Bookstagram 101: A Brief Beginner’s Guide to Bookstagram.
If you have been on the internet for some time, you have most likely heard of the terms “Book Blogging” and/or “Bookstagram”. I do not think you have wondered about their meaning because it is pretty obvious! Something related to Books! I will explain them briefly though. Book Blogging is an activity in which a reader shares their thoughts, book-related ideas and reviews of the books they read on their online platform. Bookstagram is a form of book blogging. What makes it distinct is the use of an Instagram account as a platform, unlike standard book blogging which requires a website (like WordPress, Blogspot and other blogging platforms).
I have created my account back in 2018 after stumbling upon a Bookstagram account during one of my aimless scrollings on social media. I was instantly lured into the idea of creating an account because it seemed very motivating, interesting and fun. A very useful way to use social media in a productive way, I thought. I would share my reviews, engage with readers from all around the world and make friends who love reading. It was the case indeed.
If you are a book reader who wants to share their ideas and reviews with other readers, you should consider joining the Bookstagram community. In this article, I will share some tips and advice, and everything you need to have to spend a good time on Bookstagram. All of what I will share is based on my experience as an Algerian Bookstagrammer,
1- Are You a Person Who Loves Reading?
You cannot start a Bookstagram if you are not a person that does not love and enjoy reading. That’s the essential rule (Regardless of the language in which you read, of course). You do not need to be the most prolific and avid reader; reading a book, and posting a review once in a while is completely fine as long as you have the passion to read books and write your thoughts, and sharing them with other readers.
2- Do Not Worry About Getting an Audience and Followers.
You do not need to worry about having a small number of followers or none at all. We have all started from nothing, and it came with time. Bookstagram definitely requires a certain audience or followers, but it certainly does not come into existence overnight. In order to build an audience you can:
– Follow Bookstagrammers whose content might interest you and motivate you to read.
– Engage with other readers by commenting on their posts, especially if they have asked a question or for an opinion.
– Participate in reading challenges. There are a lot of them, with different themes and concepts. They can be weekly, monthly or even annually.
– Join a book club! Joining a book is not only a chance to make new friends share opinions with, but it also allows you to know what to read next! There are multiple book clubs such as: Diverse Classics, Because We’ve Read, Diverse Spines, Belletrist, Our Shared Shelf, and more!
– Use #bookstagram hashtags. There is a lot of book related hashtags that you can use under your posts to make them appear other users’ feeds or search results of a certain hashtag.
3 – Do Not Force Yourself to Read What You Would Not Enjoy.
Reading books that you would not enjoy might lead you into a reading slump. How to know if you would enjoy it or not? Simple. You can check other people’s reviews, ask someone who has read that certain book for their opinion, or you can simply give it a try. In case you did not like it, you can stop and put it aside. It is completely normal too. You might also want to read a certain book that seems enjoyable to you, but you are a little bit anxious because it is deemed too “mainstream” by some of your friends who might judge you for reading it. Just read it! You do not have to feel bad about anything you enjoy reading. Bookstagram should be all about fun and enjoyment, not forcing yourself to read books that cause the exact opposite.
4- Book Photography and Editing.
Being a Bookstagrammer requires taking photos of books or anything related to books because photos are the main point of Instagram after all. It also plays an important role in attracting a certain audience. You do not need something spectacular to take great photos. A smartphone is enough, and of course books!
For the background of your photos, anything can do the job. A white bedsheet, wall or table; a bookshelf, whether in your house or at some library and the landscapes around you. For props, a cup of coffee or tea can be perfect. You can use anything you have as a prop. Or you can take photos of multiple books using the same setting. You do not need to constantly worry yourself about that.
You can always carry a book or two with you, maybe you will stumble upon a perfect setting to take a photo of your books. It can be a cozy and cute coffee shop, a beautiful building infrastructure or just a calm and green garden. I usually do not recommend using filters on photos, but I use Snapseed and the Instagram editing tools just for brightness, contrast and structure. It is all very simple.
5- Thinking of Captions.
Captions play an important part in Bookstagram but do not stress yourself too much while thinking for an appropriate one. A Bookstagram post caption can mainly be a review, as it can be a reading update, book recommendations, To Be Read list, or just an inspirational quote. Do not forget to add a question to your followers in your posts, it helps maintain engagement and can start discussions with them.
6- Beware of Temptation.
The Bookstagram community is very large and has people from all around the world in it. Whenever you see fancy bookshops, bookshelves, cozy coffee shops and the large choice of books other readers have, do not feel upset. We are all aware that different people have different privileges, but do not let that stop you from enjoying your passion for reading and reviewing books.
I believe these are the most essential advice I can give but do not limit yourself to these. Let your creativity and originality give you new ideas and concepts to make your Bookstagram a better place for you and for your followers.