Instagram’s sort of my thing. I love it in a way I never managed to love Facebook or Twitter. But, I’ll be honest. I was a little resentful that just as I was starting to wrap my head around how to use Instagram, they came along with this pesky thing called Stories.

What are Stories?

If you’re new to Instagram, stories are what you see if you click on those circles of the people you follow at the top of your Instagram app. Different from that person’s regular grid posts in both size (Stories are vertical, regular posts are generally square), and longetivy. Stories are viewable by your followers for just 24 hour hours, whereas regular posts last forever, or until you delete them.

So, how do you know what to post to your regular feed, and what to post to your stories?

Good question.

Just kidding. I mean, for real, I’m still sort of playing around with my strategy, but I will say that I’ve changed my tune on Stories! They’re fun!

I’ve talked a lot about how a visually appealing Instagram grid aesthetic is super important, but it can also be limiting. You’ve got to make sure every photo looks just right next to the one before it, you want all the colors to play nicely together, you want to make sure you’re not repetitive, etc.

Stories are a way to be spontaneous, because you don’t have to worry about having the perfect photo, or being perfectly on brand. It’ll be gone in a day anyway!

If you’re a writer looking to experiment with stories for the first time (or just want to start posting something other than photos of your lunch), here are ten suggestions for how authors can use Stories.

5 Instagram Story Ideas for Authors

  1. Show a snippet from your work in progress; either copy/paste a couple sentences into the Story’s text, or a screenshot of a page from your manuscript and share the photo.

  2. Behind-the-scenes. Take a picture of your writing space, your writing soundtrack, a photo of your preferred writing app, etc.

  3. A countdown to your upcoming release (or cover reveal) using Instagram Stories’ built-in countdown feature.

  4. Book Trivia. Instagram stories are a great way to share tidbits about your backlist—a photo of the actress who inspired your heroine, the song you listened to while writing a certain scene, the hardest part of the book to write, and so on…

  5. Q&A. Use the “Questions” feature in Stories and invite readers to ask you anything! It’s a great way to engage and learn what readers are interested in.

5 Instagram Story Ideas for Authors