Bookstagram: The Why & The How

I unintentionally started this little Social Media series here on the blog in which I give you my story/tips on how to use it for your blog! Part 1 I discussed the options you have & why you should use it, Part 2 was all about Twitter, and today (Part 3) is going to be about the beauty that is bookstagram!

Bookstagram (1)

Here’s the thing about me and Instagram, I thought everyone had it! When I first entered the online book community, it was on Instagram, through there I was motivated to start a blog, and this blog was born. I thought that was how everyone did it. Then I noticed more and more that the bloggers I know and love either don’t have an Instagram or don’t really use it. Imagine my shock! Because here’s the deal, we all should have an Instagram account – even if you don’t promote your blog on there, bookstagram is freaking awesome and it helps get my creative juices flowing!

Why you should start a Bookstagram account OR dust the cobwebs off your current one

  • The community is great. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people through Instagram, some I even consider great friends. If you’re reading this, you know who you are, you’re a kick-ass human!
  • You can express yourself in a different way. I don’t take my own blog photos, mainly that’s out of laziness, but that means that most of my blog is just words. I know, that seems like a ridiculous thing to say, but sometimes I want to see pretty pictures, or take pretty pictures. That’s where Instagram comes in. I can express myself through photos, with a quick caption, then move on to look at other pretty photos.
  • You can promote your blog. Personally, I don’t do this all that often. I usually just share when I post a book review (barely even that). Mainly because I only post once a day (most of the time), and I don’t want to advertise my blog on every post. HOWEVER, you can totally do whatever you want. And people do visit my blog from Instagram, especially when I share book reviews. So, do you, girl.

How to bookstagram like a…pro ?

Look, I’m not a professional. I don’t have a fancy camera, I don’t use the fancy editing apps, I don’t have 27K followers, BUT I do have a good grasp on how the thing works. So, let’s talk about a few of the things I either use myself or I’ve seen others use.

Themes

There is there absolutely no rule that says YOU MUST HAVE A THEME TO HAVE ALL THE LIKES. Nope. None. I swear. Sure, a lot of accounts with themes look great and attract followers, but so do those without themes. So, how do you know which one to do? Here’s what I think:

As long as you are putting effort into your photos, you’re fine. 

You can still post what you want, but, and I’m not trying to be mean to anyone, if you don’t put any effort into it, no one will put the effort in to look at it. First impressions mean a lot. So, sure, post what you want, but put a little love into it!

Personally, I do have a theme, but it always changes. I get bored easily.

From left to right: In March I used the red/brown brick background, in April I tried to go outside more, and now I use a white background. I don’t change it every month, it just worked out that way xD

igthemebrownIGthemeoutsideIGthemewhite

There are plenty of accounts that have no theme at all, but you can tell that they put thought behind their photos! So, what was this whole jibber jabber about? PUT A LITTLE LOVE IN YOUR FEED. 

Ok, so how do you put a little love into the photos then?! 

My main tips:

Lighting & Set-up. Find a spot that has great lighting. You can be a minimalist with props, or you can find every prop that relates to the book, and if you want a white background, grab a sheet. Sometimes the picture still doesn’t look amazing, so fake it till you make it, which brings me to my next tip…

Edit. Lots of people use VSCO, but I didn’t like it, I just use the editing options that are directly in the Instagram app. I don’t use the filters offered, JUST the edit options. If for some reason it still didn’t come out exactly how I wanted (i.e. the white looked yellow, because for some reason that always happens to me) I use…

Aviary. A free photo editing app (it does have in-app purchases, which BTW are all free for a limited time right now). It has options like Redeye, Whiten, Splash and Blemish (& obviously the basic edit options). Splash and Whiten help with the funky coloring.

Send that baby to the world

AKA it’s time to post!

Caption Caption Caption. Obviously, you’re not going to post a photo with no caption underneath. Right? I hope not! Some people get real fancy with this part. I don’t. Here is how mine is structured:

  1. Question of the day/post.
  2. Some random update about my life, what I’m reading, what I thought about the book in the photo, etc. etc.
  3. Hashtags.

I don’t always include a question at the beginning, but it is a great way to spark conversation and interaction so I do recommend you do it every so often! Ask anything, really, people will respond! Things like What are you currently reading?Do you have pets?What superpower would you want?. Really. Anything.

Hashtags. Use those suckers. Aside from hashtagging (is that a word?) the title of the book in the photo, use a few others! Some popular ones are:

#bibliophile #biblio #bookstagram #bookworm #booknerd #booknerdigans #ireadya #ya #yalit #bookaholic #bookish #instagood #instabook #bookgram #bookgeek #bookblog #bookblogger #bookreview #bookaddict #igreads

It goes on and on. Don’t be afraid to go crazy with them (you are limited to 30, though)

Most importantly

BE ACTIVE. Like & comment all over the place. Don’t have a lot of followers or aren’t following a lot of people? Click on one of those hashtags & like and comment on a ton, follow the ones that stand out! You can also join in on Monthly Challenges – there are ALWAYS a ton to choose from 🙂

Coming soon:

  • The tools I use to make Social Media easier

letsdiscuss

THAT’S IT! I hope this was helpful!

Do you have any tips on how to use Bookstagram?

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! 

 

  • I love Bookstagram and just got active again. I am doing my first monthly challenge and it is fun and a great way to get more followers. I also like to do a currently reading type picture as well most weeks. I am not great at it and don’t have a ton of props or anything but I think it is fun and a great community!

    • I think everyone has a different style but sometimes people tend to compare themselves to the super popular ones. I don’t think there is a perfect formula to it. Have 293829 props, have zero, its all up to you! I go through phases, right now I’m in a more minimalistic phase – it’s less work xD But yes, the community is pretty great there as well!

  • Your photos are so pretty! And your tips are great. I love looking at Bookstagram because there are some amazing photos out there. I’ve given up on actually taking photos myself though. I don’t have the time or energy to actually set up nice photos, and I have hardly any physical books to even take pictures of. Maybe one day though!

    • Thank you AND Thank you! <3 Yeah, it can become a bit of a chore sometimes. I usually take a 4-6 days worth of photos in one sitting so that saves me time throughout the week xD

  • First of all, your feed is ❤️! Second, I am still struggling with making my own bookstagram feed “work,” so your post will surely help me as a newbie! So far I really enjoy interacting with others, and just basically staring at my feed and falling in love with all the photos other bookstagrammers post. xD It’s quite addicting. Awesome post!

    • Thank you!<3 You'll get the hang of it! My photos were all over the place when I first started xD But it's definitely fun to look at all the pretty photos 🙂

  • THIS WAS MARVELLOUS. I adore how bookstagram has really taken off this last year or so. IT IS THE BEST. I mean, what can be more fun than scrolling through endless pictures of beautiful photos? :’) Although I admit, I totally fail at the networking. I MUST improve on that gahhhhh. It’s actually been my goal lately to make sure I reply to all my comments and start visiting people back. I do it on my blog but I’m always exhausted when I get to instagram and forget to network. *hides in shame* BUT YES to all these tips! I do most of my editing on my computer (because I take photos with a DSLR since I don’t have a phone)…but the apps seem really cool and handy. I should look into them. *nods*
    LOVED this post so much, Molly! 😀
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    • Thank you! It really is great! I usually reply to all my comments, sometimes I won’t see one because I’ll have too many notifications. I Don’t always visit their feed, which is weird actually, considering I visit blogs that comment here xD I should definitely remedy that! BUT IT CAN BE EXHAUSTING ! After hours of commenting back and visiting blogs, jumping on IG can take a super long time too! Maybe we should put a reward at the end? Like, DO ALL THIS AND GET CHOCOLATE. 🙂

  • Tabitha Deasún

    Honestly, I never really got into Instagram until I discovered its book-loving, reading community. That made it my absolute favorite. And through that I discovered its writing community which is pretty awesome too. I always tell authors/writers/bloggers that they should have an Instagram account, and that they should use it and take advantage of this aspect. I have seen it benefit so much for reviews too for books that might not get as many otherwise to meet the requirements of some promotion sites or to get up in the ranks, etc. It is just such a welcoming and useful community all around.

    • Same! I had one for personal use prior but I barely used it. I haven’t gotten into it’s writing community yet, maybe I’ll look into it. Any hashtags you recommend checking out?

      • Tabitha Deasún

        Yeah, my personal one barely gets attention. I mainly use my writer one now. And as far as hashtags, none that I can think of off the top of my head. Mostly cause I fell behind with a lot of stuff so that account has had little activity on it. I’m hoping to change that in the near future though. =)

        • I made a new personal one a few weeks back but I barely post to it. Even when I do, my photos are only liked by the friends I’ve made on my bookstagram account…sooo.. lol xD

          • Tabitha Deasún

            My personal one is mainly for family and close friends, and where I post more personal pics that I don’t put on my writer accounts. I only recently(within like the last year) started feeling comfortable posting pics of myself on my writing accounts.

          • I don’t post photos of myself xD Mainly because I don’t TAKE photos of myself lol Even the one on my profile is from our engagement photo session 4 years ago!

  • Oh man, I absolutely love bookstagram! Even if you’re having a bad day and can’t decide what to do, posting and interacting on bookstagram is like chatting with friends you haven’t seen in a while even though you don’t know them!
    Totally loving this social media for n00bs series! I’ve bookmarked your post about Twitter and I can’t wait to read it over coffee in the morning! 😀

    • Exactly! It’s a great outlet to make new friends and just chit chat! Also, thank you! I kind of unintentionally started it lol xD It was meant to be one post then just morphed into more. I hope the Twitter one is helpful 🙂

  • ryley

    I love bookstagram! it is so pretty and nice to find new books. I just started a bookstagram account the other day if you want to check it out @_queenofhebooks_ i’m really enjoying it, it’s so fun. hopefully i get better

    • I just followed you! Welcome to bookstagram. I love it 🙂