Bookstagram - Social Media for Authors & Book Lovers


What is Bookstagram? Bookstagram is Instagram for book lovers. All authors are book lovers, but not all book lovers are authors. The same goes for Bookstagram. All Bookstagram accounts are Instagram accounts, but not all Instagram accounts are Bookstagram accounts. 

#Bookstagram began as a hashtag on Instagram to indicate bookish content, and it has now become a huge book-loving community that influences book sales across the world. By using the #Bookstagram and #Bookstagrammer hashtags, you can surround yourself with book lovers, and you won't ever have to deal with anything but bookish content. 

Similarly, you can be on Instagram for years without encountering a Bookstagram account, and I know this because that is what happened to me. It was not until I decided to create my author account that I realized there was a thing called Bookstagram, and I still cannot believe how I missed out all of these years.

Bookstagram began to really take off around 2014. As an author, writer, and book lover, how did I not know about it?

In my efforts to locate Florida authors, I have realized that I am not the only one. So, even though most of the book lovers coming to Florida Authors and Book Lovers already know about Bookstagram, I think it is important to give an overview of what Bookstagram is, and how to start on Bookstagram. 

My search for Florida authors has also given me plenty of ideas for what not to do when setting up a Bookstagram account. Bookstagram is a platform for book lovers, but it has also become a platform for authors and publishing companies with reduced publicity and marketing budgets to get their books out in front of readers. 

In a 2017 Forbes article about Bookstagram titled Can Instagram Keep People Reading Books?, it is noted that a reader needs to see or hear about a book at least seven times before buying it. 

That, my author friends, is why you need to be on Bookstagram. Now, Bookstagram success is not just important for authors, because those who review books can get more books to review and have more say in what books to review if they have a greater following of book lovers.

what is bookstagram

How To Set Up a Bookstagram as an Author, a Book Reviewer, or a Book Lover

  • Choose your Bookstagram name
  • Create your Bookstagram account 
  • Make it a professional account
  • Create your bio
  • Make your first bookish posts
  • Start following other bookstagram accounts
  • Use Bookstagram hashtags
  • Engage with other bookstagrammers

Creating a Bookstagram Account

You can either set up a new account with your author email address, you can create a new Bookstagram account right from your current Instagram profile, just click add account, or you can convert your own Instagram account into a Bookstagram account.

I chose to create a new Bookstagram account by adding it onto my current Instagram profile. It is easy to do, and you can change the email later if you'd like, but it's nice to be able to just go from one account to another without having to log in or out. 

I caution against converting your personal Instagram account into a Bookstagram account for a few reasons. First of all, those who follow your personal account may not want to be a part of Bookstagram. Second, you do not want your personal pictures in your professional Bookstagram account, and finally, you want to have a bookish theme going through your Bookstagram feed, similar to the red line when you write an essay. 

How to Choose a Bookstagram Name

If you're an author, I recommend you use your author name with the word author attached. 
If you're a writer, but have not started writing your first book use writer with your name.
If you're a poet, use your poet name with the word poet. 

When I was deciding on my Bookstagram name for my author account I was looking at:
☆ sineboetheauthor
☆ authorsineboe
☆ sineboeauthor

I ended up choosing @sineboetheauthor

Before you choose your name, do your research. Google your author name, check on Instagram for author accounts with a similar name, check on Facebook. As Florida author Karen E. Osborne, will tell you, that E is important. 

As an author, and in real life, my unique name has been a burden and a blessing. I will have to add pronunciation instructions everywhere, or all the math folks will think of sine and cosine. (Of course, I married a math teacher.) No, it's not sine like cosine, it's pronounced Sina Bo.

But my special name has come in handy, when creating social media accounts. I was even able to get my domain name without having to add author to it, and social media has been pretty easy to navigate when it comes to putting up social media accounts in my author name.

If you have a common name, it gets tricky. Did you already publish your books? Then you might be more or less stuck, but if you didn't publish yet, take your time to do research on your author name, or maybe decide to create a pen name. 

If you're a book lover or book reviewer, you can choose whether you want to use your own name or not. It depends on what you see in your future. Do you one day see yourself writing something to be published or not? Do you prefer to just write about the books you read? Do you want to be anonymous, or do you want to have your "minutes" of fame? 

If you don't want to use your own name, it is time to get creative. Use something that stands out, and make sure it's easy to remember. 

I have a garden blog, and I thought for a long time about the name. I wrote down several options, and then I researched them. I checked to see if there were any blogs with the name, any websites, or anyone on social media with a similar name. In the end, I found a dance company with a name similar to the name I wanted, but it wasn't active, and now if you search on Dancing Treetops, you have to look hard to find something other than my website or social media accounts in the search engine results. 

I want to caution authors, book lovers, artists, and anyone else on Bookstagram or Instagram against using underscore (_), a period (.), or numbers in your social media names. I do a lot of research on Bookstagram, and I do a lot of searching for authors and book lovers. Anything with underscores, periods, or numbers is hard to remember, it is hard to share verbally, and if you need an underscore, a period, or a number in your social media handle, it means you need to get creative instead. You do not want a name that is too similar to someone else's author name and the same goes for your book review account. 

As an example, I was going to list the account of an author, whose book I recently reviewed. But I couldn't remember her name or handle. I finally remembered it by going through the books I reviewed. Her Instagram handle is @j3nn_benn. Other authors are easy to look up and find, and while you will find her under her name, the Instagram handle is just not ideal.

Set Up a Professional Bookstagram Account

It is easy to do, just choose the professional account option on Instagram. It is free, but it gives you more options to study your reach and your followers. 

instagram bio

Creating Your Instagram Bio

The Instagram Bio is where you can start differentiating yourself from Instagram and turn your account into a Bookstagram account. In my search for Florida writers and book lovers, I've come across a lot of author bios. Some are great, and some not so much. 

What makes your bio stand out from the crowd? Your Instagram bio is like the blurb on your book. Make it count, reel people in. 

☆ Do you have the words: writer, author, poet, bookstagram, bookstagrammer, or book reviewer in your Instagram bio? 
☆ Are the genres you read and write listed? 
☆ Is your general location in your bio? 
☆ What makes you different? 
☆ Do you have a linktree in your bio? 
☆ Do you have a call for action? 
☆ Use the space they give you for FREE. 
☆ Add an emoji to express yourself and stand out.

Listing Your Genres
To list genres, you need to know your genres. What genres do you like to read? What genres do you write in? This is especially important if you have an established Bookstagram account, if you're a published author, and if you are a book reviewer.

While I advise you to list your genres in your Bookstagram bios, I have not done so. Why not? First of all, my pronunciation takes up space. I am also a multi-faceted writer, I write in several different genres, I am a local journalist and columnist, and in the beginning, I have chosen not to limit those who follow. To me the number of Instagram followers was especially important in the beginnning, since I was late to the Bookstagram community, and I am on a mission to beef up my numbers before starting my agent queries. Now that my Bookstagram has become established with more than 3600 followers, after less than four months, I am beginning to seek out mostly followers in the genres I read and write, and so it is about time for me to start listing my genres. 

So, once you get to a number of followers, where you are comfortable, list your genres. If only Instagram would provide me with more characters in my bio...

Setting Up Linktree

Setting up a linktree is free, and it's a great way to keep your followers engaged with your work. Encourage them to sign up for your newsletter, check out your books, visit your website, and follow you on other social networks. This go for other artists and small businesses as well. Use this free space that Instagram is giving you to tell people who you are and to make some waves. This is where you can put the direct purchase links to your books.


Create Your First Bookstagram Posts

The key to a good Bookstagram account is to feature bookish content. Sure, having aesthetically pleasing content is a plus, but quite frankly, if everyone posted the same kind of content, we would all be bored. So, find your own niche, post what makes you happy as long as it is mostly bookish-related, and don't stress yourself out about posting, because then you will no longer enjoy it. 

If you are a book reviewer, don't overdo it. Do not request or accept too may ARCs (Advanced reader copies), because if you do, you will wear yourself out, and reading and reviewing will no longer be fun.

If you are a published author, don't constantly post about your book. If you do, your followers may easily become numb to your book, and that is not what you want. Maybe every tenth post or so you can do something related to your own book. The best book promotion is the one you get from other people. Whether you are a self-published author or a traditionally-published author with a small publicity and marketing budget, use Bookstagram to find your readers, to make connections with other authors, and to find the right reviewers who will appreciate the kind of book you've written. 

Start out with introducing yourself to Bookstagram. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you read? What do you write? Why are you on Bookstagram? Make sure to pin this post to the top, once you start filling up your feed with other bookish posts. 

Get inspired by other Bookstagram accounts. Save a post, if it catches your eye, or draws you in, if you find it interesting others might too. Emulate other bookstagram accounts, don't copy. Give credit where credit is due. 

I suggest you get at least 3 - 6 bookish posts up before you start looking for followers. This will get you established on Bookstagram, and it will give other Bookstagrammers an idea of who you are and what they can expect to find if they follow you. 

Use the FREE Canva app to produce your own graphics and think about how you can tie your colors together. Some bookstagrammers go all out with their color aesthetics, but you do you. Below you see a snippet from the top of my author Bookstagram account. I vary the content between book reviews, bookish posts, and posts from my real life that shows snippets of who I am, and why I am the writer that I am. I try to keep my colors within a blueish, greenish and pinkish color scheme with hints of gold similar to my profile picture, but I also try to make the posts eye-catching and pleasing to look at. 


Use Bookstagram Hashtags

Consider Bookstagram hashtags to be similar to keywords or labels on websites. You click through the young adult label at the bottom of a book feature here on this website, and you will find all of the young adult books come up. It's the same thing on Instagram. What differentiates Instagram from Bookstagram is featuring bookish content and using bookish hashtags.

I recommend that you use 10 - 30 Bookstagram hashtags on each of your posts. 

Here is a list of my favorite Bookstagram hashtags to use:

#authors #author #booklover #booklovers #bookaddict #indieauthor #authorsupport #floridaauthor #booklover #booklovers #author #book #authorsofinstagram #flauthor #flauthors #flwriter #flwriters #floridabookstagrammer #floridabookblogger #floridabooks #floridabooklovers #localstaugustineauthors #bookstagram #bookpromotion #bookstagrammers #authors #floridawriters #floridaauthors #authorshelpingauthors #authorhelp #authorpreneur #authorsupportingauthors #authorpromotion #books #FloridaAuthorsandBookLovers #floridabookblogger #floridabooks #floridabooklovers #queryletter #publishingjourney #romance #romancebooks #writergram #youngadult #yalit #authorhelp #comingofage #comingofagebook #yabooks #bookrecommendations #bookthoughts #authorthoughts #authorsofinstagram #booklove #booklover #bookishlove #bipocbookstagram #bipocreads #bipocreaders #bipocbooks #bookish #writingcommunity #writinglife #writingcommuniry #bookishthoughts #bipoc #authorhelpingauthors #bipocauthors 

Engage with Other Bookstagrammers

I've said it before, and I'll say it again and again. Engagement is key. Engagement on social media is your key to success. Comments are gold. While likes are great, comments connect you to other Bookstagrammers. If you are a book reviewer, find your community. If you are an author, find other authors to lean on, to learn from, and to promote. Find your readers and create a community around your books. 

Most of the time authors who are not active on social media tell me a variation of the same things:
  • I don't have time to write if I'm on social media.
  • I work during the day, and I don't have time to write and work on social media. 
  • I don't do social media, it's not for me. 

If you are an author, a businessperson, an artist, or a book reviewer, look at Bookstagram from a professional standpoint. This is your chance to connect with your reader, this is free marketing, this is your opportunity to shine a light on your books in a way that no advertisement could buy. 

Don't let your book sit on the shelves. Breathe new life into them by creating a community around yourself that enjoys your type of book. 

If you are limited on time. Set aside 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or 30 minutes a day. Go through your feed, return comments, and comment on those who's commented on your posts. Maybe follow 2 - 5 new people a day, like some of their posts, and leave a comment. Try to do a post at least once a week, even better twice a week, and if you want to sweeten the pot, post something almost every day, and Instagram will reward you with more exposure.

Now that your Bookstagram account has been created, it is time to get you some followers. Read my piece on How To Get Instagram Followers, where I show you how I got 2000 followers in less than a month. 

Then make sure to sign up for the Florida Authors and Book Lovers newsletter, and keep an eye out for an upcoming piece about how to turn non-followers into followers, and how to safely get rid of unfollowers. 

I am still new to Bookstagram, but when I set my eye on something I aim to do good. I am always open to learn more, and if you have any Bookstagram tips not mentioned, I'd love for you to share them in the comments. 


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