Thinking about joining this amazing community or already part of it and unsure about a few things? This article is for you.
Bookstagram is like the name says – books (posted) on Instagram. As with books, there are as many ways as there are genres to approach this. And as with life – your vibe attracts your tribe!
As with every community, there are do’s and don’ts. But a few friends and I decided we just wanted to put out a list of myths. A shout-out to Leora Kerswill (@octothorpereaderleorak) and Meredith Mara (@meredith.mara) for collaborating on this list. Here are some things we’ve learned by experience and picked up around the community. Hopefully, they’ll help you on your journey through this bright and colourful community
Disclaimer: This article is an opinion piece and based on our own unique experiences. Contributors for this article have been listed with each of their contributions. This, in no way, represents the whole of the Bookstagram community. We cannot speak for the community, only from our experience.
In all honesty, there are a few more than 10 myths here, but there was just too much worth mentioning
You need to be an influencer – Bookstagram is a community, where like-minded people connect on the topic of books. We get to share in our love of reading and other bookish related things across various genres. Yes, there are some major influencers amongst us, but major influencers are also just regular people who simply want to share what they love most about books.
Sidebar: When it comes to being an influencer, each country has specific laws in place. Make sure you are well aware of what is in your right to post and what is not.
You have to be a reviewer/ in with publishers – Absolutely not. At first glance, it may not seem that way, but look closely, and you’ll quickly realize that the majority on Bookstagram is not connected with publishers or weekly reviewers. Also, it stands to say that being in with a publisher is little compared to the validation you’ll get from enjoying what you read and loving what you post every day.
You have to have thousands of followers to fit in – Umm… well, if that’s true, then I’m not sure what I am doing here. For me, it boils down to this, why are you on Bookstagram? In most cases, your follower count doesn’t matter – unless you are here only to gain followers, of course. And, hey, that’s your prerogative, but, just putting it out there, followers alone may not be enough to sustain your Bookstagram joy. Your following will grow when you post and engage consistently, but the heart of this community is book-love, sharing content, and making genuine connections, both virtual and IRL. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you are successful!
You need to have a ‘theme’ or an ‘aesthetic’ from day 1 – Don’t mind me, I’m just rolling on the floor here, laughing at that bag of baloney. Some of the biggest accounts today began their Bookstagram journey without a cohesive look and feel. Bookstagram has been around for a long time, and aesthetic evolves. We’re here to share our love of reading and bookish thing, aesthetics are in no way a requirement! Yes, Instagram is a visual platform, but the only thing bookworms (mostly) look for is that a book is the main focal point of your photo. Don’t get swept up in the trends and hours of editing your photos. Aesthetics and filters are trends that come and go. If you want to style your photos or edit them all fancy because that brings you joy, go you! Post what you love, not what you think others may or may not want to see.
Definition of Aesthetic:Dictionary.com
concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty.
“the pictures give great aesthetic pleasure”
a set of principles underlying the work of a particular artist or artistic movement.
*Please note: the term aesthetic is a generalized description, not a prescribed theme as some would have you believe. Below are examples of some different aesthetics you can follow, and a shoutout to local bookies who I think have some cool feeds. I have also included my own, Meredith Mara’s and Octothorpereaderleorak’s.
Bookstagram is a full-time job/career – Bookstagram is what you make it. As with all social media platforms, you choose what you see and who you allow to influence you. For me, Bookstagram is a hobby. Yes, I put a lot of work into my feed and blog, but I do not make any money out of the content I create. There are a few Bookstagrammers who do, so it’s certainly possible if that’s what you’re aiming for. Even though, currently, book influencers still make a fraction compared to, say, lifestyle influencer. That being said, committing to Bookstagram takes some work and, yes, to some extent, a bit of planning, too. When you’re just starting out or hit a creative rut, #bookstagramchallenges are a great way to get your creative juices flowing.
Follow for follow is a must – ABSOLUTELY NOT! Unless you see something here that’s worth your time and makes your eyes happy, you don’t have to follow me. I don’t follow people out of obligation—and neither should you! Bookstagram is and should be a happy space. Not a high school popularity contest. [If you are following me purely to gain a follower, you’ve landed on the wrong page.] The content I create is sparked by what I feel may be missing—a gap or void that needs filling. I try to address questions I’ve struggled to find answers to, and I answer them here just in case someone else is struggling to find those answers, too. Many accounts are happy to do follow for follow, and again, do what makes you happy. There is no right or wrong. Personally, I follow people who will uplift me when I’m in a slump, who post content I want to read, showcase books I’m interested in, or whose pictures are so straight-up stunning I want to print them out and hang them up on my walls. What I find valuable and what you find valuable will be two different things. Make your own list of which content and which creators bring you joy. The only right way to do Bookstagram, is to do you—that is the beauty of this community.
Your Bookstagram can only be books based – Nope. Many double-niche grammers share their other passions on Bookstagram, too. Content creation is hard work, and we are not linear in our interests. If you love crafts or bujo or food—incorporate those interest into your feed. Just don’t forget to post about books. My advice, you can probably get away with featuring your other interests every second post, just add a book to the picture. It’s all about balance. Check out @Reedwithmiriam on Instagram, who’s absolutely nailed this, in my opinion.
Bookstagram is a competition — *laughing hard* because, no. There are always those who seem driven by the need to make everything a race. ALWAYS. But in this community, they are in the minority! Please unfollow them if they are killing your happy vibes and follow grammers who inspire and uplift you. Life is hard enough; we don’t need to make Bookstagram harder.
Likes are everything – No, just no. ENGAGEMENT is EVERYTHING. People are looking to connect and make friends. So reply to those comments, get to know the people in this amazing community. Don’t want to engage? That is also okay. Sometimes we all just need to see a beautiful picture to brighten our day.
The point is to be genuineMeredith Mara
You need expensive props to take stunning photos – LEE will be the first to tell you that, nope, you don’t, and I’m with Lee on this one. Sometimes inexpensive everyday things make the best props. Personally, I enjoy creating DIY props. I love the creativity behind it. So it’s totally up to you. That doesn’t mean I’m not absolutely envious of the gorgeous tiara/crown Lee features on her feed. *sighs and add to Amazon wish list in a dreamy daze*
Book collectors vs. readers – MEREDITH recently mentioned this to me, and it’s such a great point. On Bookstragram, you’ll come across three main types of grammers – readers, collectors, and those who read and collect. (Meredith is both a reader and a collector.) Each group is distinctly its own, and no group is ‘more Bookstragram’ than the other. You will find collectors who showcase beautiful books in every post, often multiple editions, and those readers who feature, for example, their current read, library hauls, or e-readers. You will come across readers who make short work of a hundred plus books a year and those who read five.
Being a bookworm is not a sliding scale, it’s something you areMeredith Mara
Whether collector, reader, or both, if you are on Bookstagram, you belong, and (please keep in mind) so does every other bookworm, too.
You need to be subscribed to all the book boxes to be taken seriously – LEE brilliantly touched on this topic in an unboxing video she posted on YouTube (Click here to view), which I highly recommend watching. Subscribing to a subscription box is something you should do only if it brings you joy. Each box is a financial investment and, yes, something to showcase on Bookstagram, but unless this purchase brings you joy away from social media—don’t do it. Your authenticity as a bookstagrammer is not determined by the size of your collection. You can create amazing content on a very tight budget. You also do not have to be a full-blown fangirl/fanboy/fanperson to be a bookstagrammer. And you definitely do not have to collect merchandise for every book you read. If it is not your thing, that is okay!
I need to read like 200 books a year – Well, then by this measure I can’t join up. Reading is a time-consuming activity. It takes several hours (sometimes days) to finish a book, no matter how well it is written. Most of us have full-time jobs—to pay the bills because we Bookstagram for free!—and read when we can. There are Bookstagrammers who read five books a year and those who read upwards of a hundred. It is your choice, and you don’t have to set an official GoodReads goal. If you have a full-time job, ten kids, and an entire farm to deal with and manage to read even two books – you deserve an award! Bookstagram is about celebrating books and supporting our fellow bookworms.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and feel a bit more empowered on your Bookstagram journey. Check back soon for more tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your Bookstagram account.