Hey Bookish People,

If you saw my post earlier today then you know that I’m working on eye-catching first sentences for my Instagram captions. I know that having one more thing to work on can feel daunting but writers have an advantage here. We’ve been working on first sentences since we started writing books and now you have a lot of chances to practice. 

Why?

The captions that people see under our photos give us another chance to pull people in. As authors, or book reviewers, we want people to pay attention to our projects. A good caption can help us develop relationships and get people interested in what we’re doing. Posting a picture of a slice of pizza with the caption, “Yum,” just isn’t going to do that. 

The first sentence of any book is the most important and it’s the same with our Instagram captions. The more our followers read from us, the more engaged and interested in us they become. When you’re building a brand and looking to attract your future readers it’s really important to have that interest. 


Here are the 5 types of opening Instagram captions that I recommend

1. Ask a question

If they respond with a comment then you have an opportunity to learn something about your audience and develop your relationship. If people read your question and don’t respond to it they’ll still answer it in their heads and mentally engage.

2. Ask for a recommendation

I wouldn’t use this too frequently but people like to be helpful and show that they’re knowledgeable. Need a restaurant recommendation when you visit New York? Or a book that’ll teach you everything you need to know about flamingos? Then ask your audience.

3. Inform them of what they’re going to read about in the rest of the caption

“Here are 5 books I couldn’t live without.” “Here’s my brutally honest review of….” “Here’s why children should read 20 minute a day.” If it’s a longer post then giving them a preview of what they’re going to read can draw and keep people’s attention.

4. Throw out a strong opinion

“Libraries don’t have to be quiet places.” “Coffee is better than tea.” “Disneyland isn’t really that great.” A little controversy can ignite discussion and you can find people that share your weird opinions. Think carefully about your brand when being controversial and I’d really be careful about taking it too far (Please note that those are examples and not my own opinions). 

5. Surprise them

Not to bring it back to bathing flamingos but I think that my caption “Flamingo baths are one of the least elegant things I’ve ever seen,” caught people’s eye. If you can go for weird or surprising, especially if it’ll make people pause and want to know more, then go for it.


I’ll go a bit more in depth with the rest of Instagram captions another day but I hope that these help you to get started.

One final tip: the captions should make sense with the picture! Please don’t post a picture of your fluffy dog with a caption that says, “The horror genre is better than romance!” You don’t want to confuse people so much that they scroll right past you.

Did I leave anything out? Please feel free to share in the comments below!

Happy Creating!

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5 thoughts on “The First Sentence of your Instagram Captions Matter

  1. Pingback: The Bookish Brand

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