Instagram for authors
May 25th, 2012
I first picked up Instagram from following author Ali McNamara on Twitter. It’s much more immediate than a camera – just download it onto your mobile phone, point & click. You can then add filters to make the pic look so much more professional, then the photo is uploaded onto your Instagram home feed – which is like a Twitter timeline. From there you can ‘share’ it with Twitter, Facebook etc. If a blog or local paper asks for a picture to accompany an interview, then you can email them something a bit different, rather than a straight cover shot.
Instagram is also a social media tool, so you can build ‘followers’ and follow people. It’s the visual version of Twitter – instead of talking, you use images. I haven’t found this side of it particularly easy to use – there is, apparently, a ‘find friends’ option under the ‘profile’ tab, but I simply CAN’T find it. I’ve stumbled across people to follow by tapping on hashtags in the photo captions, such as #photoaday, #dogs and so on. Using hashtags in your own captions also means that people are more likely to stumble across you, and start following you.
Some of these photo interactions with people around the world are fascinating – how else would I see inside an ordinary classroom in a Chinese school or what it looks like to land on an US airbase in Afghanistan?
It took me a while to work out how to ‘share’ pictures with Twitter, Facebook etc (there are three little dots on the bottom right once your picture is ‘done’. Press those). There’s another icon that reverses the camera, so you can take photos of yourself, which is easy to press by accident, so there are some very unattractive pictures of my nostrils and double chin that depress me every time I look at them. I won’t do a link to them if you don’t mind. In fact, I can’t work out how to link Instagram to this blog at all - am I being dim or is it sometimes a bit difficult to use?
Instagram is great for when pictures speak louder than words. When we were staying in Living Architecture’s stunning modern holiday homes, I was able to tweet Instagram pics of the interior. Rather than simply tweeting your cover you can do different things with it (click on this for some variations of The Empty Nesters’ cover I’ve done for my Facebook page) And when I got my Polish editions of The Inheritance, it was almost twice the size of the English one. It’s more fun to tweet ‘are Polish words longer than English ones?’ with a photo of the two side by side than it is just to say ‘I’ve got my Polish edition in today.’
Instagram’s alot of fun. I also think it taps into a different kind of creativity from writing, and that’s refreshing. I don’t know whether it helps authors to promote their books – there are some useful YouTube videos on this, which I should probably check out. But until I can find the ‘find friends’ tab, I’m just muddling along. So if anyone knows, please do tell me. (and don’t say ‘click on the Profile tab’ because when I do that I just get ‘edit profile.’) And if you want to follow me, I’m Ninabellbooks on Instagram.