You may not know but I have been on Instagram for a year now and my account has been growing really fast without me realising what was happening or how I got so lucky. Over the months, many people asked for my advice and even though I gave some, I felt silly because I had so much to say and never really had the occasion to develop my thoughts.
This is why I am bringing you today the Bookstagram Guide which will be devided in three parts: the first part will explain you how to start, the second one will focus on the editing part and the third one on how to progress through the months. I know those kind of posts have been done a lot so I’ll try to say new things and talk about my story as well. In no way I am assuming that I know everything about bookstagram – this is only to help, as those blog posts have been helpful to me when I began to be sure I wasn’t doing anything wrong.
HOW TO START
- Find a name
Now that you decided that you wanted to join the bookstagram community, you need a username. This step may seems easy but is actually really important. It should reflect your account, your personality and actually be striking. It can be the first thing people will see about your account, so choose carefully. Many people told me they started following me because of my username, and I do give a lot of thoughts before following soemone: Seeing an account being called “b00ks4lif3” won’t make me want to click on it.
Many guides tell you not to choose a too long username and it’s true that short ones are somehow better but mine is long and it never bugged me. The only advice that is worth taking is that your username should be related to literature: it can be a reference to a quote, to a character, to a book or just be related to the act of reading, the pages, the book itself etc: That way people will know your account is a bookstagram without having to click on your profile to check.
- Decide if you want to stick to a theme or not
Now that you have your username, you have to decide what you want your account to look like. All my social medias look alike: they’re all white and apparently minimalist. My bookstagram also follows those rules and I work hard to maintain a feed.
What is a theme or a feed: it's the aesthetic of your account. Having a feed means that all your pictures look great together - they do not have to look alike but they respond to each others because of the colours you use.
It’s okay if you don’t want to start a theme because I know they are hard to stick to but I won’t lie: it’s better if you do. Most people I follow have one. I started to follow them because when I went on their accounts the whole thing looked professional and thought.
I will talk more about editing and maintaining a feed on the second part of this guide.
- Post on a schedule
A lot of people believe that posting once a week should be enough, but it’s not. You have to be constant in your posts and to give people something new at least every two days. When I started my account, I used to post twice a day and it worked. More people were joining every day. When I started to have a lot of followers, I decided to lower it to one post per day. Now, I post every day except on the weekend.
Many accounts still post twice or more, but you must be careful: do not over post (it can be frustrating for others and many won’t see them) and make sure you have enough pictures to do so. I highly recommend posted once to twice a day – it is enough and will make people want to see more of your work.
- Talk to people and make friends
Now here is the most important tip I can give you. I started following many people because we started being friends, and not for their pictures. Plus, talking to people will make others commenting on your posts and talking about your account. So do not be shy: comment under others pictures, answer to stories, tell people you love their work.
I know how hard this can be but I can assure you that 95% of people on bookstagram are nice and welcoming. I suffer from anxiety but never felt unwanted there. Also, be sure to use the stories and to share about what you are reading, your life or anything on there. This is super useful to create a link between you and your followers.
SOME MORE TIPS
- Do not be obsessed with followers, likes etc
I can see you rolling your eyes and saying, “Easy to say that when you have 13k followers”. But you know what? I also had 0 followers one day and I saw it growing. I was always thankful but never really cared about it – as I said, it came by surprise. All I know is that focusing on this will make you unhappy but I also know that it’s not that easy, that we all look to those numbers at the top of our accounts.
The thing is that we can decide how it affects us. It may take time for you to start seeing it in another way but you will eventually. I can assure you that your followers number does not define you nor your work – many of my favourite accounts don’t have much.
I also know that sometimes it doesn’t work. You may take beautiful pictures but you feel as if your work isn’t acknowledged enough and it’s okay. Your feelings are valid and you shouldn’t feel bad for being that way. So talk about it to your friends, you can even talk to me about it and we’ll find a solution.
The third part of this guide is dedicated on how to make people see your work.
- Look for inspiration
Pinterest will become your bestfriend in no time. If you are looking for inspiration, just log in and search for bookish pictures or else. I can assure you that it will come back. You can also scroll your Instagram feed until you have ideas again.
But be careful: do not copy others pictures. You can be inspired by them but not do the exact same thing. If you feel as if your picture looks too much like another one, send it to the person and ask if it’s okay. Do not forget to credit them even if they say that it is.
- Schedule your photoshoots
How many times have I seen people saying they didn’t have enough pictures? The only advice I have is to schedule your photoshoots and to stick to it. Do as many pictures as you need/can. Sometimes it won’t work, that’s for sure, but you still have to try. Try new things, new places, new angles, new props, but always plan most of your photoshoots and make the best out of it.
- Write captions
I beg you: write captions and ask questions. This may seems really stupid and maybe even logical but it’s not for everyone. Many people just put quotes and got surprised when they have no comments. You have to make people wanting to comment under your pictures.
Many people talk about their days (which I used to do as well) and others do like me and use those captions as mini blog posts. I love to open a debate, so that people can answer and talk in the comments. I always talk about a bookish subject, then ask a question at the end. I feel close to my followers thanks to it, and it has been working amazing since I started. (I also write all of my captions in advance every Monday morning for the entire week. It can take me an hour or so but it’s worth it. If you want me to talk more about I organised myself, tell me and I’ll write a blog post about it.)
- Put hashtags
Future bookstagrammers, use all the bookish hashtags. I usually put them at the end of my caption after three dots so it’s seperated from my text, or in a comment.
Here’s those I use daily:
#bookster #bookstagram #booknerd #book #bookphotography #booklover #pages #instabook #reading #lovereading#vsco #vscocam #bibliophile #bookish#bookstagrammer #igreads #bookaholic#reader #booknookstagram
You can also put hashtags for the author’s names, the title of the book etc. Do not be afraid to use them: It’s a great way to make your work visible.
I’ll talk more about it in the third part.
- No need to have an expensive camera or editing software
Know this: I always used my phone and free applications to take and edit my pictures. I’ll soon have a camera for Christmas but I still got where I am without it. So no pressure: You don’t need anything fancy to start nor to keep running your account.
I’ll talk more about this in the second part.
Now that you know how to start, I can’t wait to see your accounts. Send me your usernames in the comments!