After several conversations with bestselling authors and those making full-time income as indie authors, I knew it was time to pivot my marketing strategy.
Sure, you can still use older methods to gain visibility for your book and increase your sales. You can slap a permafree novel on your website, then upsell to your new subscribers after they’ve opted in… assuming they still buy considering they got the first novel for free.
You can stick to newsletter swaps, low buy-in group promotions across your genre, and take the route of “slow and steady wins the race.”
Or you can use other people’s platforms to your advantage and you can do it without being sleazy or weird.
Tell me, writer, do you realize how many readers your book is losing by not booking an Instagram Tour?
If your eyes are currently the size of saucers, and you’re asking yourself, “Well what on Earth is a Bookstagram Tour?” Don’t worry.
You can press pause on the panic button. This article will discuss Bookstagram Tours, and how you can use it to increase your book’s visibility.
What is Bookstagram?
If you’ve never heard the term “bookstagram” before, it’s a combination of the words: books and Instagram. The term came about a long time ago to give a name to the community of book lovers on Instagram.
If you love Instagram and use the platform a lot (I’m on there, way too long, everyday), it’d behoove you to slowly get involved with the bookstagram community. Making friends, following accounts with traction (i.e., leaders in the community), and keeping on top of things… within your genre, of course.
Much like YouTubers or BookTube, bookstagram is a safe space for readers all around the world to find like-minded people to discuss books or book adaptations that will be coming. It’s like walking into a huge party and realizing all of these people can be your friend.
What Are Bookstagram Influencers?
Within the bookstagram community, there are bookstagram influencers. Yep, influencers who can engage their large (or small) audiences to rally behind a book. It could be the character art for a novel. It could be the cover release. It could be launch week. Regardless, these influencers partner with book box subscription companies, authors (both traditionally and independently published), and other vendors, like candle makers, and use their influence with their audience to trigger certain actions.
This is huge because the potential for your book to get serious visibility is pretty high. The bookstagram community is engaged, involved, and loves participating in virtual events.
What Are Bookstagram Tours?
Here is where bookstagram tours come in. Have you ever gone somewhere new, and as a tourist, you can pay money for a tour around town, or the city?
This is the same concept, except on Instagram, lasting for the amount of time you pay for. bookstagram tours are virtual events, hosted by a bookish company on Instagram. The company host(s) will put together a group of Instagram influencers from around the world. Once they have the influencers in place, on a specific date, for a certain amount of time, the influencers will promote what you need, driving a crazy amount of traffic to your Instagram profile, and potentially your website.
For example, say you hired MTMC Tours (I have personally worked with them and adore the hosts and their service) for a 7 day book launch tour. The hosts, Melissa and CG, would create a post calling for up to 12 influencers to join the tour.
The week of the tour, each day a different influencer would post about your new novel’s release. Prior to posting, the influencer would design a picture with your novel in it and write up a caption including either an excerpt from the novel or the novel’s synopsis, as well as details for the tour. This could be a giveaway, or anything else you’ve agreed to, to increase engagement in the tour.
At the end of the week, the tour would be done and the bookstagram tour host(s) would send you stats on how the tour did and who the winners of your giveaway are.
Leveraging Bookstagram Tours for Book Visibility
I’m sure you can begin to see just how powerful a bookstagram tour can be for your novel.
Imagine you’re a brand new author. You have few Instagram followers. Your email list is tiny. And sure, you could throw money at ads. But right now, spending money on ads you’re not sure will work, isn’t the best decision you can make.
So with the odds seemingly stacked against you, instead, you book a bookstagram tour. Each influencer in this tour has follower counts ranging from 10K to 50K. Their audiences are highly engaged. And there are 12 of them who will be promoting your book cover or book launch.
Your book’s visibility just shot through the roof! Your audience went from the few hundred, or thousand, followers you have, to thousands of highly engaged readers in your genre who are ready to devour your novel.
That is the power of a bookstagram tour. You’re capitalizing on a cold audience and getting all the benefits as if they’ve been warm all along.
Remember what it’s like to walk into a party and see that all of these peeps are your friends? That’s what it’s like with a bookstagram tour for book visibility.
By leveraging the audiences of the influencers who are in the tour, you’ve easily tapped into a hungry group of readers that will buy your books, follow your platform, and remain involved with your world for a long time (as long as you keep them engaged of course).
Leveraging Bookstagram Tours for Book Visibility
Let’s talk about some action items that you can implement immediately. Because, after all, knowing what to do and actually doing it are two completely different things.
To get started, decide if Instagram is a platform you’d like to make work for you. Keep in mind: there are over 2 billion active Instagram users. If you’d like your piece of that pie, start by following bookstagrammers in your genre.
This is important. Networking with influencers that don’t even read the kind of books you write won’t serve you at all. Partnering with them would be a serious waste of money. Make sure to find and follow the ones in your genre.
I highly recommend becoming friends with influencers in the industry. Be strategic with who you follow. It’s not just about how many followers they have—but it’s also how engaged their community is.
Make yourself a friend first. DM them, and be kind. Don’t ask for anything. Just be kind. Make friends. In time, when it’s time to partner, you’ll be a familiar face, and bringing your book to their audience will be like sharing something for a friend. (Something you pay for though, because bookstagram influencers deserve payment for their hard work.)
Instagram is a powerful tool. And booking bookstagram tours is a great way to increase your book’s visibility, while leveraging the audiences of influencers, and getting traction for your book and your author profile. Make friends, learn the ways of the community, and don’t be afraid to reach out. Go from there, and in time, book your first bookstagram tour. I can’t promise what results you’ll get. But trust me, you’ll definitely increase your book’s visibility.
Stephanie BwaBwa is a Jesus-centered, YA Fantasy Author and Entrepreneur, the creator of fantasy world: Elledelle, and co-host of the Indie Author Lifestyle Show, who’s enjoying building a legacy through the lens of story. You can usually catch her going for a walk through a park, or simply binging Disney+ with too many snacks. Get in contact with Stephanie directly at: stephaniebwabwa.com.