Bookstagram 101

Bookstagram 101

You’d be interested in finding out what exactly is a bookstagram if you are a book enthusiast, a writer, a blogger under the book-blogging niche or just someone who has been swept off of their feet by the obnoxiously beautiful images of books on Instagram   You also might have followed a certain tag to see more of these tempting images. This post will show you why you should even bother with bookstgraming. What is there to gain? How to become an A-list bookstgramer, what bookstgramers to follow for inspiration, and lastly bookstgraming hacks to make your life easier.

What is Bookstagram?
It is an Instagram specialty. Keeping in line with the visual appeal and theme oriented feed that Instagram is known for, many book bloggers and book lovers take their love for the books and create images that are not only beautiful, but also visually represent the book frenzy.

What good is it?
If you’re a book blogger a bookstagram is the ideal type of content you should be posting on your Instagram not only because of how popular this trend is but also because this will help you engage with the right kind of audience for your niche. I love to find images of books I have never even heard of and I almost always find myself taking a screenshot to save for later book hauls and inspiration. What is even more interesting for me to find is a book review link that comes up in the bio after the bookstagram because I definitely want to know more about the book. If you are a writer or a distributor of books its excellent promotion for your book. There are countless books that I know about that have made it to my TBR or are among my favorites which I came to know about because of a bookstagram that popped up in my feed.

How to get bookstagraming like a pro?
Bookstagram is any picture that contains, of course, a book, set in a visually appealing background. Usually props are added such as a teacup, or more books, flowers, notebook, journals, the original Mona Lisa if you will, because yes, bookstagram is quite an extravaganza.

But do not be discouraged. Bookstagram isn’t about showing off your book collection and props to an extent of downright clutter and confusion. Not only is it impractical to photograph all your belonging next to a book, it also looks stupid trying to decorate an entire rug with all the stationary you own and the same potpourri from 50 images in a go. Let’s not forget that bookstagram is no arms race and the sole purpose of bookstgraming is to share one’s love for books and while doing so incorporate decent photography skills.

Speaking of photography, I have to stress that quality of the image counts. Nobody likes blur anything. Which means that if you want to take bookstagraming to a professional level, you might want to invest in a good camera not that you cannot do with just your phone camera. Photography isn’t just about having a fancy camera just as bookstagraming isn’t about having more books. Either way it’s about skill and whatever works for you.

Note:  all the pictures in this blog post were taken using my phone camera not a professional camera.

Now this blog post isn’t going to be a tutorial on photography but to achieve a bookstagram worthy photo you must take care of certain elements such as lighting and angles, just like you would with any other photograph.

You may also want to edit your images and here’s a list of editing apps that you can’t go wrong with.

  1. VSCO
  2. Snapseed
  3. Adobe Photoshop Express
  4. Canva
  5. and Instagram itself because their filters and editing options are pretty cool as well.

In order to give your bookstagram the professional make-over you need to consider Watermarking it. Watermarking will not only help reserving your rights to the image, it’s also about marketing.

What all the prettiest Instagram feeds (irrespective of bookstagram) have in common is that they stick to a theme. They don’t post images that don’t compliment other post and you might want to pay attention to that.
In order to get maximum visibilty in other people’s feed which means more likes, you need to use hashtags. 20 hashtags or above work for Instagram and besides #bookstagram here’s a list of the most popular Instagram hashtags that you can use to make your bookstagram more popular.

#bookaddict
#bookstagram
#bookporn
#booknerd
#bookworm
#goodreads
#epicreads
#books
#bookclub
#bibliophile
#whattoread
#bookshelf
#currentlyreading
#booklovers
#readingchallenge
#bookphotography
#bookofinstagram
#beautifulbooks

If you are reading a popular book, a series or the work of a popular author you might want to use the names as hashtags for e.g. #crookedkingdom #johngreen #asongoficeandfire etc. You may also want to add genre specific hashtags such as #dystopian #darkfantasy #nonfiction etc.

Another trick is making your bookstagram interactive. You don’t just want the image of a book showing up in people’s feed because at the very best that will get you likes. What you also need in order to be a successful bookstgramer is engagement on your post. You need insight on the image and you need to compel the viewer to take action. You can always leave a question or a prompt for discussion such as asking people about the love/hate percentage of a character in the book or asking them to give you suggestion on what to read after. The idea is to start a discussion with the picture in the caption. It is not just the likes that count.

Lastly a little bit of wisdom on bookstagraming to make it easier to post quality content consistently:

  1. Scheduling posts for later with apps such as Hootsuite or Later. Think about it like this; if you die today, you posts are still going up.
  2. Using apps such as My Clipboard for keeping all the hashtags you’ll use just a tap away. This will save you the trouble of adding each individual hashtag every time you post.
  3. Adding hashtags in the comments isn’t a good idea.
  4. You need to plan your entire bookstagraming process as well and there isn’t always and app for it. Spare one day in the week, preferably weekend to take as many pictures as possible. Back them up. And make sure you are very picky with what you decide to post.
  5. You can complement your bookstagraming with relevant content such as quotes or facts about writers.
  6. You might want to join the bookstagram community by taking part in of the many reading challenges.
  7. For inspiration here are a few of my favorite accounts to follow: bookishmaug, bookbosomed.id, crimebythebook, bookbaristas, sweptawaybybooks, inkandfable,
  8. Lastly, try to be unique. Try to not do what everyone’s doing. A bookstagram can be a lot of things but it can’t be boring.

Read more on book blogging here.
Share your tips on bookstagraming in the comments below.

Momina Arif.

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