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Instagram Princess

​​​23rd August 2020

It's Sunday morning and I am at the kitchen table with my new hat on.  I am not just a writer now, but also a publisher and, in reality, a business entrepreneur.  Still, it’s good to know that I can continue to work in my pyjamas!  So, as a fledgling publisher, these are my tips so far:

  1. Type into Word Document first. This means that your spelling mistakes will be corrected!

  2. Ask for help!

So, having asked my friend, Jackie, for marketing advice, I turned to my teenage daughter for help with social media.

I am, generally, quite a private person.  I rarely engage with Facebook or Instagram.  For my Writer persona, this is not really a problem, as a writer needs to retreat and create.  For my new Publisher persona, who needs to sell the books, this isn’t going to work.

So here’s the thing, while I am sociable and I do share news and information, my family life is not something for public consumption.  This boundary was firmly established by my eldest  when she was 7 years old.  I was interviewed on Radio Cumbria, and, being a proud mummy, I suggested she listen to the live broadcast.  When I got home, (expecting, frankly, ecstatic adulation) I was met with her stern face and the simple instruction: “Don’t talk about me again!”  In my defence, I had simply mentioned having two daughters, I’m not even sure I named her, but the point was made.  Her life, her privacy.

So, to be clear, I have sought her permission before publishing this post.  Jemima is now 19, and I have never posted a photograph of her or her sister on Facebook or Instagram.  I am allowed to mention that I have two daughters, both adopted and how old they are, but I am not allowed to include any details about them in my anecdotes and promotional material, unless I clear it with them first.  I think this is entirely reasonable.

So, I am allowed to tell you that Jemima is a whizz on Instagram.

Yesterday I showed her my Instagram campaign plan.  To date, I have about 150 followers.  For about a year I have been sporadically posting photographs from my daily life – the local landscape, books I’m enjoying, events I attended.  I have also been liking other people’s posts and following people.  Now I need a strategy, because Once Upon A Place will be launched on Amazon in 9 days time and I need to create a bit of a stir. 

As the book is set on the sands of Morecambe Bay and celebrates the magic and danger of that landscape, I have decided to use my photographs of the bay and key quotes from the book, to offer potential readers a taster.  I was going to launch a 10 day countdown, but immediately panicked in case something went wrong and we couldn’t launch on that day.  (The book is still being formatted as I type and I am waiting for a review quote for the cover.)  I have decided to continue with my planned posts, but I won’t begin the countdown until 3 days before, when I can guarantee the book is ready to go. 

Jemima showed me how to save my photographs and how to boost my post.  She recommended I pay for Instagram to help boost my promotiona as my own following is, to put it bluntly, pathetic in comparison to Jemima’s 7000 followers.  I selected location as a category and chose a 30 mile radius, which effectively takes in the entire bay and her surrounding communities.  I am choosing to promote to people who live around the bay and may share my love of this landscape and be drawn to the book.  I have paid £7.50 to promote my first post over the next 3 days, and will promote another in a few days time.  On the day of publication I will pay for a week long boost.

So I am now a little more Instagram savvy. 

My daily Publisher routine now involves:

  • Blog update.

  • Instagram post.

  • Building a library of images for future Instagram posts.


I am not currently writing.  There is too much Publisher training right now, but I have two more novels at Proof Edit stage which I can return to very soon.  One more Digital First initiative I will manage and one for the traditional publisher route.  Once this book is launched, I will need to get back to my creative headspace, but I will also need to keep my Publisher persona operating.  How those two function alongside one another, on a day to day basis, will be the next learning curve. 

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