HELLO! I am super excited for this post ’cause I’ve had it in-the-works since the actual freakin’ DAY I joined bookstagram, lol. I wanted to wait a bit before I started dishing out advice or tips (mainly so I didn’t look like a dick, which is understandable, right?), and since it’s been a few months just shy of a year now, I think the time has come. Take my tips with a grain of salt – find what works for you!
The bookstagram community has changed my whole little bookworm-y life, and I’m in love with it. If you’re new to the term, “bookstagram” is basically a subsection of Instagram dedicated to – you guessed it – books! Readers in all places from all walks of life share and talk about the books they’re reading and love, while sharing really stellar photos of said books (or book-related things).
My personal bookstagram aesthetic is really colorful, really rainbow-y. You’re surprised, right? I’ll allow a moment for the shock to settle, I know that this must be quite an adjustment from my usual aesthetic. 😛
Finding the bookstagram community opened up a whole reading world to me that I hadn’t really known about before. Here, people took pictures of their books and shared them without fear of the rest of their friends becoming annoyed or losing interest. They rambled at length about books – they reviewed them! It was amazing, and I’m so glad I joined, ’cause I’ve made some amazing friends and have even become close with some wonderful publishers and authors, too! (Endless fangirl moments, can I just say???)
SO, all of that leads me here: a new series that I’m calling “Just the Tips” (heh heh, also thanks to my roommate for helping me name it!) where I share some helpful stuff on… well, anything really. Today, bookstagram! Next time, embroidery? Baking? World domination? I don’t know. You’ll have to stick around to find out, I guess! 😉
Just the Tips: Starting Your Own Bookstagram
1) Make the decision to just go for it.
Okay, you like reading. But do you really want a whole Instagram account dedicated to books? Won’t that be a lot of upkeep? What if you don’t like it? What if it doesn’t like you?! I’m going to stop you right there – just go for it.
There are so many things to worry about in the world, and bookstagram should not be one of them! It’s a fun experience, to do with as you wish. Want to post everyday? Go for it! Want to just post when you’ve finished a book you really love? That’s fine, too!
The point of having a bookstagram is to enjoy your reading life with a little bit more depth – not to give yourself a headache! Give it a try, and if you don’t like it, you can deactivate the account. No harm done – and what if you really love it? 😀
2) Have a theme/aesthetic, or don’t.
I want to stress this, ’cause it’s really, really important: you do not need to have a rainbow feed, or a specific theme, or a specific aesthetic. There will be value in your posts and in your opinions and photos without the kitsch if the kitsch isn’t for you – trust me!
I love color, but I also follow a lot of accounts that don’t really have many commonalities between their posts. Some of my favorite accounts are actually just regular, everyday photos of books wherever the account owner was at the moment of snapping it – and then a caption with their thoughts that really pull me in, or a synopsis/review that piques my interests and makes me want to buy the book, like, now.
Content is important; theme is not!
Here’s my “theme”, for reference:
3) All you really need is good lighting.
Some accounts/people swear by tons of props, and that can be really overwhelming for some people – especially if you’re just starting out. Guess what? You don’t need them! Yes, flowers and trinkets are pretty, and yes, Funkos and bookish merchandise can make your picture look a bit busier, which some people think is really cool! But not everyone can afford stuff like that, and there’s nothing wrong with spending your hard earned cash on more books instead of props!
Everyone may not agree with me on this, but really, if you’ve got a good light source, most of the work on a great photo is done. Aim for near a window to get outdoor, natural lighting. Avoid indoor fluorescent or yellow lighting, as it doesn’t make the books look their best – and we want to show them off, don’t we? Let’s make them pretty with nice lighting! 🙂
And if you don’t have access to good lighting? Maybe it’s raining a lot where you are, or you have a basement apartment, or work during the day – I don’t know your life! However, I do know of a solution: you can use a good light bulb and a phone editing app (try VSCO, and adjust the Warmth setting on the photo!) to fake it.
4) Follower counts only matter in certain situations.
I’m not going to lie and say the amount of followers you have doesn’t matter, because to some people, it does. For some people (influencers, book reviewers, people who advertise products or books for companies or publishers, promoters, etc), the amount of followers your account has directly correlates to the opportunities that are open to you. If you have a lot, some publishers/authors will see that as a great advertising opportunity for their upcoming releases / promotions – but lots of accounts with less followers can get offers, too! (I’d also highly recommend NetGalley, which is an amazing service for advance digital copies of books if you’re interested in reviewing them.)
This is the same in any field, not just bookstagram! But as with every field, this doesn’t mean that the only accounts that are worth following have “tons of followers”, or that your own account isn’t as good as someone else’s if they don’t have as many. Your follower count may be tied to your available opportunities, but it does not determine your worth. I really, really need to stress that, so I’m going to repeat it:
Your follower count does not determine your worth!
5) Interaction is the most important part of using your account.
One of the main tips to impart is that your account engagement, or the way your account interacts with others and vice versa, is absolutely vital to a good bookstagram experience. If you post photos with great captions, but never reply to anyone’s comments or comment on anyone else’s about their own posts, what’s the point? It’s still a social media platform, after all. Be social! Talk to people, make friends, create bonds. It’s incredible to really gush over a book you loved with someone that read it, too!
Better yet, have a buddy read with your insta-bestie (hi, Jess!). Participate in (or host!) a readalong – I hosted my first one last December for one of my favorite books, N0S4A2! Join a monthly bookstagram challenge! There are so many ways to get involved, and involvement will boost your account to levels you never imagined – whether that be by followers, or just by the amount of lasting friendships you make from keeping up with it. 😉
So, there are my top 5 tips! I decided to go with 5 only because starting something new can be scary already, and I didn’t want to overwhelm with too much information. Maybe in the future I can do others in the series relating to bookstagram – tips for hosting a giveaway, maybe? Tips for taking photos of books? Tips for not going completely broke by blowing all your expendable income on new books after joining bookstagram? Still working on that one, I guess, RIP to my bank account.
Please feel free to tell me what you think of this new feature, of the post, or of what you’d like to see me give Just the Tips on in the future! 😉 (Also, does anyone else giggle any time they read that, or is it just me? I need to know!)
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