The Bookstagram Powerhouse: An Exploration Into the Success of Bookstagram and the People That Run It. Week Two Interview: she_who_reads_

Bookstagrammer Samantha, also known as @she_who_reads_, lives in New Zealand and started her bookstagram journey some time in 2017. What I love about Samantha is her commitment and passion for her craft. Samantha’s photographs have so much thought and time that has gone into each one and I am obsessed with her photo compositions. Thanks so much to Samantha 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?

Honestly, I think its because bookstagram is all about celebrating our passion for books, not about promoting a certain lifestyle, or creating a ‘brand’. We all have one very special thing in common, and finding a place to talk about books with likeminded people is amazing! There’s no competitive element to bookstagram- we all want as many people to talk about books with as we can find, so the majority of the community are incredibly welcoming and supportive.

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?

The key is to find something that works for you! Experiment with different styles until you find something you love and enjoy doing. Producing content that you’re happy with will be much more engaging for other people, and more enjoyable for you to create, than trying to reproduce a style that’s popular. I love a good minimalist, sepia toned photo, but I could never produce that myself! Also- post about books you love, not just what’s popular at the moment! If you love romance- post about romance books! If you read a lot of thrillers- post about thrillers! Be passionate about what you’re posting!

 

“Bookstagram is all about celebrating our passion for books, not about promoting a certain lifestyle…”

 

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?

I’ve definitely felt like that in the past! I think the trick is to not put too much pressure on yourself to post every single day. I’m a lot more relaxed about my posting schedule now than I was. If I’ve had a rough day and just want to curl up with a book or relax in front of the TV, I let myself do it. If it starts to feel like a chore, it will come across in your posts. Allow yourself time to recharge and figure out what it is that’s not working for you. Maybe you’ll decide to post less, change your theme or experiment with new photo set ups? It also comes back to posting about books/genres that you’re passionate about. If you’re posting about hyped new YA fantasy books when you’re not a big fan of YA fantasy, it’s not going to be much fun!

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What’s the one book you would happily become a chatterbox about to let everyone know that they need to read that book?

I talk non-stop about the Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff, and Strange the Dreamer/Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. I want everyone to read them and love them as much as I do! Earlier this year I read The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed and Beartown by Fredrik Backman, both of which were phenomenal and dealt with really serious topics. I’d love to be able to get more people to read those two too! Really, I could sit here and list hundreds of books I want everyone to read, but I don’t think anyone has time for that!

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?

I source my books from everywhere! I love browsing in bookstores and that’s probably my preferred way to acquire books. However, there are a LOT of books that just aren’t in New Zealand bookstores and its rare to find hardcovers here too, so I will use Book Depository for those titles. I also use my local library. If I really enjoy a book I’ve borrowed, I’ll go out and purchase my own copy.

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 and feel like giving up, measuring their self-worth on likes?

It’s so hard not to get caught up on the numbers! Especially for those of us who were around when Instagram was chronological and you didn’t have to deal with the crazy algorithms we have now. It’s always disheartening to have a post flop when you’ve put so much hard work into it. I’m trying now to pay more attention to my comments. I joined bookstagram to talk about books, so if even one person comments on my post I count that as win!

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What’s a post that you’re proud of?

I’m proud of all my posts to certain degree. I won’t post something I’m not happy with! Generally I’m most proud any time I mange to pull of a book shape e.g. a heart, a star, a circle because they take such a long time to set up (well, for me anyway!). Or just anytime I have an idea for a set up and it actually works. It doesn’t often!

Name three fellow bookstagrammers that inspire you.

Kelsea (@anovelescape) and Bilan (@mytimeoutshelf) are my two biggest inspirations. They have incredible photos, fantastic taste in books and are just the nicest, most wonderful people you could hope to know. My experience on bookstagram would not be the same without them! And then there’s Cait (@paperfury) who really is the bookstagram queen! Her photos are goals, her captions always make me laugh and her stories are always worth a watch!


 

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 @she_who_reads_