Bookstagrammer Anna, also known as @paperheartsnz, lives in New Zealand and started her bookstagram journey back in May 2018. What I love about Anna is her talent for capturing the wonder of books via photography. I’m instantly transported into the books she features and always admire Anna’s combined aesthetic and ambiance. Thanks so much to Anna for participating this week and answering questions about the online world of bookstagram.
It’s known that the bookstagram community is one of the best to be in. Why do you think it’s been so successful and yet remains a humble environment to be in?
There is a certain magic in finding ‘your people’ and that’s what bookstagram is, people who share a love for books. I think when you find yourself in that group you want to make sure that space remains friendly, welcoming and open. Everyone starts with only a few followers/friends but over time you meet other like minded people and suddenly you’re not alone! They key is to be open and engage with other people. I found that they always reciprocated.
An aesthetically pleasing bookstagram is something most creators aspire to have and create on their Instagram feeds. What do you think is the key to creating this? The personal touch, a great camera, a good filter, up to date and engaging content?
From a technical point of view, good lighting always, always goes a long way! I don’t think that a great camera is a necessity so long as the lighting is good. You can always download free apps to help edit your photos. Outside of that, I found the more engaged the bookstagrammer was with their audience, the better the reception their posts got.
“There’s a certain magic in finding ‘your people’ and that’s what bookstagram is…”
The social media world can easily become a chore, posting and sharing for others, rather than enjoying it and doing for yourself. Have you felt this happen to you before? How did you get yourself out of it?
Yes, it most definitely has happened to me before. I think the trick is to let yourself step back from bookstagram if you have too much going on. There’s nothing worse that already having a lot on your plate then on top of that, stressing about not having posted for a while. I think everyone on bookstagram understands that we all have a life outside of it and not everyone has the time to constantly create content. It’s okay not to post. The people and the books will still be there when you’re ready to come back!
What’s the one book you would happily become a chatterbox about to let everyone know that they need to read that book?
‘Muse of Nightmares‘ and it’s prequel, ‘Strange the Dreamer‘!. This book spoke to me on such a close and personal level with the world building, the character development and the prose. Oh my gosh, Laini Taylor is a master!
Walking the aisles of a bookshop is an inviting experience but we can all admit the attraction of better bargain books online can easily become the better option for our wallets. Do you have a preference or a combination of both?
Honestly, I would love nothing better than to be able to walk into a bookstore and walk out with books. Unfortunately, New Zealand not only doesn’t get all the books the US market has, but we also don’t have hardbacks in most cases. So, online shopping is where I go. Book Depository is always good for international readers because they have free delivery! In the US, I love Book Outlet because they have crazy low prices! For New Zealand based readers like myself, the most helpful website I have found to use is Book O. When you search for a book it automatically compares different websites to get the best price for you. I always get my standard copies through them!
It’s very easy to get caught up in the number of ‘likes’, especially for those who have been online for awhile and can’t seem to grow their page. What’s some advice you could tell those in that situation that feel like giving up, measuring their self-worth on likes?
I’m probably in the category that can’t seem to grow their page! All I can tell you is that I refuse to let it get me down. Likes and follows are a bonus but it’s about connection for me and meeting other book lovers. Remind yourself why you got into bookstagram and what you love about it. I’m hoping it’s not just about the likes.
What’s a post that you’re proud of?
There is an angled shot I took of my bookshelf and plants. Along with the filter I used, the end result to me looks like it could be not just in a bookstagram account but also a home/lifestyle feed. I even have it as my phone wallpaper so I can look at my plant babies and favourite book titles even when I’m not at home!
Name three fellow bookstagrammers that inspire you.
@xenatine @betterwithabookinmyhand and @myfriendsarefiction. These ladies have amazing compositions, are fantastic at engaging with their audience and constantly give me shelf envy. They’re super lovely people!
Keep an eye out next week for another interview and feel free to share your own thoughts below!
All photos have been used with permission from @paperheartsnz.