Tuesday 13 October 2015

How Can Writers Use their Photos on Social Media?

RHS Garden Wisley

As a writer, it's worth taking photos wherever you go, on your phone and camera; and you can use them again and again: on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, with your blog posts; as well as for profile headers. Social media has become more visual, so you're likely to receive more engagement when using them. I've used the one below, taken in July with my iPhone when visiting Venice, on Instagram and Twitter at the time, then for a blog post, and more recently for neetswriter Twitter and Facebook profile headers. My work in progress is set in Venice in the eighteenth century, so this fits nicely with my 'brand'.

I snap away on days out to country houses, museums, art galleries, on scenic walks, when travelling; and when baking, although sometimes it can be tricky to make food look good in a photo. Writerly events, book launches and writers' conferences also provide good photo opportunities.

This summer I went to Italy by car with my family and took loads of photos en route, and whilst there, posting on Instagram daily. Here's my neetswriter blog post on the trip: A Grand Tour, a Deadline, and a Course 


Instagram recently turned five years old, and you can find me here. I've been on Instagram for a few years, and although I'm not there every day, I go through phases where I use it a lot.


A wide range of filters can be used to adjust photos.

Useful if you have a writing deadline or something else going on in your life, but want to stay visible on social media. It's quick, and there isn't much interaction after you've posted the photo (unlike on Twitter and Facebook). 

Lots of readers, book bloggers, publishers and agents hang out there.

Liking photos on Instagram is a way to say thank you to those who support you on other forms of social media, for example to someone who doesn't blog, but who supports yours.

You can post graphics for your books, especially when they're on offer.

Photos can be shared to Facebook easily, and you can set up Instagram so photos automatically appear on your Facebook timeline, if you wish to. You'll also need to go into Facebook and set up the Instagram app.

Instagram is: 'Generating Higher Engagement than Facebook, and Growing Fast' according to Social Media Today. 


If you share an Instagram photo to Twitter, the photo isn't displayed in the Tweet. I tend to post photos directly to Twitter instead (or as well as on Instagram), as they receive more engagement on Twitter this way.

If you add a link to a photo on Instagram, it isn't clickable. For example, if you upload a photo and link to your blog post, someone would need to copy and paste that link into a search engine. The best way around this (and a method often used) is to add text to say 'link in bio' (if the link is in your bio, of course!).

Instagram works best with phones, and is intended to be immediate, ie. posted while you're there. Most country houses I visit don't have 3G phone reception or WiFi, so sometimes I post photos from these places afterwards.

Not all of those Facebook Friends and Twitter followers you've built up have joined yet, so your reach is limited (unless you share photos to Facebook, sharing to Twitter doesn't do much-see above). 

How do writers use Instagram?

To post photos of what inspires them, their TBR piles and their writing.
To interact with other writers, readers, book bloggers, agents, publishers.
To find readers by using hashtags, or by searching for them.
To promote their books.
To post directly from events such as book launches, writing confs etc
Selfies, a little, but not so much, although I did take this one by mistake when standing in front of a mirror at National Trust property, Polesden Lacey:

How I use Instagram

Follow those who I know already on other social media, and those who post photos and videos of Italy, and of country houses.

Mainly by posting photos on days out, of TBR piles, of research books, and on holidays; also sometimes of flowers and cakes (when I get around to making them).

Taking Instagram to the next level:

By linking to Periscope videos:

See Colosseum sunset by Darius Ayra @saverome

By posting hyperlapse videos: 

I love this one of a carousel in Florence by Georgette Jupe @girlinflorence

By posting photos which are a bit different, using filters creatively:

This is one of my favourite Instagram accounts by Nicolee Drake @cucinadigitale, who posts wonderful photos from Italy.

Instagram hashtags:


You can find me on Pinterest here.

Pinterest is another way to connect with readers. You can have boards for whatever you like, connecting into your brand again. I have boards for Italy and for each of my novels. I also have a secret board for my work in progress with links to research (a handy way to keep track of them), which I'll share when the book is ready. 

Boards linked to novels can be useful for finding inspiration: if I need to picture the green dress my main character is wearing, I find a photo online, and link to it in Pinterest.

Photos on Pinterest can be liked and shared, or 'repinned'. They can also be shared to Facebook, but I don't see much of this. I follow many eighteenth century boards which helps me to escape into that world when I'm working on my WIP.

You might see the 'Pin it' button when you read blog posts and articles. For example, if you hover your mouse over the top photo in this post, you'll see the option, which enables you to share this blog post with that photo to one of your boards on Pinterest.

Like with Instagram, reach on Pinterest is limited because not everyone seems to be there yet. I have 250 followers on Pinterest, compared to much bigger numbers on Twitter and Facebook (as mentioned above).

This brilliant, informative post by Jay Artale, via Indie Recon (April 2015) tells you everything you need to know about Pinterest as a writer/author: Building Your Brand with Pins and Boards 

When joining Instagram and Pinterest, it's worth using the same profile photo and bio from Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts so your Friends and followers know it's you.

Don't forget to add Instagram and Pinterest buttons to your blog

You can also add a lovely widget for Pinterest (see above) using Widget builder


A few more useful posts about Instagram, and one on Pinterest too:

Instagram Upgrades Direct Messaging Functionality with New Features, by Social Media Today

Instagram Ad Rollout will Make it the Top Media Buy: New Research, by Social Media Examiner

5 Years Later, The Most Surprising Part About Instagram is that No One's Ruined it, by Fast Company

Added 25 February 2016: Pinterest for Authors: A Beginner's Guide by Kirsten Oliphant, via Jane Friedman

I post links to articles like these on Twitter from my @neetsmarketing account, and on my neetsmarketing Facebook Page.

Course attendees!

Social Media Course for Writers

In other news, I recently ran a Social Media Course for Writers at The Mandolay Hotel in Guildford, where the staff went to great trouble to ensure the day ran smoothly (my feedback here on their Facebook Page). A lovely group of writers attended, and there are quotes from attendees on my website here. A possible course is planned in London, spring 2016, subject to demand. If you'd like to receive email notifications about future courses, you can contact me here.

Lorna Fergusson, Carol McGrath, and me

A few weeks ago, I went to a committee meeting as Publicity Officer for the next Historical Novel Society Conference (2-4 Sept 2016), which took place at the venue, the Mathematical Institute, Oxford University; and we had a lovely lunch afterwards. Keynote speakers at the conference are Melvyn Bragg, Fay Weldon, Tracy Chevalier and Kate Williams. Elizabeth Chadwick is a guest of honour, and Jo Baker is a special guest. The website went live this week (with lots more info on other speakers too), and booking is open! And here's the paragraph I wrote for the website. You can follow the Historical Novel Society on Twitter @histnovsoc (conference hashtag #HNSOxford16) and Facebook; plus videos from the conference in 2014 are here, and my neetswriter blog post from that conference is here.

And look at this wonderful photo taken by Lorna Fergusson on the day of our committee meeting, at the venue.

The Mathematical Institute, Oxford (used with kind permission of Lorna Fergusson)
There are more photos here, shared via the Historical Novel Society Facebook Page

Upcoming guest post:

On 6 November, I'm excited to tell you that bestselling author of medieval thrillers, E.M. Powell will be a guest on this blog with a post on Triberr.

Previous Posts:

Liz Fenwick on Using Twitter to Connect with Readers
Managing What Your Friends See on Facebook

Latest Post on neetswriter blog:

Lisa Eveleigh on What Agents Look For

Friday 2 October 2015

Liz Fenwick on Using Twitter to Connect with Readers!

Award-winning author, Liz Fenwick is my guest today, and she has kindly accepted my invitation to give an insight into how she uses Twitter to connect with her readers. Liz has written four novels set in Cornwall, with Under a Cornish Sky published earlier this year. I sent Liz photographs of a selection of her Tweets, and retweets and she returned them to me (despite being in the middle of a relocation!), with a few words to go with each one; and a paragraph explaining how her relationship with Cornwall influences her Tweets. I've been following Liz since I joined Twitter in October 2011, and she really does know how to use it with success.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this, Liz, and over to you...

Liz Fenwick on Using Twitter to Connect with Readers

I am a newcomer to the Poldark series and have a serious crush on Mr Turner so I pay attention to Poldark tweets…I found this review really interesting….

How to make tweets different on blog tour…you don’t want to shout ‘buy my book’ so I try and think of other ways to engage with people.

It’s so important to support the book bloggers who have taken time and effort to read, review and; promote your book/s…

 The poem said what I feel…

I’m so visual and this picture was gorgeous

I love hearing how others describe something I love…words can transport you to where you want to be… 

If you are invited to participate in an event, a key part of that is promotion…it helps the event organiser and it helps you find new readers… PS it also helps to promote events that you might be interested in attending as it helps organisers and may build relationships

Here’s an example of what I mentioned above…I wanted to attend!

BREAKING NEWS! Eleanor Tomlinson who plays Demelza in Poldark will be joining the panel for 'The Making of Poldark' on...
Posted by Falmouth Bookseller on Thursday, 10 September 2015

Did I mention I have a thing about Mr Turner?

I was so pleased by this list…one to be on it, but two because Helen had read the blog posts I’d done with writers listing their favourite books set in Cornwall. 

Liz on Twitter, and Cornwall:

I love Twitter so that makes using it easy. It's great to ‘chat’ to people when I’m taking a break from writing. Twitter is something I do for me, but it has proved it be powerful in spreading name and brand recognition. I wish I could say it was planned but it was more organic than that. My ‘author brand’ is Cornwall. Fortunately I love Cornwall and therefore follow many tweeps who tweet nothing but Cornish content…which I gobble up. I’m also very visual so if there is a picture even better.

When I set out to write my books, I didn’t understand the pull of Cornwall for so many people in the UK. I just loved it and my stories were born of this passion. Happily for me it works really well. I can tweet about what I love and occasionally throw in a tweet about my books. But every tweet about Cornwall is on brand so it all works.

Thank you so much Liz for that insight into your Tweets, and for the explanation of how you use Twitter to connect with your readers. And what a bonus that Poldark dropped in to brighten up our Friday morning ;-).

You can find out more about Liz here, and her latest novel, Under a Cornish Sky below, with links to her website and social media accounts.


Writer, ex-pat expert, wife, mother of three, and dreamer turned doer....

Award winning author of The Cornish House, A Cornish Affair, A Cornish Stranger and Under A Cornish Sky. After nine international moves, I'm a bit of a global nomad. It's no wonder my heart remains in Cornwall while I'm forever on a plane. I can be found tweeting from 36,000 feet or enjoying the sunshine in Dubai while wrangling with my cat and my current book… The Returning Tide due out in spring 2016.

Demi desperately needs her luck to change. On the sleeper train down to Cornwall, she can't help wondering why everything always goes wrong for her. Having missed out on her dream job, and left with nowhere to stay following her boyfriend's betrayal, pitching up at her grandfather's cottage is her only option.

Victoria thinks she's finally got what she wanted: Boscawen, the gorgeous Cornish estate her family owned for generations should now rightfully be hers, following her husband's sudden death. After years of a loveless marriage and many secret affairs of her own, Victoria thinks new widowhood will suit her very well indeed . . .

But both women are in for a surprise. Surrounded by orchards, gardens and the sea, Boscawen is about to play an unexpected role in both their lives. Can two such different women find a way forward when luck changes both their lives so drastically?

Website and Social Media Accounts: