InstaGroan...A Social Network You Can #skip

by Kellyann Zuzulo

Photographers tend to do best on Instagram. Duh.
Take a picture and share it with thousands. That's what Instagram allows you to do. But does it help with your marketing if you're a writer or help you to identify new books if you're a reader? I'm going to say no. Instagram is all about images. A writer creates images with words. Stick with twitter or Facebook if you want to "spread the word." Unless you've created a picture book, you'll have some challenges sharing the fruits of your imagination. There's always the book cover shot, but that's not going to go over big on Instagram. You'll be competing with landscapes taken with high-resolution cameras and pictures of painted fingernails and fashion shots by professional photographers...oh yeah, and pictures of eyeballs. Yes, it's a bit of a hodge-podge on ig, but there is a structure to it and I don't think books are served by that structure.

I joined about three weeks ago. The primary reason I join any social network, besides disseminating news about my books, is sharing info, insight, and links with things/people that interest me. But, let's be honest, it's really all about marketing. This social network has been around since 2010, making me a late bloomer. But having been an early adopter of twitter, I had high hopes for Instagram. I looked up advice on how to gain more followers or, at least, get likes on an image; i.e. exposure on your specialty. This post on The Science of Instagram was somewhat helpful, but is still very random as far as collecting an audience. Then again, I haven't spent the hours that the author of the article did to "like" thousands of other posts a day. I liked a few hundred over several days (I was on deadline). The percentage of likes back or followers was negligible. And even those who did like my images obviously aren't my readership. I'm finding that the most accessible audience is 17 and under. My books weren't written for a young adult market. I'm not going to find my readers in Middle School. Take for example, a typical caption on one of the many photos I scanned in the last five minutes alone, "My boyfriend got his braces off today."

He would do well on ig. I just need him to hold my book...
...right there
So, three weeks later and countless hashtag searches to identify a consistent book community, and I'll post #skip. However, if you like to take pictures, give it a go. The Instagram app has filters for the photos you take so that you can reconfigure it to make it look a bit artsy. If you have an iPhone, which was the original platform for ig, you'll have access to many more apps to enhance your photo. Instagram included the android community about a year ago and, of course, countless apps have cropped up. I downloaded the "Keep Calm" app which allows me to make my own Keep Calm signs. That was fun for about three signs. Then I downloaded Photon, which allows you to lay text on an image...basically to make a sign. That might be good for advertising a book but, really, gets kind of tiresome for anyone who's following you. If you still feel that getting lots of likes on the picture of your dog staring curiously at the camera is for you, then check out this YouTube video on how to get more followers and likes.

There are those who will benefit from having their photos on Instagram. They're photographers. Major advertisers have recognized the value of a getting attention on ig and they're turning to Instagram users who are photogs to help them out. According to this article in Business Insider, these are The Fifteen Most Influential Instagram Users Advertisers are Dying To Work With. None of the advertisers are publishers and none of the users are authors. Well, not yet. Let me know when that changes. Or when the books and novels hashtag has more than a few hundred measly posts. Save your time. Go read/write a chapter.

I will hang around for a while on ig. I enjoy the NatGeo ig user. So check me out and let me know you found me here at The Pop Culture Divas by using the hastage #pcd and I'll follow you back. What the heck...we can start our own community for books on Instagroan...I mean Instagram. I'm geniewriter on Instagram.

Best Wishes,


  1. Haha..Love the Instagroan term. Like you, I'm an Instagram late bloomer. Joined a month ago if I'm right. I just feel that everything's so instant nowadays I didn't want to add another instant platform in my social media accounts.

    I looked up #pcd and that account had 9K+ photos. Not sure if that's you. That's a lot of photos for a 3-week stint. Let me know if that's your account and I'll follow you.

    Many thanks!

  2. I've only been able to stomach 15 min. on Instagam at a time, and I'm an artist (along with the writing tag). Slowly building up my tolerance...or maybe interest is a better word. Thanks for your feedback on it. Maybe I'll skip the app til I publish a few YA pieces.

  3. Hi Chinwags! I gave the pcd hashtag before I realized it's also being used for the Pussy Cat Dolls and pic-of-the-day shortcut. Shows what a newbie I still am (though I don't think my take on book value will change much...unless the users do). You can get me at @geniewriter. What's yours? I'll follow back.


  4. Hey, Kara! Yeah, I definitely limit my time on Instagram but not ready to give up. My sister is an artist, too (you can find her at @veritusa) and she's getting a much better response/experience than I am. I think it really depends on your interests.
    And, yes, do come back for your YA audience. The teens and tweens are on there in full force!

    best wishes,

  5. Instagram is the most powerful social media now-a-days. I also love to share pics via Instagram. Great tools!


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