Hi everyone! Over the next month, I’m doing a series of posts about bookstagram because my two year anniversary is coming up! Over two years, I have learned so much and I think I’ve really grown from the first post I posted on bookstagram. The biggest change for me was in my mindset (this will be for another post in this series). I also used to be @lives_in_ya_books and not @solaceinreading_ (another post will be about rebranding yourself/finding your “aesthetic”). I don’t consider myself to be an influencer: I am just a girl who loves books and wants to connect with others who love books as much as I do.
When I first started my bookstagram, I thought I knew what I was doing: I was going to post pretty pictures of books I liked because I like books. I wish I’d known that bookstagram can be SO MUCH MORE!! I’ve connected with authors, people who live in other countries, publishers, etc. My first piece of advice is to: Be willing to try new things.
This was my main location for most of my photos from December 2018 to May 2020. I loved this location because of the natural lighting and how the background complemented any book. Finding the right location is important if you want your feed to have a consistent “look” over time. I didn’t get proper bookshelves until this August, and now that is the main place where I take most of my photos.
It will take a lot of experimentation for you to find out what look you want your feed to have, which leads me to my next piece of advice: find a niche IF YOU WANT. Listen, at first you might find it a bit redundant because there are literally thousands of bookstagrammers and tens of thousands pictures of books. HOWEVER!!!!!!! It’s more important to show your personality and being yourself rather than worry if there are people reading the same books as you. After all, that’s what you want: for people to read books because you do as well.
Anyway, let me get back to the niche part: I used to post about the popular books because that’s all I knew about: examples include Red Queen, Six of Crows, The Lunar Chronicles. Then, I learned that these books are problematic, and also that literally everyone on bookstagram knows about these books or at least has seen these names. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t post about them. I just know for me that I did not want my platform to consist of books that are harmful and do not have good representation. So, I decided to post 99% of the time about books by authors who are people of color because I am a person of color myself. I also expanded my horizons by doing this and was able to read from POVs other than my own (I am Filipino American).
Which leads me to my next point: having a niche will help you find friends!!!! I can 110% verify this: I have made friends who are awesome and are people I know I can talk to because I trust them. Also, having a close friends list is the BEST CHOICE EVER. I am a part of the Asian Bloggers Directory run by Shealea @shutupshealea, and that’s how I’ve received free books from publishers. I really appreciate this because I’ve been able to find more Asian American authors and bloggers and bookstagrammers. This matters to me because I’ve been in quarantine since March (literally I have not hung out with anyone except for one time >six feet apart in my backyard with family friends), and it’s been lonely at times.
This next piece of advice is a little different: Take a lot of photos at the same time. I understand that you may not have time to do this, however, if you do, this is one of most important actions I’ve taken in order to post when I am busy. I will admit that this takes a lot of energy, but the payoff of having a ton of drafted posts will help you when you are feeling burnt out. This leads me to my final piece of advice:
Let ideas come to you naturally. I know for a fact that when I would try to post every day every month in summer, I ended up feeling burnt out and not happy with what I was creating. At the very beginning of my bookstagram, I would usually color coordinate a lot of my posts, or just post my current reads. I still do this, however, I’ve also been able to think beyond what books would look pretty together. One example is the below post: when the Mismatched trailer was revealed, I felt so seen because finally, brown Asians are being represented in a rom-com and not just used as the side characters.
So, if you’re looking to start a bookstagram, I hope this advice helps you!! I know so much more than I did two years ago, and I can 100% say that I would not be who I am today without the community I’ve found through bookstagram. While Instagram has made a lot of unecessary updates, I can say that it’s still my favorite social media platform because of my friends and the amazing books I’ve been able to read.