What are you reading?” Well, if someone who is reading an awesome book sees your caption, they’re going to want to share the awesome book with the world! Or maybe they’re reading a book that didn’t quite live up to the hype—they might want to share that too. But by asking that question, you’re engaging with your audience.
Honestly, I am the worst conversationalist. I’m awkward, I hate small-talk, and I can never think of things to say. My mom gave me this pro tip—ask people about themselves and they’ll do all the talking for me.
By asking your audience a question, from “what’s your favorite trope” to “what’s your favorite genre to read,” you’re asking them something about themselves, and they’ll do all the talking. It’s an easy way to build engagement, and to build connections and friendships in this writing community!
I hope you find some of these tips helpful as you navigate your book marketing journey! They don’t have to be used only for Instagram either, but whatever social media platform you’re focusing on. Be personal and ask questions—keep these two tips in mind as you navigate your journey, and most importantly, have fun!
More About Sarah
Sarah Sutton is the author of YA Contemporary Romance books from a tiny town in Michigan. These standalone novels can be read in any order and are sure to leave you swooning. She’s always loved the idea of falling in love; capturing the fall through words and heart-melting kisses is one of her passions! Meet-cutes? She’ll take all of them! Accidental touches? She lives for them! First kisses? Yes, please!
To follow her on social media and learn more about her books, visit her website: sarah-sutton.com
Buy signed copies here!
Happy holidays! Message me for any future content you’d like to see in the new year!