Like many other writers on the internet I’m busy trying to create awareness of my book, and in doing so, hopefully build a fan-base. ‘Marketing, marketing, marketing,’ that’s all I’ve lived and breathed leading up to the launch of my latest novel, Saving Anna. I’ve read blog posts on how to become the best blogger, Twitterer, Pinterester, Facebooker and Instagramer: none of which comes naturally to this hermit-like author. It’s a challenge, but it’s also a call of duty. Valiantly I have pitched into battle, fighting the inner demon called shyness with vigour and determination.
As a photographer as well as an author I recently decided to try my hand at Instagram, a new platform for me. I’m @Listansus First I had to learn how the app functioned, then I had to decide what kind of photos to post. Everyone says that an author is supposed to sell the author and not the book. Hmm, tricky. I hate having my photo taken (Yeah, I know, seriously weird considering I’m a photographer), so selfies are out of the question. Okay, so what about photos of my books? Lots of authors and review bloggers do this, and their Instagram feeds are truly delightful and very creative, but there are only so many times in a day that I can get excited about seeing the same book cover over and over again.
The other marketing tool on Instagram, which appears to be very popular, is to post an image with words – lots of words! They take the form of a short poem or a passage from a novel. These posts take time to read, whereas a photo is instant gratification. I love words, I write thousands of them, but on a visual platform I prefer an emotive photograph, or informative words, such as an inspirational quote from an author. Here’s one that writeHackr magazine, which will launch next year, posted today: “You create the world, blink by blink. It is entirely yours to discover and yours to create,’ by Sophia Amoruso. I like this, it inspires me.
So, what images am I posting? Apart from a sprinkling of book promotions, I’ve chosen to post photographs that I’ve taken, especially scenic ones that relate to locations in my novels. The question is, does anything I post inspire or interest other people? At first I was uncertain, but recently I’ve had loads of likes per photo, and an increasing number of complimentary comments, which has boosted my confidence.
Some of these comments have come via the universal language of emoji. Yes, you guessed, I’m a newbie at emoji as well as a newbie at Instagram! This is a steep learning curve and a very high mountain. What do these symbols mean?
Recently ‘face with tears of joy’ was voted by the Oxford English Dictionary as the word of the year. Word!? It’s a symbol, and believe it or not, I’d never seen it before it hit the news and had to read up on what it meant. It’s a completely new language to me.
On Instagram I instantly understood the thumbs up, the clapping hands and the smiley face, but stupidly posted a symbol believing it meant ‘water’ when in fact it’s officially ‘splashing sweat symbol’ used in comic books to show that someone is working hard or stressed. Ooops!
This is one of the loveliest comments I’ve received. It’s from a guy whose photos are technically amazing, hence to receive an emoji from him meant a lot to me. I don’t speak Turkish, and he probably doesn’t speak English, yet we found a way to communicate and complement each other’s work. Now, when you’ve finished laughing at me, thinking, rightly so, that he’ll never read my books, let me outline the bigger picture. For every comment on Instagram, even an emoji, my profile rating goes up. This is good. I’m also feeding all of my photos through to Twitter, via a clever app, and this has helped strengthen my Twitter profile and gained me more followers. Even though I’m posting photos, my hashtags say #amwriting and #writerslife, which has encouraged people to add me to their Twitter lists of interesting writers. This is a win-win situation and is boosting my social profile.
I haven’t acquired many followers yet on Instagram, and I refuse to cheat and go and buy false friends, but the people I am connecting with are genuine and we’re building a warm rapport with each other. If you’d like to come and join me, I’m @listansus
To my amazement people have taken this photo to their hearts, if you like it, heart me ❤
Feel the chill! How would you describe the scene? Photography is such a useful tool because it helps me see every detail of a place, person, or type of weather. These visual memories aid my descriptive passages when writing my novels. Windswept sand dunes at West Wittering, West Sussex. #photography #amwriting #jaketalbotinvestigates #JTI #savinganna #windswept #sand #sanddunes #sanddune #chilly #westwittering #westwitteringbeach #westsussex #describethescene #writing #writerslife #writingtool #england #loveunitedkingdom #surreyauthor #surreywriter #sussex #wittering #ig_westsussex #westsussexcoast #nature #landscape #scenic #landscapephotography