Written by Sara Roberts
Social media is a brilliant way to connect with millions of like-minded people from all over the world. The digital era which we currently live in has opened up a wealth of opportunity to connect, socialise, find friends and even build successful businesses and platforms – all from the comfort of our own couch! And thank goodness social media was such an integrated part of our lives already when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, without it I’m certain we would be feeling the isolation 1000X worse. The book community on Instagram is a brilliant space for those who love reading, writing, reviewing and sharing their favourite books with other book worms. However, as with most social media, it can be a little intimidating to get yourself started, put yourself out there and find your voice. I’ve put together a small guide on how to create your own bookstagram account and start your journey on blogging about books! This can apply to any kind of social media account and isn’t exclusive to books or Instagram! If there’s something you’re passionate about or an activity you’ve recently taken up which you’d love to share but aren’t quite sure how this guide will give you some nifty tips and tricks on how to find your voice and share your passions online!
- Pick a great handle
Your handle (@thisisyourhandle) is the first point of reference and should be punchy and original! Many people on bookstagram use their names with “books” or “reads” at the end, for example, “@JoeBloggsbooks” or @JoeBloggsReads.” This way people will know who you are and what you’re about by just reading your username. Underscores are a great way to separate out words to make them more readable, for example, @Joe_Bloggs_reads. This is also a great place to get creative! If you have an original, quirky idea for a handle, go for it! If there’s anywhere to be creative, this is the place to do it!
2. Build up some posts before you create your account
I would highly recommend building a backlog of posts before you create your account and start following people. The reason being, you don’t want to run out of content early on and lose momentum before you’ve even got going! I would draft 3 or 4 posts, take some pictures which you plan on using and write out some captions. That way once you create your account, you have a variety of posts sitting waiting for you to schedule in and you’re not scrambling for ideas and leaving your followers waiting. For a bookstagram account, pick a few of your favourite books, take some great photos of them and write out your reviews or captions before making your account. This way once you’ve finally posted your account, you can use your backlog of posts to get to know your followers!
3. Be yourself!
Social media can be a scary and daunting place. Personally, my relationship with my old Instagram account was quite toxic. Endless scrolling, always comparing. It always left me feeling a little hollow. After creating my bookstagram account I made a huge effort to make sure I was only following other book accounts or my close friends and the content which appeared on my feed was interesting and book- related. This eased my anxiety about social media and allowed me to be more myself on my account. It’s easier said than done, but everyone in the bookstagram community is so friendly and eager to meet new bookstagrammers! When creating my account, I found that I was a little timid at first, not really saying exactly what I wanted to say in my initial posts, dipping my toe in the water! But after I got going, people were so kind and genuinely interested in what I had to say, especially in terms of my views on books. So absolutely put yourself out there and be YOU, you’ll find it the most rewarding part of the community!
4. Take aesthetically pleasing pictures
There’s something deeply satisfying about setting up a little photoshoot with beautiful books and cups of tea! There are so many bookstagram accounts out there, so make sure your photos are professional and eye-catching. Some people like to use various props around the house: mugs, pretty pillows, plants, flowers, nice blankets, cosy socks etc. All of these make your pictures homely and relatable.
5. Hashtag and follow!
To make yourself known in the community, interaction is key! Hashtagging your photos with well-known community hashtags are a great way of promoting your posts, allowing like-minded accounts to see your content. Some good book hashtags are: #bookstagram #bookblog #bookcommunity #bookish #readersofinstagram #booksbooksbooks. Additionally, following other accounts gets your account noticed. Follow as many bookish accounts as you can, do some research into the best bookstagram account to follow and build up your own network and community. You’ll notice that your own followers begin to grow as well! On top of this, to get your name out there, comment and like other people’s pictures on their feeds. This starts a conversation and is a great way to share your thoughts on other reviews. You may even make some new friends.
6. Have fun!!
Most importantly – have fun!! Bookstagram is a fantastic community with millions of users who all love books. It’s a great place to chat about books and share your reviews and pictures. As well as this, bookstagram is brilliant for keeping up to date with the latest trends and new releases in the book community and above all, you may find some fantastic new books and authors to add to our TBR pile!
A few of our interns at Ringwood Publishing have bookstagram accounts! For inspiration, feel free to check out their pages: @sarabethsbooks, @word_chutney