Behind the Bookstagrammer

It’s difficult to imagine sometimes that there’s a person behind every beautiful bookstagram picture on your feed. One of the best aspects of bookstagram is the diversity and the ability it gives you to meet people from all over the world. I recently had the opportunity to interview four incredible bookstagrammers about their experience in the bookish community, their advice for aspiring bookstagrammers, and their life with literature. Read on and see the bottom of this post if you would like the chance to be featured in a future “Behind the Bookstagrammer/Blogger” post.

Literary Sea: Could you please introduce yourself to everyone?

Lena from Literally LenaI‘m a bookworm and massive potterhead from Switzerland. I‘m 15 years old and I will finish school this summer. Of course I love reading and I also like to sing and dance and spend time with my friends.

Reina from Reindom ThingsHello, everyone! Reina Tan is here. You could call me Rein or Rei. I’m an Asian 18 years old bookstagramer from Indonesia. Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia. If you know Bali, that’s part of Indonesia XD. I’m currently in 4th semester in college, the majority I take is…. Yeah, it’s realted to medical things. Aside from bookstagram and book world, I play some mobile games which made me addicted to it. Sometimes I do some doodles and daydreaming about what happened in future. Hahaha.

Hayley from Journey of a HobbitHello! My name is Hayley and I’m 21 from Melbourne, Australia. I have recently graduated from University with a Bachelor of Criminology. I also studied Literature at University as well. I hope that in the future I will start a career in the police force or with border protection. I have recently been on a few trips to the U.K and Europe and am always planning to travel again. But mainly I’m curled up at home with a book and a cup of tea in my hand.

Nikki from Nini’s BooksMy name is Nikki, a 22-year-old bookaholic from the Netherlands. When I’m not scrolling through Bookstagram, you can find me studying to become a translator, obsessing over new movies/tv-shows, painting or I’m working my part time job at a liquor and wine retailer in my hometown. I once wrote a book through the means of NaNoWriMo which I’m currently re-writing and my dream is to get it published one day.

LS: Why did you start a bookstagram and what are your goals for your bookstagram?

Lena: I did start with bookstagram because I love speaking about books with others. I wanted to have a platform to chat with people who understand my love for reading. I’m not quite sure what my goals for bookstagram are. Maybe I want to do a blog and a YouTube channel too when I‘m a little bit older, but for now I just love speaking about books.

Reina: Later in Oct 2016, I was so bored with campus and my daily activities. So, I decided to took some photos of my books, and showed it to my friend—her name is Lyn (I dedicate this post to her)

She said to me, “why you not make an instagram account for those photos?” .

“Like bookstagram?” I asked and she nodded.

I thought her idea was not bad. I knew my photos weren’t stunning or beautiful, but I could try. So, in December of 2016, my account was created.

Hayley: It was by accident that I stumbled across bookstagram. I posted a photo of the pile of books that needed to be read for my friends and it suddenly had a lot more likes than my other photos. I did a little research and found this awesome community! From then on I started posting regularly hoping to recommend some awesome books to my fellow bookworms.

I started my bookstagram account a year and a half ago and from the beginning it’s always been about connecting with others that had a passion for reading. I knew that my account would primarily consist of reviews to help others find their next read. I want to continue to connect with authors, publishers, small business owners and of course other bloggers! If my account happens to grow in followers I would be over the moon with happiness but my main goal will always be about reading books and connecting with others.

Nikki: I originally started a bookstagram simply because I wanted to discover more books to read and to find out which books were good and which weren’t really worth it. I never expected the community to be so big and welcoming and that there was so much more surrounding books than I knew of. My goals are just to keep going as it is at the moment, I hope I never lose the interaction with everyone.

LS: What tips would you give to a start-up bookstagrammer?

Lena: My number one tip is to post often and constantly. I think one post per day is a good amount. This will definitely help you to gain and also keep your followers. I‘d also suggest you to comment on other people’s posts and answer to the comments on your posts. I think for the beginning it isn’t that important how professional your pictures and your feed look. There are people out there who will like your style!

Reina: Hmm… This question a little bit hard because I don’t even know what I’m doing with my newborn account. But, one thing I can tell is…. Don’t be ashamed with your own photo’s result. Nobody’s perfect. Believe in yourself, you can improve your photos quality and filter. Just don’t stop trying.

Hayley: I think my main piece of advice on getting started with your bookstagram account is to be as creative as possible. There is a big misconception that you have to spend a lot of money in order to be a bookstagrammer. There are few ways to save money on a set or props so that you can spend more money on books! Taking outdoor photos is a great one. If you have a local area such as a garden or forest these can make for a great background. Your own backyard might be the right setting for you. Another background that can be useful is your bookshelves. The books are easy to move around to create a new look for every photo. As for the props, your local discount store may stock flowers and candles at a cheaper rate. Another tip is to experiment a lot with your photography. Your theme for your account is going to change a hundred times over so don’t be afraid of trying something new. You may even decide not to have a theme and that’s great too! Use different angles and different lighting, anything to make you stand out amongst the crowd. And of course have a great interaction with your followers. Talking about books is the main reason that we are all here on Instagram so try to set time aside in your days to reply to comments and comment of others posts! It goes a long way. You’ll find that gaining followers for your account will be slow at first. There are moments when you’ll gain twenty in one day and then loose twelve the next day. Don’t be disheartened by this. Focus on your photography, captions and the followers that interact with your frequently. This will be much more rewarding in the long run, rather than focusing on followers lost. Bookstagram is all about having fun and finding good books.

Nikki: Just to be very active and also to interact a lot with everyone. If you show genuine interest in someone’s photos and stories, they’re more inclined to return the favor.

LS: When did you start reading?

Lena: I don’t remember exactly, but I think I started reading in first grade when i was about 7 or 8 years old.

Reina: Before I fell head over heels with novels, mostly I read comics. My junior high school friend recommended me a dark book titled ‘A Tale Dark & Grimm’ by Adam Gidwitz. I enjoyed the story much, but, since they didn’t translate the next books, I didn’t continue it. She also recommended me ‘Suddenly Supernatural’ series. I was obsessed with that middle grade series. After all the recommendations, I started to read some novels. At first, I didn’t read romance contemporary much, but, after I read ‘Cheeky Romance’ by Kim Eun Jeong, I felt that genre was great. I left any books with dark theme, and started to read cute romance. From one book to three to five and now…. I don’t even want to count how many books I have now.

Hayley: Believe it or not I actually hated reading when I was a child… my mum and my primary school teachers really encouraged me to read as I was quite good at English but I just couldn’t read outside of school. When I was 13 and in my first year of high school mum bought me a copy of Twilight as there was a lot of hype surrounding the movie. I finished the book that night in under five hours which is pretty impressive for someone that refused to pick up a book. From that point on you just couldn’t stop me.

Nikki: When I was younger I used to devour books. Somewhere along the way I lost that passion a bit through school and just being forced to read. I re-found my love for books through bookstagram. I’m also an aspiring author and have been since I was young and wanted to create my own world like the one in the Harry Potter series.LS: What books are you most excited for in 2018? What have been your favorite reads of the year so far?

Lena: Actually the only book I‘m excited for is A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas. Honestly, I‘m never super excited for new releases, because I mostly read the books, that I find in libraries and they are mostly older ones and not brand new. My favourite book I‘ve read this year is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. It’s about the friendship of two teenagers and it‘s just beautiful! I also really enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.

Reina: I’m so excited for Legendary (Caraval #2) and The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo. My fav reads of 2018 so far are the Six of Crows duology, What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum, and some local books 

Hayley: My favourite book that I have read this year so far has been More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer. The spinoff from Letters to the Lost is a young adult contemporary novel that talks about domestic violence, foster care, online bullying, stalking and of course it has a really great love story! I’m most excited for the release of Skullduggery Pleasant: Midnight by Derek Landy released in June, and Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare released in December.

Nikki: I’m really excited for the last Throne of Glass novel just because Empire of Storms left me completely mind-blown. I’m not really up to speed with what else is coming out this year, but am excited for other books that I still need to start on this year such as Illuminae, the Cruel Prince and Children of Blood and Bone.

LS: Who inspires you?

Lena: My Bookstagram is definitely inspired by people with bright, minimal feeds like @inkedfables or @readingthieves. My favourite Bookstagrammer is Jessie from @witcherybooks her feed is amazing!

Reina: An author who inspires me so much is Winna Efendi (my favorite Indonesian  author) and Marie Rutkoski

Hayley: As cheesy as it sounds my mum aka @the_enchantedlibrary inspires me every day. Not only did she introduce me to books but her Instagram account is amazing. Mum is the biggest bookworm I know. She helps me with my photos and always offers me advice. We fight over ownership of our books and bond over fictional characters (sorry mum but Nikolai is mine!) and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Nikki: I’m probably not the only one, but I’m inspired a lot by the Harry Potter series. Just because it was the first series I loved as a kid and it just amazes me how you can create a world that big and wonderful.

I’d like to thank the incredible bookstagrammers who gave their time for this post. You can check out their accounts with the link on their introduction. If you would like to be featured in future Behind the Bookstagrammer blog series, leave a comment or contact me through my blog, or send me a DM or email through my Instagram account Literary Sea.

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