As with any hobby or profession, Bookstagram comes with its own jargon- terms for the insiders. So, if you want to fit-in & have a coveted seat at the Booksta table, you must walk the walk (aka read the books) & talk the talk (aka use the lingo). But for many newbies, it's the "talk the talk" part that keeps them from pulling up a chair. Never fear, I've created a comprehensive Bookstagram Buzz Word list (or listicle on Bookstagram) and if you study it, you'll be talking like a Bookstagram OG (original gangsta) in no time. I even made a free download so you can print it off & refer to it often- especially when you're writing those thought-provoking posts and book reviews.
Let's get this party started!
But wait! Do you even know what Bookstagram is? Bookstagram is a subgenre of Instagram. There is not a Bookstagram app. Bookstagram is basically all the book-related posts on Instagram. Got it?
Now, we're ready to rrrrumbbbblllle!
A mysterious and complex set of processes the Instagram app uses to show people content they will enjoy. You can watch a plethora of YouTube videos on how to tame this beast- but I recommend you ignore it & just have some fun.
ARC (Advanced Reader Copy):
A polished book given to select readers pre-publication with the expectation they will read and review it in order to build the book's hype.
An author you love so much, you buy her book as soon as it's published not giving one iota about its reviews.
An author's full list of published books that were released prior to the current year.
A test you can do on any book with 2 or more women dialoguing in a story. If they don't discuss men, they pass the Bechdel test.
Reading straight through a series.
BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color)
The book's synopsis found on the back cover.
A character that embodies your dream man & makes you search endlessly for his real-life doppelganger. You know- the guy with a chiseled jaw and rock-hard abs who is simultaneously tender-hearted, attentive, and loyal only to you. Warning: this has caused several women to take up residency in Book World never to return to the real world.
Usually, a reel that boasts about all the books you just picked up from a bookstore, library, or thrift store. It inspires other Bookstagrammers to go out & do the same- so don't feel bad about bragging.
Uhhh, books you receive in the mail.
That special, cozy space just for reading.
A post depicting a stack of books usually organized around a theme such as color, author, genre, rainbow, poetry, etc. Get creative & if you come up with a unique bookstack idea- other Bookstagrammers are sure to jump on board! Just don't forget to create a hashtag! P.S. Many Bookstagrammers participate in Bookstacks for a Cause. For example, they will donate a $1 to epilepsy research for every purple bookstack post in March that tags them.
All the paraphernalia that goes along with books and reading. Warning: you will accumulate an insane amount of these goodies if you're in the game for any length of time.
BOTM (Book of the Month):
Several subscription services send book lovers a sweet surprise in their mailbox each month (for a fee- of course).
A condition that sounds horrible but is actually a much sought-after state of mind in Book World. It is a disorienting feeling the reader experiences after finishing an incredible book thus making it hard for her to transition back to reality.
An agreement between 2 Bookstagrammers to read the same book & discuss it via DMs upon completion. This is how bookish friends are made.
The original characters, setting, plot, and quotes of a beloved book that has a good amount of fanfiction.
An in-depth book review system created by book influencers. It is a reminder to review a book's Character, Atmosphere (setting), Writing Style, Plot, Intrigue, Logic (relationships), & Enjoyment. I don't see much of this anymore- so do with it as you want!
CF: (Contemporary Fiction)
Books set in the current time.
A nickname for a cliffhanger: when a book ends at a dramatic point so you must read the sequel to find out what happens. Chapters can also end on cliffies thus causing you to stay up way past your bedtime. Cliffies are those bookish things that hurt so good!
A post where the author or publisher gives readers a sneak peek of a soon-to-be-released book. This is a hype builder.
CR (Currently Reading):
Self-explanatory don't you think?
DNF (Did Not Finish):
This is almost a 4-letter word in Book World. How can any self-respecting book junkie not finish a book? Well, it's the book's fault- of course. In fact, it was so gut-wrenchingly bad that Bookstagram must be made aware that you DNF'd a book. The horror!
A future fictional society with a corrupt & unjust government and a suffering citizenship.
A work of fiction written in letters.
An avid fan using the plot, characters, or setting of a book she loves to create a new story.
Usually included after a post, this is a list of keywords to help the algorithm know who to feed your post to. Just don't use more than 30 of them, and you're probably good with half that. Examples: #Bookstagram #VioletJenkinsSavestheDay #Bookstacksforacause
An entire alternative world is created with magical elements. (Ex: Lord of the Rings)
A category of literature. (Ex: nonfiction, romance, historical fiction, poetry, etc.)
A website devoted to readers. (I'm on there if you want to follow me & check out what I'm reading- click here!)
HEA (Happily Ever After):
Indicates the book comes to a happy, satisfying end.
HIFI (Historical Fiction):
A book set in the past that isn't true.
Books that are either self-published or released by small, independent presses.
When an author unloads a bunch of background information about the character that stalls the story (and annoys the reader).
KU (Kindle Unlimited)
An Amazon subscription service that allows you to read an unlimited number of books from their selection for a monthly fee.
A post or writing presented in the form of lists.
Unreal happenings occur in a rational-world setting. (Ex: A Darker Shade of Magic)
Magic happens in a world like today (time travel, superpowers).
MC: (Main Character)
The hero or heroine of the story.
When 2 love interests have a funny or sweet first encounter.
MG (Middle Grade):
Books targeted to ages 8-12. These are also the nostalgia books- the books that made you fall in love with reading as a kid.
This ink drinker picks a book on a whim based solely on the emotion of the moment- reviews, deadlines, and book clubs be damned!
NA (New Adult Fiction):
A new genre geared toward college or fresh-out-of-college age readers.
A place where book enthusiasts can request ARCs.
NOTP (No True Pairing):
It's the opposite of OTP, so go check it out if you're curious.
Novel in Verse:
A story written via poems.
NSFW (Not Safe for Work):
Books that are too smutty to be lying around in a professional setting.
OTP (One True Pairing):
This is the couple you love & root for. I personally like the old-school vernacular, OTL (One True Love)- but who am I?
PB (Picture Book):
A book written for children in which the story is told via words and illustrations.
An unexpected event in the story that changes everything. AHHH- so divine when done right. So annoying when done wrong!
POV (Point of View):
The view from which the story (or reel) is being told.
QOTD (Question of the Day):
This often-used strategy's purpose is to encourage engagement. And engagement is code for getting people to comment on your post which is supposedly well-liked by the algorithm (the wizard behind the Bookstagram curtain that either sends your post to hundreds of users or limits its visibility to 50 or so making you feel like you've completely wasted your time- but I digress.)
A set amount of time (or genre or titles) bookworms will devote to reading. Some readers challenge themselves to see how many books they can read in a weekend or others may participate in reading only romance novels in February, still others will devote themselves to reading every Stephen King book. This is a reader's idea of exercise- & I'm here for it!
That dreaded state where no book seems to bring you joy. Everything is meh and the world is gray.
RTC (Review to Come):
The Bookstagrammer will post her opinions on the book soon but she couldn't wait to share her pretty book pic.
SF (Science Fiction)
SFF (Science Fiction Fantasy)
A picture of your bookshelf, best if posted on a Sunday.
A book so good, so glorious it reaches into your heart & pulls you out of that reading slump and the world is bright and beautiful again.
Anything in your review or post that would give away too much about the ending or reveals important details in the book. Basically, you're ruining the reader's experience & that's just bad manners in Book World. So, if you must do it, start your caption with a bold "Spoiler Alert!"
A group of bookstagram volunteers who promote a soon-to-be-published book via posts, reels, and reviews. Why would they do this for an author? Because even some authors are lucky enough to have groupies.
You can either tag someone in your photo or in the caption. This allows you to reach their followers as well as your own. Caution: only tag people relative to your post. Don't try to shortcut and tag celebrities. These are usually not the bookish type of followers you want anyway.
TBR (To Be Read):
This is a list or pile of books a bibliophile hopes to read in her lifetime.
I like big books & I cannot lie! (Oops, sorry) Okay, these are big books, and like big humans, they get a nickname. A novel usually has to be over 500 pages to be a tome. I think we can turn this word into cool bookish slang, like "her book collection gives me tome (big book) vibes."
Books released by one of the big five publishing houses. (FYI: The Big 5 includes Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster.)
Listing content in the book that may cause distress to an individual. (Topics like abuse and rape often come with trigger warnings.)
This a predictable plot line such as enemies to lovers, forbidden love, and the reluctant hero. There have been over 150 tropes identified in the Romance genre alone, but readers have their definite favs & definite no thank yous! (Insta Love would be my despised trope- what's yours?)
A post showing an author unveiling her shipment of newly published books (or proofs), a reader opening her subscription box, or a Bookstagrammer showing off bookish merch.
A storyteller who is lying or feeding you misinformation (either on purpose or accident).
WIP (Work in Progress):
An author's current manuscript she's slaving (aka crying) over.
A round-up post of all the books you read the previous month. Bookstagrammers appreciate when you give star ratings & mini-reviews in this type of post.
YA (Young Adult):
Books geared towards 13-19-year-olds- but enjoyed by many adults as well.
Very common Trope Lingo:
Damsel in Distress: The heroine must be saved from bad circumstances by her love interest.
Found Family: a character that has an unstable or non-existent family that finally finds people to create a family of his own.
Enemies to Lovers: People who obviously hate each other fall in love.
Friends to Lovers: People who start out as friends find out there is more to their connection.
Reluctant Hero: An MC not too eager to save the day.
Okay- you're ready to get into the game! The world of Bookstagram needs your book recommendations and fun takes on reading. Follow me @staceywritesandreads so we can become book buddies!