Sent to Solace: Advice Column

Hello! I love giving advice and learning from others, so I decided to start this advice column for my blog. I just thought of this idea today: 9/23/2020 because school is getting more challenging and I want to use my brain outside of an academic setting.

What will be featured in this column?
Advice about: high school, dual enrollment, balancing life and book blogging, bookstagram tips and tricks, etc! This will all be from my perspective because I am a unique individual. Also, I am a teen and NOT an “influencer.” Although I do hope that my posts convince others to read more. I am learning more everyday and so not all of this advice will be helpful.

Who will be writing this column?
Well, I might consider opening this to other bloggers, however, I am a very small blogger. Sumedha has a great series called Blog Letters, which I highly recommend reading, by the way.

I might open this up to questions from people on bookstagram because that is where I know people. I don’t want to make a Google Form just yet because I don’t want to get weird or spam comments.

Why are you making this column?
Honestly? I am trying to use my blog and bookstagram equally. It’s so easy to get pulled in by social media because something is always happening, and my blog helps my mind slow down. Plus, I want to have a unique-ish feature on my blog that will help people who might not read as much as I do! I have a life outside of books and social media related to books.

Overall, I just want to help people find books that they will love and then tell their friends about. I need something to do in my free time.

What would you like to see from this advice column?

Creating a Bookstagram

I started my bookstagram in December 2018. Back then, I sort of had a layout but didn’t know what I wanted to focus on. It took a while to get to where I am now. There have been times where I’ve wanted to quit entirely, but as soon as I did, I knew I didn’t want to throw it all away (which is why breaks are SO IMPORTANT).

Bookstagram is definitely the book platform I’ve contributed the most time to. The most important “rule” you should have is to just do what you want to do, use your platform, listen to others, and compare yourself to you. Also, please make a close friends list!! Mine is pretty small and I really am friends with all of them.

Anyway, here’s what I wish I knew before starting a Bookstagram:

  1. It takes time to build your platform.

    Please don’t be discouraged if you see people with more followers than you. Chances are, the people with over 1k followers have been there for at least a year, and those with over 10k followers are able to post everyday. I used to compare myself to others, but now I know that it’s better to spend time on building your platform rather than spend time keeping track of how many followers you have everyday. I can write a more in-depth article on how to find your niche if any of you would be interested.
  2. Make friends!

    I have been able to create more personal connections on bookstagram because of DMs, and also because I would rather interact with one person at a time instead of a lot of people at once. Bookstagram is for you if you want to be able to find people with the same interests as you quickly. Even if we don’t know each other well, I still want to talk to you about books.
  3. Interaction is key.

    Listen, if someone wants to DM me about something in my story that they find cool, I will always be so flattered (there are exceptions if people are being creeps, but that is not what this is about). I used to just like every single post, and now I spend more time commenting (this goes for blogs too) on what I am truely interested in! This isn’t to say you have to be on Instagram all day, although I have been way more active because of summer break and quarantine.
  4. Your like to comment to follower ratio will be all over the place.

    I know people with 600 followers who get hundreds of likes and comments! I know people with 1.6k followers who get 300+ likes and around 50+ comments. For me? I have nearly 1.2k followers with an average of 65 likes and 10 comments. That is ok! A lot of people who follow me are inactive, but what matters are the relationships you make more than having 100+ people you don’t know like your posts.
  5. Post a lot at the beginning and then find a rhythm. Repeat this process after you’ve been inactive.

    Here’s the thing: This year, I had a goal of getting to 2,000 followers. Now, I don’t care as much about reaching milestones because I want people who are genuinely interested in following me and not just doing follow for follows. HOWEVER, it is ok to want to build up your platform! During March to May, I was so busy with school that I just didn’t post a lot. In July, I posted everyday and twice a day on some days, and I did gain a lot of followers. The key is to be consistent, but don’t get caught up in thinking you NEED to post on certain days. (If you are interested in a post about how to find your aesthetic or photography style, please tell me!)

Overall, that is my bookstagram advice. I really want people to feel encouraged to make one. It’s quite a nice community, and I’ve made some really great connections and friendships. If you want to reach out, you can DM me @solaceinreading_! I will not be super active this September, as I am going back to school, but will still be liking/commenting on others’ posts when I have time.

Do you have any questions about bookstagram?