During the last few weeks I have been getting more and more messages asking me for bookstagram tips and advice. This gave me the best excuse to finally sit down and give form to this post I have been wanting to write for a while. Before you dive into it, know that there is a big part of rambling. If you get through that, you are a champion – and you must like me very much.
Booksters, we are living a bookstagram boom. And I’ve got to tell you, I am not that surprised. Do you remember when a couple of years ago everything revolved around facebook? If you were not on facebook you could hardly keep track of all the news. Facebook would tell us what event was going to attend everyone this weekend, who of our former High School classmates was getting married or when’s the newest hipster cafe opening. We could even keep track of more important stuff like the daily selfies of that aunt we only see once a year. But now… Now facebook is yesterday’s news, mothers all around the world conquered that land and now is the ultimate source of motivational quotes shared a thousand and one times, or funny – but really cute – cat videos. Because yes, I will always click play on the cat videos. But over all, we’ve said bye bye to facebook.
Long story short, facebook is no longer in and everyone seems to have migrated to instagram. And where books and everything bookish is concerned, I have witnessed an exponential growth in the number of new bookstagram accounts trying out their luck. Not that I am complaining, I am a very happy camper and I love to see all these booklovers channeling their creativity into bookish photos. But with this increase in insta-newbies, I have been getting more and more messages asking for tips and advice. Unfortunately, as much as I try to reply and chat with everyone, sometimes it is impossible for me to do so. Plus, you know how easily I rant and ramble, do you know the amount of time that takes to type said rants and rambles in my phone? Let me tell you, a whole lot of thumb workout, a few tears and eventually, a tone of frustration.
Anyway, and before I turn this into the longest post of nothingness, today I am here to share with anyone willing to read these tips and advice I have been requested by all of you. And please have in mind that I do not consider myself a bookstagram authority, but like everyone, I have been there in the zero count. And boy did I need some advice back then.
So, without further ado, I welcome you to
Bookstagram for beginners. Tips and advice by
First off, should I really get started on bookstagram?
If you are on the fence about whether you should join the bookstagram community, I have a question for you: do you love books? Yes? Then you are ready. It’s actually that easy, trust me.
The moment of truth is upon you: choosing a username.
Now, there is always time to change it further on but here’s my first little piece of advice: be smart about it. Give it a little bit of thought and try to be creative. A cool name will pick up people’s attention and they will check your profile. There are a billion ways to create a cool username, some of the most popular key words used are fae, faerie, reads, library, pages, reading or booklover. As you see, think bookish and you will be fine. But keep in mind that a shorter username will be easier to remember. There are a million things to consider depending on how picky you are, and obviously these do not affect the quality of your account or your success as a bookstagrammer. But as we are here for the advice, these are my tips regarding usernames: keep it bookish, be creative & the shorter the better.
A little shameless self promo never hurts
When I first started my bookstagram account, I was already immersed in the book-blogging world. I had my wordpress site, a goodreads profile and a twitter account. And let me be honest, my first few insta followers were people from those bookish social networks mentioned. So don’t be afraid of promoting your bookstagram account on whatever bookish community you are. I bet people will be thrilled to follow you. But please, do it with measure. The self promo is cute, but you don’t want to turn into a follow-me-monster.
I am ready. How do I bookstagram?
This may seem an easy and straightforward question but it is one that requires a much more complex answer. And yes, it is probably why you are reading this in the first place. Let’s break it into several points, because there is work to do.
Professional equipment is not mandatory. You do not necessarily need a super cool camera with a whatever mega lens or xyz objective. Can you tell I have little to no knowledge on cameras, lenses and objectives? All the photos you see on my account are taken with my phone. It is an iphone, yes, and I am not gonna lie here, quality does have an impact on the overall first impression of your bookstagram. But bookstagramming consists on many other different factors that do not require expensive equipment.
Interact with the community. This is uber important! Leave comments, join challenges, take part in shoutout sessions… Put yourself out there. If you don’t interact with the community, people won’t have the chance to discover your account and therefore.
Take care of the content of your posts. Ah the dreaded caption! I know it’s hard to come up with something interesting, original or even funny to fill in the caption space, but it’s important you put a little effort on it. Stay away from the “Hi everyone, this is my pretty book” and go for something that allows people to interact with you. Share your thoughts on a book or a topic, ask for recommendations or favourite authors, tell everyone about you or your bookish habits… there are a million things you can talk about.
Hashtag your life. Use hashtags so your posts reach more viewers. This is particularly helpful at the beginning, and trust me, it will definitely help. A lot of people will find your posts if the are browsing a hashtag in particular. Try with #bookish #books #bookstagram or #booksofinstagram And if you are feeling courageous, you can even go for my very own bookish hipster hashtag: #bookster (you see, a little shameless self promo doesn’t hurt).
Bookstagram feature accounts are your guardian angel. These accounts have a gazillion followers and will daily feature your photos if you follow them and use the right hashtags. They reposted a few of my photos when I first started and gave me a very necessary confidence boost. Some of the most popular ones: @culturetripbooks @bookishfeatures and @bookstagramfeature
Browse for inspiration. If you are lacking inspo, find your muse in other bookstagram accounts or get yourself a profile in the ultimate source of aesthetic: pinterest. But be aware of something: getting inspo and copying are two very different things. Stay far away from copycats and if your photo ends up being a little too similar to the one “inspiring” you, give inspo-credit to the author or chat with her/him about it. You’ll probably make a new bookish friend.
Filters are your best friends. Don’t abuse them, but use those filters. You don’t need to be a photoshop expert and retouch the gazillion parameters available but applying filters to your photos will give your account smoothness or the so called “theme”. You may think “wait, but is it that important?” well, in my opinion it is.
Natural light makes all the difference. This is probably the tip I give the most when people ask me how my photos turn out so clean and clear. And yes, it’s also all that important. A good lighting will do wonders for your photos, and this is particularly helpful if you are using your phone. Try to avoid taking your photos at night, under artificial light. Look for a place that gets direct natural light and do your photoshoots there. You don’t have to be like me and wait for the day the lighting is absolutely perfect, instead just make some adjustments in your photo-taking space.
Bookish paraphernalia for the win. I know not everyone has the same budget, but if you do have a collection of bookish candles or bookmarks, feature them in your photos! Tag the brand, hashtag the life out of the post and wait for your fellow booklovers to share the love.
But most importantly, bookstagram is about the love for books. I have met great people that now I consider dear friends. Bookstagram brought us together, our love for books did the rest of the job. So remember, have fun, don’t obsess over numbers and BE YOURSELF!
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