A – A Day In The Life - Unless your audience is living with you, they won’t have any idea of what a typical day is for you. It could be a mug of coffee before firing up your laptop, reading through the days story line before getting started, or the scribble of a new plot idea at your local coffee shop.
Pull back the curtain and allow your followers a sneak peek at what life is like for an author. You might think that no one would be interested, but you’d be surprised by what readers would like to know about your day. Plus, it also helps you to grow a bond between you and your readers.
B – Books – What books have helped you the most with your writing, or with your life? This is not only another helpful image for followers to see, but easy to do too.
Simply ‘screen grab’ the book covers and place them on a plain background. If your image looks a little crowded save some of your book covers for future posts. You can also refer to the authors with a hashtag. No matter how lofty they seem, most authors love nothing more than to know that their book made a difference to someone.
C – Celebrities – Got a favourite celebrity whose birthday is coming up? Why not post a picture of them on your account and wish them a happy birthday. They may never see it, but use their name as a hashtag anyway and you’ll probably find yourself coming into contact with their fans.
And if they don’t have a birthday, what’s a quote of theirs that has inspired you to become the person you are? Why not post that too?
D – Deaths – Not a nice topic to post about, but if someone’s died and you’d like to mark their passing with a fitting remembrance post, feel free to do it. It doesn’t have to be someone well known or even human for that matter.
Anyone who’s lost an animal will know how it feels like to lose a close companion. Again like the celebrity post, it could be as simple as a quote, a thank you, or just a few words to sum up your time together.
E – Educate – While not the usual formal type of education. This educate idea can come in the form of “True or False” or multiple choice questions. Although Instagram isn’t anything like the conversational sites of Twitter or Facebook, this idea can bring comments to your images as viewers interact with your images and answer your questions and quizzes.
F – Fans – Got a nice review from a fan, or made a difference with your nonfiction book? Now is a chance to show what others think of you. It’s one thing bigging yourself up, it’s another thing when it comes from someone else.
If you’ve got an image showing the results (like dramatic weight loss from your dieting book) post the pic with either the title of your book, a web link to it, or information in the tagline of the photo.
You can also use fans to create content for your Instagram account. Ask them to post images of themselves in the weirdest or furthest destination that your book has travelled to. Not only is it free content for you, it also gives you social proof of other people reading and enjoying your book.
G – Group Activities – Had a recent book signing at your local bookstore, or a public reading of your book? Now’s the time to make use of those images. Of course if you are posting images with others it’s always best to ask their permission before doing so.
H – Hobbies – Again, like the weird and wonderful that can be found around your home, what you do in your spare time can give us a new window into your life.
Showing your love for hill walking, building model aircraft, or being part of the local ice hockey team, can show followers what makes you tick and give you lots of ideas for image ideas. Plus it also shows that you’re human and not chained to your laptop 24/7.
I – Expand On An Idea – Have you seen a tip or idea that you can reuse and expand on? Sometimes the best content ideas come from something someone else has produced.
Have you seen a book recommendation, tip, or piece of advice that you can expand on and make even better? It doesn’t have to end with that, even a quotation can get you thinking and help you come up with more ideas for your
J – Just Ask – Sometimes a simple question is a great content idea. This can come in different forms. Whether that’s a direct question like “What’s your favorite book?” to a more thought provoking question like “What if today was your last day on this planet?”
Even though you ask a question don’t expect to be swarmed with answers. Instagram is a visual medium with people more interested in scrolling for images than getting into a full blown conversation. That said you will get the odd reply to your questions.
K – Share Your Knowledge – Have you got a life skill, hack, or piece of advice that you know could help your followers? Then why not post it in an image or short video.
It could be as simple as an image showing, the perfect form to lift weights, three websites every jam maker should know about, or a sketch showing how you plot your books.
Of course, you can’t show a lot in a few images or a short video, but by sharing your talent and helping others in a small way, it shows you off in a positive light and can get you some new fans in the process.
L – Look Around You – Got any weird or wonderful purchases in your home that describe you well? Maybe it’s that worn t- shirt of your favourite movie, that rare book or DVD that you’d never part with. All of these give your fellow Instagrammers a better view of your quirky personality and a way to get to know you better.
M – Memories – Whether your own memories, or the niche you write in, this is a fun way of looking back at how things used to be. This could be the time to post an image of that long lost book you published that was awful.
Or an photograph you used to create your main character, who’s now three books old and seems nothing like the character he used to be. Or maybe a snapshot of the original book cover of your bestselling series.
For those in nonfiction it can be fun way to look back at how methods and apparatus have changed over time. For example, weight loss equipment from the 1920’s and 1930’s look completely different to what we use today and the results they gave .
N – Name Your Day – This tip is one that’s probably the most fun and something you’ll keep coming back to again and again. Firstly, go to the website www.daysoftheyear.com and find out what day today is.
Filled with the weird, the wacky, and some of the strangest days you’ll ever find, this site has an unlimited list of content ideas to use.
Today as I’m writing this blog post, it’s raspberry cream pie day, world wide web day and girl friends day. And that’s only three of the eight that happen today. Think maybe you could work raspberry cream pie day or girl friends day into today’s content? Me too.
O – Oversights – No one’s perfect, not even you. So what’s been the biggest mistakes or oversights you’ve made on the way to getting to where you are?
By showing others that you’re not perfect and willing to share those mistakes you can both be helpful and appear human. It’s easy to think that someone we follow is beyond mistakes and errors, but of course that’s not true.
This post could be written as a simple quote type post or a funny image where you poke fun at yourself. If you’re anything like me you’ve made a good few so you’ll have plenty of content to use.
P – Passages – Search for the #writer, #writing on Instagram and you’ll find tons of images with passages taken from poems or fiction. Why not use it to your benefit?
Taking a small sample from your writing, you can either post it on a blank background, or use an image to enhance the passage. If you have a domain name pointing to the finished book, or to a free book, place it at the bottom of the image to drive traffic to it and build your mailing list.
Q – Quotes – Everywhere you look you’re never far from an image with a quote on it. 99% of them aren’t original and are simply a copy and paste job from one of the popular quote sites.
Don’t go that way. You don’t have to be a genius to come up with an inspirational or motivating quote of your own. And if you can’t think of anything off hand, what line from a recent book spoke to you or made you think twice?
From watching the TV show “Falling Skies” I heard one character say the line, “We’re all just a heartbeat from death.” It was a throwaway remark, but it stuck with me. With a little reworking I made an motivating quote from it.
R – Releases – Being an author you’re going to have book releases. And as you also know, the more people that know about your upcoming book release the better.
Even if you haven’t got to the publish date yet, a few mentions of its upcoming release won’t do you any harm. Who knows your following may have gathered momentum by then and you’ll have an even bigger audience to get your book in front of.
S – See The Future – Time to get out your crystal ball and give your predictions of the future. What do you see your niche looking like in the next 5 – 10 years?
People running on treadmills with virtual reality headsets? Writers sitting in pods writing in the local park? What about the next device we’ll all be reading off?
Whatever it is, it’s totally your opinion. If you’re a dab hand with editing software like Photoshop or Gimp, you can take it further by creating your own crazy creations.
T – Tip And Tricks – Like sharing your knowledge, a tip based image is an easy idea for your content. You could build it into your weekly calendar like “Tip Tuesday” or “Trick Thursday” which will give your followers something to look forward to each week.
It also doesn’t have to be one of your own tips. Show readers what you’ve been reading and something you’ve learned from it. This could be a regular post idea you can come back to again and again.
U – Uplift Others – Being an author, I’m sure you follow other authors online. You get inspired by the things that they say and the images that they post. To others taking their first steps in their writing career you could be the motivating factor for them. And before you think that you couldn’t be, stop.
From where they are, you’re an expert in their eyes. So give them the support and motivation you would have loved to have been given.
Create inspiring posts, motivational tips, and ways to overcome procrastination and doubt. It only takes a moment to create and it could just the thing an aspiring author needs to see. So go out there and make someone’s day.
V – Rework Your Videos – Got a video you’re proud of, why not reuse it? You can either edit it down to the essentials and post the shortened video to Instagram, or post a snapshot from the video. If you’re not sure now to do a screenshot you can find a short video that shows it here. If you haven’t got your original video but have it on Youtube.com, you can download it using this easy Firefox plugin. Or search Google for Youtube download software.
Once you have it downloaded you can edit it online with the website http://online-video-cutter.com/ When you’re finished and posted your content, you can followers aware of the completed video if they want to see more.
W – Repurpose The Web – Seen a funny tweet, meme, or Facebook post that made your day? Why not repurpose it?
As long as the material isn’t copyright material and free to use, you can use a screen grab, edit the image to Instagram’s requirements and repurpose it for your days content. If you know where the source came from, a little mention in the comment or hashtag section is a nice way to give credit where it’s due.
X – Share An Experiment – Tried out a new technique and got the result you were looking for, why not share it with your followers?
Whether it’s a new diet that gave you the six pack you’ve always wanted, a new story plotting idea that works wonders, or a website trick that got you lots of traffic, sharing your experiment can not only be useful to your followers but also the beginnings of a new product.
If you find it popular chances are good more people outside Instagram would also want to know it too.
Y – Brag About You - No one likes to listen to a bragger, but it’s also nice to see someone that we like do well. Bitchiness is unfortunately a trait that some authors have in spades. Forget about them. You’ll always come in for criticism when you get a stroke of luck and they don’t.
If you’ve done well, become a bestseller in your book category, or got a publishing deal, don’t keep it to yourself. You’ve got fans out there that would love to know that their favourite author is doing well. Especially if they’ve been helping you with your promotion or been beta readers.
So if you’ve got good news, don’t be afraid to share it.
Z – A/Z – Finally, like this blog post, you can create a compilation of your content. Instagram at present allows you to post 10 images and video in one post. Not only is it an easy post idea, but it gives viewers a chance to see what you’re about in more than just one image post. Make it a reel of your best and most popular posts and you’ll be putting your best Instagram foot forward.
Finally if you’re bogged down with your social media work, this is what I use to get more done in less time.