Hiii readers! 🙂 This post is a tad late, but still completely necessary! Here’s something you should know: as of August 26, this marks the 2nd anniversary of my bookstagram, @booknerd_reads. It’s been one hell of a ride since I logged on so long ago in 2014, not only has my taste in reading changed, but what I read, how I view people across the world, and how I influence the bookish community has changed as well.
It all began that afternoon: August 26, 2014. Only days prior I stumbled upon a photo of a book in my recommendation feed. I doubt you were aware, but since July 2013 I managed a fandom edit account on Instagram—it’s actually what got me hooked on the network just a year before. But the hype of fandom accounts was slowly deflating, and I was growing bored of it. I secretly wanted a reason to not delete Instagram. . .I just hadn’t found it yet. But once I discovered the bookish photography community I thought, why not?
I’ll be honest: my photos weren’t perfect. Hell, they weren’t even good. I knew so little about editing, photography, angles, lighting, not even a speck of what I know now. How these book bloggers appear out of thin air all talented at photography and become insta famous overnight is beyond me—please, spare me a moment + teach me your ways.
In other words, blogging has given me a ton of reasons why it’s changed my life so much within just 2 short years. And I’d like to share these reasons with you. Maybe it will bring us bookworms even closer together within the bookish community. ❤
1. The friendships I’ve made through the community
How could this one not be first? When I was still one year into bookstagramming, I didn’t really try to make friends. I was a reclusive blogger—I appeared online to post, comment on some pics, and leave. But in the last few months, I’ve learned to crack my shell + just chat up some bloggers. At the time, my new friend Anna (@alittlebookworld) said, “Let’s put these people in a group, they seem pretty cool.” And now that group chat is full of my closest best friends ❤ ❤ And I don’t want any of you to miss out! In fact, my dm is always open so feel free to say hi 🙂
2. Expressing myself through photography
Even if you don’t know it, bookstagram has directed you toward a sense of style. For the longest time, I didn’t believe I had a theme, but recently pastels have been my obsession. On bookstagram you can have outdoor pics; dark, broody pics; bright, cheery pics; every blogger brings something new + fresh to the community! And not to mention, blogging has turned us all into photography snobs. XD
3. Isolation from reality
This one may sound a bit odd, but it’s true. I feel a sense of isolation from the people around me who would judge the hell out of me for taking photos of books in my free time. Reading is my life, and I’m tired of hearing “you own too many books” or “you spend too much time reading.” Despite all of that, it’s great to meet people who feel the exact same way as me online.
4. Opportunities + Promotions
I have to be honest: promotions are pretty great. From print ARCs to knit socks to phone cases, bookstagrammers have proven to be quite the business savvy bloggers. We take opportunities by the hand and don’t look back. Only recently have I been able to get my name out there without any hesitation and receive all kinds of promotions, but I’m so glad I’ve learned to take a chance and see how it goes—which is exactly the point of blogging.
5. Interaction with authors
Gone are the days where an author was someone who wrote behind a blank face and a pen name, and published your favorite books. With the rise of social media, authors have developed a fanbase on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc. I’ve spoken to authors directly + you feel so giddy that this person, who wrote your favorite book, is talking to you. Nowadays, authors can confide in their readers about what they could fix, promoting books, + so much more. The author is no longer a figure, they’re a person.
6. Sense of belonging
Honestly? I’m not used to being part of a team. Many bloggers are athletes, dancers, musicians, etc. But me? Nada. Bookstagram has given me the chance to be a part of a community as colorful + diverse as a box of crayons XD I feel at home in the community (most of the time) We’re a family, guys. Which means we will fight from time to time—but how we love is so much more.
7. Discovering new books (efficently)
I remember a few years ago—back when English teachers actually tried to make their students read—people never had a book to read. My teacher gave recommendations, and occasionally people recommended to each other, but beside that, they stood around perusing the shelves in the classroom. Meanwhile I was drowning in tbr books, wondering when I’ll conquer my impending book stack. And I blamed bookstagram: all of these bloggers saying, “READ THIS! READ THAT!” So naturally, I have a lot much bookish knowledge than my real-life friends (sorry guys, I still love you.)
8. Venting with other bookworms
This is sort of an addition to a past reason, but I love being able to vent / fangirl with other readers about a book. It’s something that’s difficult in real life: whether you’re the only one around you who has read a certain book, to even being the only one of your friends who reads.
If that’s your case then *hugs* the book community + I are here for you. From tweets to captions, we can discuss books together. BUT avoid spoilers. Especially books that haven’t been released yet, like Empire of Storms. Because nobody wants that. *shhhh*
9. Excuse to buy more books
Before book blogging, I used the library a lot. Not to say that you can’t be a proper bookstagrammer and use the library, but I ultimately prefer being able to photograph the same books time and time again. I’ve scored amazing deals on Amazon as well, and my collection has grown immensely in the last 2 years, although I can’t say my wallet agrees.
10. Power of reviews, ARCs, + hype
If you convince a publisher to send you a book for review, do it. I’ve discovered through blogging the power we have in the book industry—but that might be stretching the truth. In reality, posting reviews and promoting ARCs help the author out so much, even if you don’t think so. We readers adore being a part of the publishing process, even if it’s small. In fact, we’re not book readers anymore—we’re book ambassadors. And be honest: that sounds really badass.
11. Improving my social skills
You’re probably thinking, Jill, you’re talking through a screen, what do you mean social skills? Well let me explain. As I said, in the beginning I was reclusive online. Now, blogging has drilled into me that you can’t make friends if you don’t try. (I love Instagram but props to Twitter + the incredible buddies I’ve made there :)) I still struggle with approaching my favorite bloggers
there’s a lot of intimidation but I’ve improved so much in the last 2 years. My irl friends say I sound different online than around them. And they’re right: I don’t feel the same social restrictions online than real life.
12. Facing YA adversity head-on
If there’s an issue in the YA community, you’ll definitely hear it. There’s anon Twitter accs where people confess positive / negative opinions about YA books + topics we know and love. Sometimes fandoms blow up on Twitter too
it’s always Twitter, I tell you whether it be a ship war, or a spoiler affair. But this is not what I love. What I love is how we readers are so open. We’re wise: knowing you can’t fix an issue without addressing it first. A little adversity makes for a wonderful peace afterward.
13. The growth of bookish companies
From candles to bookish boxes to mugs to bookmarks, our community is flourishing with new companies that seem to pop up everyday. These companies work off entrepreneurial sites such as Society6, Redbubble, + Etsy. So say you’re a bookish merchandise company trying to reach your peak? Well, make an Instagram, pick some other bloggers as your reps—BOOM, a recipe for success 🙂 I’ve been a rep before and I must say it’s amazing to have the beautiful products + promote their company too. I feel like I’m helping just a little bit, and that makes all the difference.
14. Putting yourself out there
I’ll be honest: I’ve never been able to approach publishers. ARCs are a hot topic in the YA community, and as much as you try to deny it, the feeling of receiving one is indescribable. We feel like ARCs are power—and we crave them. Back to publishers, I had the passion to receive the book, but I never had the numbers to back me up. Now that I’ve grown, I’ve really taken off + trying to approach publishers. Even if I’m not approved, just sending the email is a small triumph for me.
This topic is rather broad but I’ll separate it into 2 sections: 1. Discussing topics about YA with other bloggers + not only seeing but understanding diverse opinions on the same topic 2. Being able to see the way that diversity in YA books begs to be heard, and we readers are craving it. I won’t say much else, because this topic is discussed so often. But my final piece of advice is: keep your eyes open, your ears open wider, and open, most of all, your mind.
16. Learning commitment + responsibility
I don’t have an Instagram, I run an Instagram. It’s practically become my job. I stress about not having photos to post on a certain day simply because I’m committed to my followers. In fact when I go on vacation I prepare photos in advance as well, just to stay active. Even when I discussed my 2 year blogversary on my Instagram, someone claimed that took major commitment. Occasionally, blogging is as high as a priority as school or even friends + family.
Because you guys are my friends + family 🙂
17. The influence of new things
You guys may not know this, but I’m highly impressionable. If my friend has a music taste, chances are I have at least one song that they loved first. If my friend reads a book, I’ll probably read that book. If my friend has a new catchphrase, I’ll start saying that catchphrase. So blogging is one big influence sponge, soaking up all sorts of new things for me to try. From Hamilton to the Bullet Journal, you wonderful bloggers on the internet led me to things I wouldn’t naturally discover myself. And for that I’m grateful.
Why do you love blogging? Tell me below!