Are you wondering if you should start a bookstagram? What is holding you back from sharing your love for books?
I have been on bookstagram for about four years now and I thought I could share some tips and insights for beginners who are wanting to be part of this fantastic community.
What is Bookstagram?
Bookstagram is nothing but Book Instagram. It is an amazing community where you will find like-minded book lovers who post pictures with or related to books on Instagram. If you closely look at this space, you can find pictures that have bookshelves, cozy book nooks, book merch, and of course, books!
And there was a lot of Harry Potter when I first started off… until JK Rowling messed it up. We are an extremely sensitive bunch of nerds who can destroy the likes of Marie Kondo and JKR irrespective of who they are.
Bookstagram has risen in popularity over the last couple of years and I can see why. Based on my journey, here are some tips on how you can successfully build a bookstagram account . Obviously, there is a lot more to learn and grow and that’s part of the process.
Use a simple yet catchy username that showcases your love for books. If you already have an account on other socials related to books, then I would suggest you use the same username, if available.
If not, try something unique. For instance, when I started off this account, it was named muffytales. That was because I was only documenting my furbaby’s antics. I gradually started posting books with my doggo and the community found it interesting. Later, when I introduced my reading challenge back in 2020 under the name “Reading With Muffy“, it was well-received and it only made sense to change my username to ReadingWithMuffy.
So, you may consider me as a double-niched book blogger showcasing my love for my doggo and books. You can also choose travel or food as your alternate niche. There are no restrictions.
While you pick a username, make sure that it is short and memorable. But don’t stress too much.
Bio and Profile Picture
As in any Instagram account, have a clear profile picture and bio. Here’s a screenshot of mine:
State your name because your visitors would want to know who is behind the account. You may also mention your brand name but I didn’t have much space left.
Write a short bio, probably of your favorite genres, quotes, the Goodreads reading goal, etc. You can also display your discount code if you are a brand rep.
I have a lot of information in my bio, but you surely don’t need to. However, you must definitely display your blog URL or YouTube URL in the clickable section.
To theme or not to theme is a call that you should make. But according to me, most successful bookstagrammers follow a theme. It is visually appealing and it will instantly make your visitor want to scroll more.
♥ You could experiment with a wide range of themes and you need not burn a hole in your pocket by adding a lot of props. Some of my favorite bookstagrammers have just a kindle and a coffee mug in their picture.
♥ Start with a simple background- maybe a white cloth or a wooden table. You may use flowers, coffee mugs, pages from an old book, sweaters, blankets, fairy lights, funko pops, bookmarks, and even place yourself in a photograph if you aren’t camera shy. Else have your pet pose for a photograph.
♥ You may also think about your aesthetic- Cool-toned or Warm? Black and White? Colorful or Pastel? And you may edit using software like VSCO, Snapseed, or Lightroom. Create a preset and stick to it to have a uniform theme.
Here are some examples.
You Don’t Need a Fancy Camera
If you’ve been following me for some time now, you’d know that I’m a passionate food blogger as well (Something’s Cooking). I take all of my food photographs with the help of my DSLR. But for book pictures, all I use is my phone. It does the job and I’m pretty happy about it.
There was a time when I used to go gaga about the pictures some of the bookstagrammers took and I used to literally pester them to help me with some tips. Yup, I have been there. I took in their feedback and I decided to invest my time and effort in learning the craft. I researched, shot hundreds of photographs a day, tried different angles and layouts, and edited on different platforms until I found something that worked for me.
Today I can say that my pictures have become my portfolio and I’m getting brand collaborations for photographing their products.
Captions and Hashtags
It’s writing time now! There are a lot of ways you can write engaging captions.
♥ Ask questions to your audience. What are they currently reading? How do you arrange your bookshelf? What are your least favorite genres? Do you DNF books or read all the way through?
♥ Recommend a book or write a review of the book. According to the FTC guidelines, it is important to mention if you have been gifted the book by an author or a publisher.
♥ Talk about a cause that’s close to your heart. Voice your opinion on things that matter the most to you.
♥ You can also include information on your discount codes if you become a rep for a brand.
♥ Use relevant hashtags with a perfect mix of popular and generic ones. There are a lot of book-related hashtags that you can use to make them appear on other users’ feeds or search results.
Other Important Tips:
♥ Be consistent. Show up.
♥ Do not go after numbers. I have only 3k+ followers but I know I have built a great community around it.
♥ Engage with your followers. Commenting and liking other people’s posts is great and definitely a strategy for beating that algorithm, but what engagement also brings you is friendships and reading groups that you might not find elsewhere. I have been part of some interesting buddy reads and book clubs in the past and I’ve made some great friends in the process!
♥ Take multiple photos at a time. This will help in having a backup when you are not in the mood to click pictures.
♥ Be authentic and give yourself some time. Taking inspiration is one thing and blindly copying is another. Be the real you. And have the patience to develop the look that you want for your feed. It doesn’t hurt to experiment with your style as it takes time to build up a huge following on bookstagram.
I hope that this post has motivated you to start a bookstagram right away. I would love to know your feedback and suggestions too!
I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z and My theme for the A to Z Challenge this year is ‘Celebrating the Bibliophile in me’, where I will be sharing the books, authors and fictional characters that I love, loathe and tolerate.
Ah, there could be more!
You can follow me on my Bookstagram at Muffytales.
You may also read: Blog Post Ideas for Book Bloggers