How to create Instagram Stories Highlights covers (+ FREEBIES)

So, firstly, for those who have not yet jumped on the Instagram train, or you don’t yet see why the world is falling over itself for this platform, let’s look at why it’s such a great platform for authors:

There are 1 billion accounts active every month

400 million+ accounts use Instagram stories every day

60% of users first heard about a product on Instagram

30% of users bought something they discovered on Instagram

Using at least 1 hashtag (Instagram was made for hashtags) will get you 12.6% more engagement

Instagram has the highest engagement rates across all social media

With Instagram stories and IGTV, which allows creators to upload high quality, vertical videos between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long (60 minutes for accounts with a big following), we can now post beautiful images like Pinterest, share quick snaps of our lives like Snapchat and create binge-worthy LIVE videos the likes of Facebook Live and YouTube; all within ONE platform rather than four!

Now that we’ve talked about the WHY of Instagram, let’s focus on Instagram Stories and how they are the best thing to hit Social Media platforms since the algorithms set about making it harder for us to reach EVERYBODY on the platform.

Instagram co-founder, Kevin Systrom, told NY Times “The algorithm (introduced in 2016) is about making sure the 30% of profiles you follow, that you actually see every day, is the best 30%.”

Before we lose faith in Instagram, the algorithm is not there to defy us or stop us from connecting with our audience, it is in fact trying to provide a better service to its users by showing them more of the things they are interested in. It is now our job to be empowered to be that best 30% out there!

Unlike our Instagram (and Facebook) feeds, which only show 30% of profiles we follow in non-chronological order, Instagram Stories appear at the top of our followers feeds, in chronological order, meaning if you post regularly (at least once a day), chances are; you’re posts will actually be seen and, if we like what we see, we’re more likely to click on to their profile!

Now, if you’re wondering why Instagram Stories are so great, let me ask you this: do you ever have an image that you want to share with your community, but it doesn’t quite look ‘Instaworthy’? Perhaps it’s taken in poor light, is a bit grainy or it doesn’t quite fit the colour scheme within your feed. You don’t want to delete the photo and it really would be great to share it with your followers. Well, share it over on your Instagram stories!

Because the images are shown in quick succession, slideshow style, and they all disappear after 24 hours, it’s the perfect place to put your not-so-perfect pictures, snapshots or videos in real time (book signings, book shop visits, public speaking events, your writing desk, writing inspiration etc), and images of screen shots (such as book reviews you see on other Instagram profiles).

Even better, should you wish to keep a copy of certain (or all) your Instagram highlights; you can! With Instagram Stories Highlights you can keep a copy of your favourite Instagram Stories images in sub folders on your Instagram profile. See our Instagram profile for an idea.

Since your Instagram Stories Highlights are located directly below your bio (aka front and center on your profile!) you’ll want to make sure that they stand out and grab people’s attention. Instagram Stories Highlights are a great way to share important information about your author journey and your book(s) with both current and new followers.

A great way to do this is by creating cohesive Instagram Stories Highlights covers (think of it as the album cover for your Highlights) that align with your aesthetic or author branding.

Get our Instagram Stories highlights Covers


If you want a ready-made collection of Instagram Stories Highlights covers for your Instagram profile, we have you ‘covered’ with 8 different ice cream coloured designs. Whether you want a cute plant icon or more author-related icons such as a notebook, pen or laptop, you’ll find them here! Simply enter your email below to download the icons:

How to Create Your own Covers 

Alternatively, if you are more DIY than DIFM (Do It For Me), or you want to create covers in your preferred colour scheme, then see our step-by-step instructions below on how to create your very own Instagram Stories Highlights covers on our favourite graphics phone app: OVER.

To start, download the OVER app and sign up with either a FREE account or a PAID monthly account. Note: FREE accounts have limited access to the thousands of graphics and fonts within the app… I pay for the monthly package and I have never looked back. The time that it saves me when creating our branded images, quotes and giveaways (such as the Instagram Stories Highlight’s covers) is priceless! Also, if you’re struggling for content ideas, their templates are amazing and give your creative juices a squeeze in the right direction!


Next, click the + button and choose either an image, video, transparent, white, or black background.


Scroll along the social media sizes along the bottom and choose the Instagram Stories size, which is called iPhone (size 1242 x 2208). Click the tick at the top right.

Now that you have created your base layer, the fun begins! Click on ‘Graphic’ and choose from the selection of images, icons, backgrounds and photos.

Once your main icon is in the center, add even more layers until you reach the desired look.

Finally, click on the yellow arrow, top right, and either save to photos, schedule to your Instagram account (a reminder alarm will be created), add to a folder or share it.

How to add covers to your Instagram profile

We add covers to our Instagram Stories the same way in which we add the stories themselves. On the Instagram home page, click the camera icon in the top left hand corner. Then, select your phone’s image gallery in the bottom left hand corner. Now, choose the cover image that you wish to add to your Highlights.

Once you have chosen your desired image, click Your Story on the bottom left. Your image will now be uploaded to your Instagram Stories.


Go to your Instagram Stories (home page, first circle at the top of the screen) and click. On the cover image, select Highlight then either add the cover image to a Highlight you have already created or create a NEW one.

Your highlight will now display on your profile.

Change your highlight covers as often as you wish but don’t forget to try to create a brand or a ‘look’ for your page that is both aesthetically pleasing but sympathetic to your style. Why not create your own brand colours by using the colours on your book cover perhaps or picking out the colours on your website?


We hope you like our Instagram Stories Highlights covers or you feel inspired to create your own. Don’t forget, Instagram is the number #1 social media platform and being used today and a big percentage of its users are Bookish people. So, even if you’re not on Instagram, your potential customers are looking for you there. That’s FREE access to your potential audience!

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