My Top Tips for Starting a Bookstagram Account
Launching a new project can come with a huge amount of pressure, but it honestly doesn’t have to. Here are my top tips for Instagram newbies who are just starting out with their accounts.
First things first, just start, and with whatever equipment you have to hand. It’s easy to spend so much time thinking about exactly how you want your Instagram to look, or to convince yourself that you need some fancy camera you don’t know how to use, that it builds up into this huge thing in your head that never ends up actually happening. I genuinely think that it’s much better to get started and learn along the way than to spend months perfecting something and then being too intimidated to actually do for it. When I launched my Instagram account back in the summer of 2016, it was basically just this spur of the moment thing that I randomly did in the middle of the night when I was bored, and over the past three years it’s snowballed into a major hobby of mine. For the shy ones among you: try not to worry about the people you know in real life finding your account while you’re still learning. When I started out on bookstagram I had a personal account that all of my friends followed, and a creative account that I kept quiet until I felt confident enough to tell people. I didn’t even tell my colleagues about it until a few months ago!
Once you’ve finally launched your account, the next thing that you need to do is find your voice - which is a lot easier said than done. This time period right at the beginning of your ‘gram, when very few people are following you, is a golden period for experimentation. Use this time to solidify what you want your account to be. Are you going to post exclusively book related content? Or is there another passion that you would like to include as well? Don’t worry too much about having a theme (I didn’t have one for the whole first year of my account) and spend your time experimenting with different colours, filters and styles. It’s the only way to find out what you like!
My next tip is something that often gets overlooked by new bookstagrammers, who post a lot of content but wonder why their audience isn’t growing. To put it simply, you need to become an active part of the bookish Instagram community, and that involves a lot more than just posting photos. One of the best ways I’ve found to grow my account is to spend a little bit of time every day scrolling through various book related hashtags and engaging with the content that I find there. Make sure to leave likes on photos that you connect with (don’t spam!) and write meaningful comments. Have discussions and make friends, follow accounts that have a similar sized following to you and share your favourites on your Instagram story so that others can find them too. I’ve made so many lovely connections on Instagram over the years that I’ve been posting, and I love seeing friends of mine grow and develop their styles. For me, it’s one of my favourite things about this community.
Another way to connect with others when you’re just starting out is to take part in a month long photo challenge. There are loads of bookish photo challenges about and they can be a great source of inspiration when you’re new to Instagram and are not too sure what to post about each day. I haven’t done one of these for a while, but you can find up-to-date challenges at the account @bookstagramchallenges. Plus, once you’ve been following a few people for a while you’ll probably end up hearing about new challenges are they arise.
Before I finish this post, I thought I’d leave you with a few of my own Instagram photos to show you how far I’ve come over the last few years. Here are a few of my first ever instagram posts, compared with a few of my most recent photos! I’m definitely still learning and growing when it comes to photography but I’m proud of how much I’ve learnt and I’m excited to see where my account goes next.
Thank you to everyone who’s joined me for the ride, and good luck if you’re starting a new account!