When Whitney Richardson’s library closed because of the pandemic, she was at a loss. She missed her supply of free books and book recommendations.
“I looked at my husband and said,” What am I reading now? “Said Richardson, a speech therapist from Evansville, Illinois.” My librarian and I have a good relationship. Usually she suggested books to me. “
She started looking for book recommendations online and discovered the Bookstagram community.
Bookstagrammers – people who post reviews and photos of books on Instagram – say their hobby takes a creative approach and connects them with fellow readers.
It also brings them free books.
Richardson was enthusiastic and started his own Instagram account (@ Whitfulreads). Two months later, she has already received more than 30 books from publishers.
Megan Putnam has been a bookmaker for much longer than 10 years. Mom of two and a mental health counselor, she started her book chart because she wanted a creative opportunity. Your Instagram account (@_popreads_) now has more than 5,000 followers.
“I started the book chart at a time in my life when I was in dire need of a creative outlet,” she said. “I was a home mother with two young children, an avid reader, and was home often.”
We asked Richardson and Putnam to share their best tips and advice for aspiring bookmakers. Here’s what they told us:
Highlight your reviews
While many graphic designers post the review that the publisher or author posted on Amazon, Richardson writes her own.
“I think this species is different,” she said. That also helped her grow her audience.
“I published my reviews and was really honest and raw about them,” said Richardson. “When I started I had around 100 followers, and in two months that was up to 1,100.”
Richardson also said she only writes reviews for books she really likes: “If I don’t like it very much, I use the Amazon or Goodreads review.”
Connect with publishers and writers
Richardson came across lists of publishers like HarperCollins by actively reaching out to them and making their contact information available on their Instagram account.
“I’ve had quite a few budding publishers who only contacted me on Instagram and said, ‘If I sent you this book, would you be ready to read it and share your review? “Said Richardson.” I said, “Be sure to send it to me.” I always want to know about new writers. “
Putnam also mentioned Bookstagram tour groups to get free books while helping writers and publishers. Bookstagram tours are organized by publishers and authors who send free pre-book copies to Bookstagrammer. In return, the book writers are expected to report on the book on agreed days. The ultimate goal is to get as much excitement and interest in the book as possible.
And always make sure to tag the authors and editors in your posts.
“I usually try to tag authors and publishers on my posts to make connections,” she said. “I also receive direct messages and emails from publishers and authors about the review or promotion of their books.”
In addition to tagging the author and publisher, bookstagrammers use hashtags like #booksofinstagram and #bookbloggers to get their review in front of other bookstagrammers, and they also choose hashtags that target niche groups that may have an interest in the book.
You can also follow authors on Instagram and reach them directly.
Get involved with other bookstagrammers
Bookmakers often give freebies, so keeping your hands on them is a way to get more free books. Follow them and leave comments and likes on their posts. They may do the same for you.
You can find book charts by following some of these hashtags:
#books #book #bookmail #booksharks #bookish #booknerd #bookworm #bookworms #booksofinstagram #Bibliophile #bibliophile #biblio #reading #booknerd #read #readersofinstagram #booklover #bookbloggers #book #bookbloggersofinstagram #bookphotography #bookreviewer #read
Take good photos of your books
Instagram is a visual platform. To get noticed, make sure your photos are up to date. These tips can help:
- Emphasize your photos with plants, a cup of hot coffee, fabric, lace, candles, pine cones, etc.
- Keep your photos fresh. It’s good to have your own style, but not always use the same place or accents.
- Give your book a background. Put the book on wallpaper or scrapbooking paper that looks like wooden floors or clouds.
- Make sure your photos are well lit with natural light or lamps.
- Take your books outside for a photo shoot.
Remember: your goal is to get your followers to imagine themselves reading this book.
Most importantly, have fun
Putnam reads into different genres like mystery and science fiction, but avoids genres she doesn’t like like romance or horror.
“I wouldn’t say that I force myself to read genres I don’t like,” she said. “Bookstagram is a hobby for me, so it has to be fun and fun.”
Regardless of the genre you choose, Putnam recommends that book lovers look into book diagrams.
“If you enjoy reading and talking about books with other book lovers, log on to Instagram, follow other book accounts, get inspiration for your own photos, and create,” Putnam said.
“Don’t make it a chore. It’s about reading the beautiful books we love and sharing them with others.”
Katherine Snow Smith is an employee of The Penny Hoarder.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com