by Kim Vermaak
Why should writers use hashtags? Good question.
Before I started marketing my books, I thought hashtags were a cute form of slang that the current generation was using. Plus, I could not understand why there were no spaces between the words. It just seems like bad editing. I was happy to leave the whole Hashtag movement to others until I did a social media course and realised that it was a genuine marketing technique. Oh boy, here is just another new thing that I have to learn. Why can’t things just be simple?
If you are like me in my early days and you find yourself feeling a bit ignorant and overwhelmed, here is the insider scoop on what hashtags and how writers can use hashtags.
What are Hashtags?
Hashtags are a way to categorise your social media content. I think of them as street signs. This way to the mall… This way to the conference centre. Hashtags make your content easily discoverable by others.
There are many millions of users of the major social platforms. In most cases, your content gets lost amongst all the posts. The algorithms underpinning the social networks manage the content we see, which means a lot of it gets overlooked. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend all this time creating posts and then no one sees them.
When you add a hashtag to a social media post, you are erecting a sign post that allows readers to find you more easily.
How can you use Hashtags for Authors?
Share your process
What are you working on? Come up with a hashtag to categorise your post.
For example: If you are busy editing your book, add a selfie of you writing your book and then add a #editing. But don’t just stick to that one hashtag.
Instagram allows a maximum of 30x hashtags on each feed post, some social media experts recommended between 3 to 5 hashtags per post. For a new user, a smaller amount makes it seem less daunting, but try to do at list 5. Make them relevant to what you are posting about. For example #epicfantasy or #writergoal or #scififan
Start a Conversation
Your social media presence greatly improves when you engage with other users. You can use hashtags to find where your types of readers are hanging out on social media. Is there a trending topic in your genre or in the writing community? When you find popular hashtags related to conversations about those topics, you can begin to participate in them. For example, the type of fans that like my books also like Game of Thrones. A popular Hashtag is #gameofthronescast By typing this into Instagram, I found a number of fan pages and I know that some of these fans may enjoy my books. When you know what kinds of topics your fans are interested in, you can start engaging with them.
Join an event
Many events in the writer community have hashtags to go alongside them. Many of your members of our writing communities participate in Nanowrimo every year. It has its own hashtag. When you use hashtags as an author, become part of a community and you can see what others in the challenge are up to.
Many fans follow specific hashtags. The algorithms present them, with a feed with relevant posts. By applying relevant and popular hashtags, you can connect with people that are interested in the same areas of writing as you are.
Where can you use Hashtags for Writers?
You can use Hashtags on
What are banned Hashtags for Writers?
Every few months there is a list of banned hashtags. Banned hashtags are hashtags that Instagram users report because the posts using them go against Instagram’s guidelines. This means that any post that uses that hashtag will be hidden. If you are using them, it will hurt your growth goals.
Banned hashtags change, based on community reports and Instagram’s investigations. Sadly Instagram does not publish a list of the currently banned hashtags, but you can google banned Hashtags and find a list. Sometimes the banned hashtags make no sense at all, but that is usually because some dark individual has posted something sinister and attached a seemingly innocent hashtag to it.
At the time of this article, I noticed some of the following banned hashtags that some authors may use for their romance novel. The #teens is a sad one for authors who write in the Teen and Young Adult genres. However there are adaptations you can use. For example, instead of using #teens, use #teennovels
#kissing #ravens #stranger #teens #valentinesday are all banned hastags. There are very large lists of banned hastags, many of which I do not want to share in this article, but they are important for you to know about to protect your social media accounts.
If you use too many of the banned hashtags, Instagram could flag your account, which could eventually lead to a “shadowban” or even your account being removed. It is a good idea to check them first to make sure you aren’t using a banned Instagram hashtag.
What are some Hashtags you can use as a writer?
An article on Why should writers use hashtags would not be complete without giving you some examples.
This is a rough list of hashtags that you can use. But remember to check them against the current banned lists before adding them to your posts. I also recommend that you find some genre specific hashtags to help fans find you. I have kept the lists limited to a maximum of ten, so that you don’t get overwhelmed. Choose 3 to 5 per post and test which ones produce the best results for you.
Best Hashtags for Children’s Books
Best Hashtags for Crime Writers
Best Hashtags for Fantasy Writers
Best Hashtags for Horror Writers
Best Hashtags for Religious Books
- #religion #ebooks
Best Hashtags for Romance Writers
Best Hashtags for Sci-fi Writers
- #sciencefiction #scifi
Best Hashtags for Self Help Writers
- #selfhelp #selfhelpbook
Best Hashtags for Therapy Book Writers
Some General Writer’s Hashtags for you to copy and paste
Besides the genre specific hashtags, many writers use some writer’s hashtags to add to their genre specific hashtags. Many readers read multiple genres, so you may find some new fans using these hashtags:
#writer #writersofinstagram #writers community #singersongwriter #writers #igwriters #writerslife #instawriters #writersnetwork #writersblock #instawriter #writerlife #writerscorner #writersofinsta #writercommunity #writersoninstagram #poetsandwriters #writersociety #kindleunlimitedbooks #newbookrelease #freereads
Use Personal Brand Hashtags
You may only have one book at the moment or you may have many, but somewhere out there, someone is recommending you as an author or the title of your book. When you add your author name and your book titles to your posts, it makes it easier to find you. Consider hashtags as a critical part of your brand building as an author.
Don’t waste your opportunity and hard work to get in front of readers. Create a few hashtags to boost the work you are already doing and get seen by your fans.
Note of Thanks: I would like to thank Sunil Sew for being my inspiration for overcoming my limiting beliefs about what I can achieve using social media. His generosity and support have been a light that has kept me growing and developing my brand.
Hello, I am Kim Vermaak
I spent most of my adult life helping other companies build their dream and their brands.
After I turned 40, I wondered, if there was more to life than taking
care of children and slaving away to earn a living.
I wanted to create a legacy for my children and the next generation. I found that through my books I could celebrate who I am as well as teach others to earn a living through their writing.
Being an author is not a hobby. It is a business, and it is my passion to teach authors how to thrive in that business. I look forward to seeing your book business grow.
Your Book Whisperer