if you don’t know, a bookstagram is simply a bookish instagram account. you share pictures of books and… books, and sometimes coffee with books or socks with books, but basically BOOKS.
people often ask me, “how do i start a bookstagram account?” but i always felt it was a bit redundant to answer because you just… make one? however, sometimes it’s more than just making an account; it’s about being part of the community as well as making an account. so hopefully this post will help your bookstgrammin’ journey. (and if you already have a bookstagram… HELLO, PAL!)
step one: download the instagram app
you can download the app on (almost) any apple, android, and windows operating system. this can be a phone, tablet, ipod… you get the idea.
step two: think of a username & make an account
your username is how others in the community will identify you as. it’s more important than your own name in the bookstagram world. when people think of your account, they’ll more likely be thinking, “i love @insert-username-here!” than, “i love insert-name-here’s account!” i mentioned some tips in my HOW TO START A BLOG post, but here are some more (and some repeated) suggestions when thinking of a username:
- don’t make it too long; usually one to three words is good
- refrain from excessive amount of periods, underscores, and numbers; @r_e_a_d_e_r248957 is probably not the best way to go
- use keywords that relate to whatever it is you’re talking about (ex: books, read, pages, etc.)
- you can use already existing words and respell it in your own way (ex: @bloomsbery vs @bloomsburypublishing)
- you can also try to make it personal and incorporate yourself into the name (ex: @blueeyedbiblio has blue eyes)
- brainstorm and try to think of a few possible ones before deciding on the name
after you decided on a name (you can always change this later if you grow to dislike it), you register to create an account! make sure the username you chose isn’t already in use or else you’ll need to think of another one (which is why it’s good to have a few other choices as well).
step three: update your info
it’s always good to share some information about yourself in the bio. it’s one of the first things people see when clicking your account. like your username, you can always change it later if you don’t like it. bookstagrammers often like to include…
- how many books you read that year
- age and/or location of residence
- some short phrases about yourself
- your favorite quote
- other social media accounts, if you have any
- a business email, if you have one
- a simple sentence or whatever you want
my current bio
another thing i recommend updating is your profile picture. for me, this is the first thing i see when looking at accounts. if the photo is the generic instagram head, or if it’s something blurry and unidentifiable, there’s a very high chance i wouldn’t bother looking at the account. for all i know, it could be a spam account! if you have a nice profile photo, i can safely assume that your photos will be just as nice. *clicks follow*
step four: take some bookish photos
you don’t need a fancy-schmancy camera to take book photos; you can simply use your phone. BUT if you’re very particular about lighting, quality, etc., then you could also use a more “professional” camera but that’s not ~required~. i could go into more detail on how to take book pictures, but i shared my book photography process here and i’ll just link you to that instead. TL;DR: take some pictures with some books, edit it them however you desire, and share ‘em.
some of my recent photos from @twirlingpages (aka the “feed/theme” of my account)
another thing a lot of bookstagrammers keep in mind of is a “theme” or overall look of your account. this can be a filter you always use, a background you generally take your book pictures, or overall aesthetic. i don’t like having a set theme/filter – tried it a few times and always gave up after like five pictures – but some common ones are usually clean (white background), nature-y, or vibrant… you get the idea. i try to share pictures that are colorful and bright, but you find your ~aesthetic~ and do your thing!
step five: post your photo(s)
you set up your account and took your photos; now it’s time to show them to the world! try to think of a fitting caption. it could be something related to your picture, or it could be something acknowledging your journey into bookstagram. if you included some books (or a singular book) with an author or publishing company with an instagram account, i’d suggest tagging them in the photo as well as hashtagging them in the caption.
you can include hashtags in the comments (so there’s not a huge chunk of tags in your caption), or you can include it in the caption. (i include it in the comments, as it’s my personal preference.) some popular tags include #bookstagram, #books, #reader, #bookworm, etc. i wouldn’t recommend hashtagging things like #followforfollow or #likeforlike because the people searching those tags generally aren’t bookish people. i could honestly say i stalk some of the bookstagram related tags and find new accounts that way.
step six: find, follow, and interact with other bookstagrammers
this is a crucial step in putting yourself out there. follow “big” accounts you admire and follow new accounts that you feel deserve more credit. like and comment on their photos, and in the process you’ll make some friends! one big thing i suggest you DON’T do is to comment “new account! follow me!” or “love this! follow me!” onto people’s photos. it’s a bit rude and there’s a higher chance of people avoiding your account than following. if you simply leave nice comments or contribute in the conversation, people will naturally find your account. <333