Choosing a Name
I feel like this is one of the most important steps to having a successful Bookstagram. Basically, people will know you by this name and it needs to be something they remember. Here are some ways to come up with your name:
- Think about what type of reader you are (ex: slow, fast, have a ton of books, love to fangirl/boy). Combine an adjective describing your reading with something like “reader” “reads” “books” “pages” “literature” or “fiction”
- slothreading, hoardedfiction, speedyliterature, cheetahreads
- Take your name or a characteristic of you and combine it with a book-related word.
- Jessicaspages, maryfiction, emilybooks
- Use your fandom
- crookshankslibrary, celaenareading, lunarliterature
Just be creative! If you loved any of these names, I chose ones that are not taken at the moment. My own username is another example: infinite and TBR combined.
Choosing a Theme
Themes attract followers, mostly because they are the surface of your account.
- White themes are the main theme chosen. They are crisp and bright, and easily accomplished with a white table, blanket, sheets, or poster board.
- Wooden themes have a classy and vintage feel, giving your account a nice vibe. You can use your flooring, a table, or a piece of plywood.
- Nature themes include flowers, pine straw, water, or anything of the like. This is a good theme for people who enjoy the outdoors and a pretty, free look.
- Bookshelf themes are perfect for a homey feel and for people without many backgrounds to choose from. It shows off your shelf and can be very versatile if you change around the order of your books (such as rainbow bookshelves)
- Filters can make a feed look beautiful even without using the same background every time. I recommend going onto Pinterest and searching “instagram feed” for amazing filter instructions.
The key to pretty, appealing pictures is your camera, lighting, and the apps you use. If you have a phone, you have a camera. But sometimes the camera on your phone can make pictures fuzzy, so make sure to take pictures in a room where there is plenty of light to minimize the fuzziness. I use a D60 camera and it has never failed me! For the lighting part of your pictures, I recommend shooting in front of a window or use the flash on your camera (but beware the ugly glare that can appear on shiny books).
There is nothing worse than posting a picture of quali-tay and receiving very few likes! It may not be you or your picture’s fault. There are actually specific times that are the worst and best to post.
Worst: 11am-4pm EST
Best: 6pm-9pm EST
For the worst times, Bookstagram is almost completely dead. You have to remember that people aren’t on here all day…well, most of us, that is. They will be at work or even sleeping in other countries. I have found that the best times are around 6pm, when so many more people will see it.
These are like your own mini blog. If you’re on Bookstagram, chances are you like talking about books! Ask a question, or even talk about the book you are currently reading. Just…no spoilers. We will probably all gang up on you.
These. Are. SO. Important! People cannot find you otherwise. However, they can get pretty annoying if they are all in your caption for the world to see. Yes, you must hide that dirty little secret of using hashtags. Even though everyone does it.
Rather than put the hashtags in the caption of your photo, comment them as soon as you post. I usually save them in my Notes app. You can change around hashtags, but here are the ones I use:
#bookie #bookstagram #instaread #instabook #booknerd #bookworm #book #books #bookaholic #readaholic #instaread #yalit #yaliterature #yareads #ilovebooks #bibliophile #booklover #bookcover #reader #reading #bookhoarder #bookaddict #readit #ireadya #fiction #bookcommunity #igreads #instabooks #totalbooknerd #bookstagramfeature
Why the dashes, you ask? Whenever you post with those, there is a […] where the hashtag would be under the caption, just to further hide your little secret. Go ahead and try it.
The last hashtag is an example of a features account. If the owners of this account like your photo, they may feature it on their account (where they have several thousand followers) and help you bring more people to your account!
Hack: If you cannot add any more hashtags to the ones commented since it will not let any more be added, there is a way to get around that. After you post and comment your hashtags, go back into the caption of your photo and add more hashtags. It will not let you if you do it before you comment.
TBR: to be read
BOTM: book of the month, typically used by book clubs
S4S: this is used by all of Bookstagram, but means shoutout for shoutout. Large accounts often do these, and by participating in one, you have the chance to get a shoutout to increase the people on your account.
F4F: follow for follow. You can use this by commenting on other people’s pictures. However, this does not guarantee active followers and can annoy larger accounts.
These are like challenges for taking pictures. Examples include #bookishheart and #greenbooks, where people tag others in the picture, basically telling them to participate in the hashtag. Now all you have to do is mention in your caption that they tagged you in this hashtag and post a picture similar to it! I also recommend starting a tag journal because tags add up fast!
I’m so happy you are thinking about joining the community or are already in it! Please comment any questions and your Bookstagram name.