What Bookstagram Means to Me

Human Hand Meets Book Hand

I’ve been away from my blog for a few weeks because I’ve been working on a couple of projects for publishers.  Since my second Weekend Hashtag Project #WHP feature on Instagram, I’ve received more requests from companies asking us to get involved with campaigns which has been absolutely amazing but it’s also taken up my time as I’ve wanted to produce my best work for them.  Add to this a new homeworking contract as a transcriber, and my hours have quickly dissolved!

So this is just a quick check-in to share a post I wrote for frolic about what Bookstagram means to me . I’ve touched on this here before, but this piece really sums up our journey and the impact that Bookstagram has had on our lives.

There was a backlash against using books as props in the media recently. I won’t go into detail here but if you’d like to find out more then do read these excellent posts by The Book Satchel and The Lit Books – both pro-Bookstagram and rightly so. I’ve been part of many online communities over the years and Instagram, although by no means perfect, is the most positive and supportive that I’ve found.  In a world that’s becoming increasingly fractured, it’s great to be part of an articulate collective that constantly reflects on society and allows people to express themselves freely. For me, it’s opened new doors at a time when I felt frustrated with the narrow focus that traditional career routes offer.

And now I find myself considering ‘what next’? Now that I have a ‘portfolio’ career, I’m working out which strands to develop and how to blend these successfully.  There’s a lot to think about and I hope to be back soon with more news about our plans. Until then, may you be blessed with the all best books!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Featured on the Instagram Weekend Hashtag Project (#WHP)

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**Hooray! Four months after this post was first published, I was featured again for #WHPdailylife **

Last week, the wonderful and hugely exciting happened – my photo of a book tree was featured on Instagram after I entered the #whp🌲 challenge.  Since then, nearly 600K people have seen my hallway which is mind-boggling!  My personal account has also received a boost. I’ve gained over 2000 followers since the photo was posted and have had lovely comments from all over the world. I am so grateful for each and every one especially after taking such a creative leap this year.

But the real reason I’ve written this post is to shed some light on the challenge itself so that others can join in and have a chance of being featured too.

The Weekend Hashtag Project (#WHP) is announced by Instagram on Fridays (late GMT) so first of all, you need to follow their main account.  Each week, they set a new prompt with an accompanying photo or video as an example of what they’re looking for.  The rules do change for time to time so keep checking, but here are the guidelines from last week:

PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPoddlysatisfying hashtag only to photos and videos shared over this weekend and only submit your own visuals to the project. If you include music in your video submissions, please only use music to which you own the rights. Any tagged photo or video shared over the weekend is eligible to be featured next week.

You then have the weekend to post material which matches the theme.  After this time, Instagram then selects up to 6 entries to be featured. If you’re new to the WHP, I recommend looking back over past features to get a feel for the successful content. Creative shots often get picked, but so do other styles – and captions count too.  Account size doesn’t make a difference – I had just over 2500 followers when I was chosen so tiny by Instagram standards.

I think my biggest piece of advice for the WHP is to have fun with it. Use it to view the world in a fresh way. Anything goes so be playful and free – find your voice. This was my 9th attempt so it’s worth persisting.

As always, if you have any questions about the challenge, get in contact with me via the comments or the contact page.

 

 

 

 

Ten Things I’ve Learned in a Year of Instagram

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To say that Instagram has changed my life isn’t an overstatement.  Joining the community has given me courage to leave my traditional job and try to live in a way that’s a lot more satisfying. When I started posting @thebookfamilyrogerson back in April 2017, I had no idea what to expect and what came out of that initial leap was a lot more exciting and meaningful than I ever anticipated. Here are the top ten things that I’ve learned in a year of being an instagrammer:

  1. Instagram is the most positive social media application on the web. I also hang out at Twitter and Facebook and both have their merits, but neither can match Insta when it comes to supportiveness , creativity and fun.  I count my Instagram followers as real friends.
  2. Bookstagram means you can be part of an international book group and read the same book at the same time with friends all over the world! I know that this sounds obvious, but it blew my mind when I was comparing notes with pals in the US, New Zealand, the Philippines and the UK simultaneously.
  3. If you want to take the pressure off producing for the main gallery then post in the stories instead.  The content is only temporary so it doesn’t need to be perfect – plus you can play with GIFs and stickers.
  4. You get out what you put in. Very rarely can you simply post photographs and expect everyone to react.  Treat people as you would in real life, appreciate it when they reach out to you and reciprocate with goodwill.
  5. Snapseed is a great free tool for editing photographs. If you’re up to paying, then check out other apps like VSCO where you can store presets.
  6. Feel the fear and post it anyway.  Instagram is a great place to stretch your creativity. If you don’t like what you’ve produced, you can always archive it.
  7. Don’t compare yourself to others. This one is really hard sometimes, but everyone will have their own doubts. Better to focus on your own vision, values and aesthetic.
  8. Likewise, try to ignore the algorithm. I’ve had all sorts of mad theories about how to beat it since I’ve been posting but none of them work! One thing I would mention is that quality will get noticed in the long run though.  Share your best and the likes will come eventually.
  9. If you want to develop your account, there’s lots of free quality advice out there. I recommend following Me and Orla, Bookish Bronte, Allthatisshe and Herinternest for valuable tips.
  10. Don’t let Instagram rule your life.  It’s addictive so keep it contained. If you want a break , take as long as you need.  The people who enjoy your company will be still be there when you return.

What are your thoughts about Instagram? Do you love it, hate it or somewhere in between?