So, you've decided to take the plunge and join Bookstagram. Congratulations! You are in for a good time. Bookstagram is a sweet virtual gathering spot on Instagram for book lovers across the world. You will find all kinds of Ink Drinkers here: book clubbers, authors, fan fiction addicts, bookworms, crazy cat ladies, book collectors- your basic book junkies. They post book recommendations, book reviews, beautiful book photography, funny bookish life reels, informative carousels, cute book product promotions, requests for Beta and ARC readers- basically anything & everything book related. Does this sound like your kind of people, your tribe, your jam? Then get started today- you won't be sorry.
1. Download the Instagram App or
Add an Account
The very, very first step is to go to your app store and download the Instagram app. You will need to follow the directions and set up your account.
If you already have a personal account but would like to set up an account solely for Bookstagram, you will need to add an account. Follow these three steps:
Hint: To switch between accounts, click on the down arrow next to your username. I put a purple circle around it in the top picture.
2. Think of Handle (aka Your Username)
This is the fun part! Start brainstorming your favorite books, characters, nicknames, or bookish terms to create your clever handle. Here are 10 ideas to get you started (or at least provide inspo):
a. (Your Name) + bookshelf
b. (Your Name) + bookspace
c. (Your Name) + ofgreengables
d. Little + (Your Name)
e. (Your Name) + doesromance
f. (Your Name) + litpicks
g. (Your Name) + isabookaholic
h. booksand + (whatever you love)
i. (Your Name) + readsand(whatever you love)
j. (Your Name) + of (a favorite fictional place)
3. Create Your Profile
Your Bio information is very important in helping Instagram's algorithm know what type of account you are and to who to show your content.
And let's say you create an awesome post & someone says- "Hey, who is that girl?" They're going to go to your profile so they can decide if you're an account they'd like to follow. Make sure they know books are your jam!
#a. Tell them this is a bookstagram account.
#b. Let them know what genres you love.
#c. Let them know if you're a writer, a reader accepting Arcs, an editor, an illustrator, a reviewer- what do you do in Book World?
#d. And then maybe give them a personal insight: your faith, your hobby, your obsession- give them a glimpse into your personality and what makes you tick.
Check out my profile info as an example. Whatever you do- don't skip this easy, but important step- it takes 1 click & some typing.
Hint #1: Don't forget to scroll to the bottom & choose your category. This tag will show up underneath your profile pic & your name (I picked the "writer" category). This not only gives visitors insight into who you are but also helps Instagram's algorithm.
Hint #2: Give some thought as to what you include. Visit other people's profiles to get a feel for the type of info people include on their profiles. If you want to be an ARC reader- be sure to let people know. If you edit- let people know. If you have a talent for illustrations- what should you do??? LET PEOPLE KNOW!
Hint #3: Don't overthink it! This can be edited as often as you like- so no pressure.
4. Add a Website Link
Before you leave your profile, don't forget to add a link to your website. In the picture above, I added a pink circle to where you add your website link. This gives people an opportunity to check out your blogs, products, or services that you may post about from time to time. If you don't have a website, leave this cell blank- no biggie.
5. Decide on Public or Private Setting
If you have a personal account, you can make it private. In this type of account, people have to request to follow you. The advantage of this type of account is that you control who sees your content and you avoid annoying bot (fake) followers. The disadvantage, you are very limited in who sees your content making it very hard to gain followers.
I highly recommend setting up a creator account. (A business account is for those selling a product.) This type of account must remain public but you gain valuable access to analytics which will give you data on engagement, follower profiles, and account growth. This type of account will also give you a wider reach and access to more like-minded people. Follow the directions below to make the change.
Once your switch your account to a content creator, you will be able to access analytics on your profile page.
6. Post Your Content
Are you ready? It's time to post some book stuff. What is going to be your first post? A book review, a TBR list, a reel featuring your book haul, a shelfie, your current read, a funny book meme... the options are limitless! For more ideas read 30 Bookstagram Post Ideas.
(And if you would like to familiarize yourself with Bookstagram lingo, read 100 Terms for Book Lovers and Bookstagrammers.)
Again, don't overthink this. Focus on the fun! Your post content and comfort level will improve with every post. Bookstagram is a pretty friendly community- we're book people after all.
7. Start Collecting Books
Now the fun part! If you're going to be a true blue bookstagrammer, you're gonna need the goods! Aka- BOOKS!! The truth- it's possible to Bookstagram without a book collection- there are some who do it and do it well. They very smartly and frugally use library books.
Me? I'm buying books and all the things that make me smile about books! (See #9 Buy Some Props and my blog post 35 things Gift Ideas for Book Lovers.)
So, you do you- buy books, borrow books, thrift books, swap books- we don't judge. Just know- you now have a great excuse to buy books every week- and we've got your back!
8. Create an Aesthetic (optional)
Some accounts are intimidatingly b-u-ti-ful! So, I won't show you theirs- I'll show you mine! I don't have the perfect reel-to-picture/canva ratio to make my Bookstagram feed have an awe-inspiring aesthetic. However, I do keep my feed full of (mostly) hues of violets & blues. I also tend to limit my font use to 1-3 options. Will visitors to my profile ohh & ahh over my Bookstagram feed? Doubt it- but it does make my feed appear more cohesive.
I struggle with creating a true aesthetic because I like to post what I want, when I want. But if you have the discipline to keep a routine rotation between reels and picture posts- you could rock an aesthetic.
With that being said, I do like a general theme (limited color and font use) because it provides guidelines/parameters as I create my posts, carousels, and reel covers- speeding up the process. The trick is to let aesthetics be your guide, not your trap.
9. Buy some props (optional)
I've tried life as a minimalist- like 6 months out of 30+ years of adulthood! And I'm here to tell you- I love me a maximalist lifestyle. I'm a creative. I love to be inspired by the things that surround me. I like to think my home decor, fashion, and Bookstagram photos are an extension of my creative expression.
I say this to give you "permission" to buy yourself some fun props. Begin by purchasing 3-5 props that you think will enhance your photos.
Then go around your house and do an inventory of things that fit into your aesthetic, your color scheme, and your bookish vibe.
Here's a list of some great props for your Bookstagram photos:
a. candles/twinkle lights
c. inspirational/funny signs
d. timekeepers (hourglasses/clocks)
e. blankets, sweaters, scarves...
h. word boards/wipe erase boards
i. coffee or tea mugs
j. bookish things: bookmarks, bookends, bookshelves, book nooks...
Hint: You will more than likely create graphics as well as reels and beautiful photographs on Bookstagram. My must-have Bookstagram tool is Canva. It's not a prop, but it's a splurge purchase you may want to consider. If you look at my Bookstagram feed @staceywritesandreads, you'll see about 30% of my posts are created using Canva.
10. Follow Bookstagrammers & Engage with Their Posts
Once you set up your account and make a few posts, it's time to engage with other Bookstagram accounts. By that, I mean, heart their posts and make comments. Answer the question of the day, give your opinion on the book they reviewed, recommend a similar book- you get the idea.
And always, ALWAYS respond to comments left on your post. You are kindling a spark. You never know where these beginning comments may lead. A few months after I started my Bookstagram account, I responded to a call to join an accountability writing group on Thursday mornings (as did 3 other writers). This became an amazing support system of women cheering each other on in the writing process!
The point: you never know where engagements will lead you and what friendships are waiting for you.
That's it, girl! That's all it takes to start your account and become Bookstagram famous! Please take a moment to follow me @staceywritesandreads before you blow up and become a megastar. Stay humble and remember your roots!