Social Media for Authors: Creating Engaging Instagram and TikTok Content

POSTED ON Dec 4, 2023

Elena Rapovets

Written by Elena Rapovets

Home > Blog > Author Brand, Book Marketing, Marketing, Social Media > Social Media for Authors: Creating Engaging Instagram and TikTok Content

Creating engaging content on social media for authors is an excellent way to promote their work. These days, the image of an author has changed. It’s not an unknown person who writes books and disappears from the public eye until the next release. You don’t need to go to a library to look up your favorite author in an encyclopedia—it’s all online now. You can read their biography on their website.

As a reader, you can often see what your favorite author had for breakfast. Social networks allow authors to share not only book releases and collaborations but also glimpses into their daily lives. Of course, not every author wants to share so much of their personal life online—and you don’t have to. But the point is, we aren’t in the age of paper letters. These days, readers would send you letters. Instead, if they want to contact you, they’d rather comment on your post or tag them in theirs. To make this happen, you, as an author, should offer them this opportunity.

Social Media for Authors: Leveraging Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social networks these days. It has users from all demographics, with almost even gender split. Age-wise, it leans toward younger demographics, unlike Facebook, which has a broader age range. Most Instagram users are Gen Z and Millennials aged 18-34.

As one of the first visual social media, Instagram is still perfect for photos. Newer features include disappearing Stories and Reels—short-form videos similar to TikToks. Hashtags, geotagging, and the Explore page help your content to be discovered by potential followers.

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Instagram Content Ideas for Writers

There are many ways you can promote your brand using Instagram. Social media post ideas for authors include making posts with:

  • High-quality images of book covers. Let your readers know what you’ve written.
  • Insights into your writing process. Learning what challenges you face when writing can pique readers’ curiosity about the results.
  • Quotes and excerpts from your books. This helps to engage and intrigue your readers.
  • Book trailers and announcements of special events and appearances.
  • Polls, Q&A sessions, or contests. These types of posts encourage participation and interaction.
  • Reviews and positive feedback. Share what readers and critics say about you to build credibility and solidify your expertise.
  • Collaborations with other authors and book bloggers to expand your reach.
  • Daily life updates. This humanizes you and builds a connection with the audience.

You can also leverage Stories and Reels for dynamic content like short readings or day-in-the-life videos.

Authors Making an Impact on Instagram

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie @chimamanda_adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer known for her novels, essays, and short stories. She explores themes of identity, feminism, race, and the immigrant experience. Her notable works include “Half of a Yellow Sun,” “Americanah,” and “Purple Hibiscus.”

Adichie’s Instagram blends literary content, personal advocacy, and cultural commentary. Her posts on feminism, social justice, and African culture reflect her views and encourage discussions. Other content includes speaking engagements, book events, and media appearances.

John Green @johngreenwritesbooks

John Green is an American author known for his young adult fiction. His novels often delve into the complexities of youth, dealing with themes such as love, tragedy, and coming-of-age. “The Fault in Our Stars,” a story about teenage cancer patients, was adapted into a successful movie.

Green’s Instagram is an example of a writer who connects with their audience personally. He often posts about mental health, personal challenges, and his journey as an author. Green promotes his books and other projects, shares fan art and reader interactions, celebrating the community around his work.

Rupi Kaur @rupikaur_

Rupi Kaur is a Canadian poet, writer, and illustrator of Indian descent. She touches on love, loss, trauma, and healing. Her popular books include “Milk and Honey,” and “The Sun and Her Flowers.”

Kaur’s Instagram is a visual representation of her poetry. Her feed is filled with short poems, illustrations, and photographs. She often shares pieces of her poetry directly on her feed. She also announces book launches and tours and shares content from her live performances and readings.

Why TikTok is a Game-Changer for Authors

TikTok is the most rapidly growing social media platform these days. Its primary demographics are younger people—Gen Z and younger millennials. Many users are between the ages of 10 and 29, and it has more female than male users.

The platform revolves around short-form video content. The algorithm helps creators promote their content to users who like similar things. Posts that quickly get likes and comments have the potential to go viral. 

Hashtags play a crucial role in content discoverability, with #BookTok tags being used by book lovers. This tag encompasses everything from book reviews and recommendations to literary discussions, which you as an author can leverage.

TikTok Content Creation: Ideas for Authors

There are many types of information you, as an author, can share in short video format. When using Instagram or TikTok for book marketing, consider:

  • Book teasers and trailers. Engaging visuals can introduce your books to potential readers.
  • Readings and recitals. Share short readings from your books to intrigue your followers.
  • Author Q&As. Host interactive sessions to answer questions from readers.
  • Day in the life. Give followers a glimpse into daily life to help them connect with you emotionally.
  • Writing tips and tricks. Share advice on writing processes or tackling writer’s block.
  • Participating in challenges. Engage with TikTok challenges relevant to books or writing to expand you can expand your online reach.
  • Humorous Skits. Use humor related to the life of a writer or reader—writing struggles or reader reactions to plot twists—empathize with the audience.
  • Social commentary. Many authors use the video format to comment on things happening worldwide.
  • Fan interaction. React to fan-made content about your books—reviews, analyses, or fan art—to create a conversation with readers.
  • Writing challenges and prompts. Start a writing challenge or share prompts to encourage followers to share their creations.

TikTok Author Insights: Social Media Strategies That Work

Ayana Gray @ayanagray

Ayana Gray is the author of a fantasy adventure series, “Beasts of Prey.” Her writing is known for its rich world-building, incorporating elements of magic and mythology.

On TikTok, Gray shares insights into her creative process and behind-the-scenes looks at her book tours.

Aiden Thomas @aidenschmaiden

Aiden Thomas is best known for “Cemetery Boys,” a young adult novel that combines elements of fantasy and LGBTQ+ themes. Thomas explores themes of identity, acceptance, and the supernatural.

On TikTok, Thomas shares the realities of being an author, including enjoyable and challenging aspects. 

Penelope Douglas @penelope.douglas

Penelope Douglas is a popular author in the romance genre. Her books, such as “Birthday Girl,” “Punk 57,” and the “Fall Away” series, often feature complex characters and emotional narratives.

On TikTok, Douglas stands out by creatively bringing scenes from her novels to life. This approach entertains her existing fan base and attracts new readers.

social media for authors cta

Choosing the Right Platform and Content Strategy

You absolutely don’t need to use all the platforms to promote your work. Figure out which social media you are most comfortable with. But also, you need to understand on which platform you can meet your target audience. As mentioned, Instagram appeals to a broad age range with its visual-centric approach. TikTok resonates strongly with younger readers through its dynamic and interactive video content.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Experiment with different types of content to understand what your audience likes. This will be easy to gauge by the number of likes, comments, and views of different types of posts gathered. You may realize your skits aren’t as funny as you thought, but you have a knack for starting viral writing challenges.
  • Balance content creation with your comfort levels. Only some authors on TikTok or Instagram may feel at ease sharing aspects of their personal life. Find a content style that feels authentic to you and aligns with your author brand. Don’t feel pressured to overshare.
  • Share links to your other platforms. Adding links to your website or blog makes it easier for readers to learn about you and purchase your books.
  • Engage with the audience. Building a community on social media goes beyond just posting content. Respond to comments, take part in discussions, or consider hosting live Q&A sessions or book club meetings. 

Instagram and TikTok are powerful tools to promote your work and connect with readers. Your audience wants to hear from you and get to know you. Your social networks are a tool to provide them with this opportunity.

Elena Rapovets

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Elena Rapovets

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