Faking It & Blocking People: 7 Things Bookstagrammers Don’t Talk About
By Jennifer Lewis (@bluestockingbookshelf)
Because I’ve been on bookstagram for a little over 2 years now, and I’ve learned a few tips and tricks along the way.
1. I care about numbers.
Nothing gets under my skin like people constantly insisting that it’s “not about the numbers.” It feels forced and pretentious, because why would you have a public Instagram account if you’re not looking for followers?
I’m not saying that you should chase followers and likes like a crazy person--that will get depressing real quick (I know this from experience). But there’s no shame in getting excited when you’ve had a surge in followers, or that last photo you posted is extra popular.
2. I saw your comment, and I didn’t like it.
I am no stranger to passive aggressive comments and unsolicited advice. I used to feel compelled to respond to nasty people, but these days (unless I’m feeling particularly sassy) I no longer have the emotional capacity to do so.
Most of the time, I make responding to comments a priority. So, if you notice that I’ve responded to everyone else’s comment BUT yours, chances are I saw it and decided it wasn’t worth a reply or a “like.” If you’re going to be rude, you’re not worth interacting with.
3. I get paid for posts (and you should, too).
It feels so taboo to talk about this because people like to pretend that their Instagram posts are all 100% organic. But, yes, I do run sponsored posts on occasion (not as much as I would like though). And, just because I get paid to run ads sometimes, it doesn’t mean I love bookstagram any less.
I’m convinced that bookstagrammers get taken advantage of by big brands because we’re such a happy community that we’re thrilled to get free stuff in exchange for a post. BUT. We should not make the mistake of undervaluing our time and effort. Know your worth. If a brand really respects your work, they will pay you for your collaboration.
4. I block a lot of people
Bookstagram has to be one of the happiest communities on Instagram, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few people who suck.
I used to care so much about rude people that I would obsess over the nasty comments they left and sometimes even reach out to resolve things, which was absolutely insane. I think social media tricked me into chasing universal popularity and I just made myself miserable in the process.
Now, every time I get a comment or a DM that is even remotely threatening, I block the offending account. I’m sure some of those people aren’t actually that bad, and they didn’t intend to make me so nervous, but I’m not about to take any chances. My peace of mind comes before the feelings of socially challenged bookstagrammers.
5. Sometimes I just pretend everything is fine
If you read my captions and comments, 90% of the time I’m saying nothing but positive things. I haven’t always been that way but, as my account grew, I just became uncomfortable with acquainting all my friends and followers with so many personal details about any struggles I face “behind the scenes.”
At first, I felt like I was being fake or deceitful by writing positive things on my account even during my worst days. BUT. I have since realized that, just because I have a public Instagram, it doesn’t mean I’m required to update my followers with all the intimate details of my life. Occasionally, I choose to share the things that make me anxious or upset, but most of the time I don’t. And, (this is going to sound preachy so I apologize in advance) sometimes when I fake a positive attitude, I actually start to feel better.
6. Authors can be a pain in the ass
I’ve met some truly wonderful authors through bookstagram, but I almost never work directly with authors anymore because they can be the literal worst. Nearly every time they contact me, they basically write down their entire life story to convince me to promote their book. And then, as soon as I say yes, they act like they’re doing me a huge favor by sending me their book and they harass me constantly, wondering when TF I’ll review it. Oh, and often they ask to read my review before I post it to make sure it’s not negative (and they’re confused when I refuse).
If you’re a new book blogger, I suggest working mainly through agents and publishers. And if you’re an author, please stop acting like you’re God’s gift to bookstagram. Send us your books and leave us the hell alone. We will be much more inclined to read your work if we don’t feel like you’re stalking us.
7. My bookstagram account is one of my best-kept secrets
Almost none of the people in my personal life know about my bookstagram account. Early on, I told a few close friends and family about my book blogging, and some of them were so confused/skeptical about the concept of bookstagram that I decided to only share my account with people who will appreciate it. Because it sucks to have the people who are closest to you laugh at the things you care about.
Maybe one day I’ll share my account with more people, but for now I like my anonymity. It’s easier to be creative and to be more open about my life when I know that the only friends/family following are people I love and trust.
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About the Author
Jennifer Lewis is an enthusiastic reader, blogger and book collector. When she's not taking photos of books, you will find her trying new restaurants, planning her next vacation, or playing with her rescue cat and dog.
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