Forge Your Writing Career Online

Carrie Bagley

The internet has opened the door for creators and artists to create their own paths. No longer do writers have to rely on large publishing houses to share their work with the world. Today, you can create an Instagram account in five minutes and start building a career with your first post. However, while posting on the app is easy—mastering it is difficult.

I launched my own poetry focused Instagram in June 2019 simply as a creative outlet. I didn’t think about posting strategies, brand recognition, or monetizing it, I just wanted a place to share the poetry that had filled up my notebooks for years. Now 12,000 followers and a deactivated account later, I’ve learned a thing or two about Instagram as a marketing platform.

I recently sat down with self-published writer and poet Yumi Redifer to discuss how both of us have utilized Instagram in our marketing strategy and what we’ve learned about maximizing the platform.

Why do you utilize Instagram in your marketing strategy?

Yumi: I chose Instagram because it’s the main platform my target audience uses, with my target audience being women 15-40. It has more active users than other platforms, like Facebook, so I knew it was a good tool to master. Finally, Instagram is photo heavy, so it works with my style because photography is a big part of my poetry books. It’s a platform I connected with as a millennial and felt comfortable pursuing.

Carrie: I started using Canva (an online graphic design tool) for my full-time job and I realized I could easily create graphics featuring my poetry for Instagram. As I knew Instagram was the best photo sharing app, it seemed like the natural choice to convert my personal account into a poetry portfolio account. I did try to also post on Facebook or Twitter in the beginning but found it was better to put all my effort into one social media site and really make it shine instead of lesser effort among three.

What advice do you have for a new writer on Instagram?

Yumi: Keep posting even if you don’t have a lot of followers or don’t get a lot of likes. Continuing
to post allows people to know you’re very passionate about your work and that you believe in
your voice. Also, Instagram allows you to boost posts, whether you want more profile
interactions, followers, or link clicks. This can help you get a popular post in front of more
people. Finally, you don’t need to post every day! Two to three times a week is effective.

Carrie: In addition to everything Yumi said, don’t be afraid to explore other forms of media like
video! My account really started gaining followers after I started posting reels (short 15-30
second videos, basically Instagram’s response to TikTok). Some of my reels featured my poetry
with music, others were funny skits about different problems writers face (one of my best
performing reels was about a writer sitting down to write three chapters and watching Netflix
instead) or travel montages when I did travel somewhere. As a writer on Instagram, you don’t
have to stay in the “writer” box and post nothing but poetry. Feel open to exploring different
kinds of content and having fun! Also, Instagram allows graphics up to 1080×1350 pixels. Since
most users post graphics that are 1080×1080 pixels, taking the extra space on the feed can help
your content get noticed.

Any final advice either about self-publishing, Instagram, or about writing?

Yumi: Research different options and multiple avenues. There are many ways to self publish
now, and even though they’re similar, they’re also very different. Talk to other writers who have
self published and ask them questions and their opinions. Read books that have been self
published to see if it’s something you could pursue. I knew for myself that it would be a path
worth exploring. I had already written all of the content; all I had to do was take all of the
photography and edit the photos. Creating my own imagery to go with my poetry helped inspire
me further to create and do more art. It helped my motivation for other artwork that I currently
pursue besides writing. No matter what path or avenue you decide on, just don’t give up. Keep
trying over and over because your dreams will speak to people, and they will recognize your
drive and talent. People will see and hear you when the fire you carry inside of you lights up in
your eyes.

Carrie: Instagram is supposed to be fun. If it isn’t fun anymore, don’t be afraid to take a break.
Instagram has the ability to deactivate your account, so it basically freezes you where you are,
and you can reactivate it at any time just by logging in. Earlier this year I desperately needed a
break because I was tapped out creatively and simply did not like what I was writing anymore.
Deactivating my Instagram let me reevaluate my writing and reset my creativity. It’s absolutely
wonderful when people enjoy your content, but don’t be afraid to take breaks when you need

A big thank you Yumi for sharing her best advice for success! I hope these tips help you create
your own Instagram portfolio with confidence. Remember, your voice is always needed because
no one else has your perspective.

To see more of Yumi’s poetry, you can follow her on Instagram @yumithecreationist. To see
more of my poetry, you can follow my Instagram (when it’s reactivated) @carriebwriting.

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