Four secrets to Instagram success for your next Fiction campaign


Marketing books has never been more competitive nor most cost-efficient. With a plethora of social media platforms at your disposal, publishers have an opportunity to flex their creative muscles and create buzz-worthy campaigns. With that in mind, we decided to focus on Instagram. 

A hugely visual platform with over one billion monthly active users*, Instagram is the perfect place to reader casual readers, communities of fans and influential #bookbloggers. Here are five secrets to Instagram success to use in your next fiction campaign.


Get playful with your Stories

Gone are the days where you can simply repost a square asset you created for Facebook. Brands, not just publishers, are getting more playful with their creative, optimising it to be seen by as many people as possible. Instagram Stories is your campaign playground! If you want to run paid advertising, be sure to optimise your creative for the space (1080×1920). Video, quizzes and even special kinds of night and day or geo-located creative can give your campaign the edge. 

Try going the extra mile by creating special GIFs for readers to use when they post about the book – perhaps you could borrow an interesting element from your book jacket, or a sparkling pack shot of your book – or even create an Instagram filter that you can use as part of an Instagram blog tour. Not only do these elements give your campaign a little something extra, they’re also trackable, helping you more efficiently gauge reach and impact.

Find your new biggest book champions

Speaking of book bloggers, Instagram is the perfect place to seed organic word-of-mouth and find brand new champions for your fiction books. For example, if you were interested in running a historical fiction book tour, you could try searching hashtags like #historicalfiction or #historylovers, and even search for competitors like #hilarymantel or #cjsansom. 

Spend some time searching hashtags, following relevant influencers, and reaching out to people of interest. Building a community around you and identifying passionate people will help you nurture those relationships and have huge benefits for all your fiction campaigns, not just one book.

Take advantage of user-generated content

Social media is a two-way street, and it’s only right to thank the people supporting your book. A simple way of showing appreciation is to share blogger content to your Instagram Stories, and with permission to your main feed. Bloggers spend a lot of time on energy writing a review and taking that perfect #bookstagram photo, by sharing to your feed not only are you showcasing your title, but you’re also helping bloggers reach a whole new audience.

You could even go one step further, by using user-generated content as part of your wider campaign. Some publishers have fed blogger photos into their social advertising campaigns, used their reviews as part of radio advertising, or added it to their A+. If you wanted to encourage more noise, you could run a competition asking people to submit their best photos in return for some exclusive merchandise or send a thank you follow-up gift to the top bloggers who participated in your campaign. 

Level up your virtual events

Finally, Instagram provides a whole new way of connecting directly with readers. Did you know that 80% of people would rather watch a live streamed event than read a blog or social post*? Luckily, it’s never been easier to host a virtual event, thanks to Instagram Live. Authors and publishers can easily start a stream, do a reading or a Q&A with fans, and end whenever they like. 

You can also team up with other authors or influencers to create a panel using a Live Room. An easy way to run a book launch event or your latest fiction imprint showcase, without stale nibbles and over-enthusiastic air conditioning!


Rachel Quin is a freelance marketer and copywriter with a love of marketing, books and cats. Rachel has over eight years of experience working across sectors and specialises in digital-focused campaigns for commercial fiction and non-fiction. If you need specialist help with your fiction books digital marketing, contact us at BookMachine Creative Agency.

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