11 Unique Instagram Mistakes to Avoid as an Indie Author + What to Do Instead

11 Unique Instagram Mistakes to Avoid as an Indie Author + What to Do Instead

We are back at it again with the infamous platform called Instagram. Time and time again experts tell us what we should be doing to grow our account and engage our followers but what about the Instagram mistakes that we avoidable make at times?

I did a lot of research on this topic and surprisingly to me, I found countless Instagram mistakes to avoid as an Instagram user in general. But since we are indie writers there are quite a few we need to avoid if we want to grow our Instagram.

This is quite a long list so to really get the most out of this article here’s what you can do.

  1. Grab a pen and paper
  2. Pour yourself some happy liquid
  3. Get rid of all distractions

Let’s get into this and really get our Instagram account growing. This is Mistakes to Avoid – Everything Instagram

instagram mistake

Instagram Mistake #1 – Incomplete Bio

As indie writers filling out everything in your profile down to the link is super essential for Instagram engagement. When your target audience shows interest in your content and they visit your profile, it should stand out and immediately tell them who are and what you’re about or what you write.


  1. Add a profile picture that is clear, high quality, and of you. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a picture of you. Your readers need to place a face to your name.
  2. Add your name or author’s name in your bio and if possible make it your username as well or close to it. This allows your readers to find you easier and also refer you to others.
  3. Use the rest of the bio to tell us about yourself, your likes, what genre you write in, and so forth. You can hashtags to make your profile searchable.
  4. Add a link in the add your link section. You may be a new writer and you don’t have an author website, then add your fb page or group, or add your youtube channel.

Instagram Mistake #2 – Private Accounts

So as Monique would say, you want to sell books eventually right? So why are you hiding from the potential money that wants to come your way? In other words, why is the author’s Instagram private?

I get it that you like your privacy but you are in control of what is released onto the account. So just don’t post your intimate moments that you don’t want people to know about. By having your account private your target audience will not be able to follow you.

And frankly, if I want to follow someone and their account tells me I have to request to follow them, I’m most likely not going to bother. At the moment I want to see what you’re about, not wait until you’re ready to show me.


Make your account a business or professional account. In that way, you will also receive the option to check your insights which comes in very handy in increasing Instagram engagement.

Instagram Mistake #3 – Inconsistency

The number one mistake all Instagram users make and have made sometime in their life. Even I myself I’m very guilty of this. But posting consistently is the best way to grow your account.

Inconsistency causes serious repercussions. For one thing, you lose about 30% of your users who see your post that you most likely never get back. And secondly, Instagram and its users would think you are not serious or trustworthy.

This means they would not show your photos in front of your audience as you would like and if you lose trust from your target audience then you would not get sales, engagement, or so on.


Plan ahead and schedule your content using Instagram scheduling tools. Apps like Planloly allows you to see what your feed would look like for those who like an aesthetically pleasing feed. And then there is Tailwind which allows you to schedule your content many months in advance.

Instagram Mistake #4 – Broad Hashtags

We talked all about hashtags in this article and why it’s important to use relevant hashtags to explode your Instagram engagement. Broad hashtags can be called popular hashtags where there are tens of thousands, even millions of posts.

As indie writers, our Instagram accounts are fairly small as we are starting up. We may think if we use popular hashtags we will grow faster but that is far from the truth. The broader the hashtag the less engagement you will receive.

Hashtags such #writer which has 24.4 million posts at the time of this article being written or #writingcommunity which has 9 million posts will do little or nothing for your account. As fast as you post a picture with that hashtag in that same speed tons of other photos with the same hashtag will be posted and you will be lost.


  1. Use niche-specific hashtags. For instance, if you are a black writer who is looking to be self-published then something like #blackindiewriter would be better suited.
  2. Use relevant hashtags. Only what is in the picture should you be tagging about.

Instagram Mistake #5 – Duplicated Photos

I am so guilty of this because I am obsessed with my aesthetics and if I want to change it, I will repost the same photos to fit in with the current aesthetic. So I will take this advice.

The reason why we should not continually post the same photos is that our target audience is going to get tired of us and they are probably going to wonder if we have no new content. Eventually, we shall lose followers.


Instagram Mistake #6 – Lack of Engagement

Engagement. What really is engagement? I remember one person told me that they were liking a bunch of photos and they thought they were being very engaging. But I asked them, how would feel if someone simply liked your photo? Would you not prefer them to leave a well-meaningful comment?

They got the point. Engagement is not just liking a photo. It goes deeper than that. It starts with you the individual, actually actively seeking out your target audience and showing genuine interest in other accounts.


  1. Before you post to your feed comment on other accounts with five or more words and add emojis.
  2. When you post to your account add the post to your stories.
  3. Spend the next half hour to hour commenting on other posts and interacting with persons especially those who use the same hashtags that you used in your latest post.

Instagram Mistake #7 – No Call to Action (CTA)

This is something all indie authors need to do when they are posting their images. A call to action is when you add a question or suggestion at the end of your captions prompting your readers to take action or doing something.

This increases engagement because now your audience is inclined to answer your question or to give their opinion or to agree to something by leaving an emoji. It further increases engagement because now those who leave comments will like and reply to other person comments.


At the end of every caption whether long-form or short ones add a question or ask your readers to give you their opinion. Encourage each person to interact with the other.

Instagram Mistake #8 – No Watermark

Watermarks have a two-fold purpose. 1) To prevent your work from being stolen. 2) It helps with the growth of your account.

No one wants their work stolen. No one likes to have their work stolen. By watermarking your pieces you can prevent persons from stealing your content, most of the time. There is always the one person who doesn’t care and they will steal it anyway.

Watermarking also helps with growth. When you put out your content there and persons share your content, once you have that watermark on your pieces, other Instagram users would know where the original piece came from.


When you create new pieces of content add your name or logo to the piece. If you don’t want to mess up with your aesthetics then hide the watermark in the picture which is visible to you but hardly visible to other persons.

That way if your content is stolen you would be able to report it and identify it as yours.

Instagram Mistake #9 – No Story Captions

A huge mistake persons make when posting stories to their profile. On Instagram stories, everything is automatically muted and so a person will have to unmute your story in order to hear it.

By adding a caption to the storytelling us what exactly you are saying and what your story about helps persons to get the point of the story.


Add the main point of what is being said to your story captions to grab the attention of your viewers.

Instagram Mistake #10 – Not Tagging when Resharing Photos

So this one I recognize personally happens to me a lot. I get a lot of persons resharing my content onto their stories but I never get the notification. That is because if you simply click the airplane button and share it, it will show my username but I wouldn’t know if that you did that.

If you are looking for a shoutout or would like me to share the content that you posted, I would not be able too, because I didn’t know you shared it. And then I wouldn’t be able to give thanks.


Whenever you share content with your stories always tag the persons who the content belongs to. This notifies them that someone shared their content and they would be able to give you a big thank you and even share something you have.

Instagram Mistake #11 – Not Leveraging Highlights

Your stories last only 24 hours and then it disappears. And so if you give free training on those stories only those who have seen it in the first 24 hours can really benefit from it. As indie writers, we want persons who will find our account, later on, to benefit from whatever we post in our stories.

Thus Instagram made highlights. This feature allows you to save your stories for more than 24 hours so others can see it and truly benefit.


When you create dynamic content in your stories that is helpful to persons who are not even following you are account as yet, please save it to your highlights. A simple click in the heart icon when the story is posted and select which highlight you would like to save it to.


Instagram has a lot of features that help us as indie authors to expand our reach and truly grow our Instagram following. We need to take advantage and really maximize our time when we show up on the platform.

Every time we are poised to post a picture on the platform why not take a brief look over this list to make sure you are not making any of these mistakes.

Avoiding these Instagram mistakes will surely help you to grow your account and boost your following. As was mentioned earlier, using hashtags that are specific is truly important which is why you can grab your personal copy of Hashtags for Authors right here.

Can’t think up captions on the spot, why not plan for them by using this perfect caption strategy that has your following coming back for more. By the way, here is my Instagram account. Come across and say hi!

Is this article something you would share with your friends? Then leave a comment below and let me know if you really enjoyed this content. And while you’re at it, why not click the share button at the side of your screen? I promise you’ll bring nothing but smiles to someone’s face.



Book blogger and indie author with a passion for sewing, thinking thoughts about writing with playing with my little baby, Sponk.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Mijia Eggers

    My instagram account is sleeping now. I might try to use these strategies to relaunch my account.

    1. Nicole

      Yes Mijia I hope you get your account awakened and start your Instagram rolling again.

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