Using Photos

Show off your writing space.

One of the most powerful things a blogger can use to draw attention to their post is use images. People are attracted to posts with lots of photos. They like to scroll through and read smaller snippets and look. They’re less inclined to read a big block of text.

The same thing can be said for social media. How many times on Facebook have you seen a long status and scrolled passed it simply because you didn’t want to read something that long? We’re all guilty of doing it. I suppose with something like Facebook where the poster is likely ranting about something, you’re probably better off scrolling passed. But when you want to draw attention to your book and yourself as an author, the very thing you’re trying to sell—your writing—will work against you in this case.

I’ve said before that a great book cover will draw buyers to your book when they’re scrolling through the long list of thumbnails on Amazon. Your impressive book cover will make them stop and hopefully buy your book. But what if you can do more than that?

I often unfollow people who blatantly post marketing campaigns. The “buy my book!” posts are super annoying when that’s all you post. Yes, it’s important to share your book’s link on social media, but it shouldn’t be every post. As a reader, I’m more likely to buy a book if I think it’s my decision. If I follow a link an author or a publisher posted, I feel like I’m a sell out, buying into their marketing campaign. I would much rather be “tricked.”

Honestly, it’s not really tricking if the viewer knows they’re being tricked, but it’s a less in-your-face approach to marketing. Take a look at Pierce Brown‘s Instagram. He posts about his book, but he has another reason to post rather than put his book in your face more. He’s usually posting to share how far he is in his edits, where he is on the promotional tour for his latest book, and just normal posts about what he’s doing over the weekend. His books just happen to play a part in his life. Go figure.

Showing off his writing process. He talks about his third book, Morning Star, but it’s not blatantly present here. Also, it’s a photo of him, but it’s not a selfie.

The more someone sees your book, the more likely they are to purchase it. Hell, I bought Pierce’s first two books (Red Rising and Golden Son) and they’re on my TBR list. I’m so excited to read them even though otherworldly dystopian books aren’t usually my thing. But I like the way the guy markets and the buzz he’s been getting made me buy the books.

Using photos is also a great way to show off your library or your writing space. I often wonder what influenced my favorite authors to write their books. What were their inspirations? Who do they admire? What do they read? It’s fun to show off what you’re currently reading and what some of your favorite books are. Decorate your book shelf and add your own flair. Follow the hashtag #bookstagram to check out how everyone else is posting.

The thing about using photos is that you can show off your personality and tastes without even being in the photos themselves. By literally showing people what you enjoy and how you live, you give people a sense of who you are. Show off your writing space. Do you have pages cluttered? Photos hanging? Inspirational quotes? Show it off! Do you have a proof copy or an ARC that is still months away from being released? Snap a picture and tease people!

“What’s on your shelf?” Oh look, there’s Pierce’s book, Red Rising, sitting there on the right. How did that get there?

I know I love to see artists working on their projects before it’s released. I think when it comes to marketing and advertising, the mindset turns to “sell sell sell” and you forget that the artist actually created the project. They had an idea and put their butt in the chair long enough to create something great. Share that! Let people be inspired by you! And if you sell some books along the way, hey, that’s what it’s all for, right?

Some rules to follow, though. Same as videos, don’t snap pictures with your dirty laundry in the background. Don’t bombard people with endless selfies. Selfies can be nice, but I don’t want to see your face blowing up my phone whenever I go on Instagram. Use filters. Filters are your friends and can turn a mediocre picture into a stunning one. Play around with them. Some people even use multiple filters so they create their own effect before posting.

The writing space. Note how Golden Son’s manuscript is sitting there so ordinarily, yet it puts a bug in people’s minds to watch this project grow into fruition.

Using photos is fun and easy. If you’re lucky, an avid bookstagrammer will love your books (or your photos of your books, which they will purchase and read) and post their own photos of your books. If they tweet these pictures and you retweet it, you’re not being a narcissistic marketing snob, you’re sharing the enthusiasm for your book. But again, you can go overboard with retweets. But that’s another post…

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