Bookstagrammer Claudia, also known as @cainbooks, lives in New Zealand and started her bookstagram journey in October 2016. What I love about Claudia is the elegance and simplicity her profile oozes. Whenever I see Claudia’s posts, I can’t help but feel calmer and know that even if a day can be hard, there’s always a good book to curl up with. Thanks so much to Claudia 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?
I think bookstagram succeeds because it’s formed from a shared love of books. It’s not really competitive. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Everyone is involved because of a passion for books and reading. The community has formed around that, and overall, it’s remained a fairly positive and supportive place.
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?
I think this is really different for everyone! Some people have expensive cameras and some use their phones. Some people decide on a theme and base their photos around that, other people post whatever kind of photo they feel like. I don’t know if there’s a ‘key’ as such, but I think that personal touch is a big thing. There’s so much content out there, so creating something that you personally like is a great start. I believe that if you prefer a certain style, you’re more likely to enjoy creating that kind of feed. Everyone’s taste is different, so concentrate on what you find aesthetically pleasing before worrying about other people.
“There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Everyone is involved because of a passion for books and reading…”
The social media world can easily become a chore, posting and sharing for others, rather than enjoying it and doing it for yourself. Have you felt this happen to you before? How did you get yourself out of it?
I’ve definitely felt that before! It’s happened a few times and I’ve found that the best way for me to get past it is to just take a break. I don’t post for a few days and I go back to it when I feel ready. The best way to stop it from becoming a chore is to not let yourself become too tied to it. If you don’t want to post, if you can’t think of a caption, if you’re not happy with your photo, just take time out and come back to it later! If I stop enjoying it, it just becomes a source of stress and that’s not the point of bookstagram.
What’s one book you would happily become a chatterbox about to let everyone know that they need to read that book?
In this year’s releases, it would probably be The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. It has dragons, battles between good and evil, LGBT+ rep, women warriors, dragons. It’s one of my unexpected favourites of 2019.
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?
For everyday book purchases my choices are slim because of where I live, so I’m afraid I default to online just to save money. However, if I’m away from home and near a good bookshop, I will not be leaving empty-handed.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the number of likes, especially for those who have been online for a while 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?
I’ve been in this situation myself! As someone who suffers from anxiety, it’s quite easy to feel like I’m not matching up or that I’m not doing enough. I was skeptical when Instagram decided to get rid of public likes but I’ve actually found it really helpful. There is just so much content out there and due to the way Instagram operates, your posts are only being shown to a very small portion of people. A lack of likes isn’t a personal thing and it’s not something to get hung up on. Concentrate on growing your page but do it to meet new people, not because you’re worried about your follower count. Don’t design your posts off what’s ‘popular’ and what you think will get likes, but about what you like, in a style that you enjoy. Be genuine and be friendly.
What’s a post you’re proud of?
In the last year, it would have to be the post where I opened up about my mental health and about living with a chronic illness. Both are things I usually wouldn’t talk about, so it was a big deal for me to discuss that. Otherwise, even though it’s not on my account anymore, it would be my post on the day I published my first book!
Name three fellow bookstagrammers that inspire you.
Tricky! Well firstly it has to be Sarah (@newleafwriter), who, as well as having a beautiful theme, is a massive inspiration, a wonderful friend and one of the best writing buddies a person could ask for. There’s also Alicia (@faerietalescandles) who runs one of my favourite bookstagram businesses and is just a lovely person. If I absolutely have to pick a third person instead of just raving about all the wonderful people I’ve met, it would be Susanne (@swaglen). I don’t personally know her, but I’ve admired her account (and her cats) from afar for a while. I’ve always loved her theme, her style, and her honesty.
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 @cainbooks.