Instagram For Authors: How To Make It Pay For Book Marketing [UPDATED]


In this post we will cover:

  • How we increased our following by 1,035%
  • Does Instagram work for authors?
  • Can you make it pay?

Think Instagram is just for celebrities showing off their opulent lifestye? We did too. However, it turns out it is becoming an increasingly popular channel for author to market their books. Adding followers is tough on any social network. Authors have asked about adding this service so we wanted to investigate the platform in greater depth.

Followers: On the 10th of August we had a very pitiful 73 followers. After 16 days we are at 829. A 1,035% increase! 

Screen shot 2015-08-26 at 11.06.04


Hits: Tracking Instagram requires some effort. Google Analytics don’t track it effectively. Caitlin Brehm has written an excellent piece about how to track Instagram refferals. I won’t repeat those details here as she has summarised the options well. We wen’t with Pretty Link for WordPress. It was quick and easy to setup. We tracked 71 clicks with a very low bounce rate and excellent engagement. 

Screen shot 2015-08-26 at 11.09.16


So thats enough about the results. How did we achieve this?

*Disclaimer – we have invested in building some software to handle the repetitive tasks for us. If you are interested in hearing more about this please send us an email.

Step 1: Following

You need to start by following users who will be interested in your content. Find other similar accounts and follow those who follow and engage with that account. You need to start engaging first to establish and initial presence on the platform. Introduce yourself to the community and bring them to your content. 

Step 2: Liking and Commenting

This continues from the points raised above. You need to like other relevant content and comment on it. Don’t copy and past comments it needs to be genuine. Spend the time to engage effectively and you will be rewarded. 

Step 3: Content

The first two steps helped and gave us a good foundation. What really drove the substantial growth for us was when we improved our content. 

Screen shot 2015-08-26 at 11.33.29

We started with the generic items such as author quotes, images of the books we were working with or our favourite books. That did get some good engagement but it was interesting enough. People weren’t connecting with the content enough for us to make an impact.

This is largely because the content didn’t require any interaction and didn’t involve users. The post regarding the Top 10 Most Read Books In The World was the first taste of success on Instagram.

People engaged with this because it encourages and stimulates discussion. People want to talk about the books they have read from the list. They want to see which books have been read by others. People also want to share this with their friends so they can continue the discussion.

[January UPDATE] 

Katarina West, one of our long term clients, emailed us with even better results! She has seen an increase of 7,535% after following our tips in this post.

First of all, thanks for that great endorsement on Instagram…Instagram, I started to be active there just before Christmas, reading carefully that blog PublishingPush posted about Instagram this autumn. And it worked – my Instagram followers have increased from a paltry 14 to some 750 [now 1069] in little more than a week! So thanks, I just put into practise what PP wrote.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 08.51.38

Our following has increased a further 192% using this same process. Instagram is becoming a great tool for authors and we urge you to get involved on that platform.

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 08.41.40



Receive our EXCLUSIVE Book Marketing Guide.

* indicates required


  • Mala Naidoo

    Looking forward to receiving the book. I need to market my book on a wider scale as a new author on the publishing scene.

  • PublishingPush

    Thank you, Mala! Did you enjoy the book?

  • Anthony M Barrs

    Awaiting your book with interest

  • PublishingPush

    Thank you Anthony. It should be on its way now via electronic mail :)

  • Colin Goodwin

    Hello Similar comments to above. I have two books out, 'Don't Get Mad Get Even' and 'When in a Hole Stop Digging' I am very interested in methods of promoting the books but I know nothing about instagram.

  • PublishingPush

    Hi Colin. Send over a few details via the contact form and we can give some tips: https://publishingpush.com/#contact :)

  • Nancyjo Wolfe

    We too look forward to receiving your Marketing book. Our first book isn't selling but bookstores will not put them on the shelves since they are not from a well known author. We really hope we can do much better with your help. We are very grateful that you are on our email list! Thank you!

  • PublishingPush

    Thank you Nancyjo. We are putting in a lot of time perfecting the first release of the book. The Book Marketing Book will be released to our email list first for some initial feedback. So you will get free access early. We are looking to have it completed very soon.

  • John Woodard

    I am very interested in how the Marketing guide will work for me, i look forward to receive it.