Instagram Stories for authors: How to create and use them

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I’m intimidated by Instagram Stories.

Whenever I create one on my phone for my personal or Build Book Buzz Instagram account, I spend too much time playing around with options and figuring out which ones might work best.

When the Young People do it, they create something interesting and engaging in just a few minutes. Me? At least 15 minutes. At. Least.

So, with the goal of getting better at this, I went looking for how-to information. I found videos, guides, templates, tools, and author examples.

If they help me, they might help you, right? So here are links to the information I found that was most helpful to me. I hope some of it helps you, too.

How-to articles

If you like to learn by reading step-by-step instructions, you’ll appreciate these articles.

Instagram Stories: What They Are and How to Make One Like a Pro

HubSpot is one of my go-to sites for marketing information, and the company didn’t disappoint with this step-by-step tutorial. It’s written for a business audience, but don’t let that stop you. Authorship is a business, so this is a good fit for you.

Within the article, Hubspot links to Instagram Story templates you can download after completing the opt-in form. I’ve included that information below, in the “tools” section of this article.

How to create an Instagram Story

Mashable’s instructions are geared to personal, rather than business, Instagram accounts, but the information still applies. If you have two Instagram accounts – personal and author – it’s best to practice with your personal account, anyway.

Instagram Stories 101: Our Guide to Stickers, Effects, Key Settings and More

Don’t let the “Making an Insta Story is a lot like Snapchat” subhead in this CNET article scare you off (because, really, are you a big Snapchat user?). There are some good details in this one.

How-to videos

I usually prefer to learn how to do something by reading an article or a book, but in this case, I get more from video. It helps me to see cause and effect in quasi-real time.

How to Make Instagram Stories – Tips & Tricks

This Techboomers video is broken into two parts. One is for novices, the other is for more experienced Story creators. At the start of the video, the instructor tells you where on the timeline you’ll find advanced instructions for adding more bells and whistles to your Stories.

I like that this one shows the process without a distracting human on screen.

How to Easily Create Attractive Instagram Stories

Speaking of distracting humans, that’s what you’ll find on this video from Social Media Examiner, another excellent source of marketing information.

Instagram Stories 2

While I found the presenter’s effervescence a bit overwhelming, she does a great job of walking us through this in a way that’s clear and understandable. And I love the time-saving and mistake-preventing tips in her instruction.

Be sure to watch this one if videos help you.


I love any tool that takes me through a process that’s new or intimidating to me. I found a couple that I think you’ll like as much as I do.


VistaCreate offers a “point-and-click” design tool. The best news (for me, anyway), is that you can use it on a computer, not just a phone. That’s music to my boomer ears.

Create a free account, then get started. The site walks you through the process step-by-step, starting with selecting a template from its collection. This is the first tool I’m going to use for Build Book Buzz.

Canva’s Instagram Story Creator

If you already use Canva, you know that it starts with a template. In addition to linking to templates, this Canva link gives you an overview of all the options you can use to create Stories there .

I like using Canva, so after I’ve created a few with VistaCreate, I’m going to try Canva, too.

Instagram Stories for authorsInstagram for Business Kit

I’ve downloaded several free templates for different types of content from Hubspot before, so I wasn’t surprised to see the company offers them for Instagram Stories, too.

It has partnered with Talkwalker (I use its version of Google Alerts) to create an “Instagram for Business Kit” mentioned above. When you download that, the system takes you to another page where you can also download eight Instagram Stories templates and 14 post templates.

Author examples and ideas

How Authors Use Instagram Stories to Connect with Readers

BookBub lists 16 Story content ideas with examples of each. Ideas include sharing sneak peeks of an upcoming book and asking for reader opinions.

I also recommend subscribing to the BookBub Partners Blog (partners = authors). You’ll receive an email every time there’s a new article.

Instagram Stories for Writers

In addition to sharing visual examples, writer Susan Shiney links to the Instagram accounts of several author Instagram accounts that she admires.

100 Instagram Story Ideas for Authors

Self-publishing services provider Shayla Raquel lists 100 ideas broken down into nine categories. Bookmark this link and you’ll never be at a loss for ideas.

My commitment

In order to get better at creating Instagram Stories, I need to create more of them.

So, I’m committing today to creating at least one Story a week for my Build Book Buzz account. I’ll create some from my phone and I’ll use some of the tools listed here, too.

Want to join me? 

If you want to join me, drop a link to your author account in the comments so I can follow you. Tell us what you’ll commit to.

Like what you’re reading? Get it delivered to your inbox every week by subscribing to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter. You’ll also get my free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” cheat sheet immediately!


  1. Thanks for sharing all these valuable resources! Lots of new tools to try. I have heard that there is an appetite for content on divorce and domestic violence on Instagram but, like you, I dislike doing these things from my phone. I also commit to creating Instagram stories! You may follow me at DivorceDilemma.

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