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What is Bookstagram?

Updated: Aug 20, 2022

Bookstagram is a niche within Instagram devoted to Book Lovers with the purpose of sharing book recommendations, making book friends, and geeking out over books. Bookstagrammers are those who participate in this bookish mayhem.

The fun is limitless. Here's my top 10 list of the things you can do on Bookstagram:

1. Discover your next great read.

Bookstagrammers like to think of themselves as the Siskel and Ebert of books giving their thoughtful critiques and overall rating of the latest releases.

They are more than happy to recommend books for you (& the world)- that's what they live for, darling. I suggest you begin by following the hashtag #bookrecommendations. You can also refine your search to favorite genres like #romcombooks, #fantasybookstagram, or #mgbookvillage. I guarantee you'll find a book that piques your interest on your first scroll.

2. Promote books you love.

Pictured above is an example of one of my 5-star book reviews. I simply highlighted 5 strengths of the book and gave it an overall rating. In my caption below the picture, I summarized the book as well as tagged the author.

You can search #bookstagram or #bookrecs to find inspo for your book recommendation/book review post. I've seen beautiful flatlays, funny reels, passionate book talks, impressive bookstacks, and dozens of other unique book promotion posts. I've seen accounts use the same book recommendation style to create aesthetically pleasing profile feeds. I've also seen accounts do a different kind of promo for every review (ummmm, mine!). The point is- you do you, Boo. Just give us the deets on that great book you've just read! We bookstagrammers crave good books like middle school boys hanker for screen time.

Hint: If you loved a book- don't forget to tag the author. Often times he/she will comment on your post which is pretty stinking cool! It's a win-win for everyone involved. The author gets free advertising, you get to rub elbows with author celebrities, and bookstagrammers get the latest scoop on books. Do you not see the magic of Bookstagram?!

3. Follow authors you admire.

Just as important as tagging authors in your book reviews- is following authors you love. Warning: very few authors will follow you back, but that's okay. The purpose of following authors is to get a glimpse into their writing life, a chance to interact with them on their posts, and sometimes the lucky opportunity to become a Beta or ARC reader for their current WIP. It is amazing how much you learn about the writing life on Bookstagram. Authors become much more than a face on a book jacket. They become living people, with normal lives, and sometimes (just sometimes) they become your friend.

Side note:

WIP: Work in Progress

Beta Reader: The second reader of a book with the author being the first. Beta readers give early feedback to authors as they work through the editing process.

ARC Reader: Advanced Review Copy Readers receive the book before its official pub date so that they can post an honest review on book release day. Reviews are very valuable to the life of a book & thus to the life of an author.

If you would like the 411 on other Bookstagram lingo, read 100 Terms for Book Lovers and Bookstagrammers.

4. Become part of the publishing process.

As mentioned earlier, authors rely on Beta Readers to create the best version of their story and ARC readers to help review and promote their book.

If you feel called to help an author or be a part of the publishing world, start here. Follow authors in genres you love reading. Sooner or later, you are going to come across a post requesting Beta or ARC readers. When you see a book that interests you- don't hesitate to volunteer.

Recently, I volunteered (for the first time) to be an ARC reader for an author I adored- Kelly Macpherson. It was a blast. She sent me a proof copy of the book, cute little stickers, a fun bookmark, and a handwritten thank you letter. My job was simply to read it, enjoy it, and review it. If books are your jam- don't miss out on this kind of fun!

5. Discover fun bookish merch.

Take a look at this reel I posted (below). Tell me you don't want this stuff in your life! Be warned: when you enter the world of Bookstagram- you're going to see A-L-O-T of stuff that you just have to have. You should probably begin brainstorming ways to support your new addiction right now. (And you thought spending too much money on books might be a problem. Ha! Ha! That's only the beginning, Honey!)

If you want a head start on your book merch collection, read 35 Gift Ideas for Book Lovers and get yourself something real nice. Celebrate your new adventure- you deserve it! (See how supportive we bookstagrammers are of each other. It truly is a community!)

6. Laugh at yourself and your book obsession.

One of my absolute favs on Bookstagram are the reels. We bookstagrammers are acutely aware of our book psychosis, and we choose to embrace it. We love laughing at our outlandish trips to bookstores, our unrequited crushes on fictional (yet perfect) men, our preference to socialize with books more than people, and our penchant for cats. They say that truth is stranger than fiction- it's also funnier. So, show us your weirdo book life in reel form. We promise we're not laughing at you- we're laughing with you. (Here's a peek into my weirdo book life!)

7. Explore your creative side.

There is a certain art to Bookstagram photos- especially the flatlays and bookstacks. (I hope you read my 100 Bookstagram Terms.) I have a lot of fun creating book layouts and I still have a lot to learn about photography. But I'm experimenting and creating- and isn't that one of life's great joys?

So, scroll through Bookstagram (maybe follow #flatlays or #bookstacks) and find inspiration for your creations. Don't worry about being amazing- just create. Some posts will flop, some will soar. Some you will love, some not so much. But post anyway- because even if your picture isn't a Picasso, you're sharing a good book with your new friends and that's another great joy in life!

8. Learn new things.

Again, no one expects you to be an expert on day one. Want to know a secret- it really doesn't matter because you usually don't have many followers in the beginning anyway. Part of the fun is learning how to make creative photograph compositions and take great pictures. The other part is discovering your writing style as you post your reviews. And the other part is learning fun bookish things like the latest book releases, how books are published, quirks and trends in different genres, what words like trope and WIP mean, the value of classics, popular bookclubs (PopSugar, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah)- basically everything you ever wanted to know about books!

But wait there's more- seeing your growth in book knowledge and Bookstagram style that first year is amazing. So, do yourself a favor & mark down your Bookstagram anniversary and don't forget to look back on the year's posts. You may get a good laugh at your first few posts (the horrible lighting, the spelling errors, the weird prop) and you'll probably be shocked at just how many books you read!

9. Make new book-loving friends.

I saved the best for nineth- which is weird, so I love it. Bookstagram is an online community you can actually make friends. It won't happen overnight, but if you continue to comment on the same people's posts, eventually you may DM each other & maybe even meet up at bookish events.

I found my writing tribe through Bookstagram. We meet virtually on Thursdays to discuss books and get some writing done. I love it and I almost didn't do it! That would've been tragic. Don't be tragic!

Ink Drinkers are usually introverted creatures, so Bookstagram seems to be a logical place to make friends. You can think through your posts without blurting out awkward observations like you do in real life. You get to discuss books without people thinking you're a complex human variant with whom they can't relate. You can show off your cat and brag about being a cat lady. Bookstagram is a space filled with your people- you're bound to find one or two book nerds to call your book friends.

10. Share your love of books with the world.

Sharing your love of books is your gift to the world. It ensures the legacy of story carries on to the next generation. With all the negativity and meanness in the virtual world, Bookstagram provides a happier space with much more interesting conversations than what a dumb politician did to scam us, or how best to apply our eyeshadow, or who's dating who in Hollywood. So, join Bookstagram and help us fill the world with the best thing ever- books!

If this sounds like your kind of fun, then read Wanna Be Bookstagram Famous? to learn how to start your Bookstagram Account. Or if you're already on Instagram, follow me @staceywritesandreads so we can become book friends!

Happy posting!


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