Hi everyone! I can’t believe the weekend is over! I’ve been on Instagram as a bookstagrammer for almost a year and a half and have learned so much on how to ‘brand’ yourself as a bookish account. Honestly, I’ve been a bookstagrammer longer that I have a blogger. I love that the bookstagram community because it has let me explore the world of photography in a way that is more than just taking a photo by setting staging photos with props, working with angles, and editing the photos to post. But, let’s be honest, it can be a lot of work and at time it feels like high school with all of the cliques and catty people who are just trying get to the top! But don’t let that discourage you from trying (or sticking) this platform because there are some truly amazing and supportive people!
Never in a my wildest dreams did I ever imagine having over 900 followers and getting roughly a 100 likes per photo sure these numbers pale in comparison to people who have followers in the 10s of thousands and gets just as many likes, but to a person who started an account to spread the love for lesser known books and to have place where I can talk about something I love, it’s a lot.
I feel like my account has grown at a pretty good rate where I didn’t feel like I had to be someone I’m not, and I could deal with this attention gradually without being thrown to the wolves.
In this post I want to talk about some of the things that I’ve learned about growing your account to how to present yourself and a couple of other things. Please note that these are things that I gravitate to as a bookstagrammer and there are hundreds of ways to be a part of this community.
Account Name and Bio
I personally don’t have a bookish account name or have a bio that is strictly book related. My account name is… ready for this? lauren.bodiford! *gasp* can you really be a bookstagrammer without having a bookish name? of course you can! Don’t feel like you have to have a bookish named account because you have a bookstagram or an account that is primarily about books. In all honesty, I’m glad that my account name is just my name because even though I’m a huge book nerd to my bones, there’s more to me and who I am than books. Make a name that is memorable and something that will stick with people!
The bio is an important part of your account because you are telling people who you are and what you post to the world. Just like your account name, make it something that grabs people’s attention. Your bio is one of the first things that people see when they see your page so set the scene!
Many people feel like once they figure out the broad focus of their page, they feel like that’s the only thing they can post about. I remember on a couple occasions in the beginning where I was looking through some comments that people were upset about having nonbookish photos on a bookstagram account, and I was like ‘Hold up. Are you really shaming someone for posting something on their page because it isn’t a book? Really? How can you be so rude to make someone feel bad about their hobby?’
Being apart of the bookstagram community is more than just posting photos of books. It’s about being connected by our love for books. Don’t put people down because they have other interests besides books.
One of the biggest misconceptions about being a new bookstagrammer is feeling like you have to own thousands of physical books to be a part of this thing with wall to wall bookcases that a decorated with bookish items. A book is a book whether it’s an audiobook or an ebook or a book from the library or a physical book you own. Any of those formats of a book is valid. Don’t let other people make you feel like you are less of a bookstagrammer. And, don’t feel like you have to have an intricate set up for a photo to be ‘beautiful’. Beauty can be found in the simplest of set-ups from holding the book up against a pretty building or having it in a nature shot to even simply having it next to a cup of coffee on your kitchen table.
Growing Your Account
This is where you have to decide for yourself if you want people who are encouraging and engages with you or if your okay with people who follow you and likes and comments on the occasional photo.
Personally, I’d rather have a couple of hundred people who I know enjoy my photos and know me as a book lover and person than hundreds of thousands of people who are just there in the same area without ever interacting with me as a person.
I’ve learned that those smaller support groups that people have set up in group chats are a great way to interact with people because there’s not an overwhelming amount of people and it doesn’t feel like a job. I also recommend joining book clubs on Instagram where you can talk about a book (and normally if you’re in a book club, you’re bound to find a few people to become friends with). Then you have those bookish accounts that are private and you have to DM the admins to join. These accounts can be a little intense because you have to like (and sometimes comment on the photo depending on the group rules) all of the photos and it can get overwhelming very quickly since there can be up to 200 people in the group tagging their photo(s). Let’s not forget about Facebook groups that are similar to the bookish pages on Insta. It’s perfectly fine to join a group to see if its right for you because no to groups are a like.
Then we have the follow for follow posts on Insta, twitter, FB, and every other social media platform you can think of. Be careful with these things depending on the type of followers you want (from people who actually interact with you page to nonbookish people who you now have to follow even though their content doesn’t appeal to you to everything in between), so make sure you read the rules accordingly. Some people on those threads care more about having another follower than building connections.
Themes on Instagram is such a complex thing because some of the most aesthetically pleasing accounts don’t have a set theme. This is a way to make yourself stand apart from other bookstagram accounts, so play around with this and find what speaks to you!
There was this one account I came across months ago and the person would post 3 photos containing the same colors so each row would be a particular color and you could scroll through their page and see a rainbow of books while there is this one account that is literally just one color! Or you could change up your theme every so often or have seasonal themes, just don’t feel like you have to stick with one layout. Explore your creative side if you start to feel burned out, keep people on their feet by changing it up by switching it up or not even have a specific theme or stick to a theme. Do what makes you happy and what feels right to you.
Edited photos are one of those things that depends on your target audience. There are accounts that are crazy popular on both ends of the spectrum that have little to no editing to those where there is a bunch of editing.
Have fun with this if you’re into editing photos, don’t think that you have to spend a bunch of money in a photo to add to the beauty of your photo! If you want to play around with lighting, angles, colors, shadows, and other of the basic things, use the editing feature on Instagram to see if this is something that you like.
Personally, I feel like there are times where all of my photos look the same and I’m in a rut of putting out the same stuff. Photo challenges are a great way to make you think outside of the box and incorporate new ideas into your photo! These challenges are also a great way to meet new people!
You can also find props that represent different things in a book or incorporate different colors that represent the emotions you felt while reading it! You can post unboxings, book stacks, flat lays, shelfies, or simply an open book sitting on something. The possibilities are endless!
Take a variety of photos that include popular books and those hidden gems that you love! You would be surprised to find out that other people love the same books that you feel like no one knows about!
- Post photos that make you proud to say that you created it!
- Talk about yourself! I love it when people talk about their other interests, pets, or any thing that shows they are more than a person behind a screen posting photos because at the end of the day we are trying to build a book community of friends.
- Play around with you photos! If you’re not satisfied with your photos, try working around with lighting, props, angles, shadows, and editing!
- Use your Instagram stories to share you post, updates about the book your currently reading, a nature shot, or even a cup of coffee! You can let this be the place where people get a glimpse into who you are.
- Ask QOTDs (question of the day) to start conversations on your post!
Happy reading until next time,