How To Start Your Own Bookstagram

If you love to read, review and discuss your books – consider joining other book lovers on Instagram also known as “Bookstagram.” I have been bookstagramming for about 1.5 years and now and love this community so much! I am by no means an expert on how to bookstagram, but I’d love to share what I have learned on my bookstagramming journey.

I’ve compiled some tips on what I consider are great starting points to start bookstagramming.

So you’ve made your Instagram/Bookstagram handle and have started following a few friends. What’s next?

I asked followers what questions they wanted answered – and here are a few of them. I’ll add my responses to each question.

How do you increase your follower count/get more engagement?

This is probably one of the most asked question. And my answer is that there’s really no easier way than engaging. Try to not only like on posts, but also comment. I like to incorporate a question of the day (QOTD) in my post so that I can ask my followers a question and engage with them. For me the best posts aren’t necessarily the ones that have the most likes, but instead the ones that I get to engage with my followers the most on!

At what point do you start getting ARC’s (Advanced Reviewer Copies) ?

I started getting ARC’s before I was even on bookstagram by signing up on NetGalley. I will discuss NetGalley specifics in the next few questions

I feel that what publishers are looking for when you request ARC’s – is consistency. Being consistent with your reviews and sharing those reviews on as many platforms as possible ie: Blog, GoodReads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookBub

Personally I feel like it’s never too early to e-mail publishers to ask for physical copies of books – and let’s be honest that’s what we really want. A physical book that looks good in photos too! But you won’t always get a response back, and other times the book will quite simply show up on your doorstep. I do feel though, that the best way to increase your chances of getting physical ARC’s are doing all of the things above – being consistent and being active on your account.

Of all the ways to request ARC’s, which is the best to start with? 

I started with NetGalley before I had really any platform up.

I did start by writing reviews on GoodReads and slowly branching my way to Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Even a few lines and a star rating really help authors and publishers out when a book is published!

After I had written a few reviews and started posting on other platforms, then I started my NetGalley account. Even now a majority of the books I read that are ARC’s come from NetGalley

What is NetGalley?

NetGalley is an amazing site where you can request to read thousands of ARC’s in all sorts of genres/categories. NetGalley is free to sign up!

Start your NetGalley account by completing your bio. It’s very important to publishers to have a thorough yet concise bio. Don’t be too descriptive or personal, but instead focus on books.

Definitely try to incorporate why you prefer a certain genre of books or why they are meaningful to you. Don’t forget to include statistics in your bio – statistics from wherever you post your reviews on social media ie: GoodReads, Instagram, your blog, Twitter – share them all and be sure to link them too!

Then you get to the fun part – requesting books! When I first discovered NetGalley I was so amazed that a site like this even existed for book lovers. But definitely be careful when you start requesting books! The easiest thing to do is to request too many books and then not have enough time to read them and post reviews.

NetGalley uses a feedback ratio to track your percentage. For example currently I have had a total of 110 books approved and I have left reviews for 96 of those books. The key is to try to keep your percentage high (publishers prefer above 80%).

My current NetGalley process looks like this:

  1. Find a book that I think I may like
  2. Request the book
  3. If I get approved I mark it on my calendar when the publishing date is and try to read the book before it’s published
  4. Write reviews after I’ve read the book and post to my social media sites such as bookstagram, GoodReads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookBub and my blog
  5. And I always send links to my reviews to the publisher or publicist if I am in contact with one. This states that you are serious about reviewing and writing reviews for their books as well as establishing a relationship with the publisher.

Do you need to buy props for your book pics?

Bookish pic using a prop – that I also repurpose around the house!

When I first started bookstagram I wanted to buy all the bookish props, but that can get expensive fast. I feel like you really have to get into your page and play around with props or lighting to really figure out your aesthetic. I like to use more natural light/outdoor pictures, but some bookstagrammers may like to use a lot of props – it’s really what you feel like doing on your page.

So my advice is to figure out what you like – some bookstagrammers are really big into using a lot of props and others are minimalist in their pictures. Find out what works best for you.

How do you make bookstagram/book friends?

The best part of bookstagram is creating friendships with people who have similar interests to you. Whether that’s taste in books, hobbies or your love of baking!

The best way to make friends is by participating in what is known as a buddy read. A buddy read is similar to a book club, except that you’re online and so it’s virtual. I clearly remember my first buddy read and I kept on thinking this is weird going in a chatroom with a bunch of people I don’t know discussing a book. But that buddy read turned out to be one of the best places on bookstagram for me. I’ve made so many amazing friends from that one buddy read!

So join buddy reads or chat groups and make friends! That is seriously the best way to meet new people on bookstagram.

I also really enjoy bookstack challenges! There are all sorts of book challenges and you can choose to participate if you want (or not if that’s not your thing). Most recently I have seen watermelon book stack challenges because it’s summer or you’ll see PSL challenges a lot in the fall. Make the most of it – you put in whatever you want.

Do you need to host giveaways to increase follower count?

You most certainly do not need to host giveways to increase your follower count. Perhaps you’re celebrating a milestone and wanted to giveaway an ARC that you’ve already read or a bookmark you bought but you never used – it’s up to you. There are no fast and hard rules that you absolutely have to host giveaways to increase follower counts.

Do you have any other questions that I didn’t address or insight into some of my answers? I’d love to hear from you!

8 thoughts on “How To Start Your Own Bookstagram

  1. LOVED THIS. And same re:book props! And then I remembered i HATE photo editing and going to the comp and then back to the phone etc so now i take the easiest pics ever LOL.


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