Guys, for the longest time, I was totally against getting an Instagram account and joining the Bookstagram community.
I have enough social media to contend with already, I said.
When will I even have enough time to take my own pictures anyway, I said.
But about 6 months ago I caved, and oh boy, I have been utterly enraptured since!!!
I check in on the app AT LEAST once a day to stare at all the pretty shiny things on there, and wow, looking at everyone’s accounts makes me feel so inspired.
Learning how to use, cope, and post on this site has actually felt like a real journey, which is kind of a weird thing to say about something that is essentially a social networking platform! However, I have a feeling a lot of you will:
a) empathise with my struggles
b) feel a little less alone by reading them or
c) find them highly amusing.
…and that’s why I’m bringing this post to you today! So without further ado, here are the 10 stages of being a newbie on Bookstagram from yours truly!
STAGE 1: Utter confusion
Um, how do I use this thing? What’s an Instagram story? What are tags? Why can I use a filter that gives me cat ears? Where do I find the books?!?!
STAGE 2: Discovering the joy and wonder of epic bookishness…
…and crying hysterically because omg the book beauty.
Books everywhere. Rainbow shelves. Bookish themed pictures. Book subscription boxes. Bookish themed candles and bookmarks!!!
MY BANK BALANCE CANNOT HANDLE THIS.
STAGE 3: Trying to take your first picture.
Okay, I got this. I love books. I can take pictures of them, right?
*3 hours later and realising that all your photos look god-awful and amateur.*
*Looking around helplessly for something that makes the picture more interesting.*
*Contorting yourself into the weirdest positions in the name of a ‘good angle’.*
STAGE 4: Using alllll the filters.
When you realise that you can drastically change the look of your amateur pictures by snazzing them up and you have an utter freak-out.
Black and white? Moody/dramatic? Sepia? Super bright and colour boosted?!?
I AM HERE FOR THIS.
Of course, it’s hard not to go overboard and use them ALL AT ONCE which results in an oversaturated picture that looks over-edited.
STAGE 5: Sending your first few pictures out into the world… and that deflated feeling when you don’t get much interaction or likes…
….because you can’t get instagram famous overnight folks… and lets face it, your pictures still aren’t that great right now!
STAGE 6: Upping your game and BUYING ALLLLL THE PROPS.
Coloured candles, patterned fabrics, random flowers and foliage? Potpourri? Bizarre bits of twine? Fairy lights? IT ALL GOES IN THE BASKET.
Oops, how much did I just spend in the name of books?
STAGE 7: Diving headfirst into Instagram obsession and improving ‘like’ numbers.
Aka, plotting WORLD DOMINATION.
Checking in on the website 10 times a day.
Looking at every ‘How To Improve Engagement’ post ever written.
Overanalysing your number of likes and stating at your follower count – watching it temporarily go up…and then back down again because spam account are MEAN.
(At this point you can pretty much cue crazy eyes!)
STAGE 8: Discovering you’re supposed to have some kind of unique bookstagram aesthetic. #WHATISTHISWIZARDRY?
You learn that Instagram accounts with their own theme/aesthetic do much better, e.g. ones that use the same set colour schemes, props, filters etc.
Sounds easy right? EXCEPT WHEN YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO DO IT.
Hows does one develop this elusive theme? Is it something you find in the wild? Is it gifted upon you by a wise mage? Do you fight your way through a series of trials to earn a scroll that shows you the way?
*Falls into a pit of confusion and head scratching.*
STAGE 9 Feeling TOTALLY OVERWHELMED and like you’ll never contribute anything meaningful… and then coming back out the other side again.
You start to fall into a pit of despair.
PITY PARTY 1: ‘I’ll never be as good as these other bookstagrammers with 34k followers.’
PITY PARTY 2: ‘I’ll never be as good at taking photos as everyone else who seems to have high-quality cameras and mad skills.’
PITY PARTY 3: ‘What is the point in me even doing this? No one is interested, I might as well give up.’
….Then pulling yourself together because YOU DO THINGS FOR YOU, NOT FOR OTHER PEOPLE.
YOU TAKE THOSE BOOK PICTURES BECAUSE YOU WANT TO AND IT’S FUN. Don’t let anything else distract you or make you think otherwise!
STAGE 10: Finding your feet and going with the flow.
The 10th stage is acceptance, folks.
You learn to let go of the little green monster. You accept that you will never be perfect and just have fun AND YOU’RE SO MUCH COOLER FOR IT.
You remember why you joined in the first place (for the joy of books and bookish merch) and reach a higher level of bookish contentment because of it.
When you relax, your creativity grows and your pictures start to improve, maybe you even start to develop and book theme/style (turns out the key was a mental battle rather a sword fight one)!
I hope you found this post to be a little bit of fun!
Do you have a Bookstagram? Do you get overwhelmed by bookish excitement when you spend too much time on it? Do you ever get bookstagram envy or worry that you’re not contributing anything meaningful?
Let me know in the comments!
45 thoughts on “The 10 Stages of Being a Newbie on Bookstagram // Aka an Emotional Rollercoaster!”
Lol! That was funny with the gifs and all.
My experience with IG was a little different. I was reluctant to join it at first too but when I did, my pictures were all of buildings and plants. I never thought of taking pictures of books until I started watching booktube and heard people talk about doing so. My pics are quite plain but I do love playing with those filters!
I’m so glad you found it amusing! 😀 It’s so hard to know when you write these kinds of posts whether it’s only amusing to you or if others will like it as well, ha!
Ah that’s interesting that you started using it as something different. I never had a personal instagram and didn’t use the platform prior to setting up my bookstagram, so it was all new! Like you. it’s something I didn’t realise existed until book bloggers started mentioning it. Yay for the internet. 🙂
Ahh… I love this post so much!! Especially as I have only recently gotten bookstagram– I love looking at all the pretty pictures of books!!
And yes when trying to take your first photo you definitely spend 3 hours and they still look awful and I definitely do go hunting around the house for random props haha!! I still have not mastered a flatlay!!
Yes those pity parties have happened to me but once I actually focus on what I enjoy it gets much better!! But I definitely look at some and think why can’t I take pictures like that haha!! I always forget about stories so I still have some improving in the Instagram area!
I love all your bookstagram pictures they look amazing!! And this post was great!! ❤
Thank you so much! I’m SO happy that you enjoyed it! 😀
Haha, so glad you could relate to the endless photo taking and the contortion of the body! What I find the funniest is that I always end up taking so many pictures that look the same! Flatlay is much harder than it looks and I’m still getting used to it as well. 🙂
I think we all need a pity party once in a while! The thing is we’re all learning all the time and hopefully we will continue to improve until we’re rocking it!
Awwh thank you so much, that’s incredibly kind!!! ❤
You’re welcome!! 💛
Yep happens all the time!! Yes a lot of pictures look all the same– deciding which one can be really hard!! Yes I was surprised actually!! 😂
Yes so true!!! And you’re very welcome!!
I think you are doing an amazing job, and I am feeling all of these stages right now too because I am trying to jump into the Instagram world to see if I can help more people with their fitness and nutrition journeys (plus post about books too). I am actually meeting my coach for lunch today so that she can teach me everything she knows about IG. Yayyy!!! Keep up the awesome work my friend :).
Thank you so much, Cindy, that means a lot. 😀 ❤
Oooh, that sounds brilliant Cindy, it would be amazing if you were able to inspire and help others on their journey, and I bet it would feel really rewarding too. I'd definitely be interested in what you had to say. 🙂 I hope your lunch goes well and you'll have to let me know if you get any useful inside tips, LOL.
This made me chortle, guffaw and then that uniquely British thing of slightly blowing air through your nose to denote laughing whilst in company. 🙂
I don’t use my Instagram in the same way as you do at all, but I went through all the same things! So….soooo…many filters! And people posting the same things as me, what a delight that was to discover!
It was you who suggested I get one (thank you!), so now the world can see how beautiful I think my cats are, and the fact I own FAR too many Lego mini-figures!
Hahaha, and your sentence made me chuckle too! I’ve never thought of the nose thing as chiefly British but I guess that’s true! We are very refined in public after all. 😀
I’m glad you could relate to some of the points on here, there’s so much to discover when you join Instagram and it can take a while to get your head around it! I think the most confusing thing for me was how to use Instagram stories, I just didn’t get the point of them at first!
Don’t forget your magnet poetry!
It took me FOREVER to finally get into my bookstagram thing … and it’s still not where I want it to be ha-ha! Hopefully one day (actually planning on buying some stuff for blogging photos tonight). I at least found my favourite filter, but I have a LONG way to go …
Very informative (and funny) post.
I completely feel you Jenna, it’s not straight forward to find your flow on Instagram or to find a style to settle on that you love. Well done for finding a favourite filter though! I think I found that the hardest of all, because I felt that different filters looked better on different photos.
I’m not sure if I’m following you yet so I’m going to head on over to check your account out and give you a follow! 🙂
Thank you so much for reading, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. ❤
The filter WAS super hard, but I find the layouts and getting the perfect lighting SUPER difficult … that makes or breaks my photos 😦
And thanks! I found your account too (and followed). I really like it! It’s very warm 🙂
Thank you for writing and sharing your post! It was great and informative 🙂
Ahhh, yes! I didn’t even touch on the lighting struggle. That’s such a good point! It’s surprisingly difficult to get good lighting in my house, and because I work all day it can be hard to find time to take photos when the light is still good!
Thank you for the follow! Looking forward to seeing all your bookish posts. 💕🙂
I have fantastic lighting … but only for a certain hour throughout the day … so I typically have to take photos on the weekend 😄
Ahahaa, ohh noooo! Typical! That must be so frustrating. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.
Haha, I absolutely love this post! I relate so much.😅
I think I’m still in Phase 5, honestly, and I’ve had bookstagram for about six months…oops. I’m on an insta hiatus now, but thankfully I think I have an idea of where I want my theme to go when I return, so that’s good! I think at first I underestimated how much of a committment bookstagram would actually be… XD
Great post, and by the way, YOUR FEED IS SO GORGEOUS!
I’m really glad that you enjoyed it, Olivia, it’s so nice to know that we all go through these emotional stages and feelings of self-doubt!
Stage 5 is a tough one, but it just before the magic happens so hold in there!! 🙂 ❤ Instagram is a lot like a blog, you have to put a surprising amount of work into it to get things moving and ohh my gosh there are only so many hours in the day!! *cue frazzled Hermione time turner look*.
That's really exciting that you've had thoughts about a theme, that's awesome!
Awwh, thank you so much. THIS COMMENT MADE MY DAY. 😀
I relate so hard to this entire post, although I’m also kind of stuck back at stage 5 or 6 😅 But you’re right – the main reason we do this is for ourselves, right?! So just have fun with it! 😀
I’m so glad that you were able to relate to the post, Hannah, it’s so nice to know that we’re not alone with these issues/emotions! 🙂
Stage 5 is a real tough one, but hang in there and you will make it through! It only takes interacting with some great and friendly people on there and then everything starts to feel like it’s falling into place. 😀 ❤
Thank you so much for reading and following! I'm off to check out your Instagram and give you a follow. 🙂
❤ You are too lovely! Thanks for following my Bookstagram – I've been neglecting it lately for the book blog, so I need to find a balance 😂 I've found so many lovely people through Bookstagram and book blogging – it makes me so happy!
No problem! Looking forward to seeing your posts. 🙂 Books certainly bring together an amazing community on all platforms, I’m so glad I stumbled into it. 💕 A blogging balance is always tough, I still haven’t mastered it 😂. Good luck!
This is a great post! I post art on my Instagram, but this is all still so relatable – I keep getting to stage 9 then cycling back 😅 I’ve been thinking about starting a bookstagram too but I’m not ready for another commitment just yet!
Thank you so much, Abi, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I think whether it’s books, artwork, fashion etc. that you post about on there, we all go though those same times or feeling unsure of ourselves or overanalysing! You should definitely keep going with your artwork! 😁 Bookstaram certainly is a commitment – these things always take so much longer than you expect!?
Yes! I find that with any kind of posting, I always think it’ll be quick and it just isn’t?? 😂
Yes! I get exactly what you mean!!
Ahahaha this post was so funny to read! I love the gifs ♥️ And I sadly don’t have much physical book so I can’t do bookstagram, which I guess is a blessing and a curse at the same time. I think having a bookstagram would help me engage more and widen my platform. But at the same time having all these high quality pictures taken and at the right angle… and having to clean up after taking a picture and editing filters on it?! I have no time 😂 That’s why I have so much respect for bookstagrammers! And your Instagram feed is goals 💛💛
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Caitlin, it makes me so happy that it put a smile on your face! 😀 I definitely went down the gif rabbit hole and ended up looking at them for hours. :’D
Ahh, I am very lucky to have the space to store lots of books but I know the struggle is real and it’s not practical for everyone! I’ve actually seen a lot of bookstagrammers do posts using their kindle with the picture of the book’s front cover, so it’s still possible to do if you wanted to be a part of the community. 🙂 Time is a serious factor for sure, though, and I still haven’t quite found the balance! I don’t know how people post pictures every day but I am in awe!
Thank you so much for reading and commenting, and your kind words! ❤
Ahah I love this post SO much Becky ❤ and I love your bookstagram pictures so, so very much as well ❤ I'm not on bookstagram, but I feel like some of these stages can be applied to book blogging too, such as feeling a little overwhelmed, researching way too much into book blogging and more hahahaha. Bookstagrammers are so, so talented, I admire everyone sO much. ❤
Thank you SO much, Marie, I’m so happy you enjoyed it! 😀 Thank you for the kind words about my pictures as well. ❤ I think you're absolutely right, a lot of these stages can be applied to blogging. 🙂
I have so much admiration for some of the bookstagrammers out there, they put so much effort into every profile and they've really developed their craft!
Thanks so much for visiting! ❤
Haha! Loved your 10 stages, Becky.
I’m “on” Instagram but I have no idea what my page looks like right now because I joined a few years ago only because my family members coerced me into it and I never post anything.
The struggle with choosing which social media platforms to invest your time in is real!
Thank you so much, I’m glad you enjoyed it! 😀
That’s actually exactly what I did with Instagram as well! Someone wanted me to get it so I could look at something, then it laid dormant for about two years until I finally started using it as a bookstagram account!
I could not agree more. 🙂 Twitter used to be my main social networking platform, but I’ve since gone off it and only my automatic blog post links go on there now really, and forget about Facebook altogether! Bookstagram is definitely the way forward for me (even if my bank balance will suffer, LOL).
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Omg this is so relatable, I loved this 😂
Ahahaa, thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 😀
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I really need to start using my Bookstagram again. I was on it loads then took a break and never got back to it. I was going to start up again at the beginning of October – using a new book release as an excuse, then was too ill to do so. I’m hoping to start up again once I have internet again (atm I only have mobile as someone cut through the phoneline). I definitely found tags confusing at first and they took me forever to fill in. They still do half the time 😅and it’s so hard not to compare yourself to others. I love seeing all of the beautiful pictures on there though. And adding new books to my TBR although I do get a few moments when I find out I can’t read one as it’s only in a language I can’t read ;( still I love watching my TBR grow.
Oooh if you start up again definitely wave and my profile and say hi! 🙂 I haven’t experienced that with bookstagram yet but I definitely have with blogging! Sometimes there are times in life that take you away from your hobbies, but the good thing is they are usually waiting there for when you are ready to get back to them. 🙂
Will do (: I’m hoping to return to Bookstagram & my blog sometime this month. Fingers crossed anyway.
Great post and I must still be in the aesthetic stage. I have found you always need 2 pieces of tech (I only have my phone) because the some will take pictures of their tablets or screens of the ebooks/audiobooks. I find it hard to “compete”.
I have found that people who microblog have much more glamorous photos compared to people who have a WordPress or Blogger, etc.
Thank you! 🙂 The aesthetic stage is the most difficult one, and for me certainly lasted the longest! It’s tough but when you get through it you’ll be so much better for it. 😉
That is so true that the tech you use can make a big difference!
Becky, love your post it was so helpful! I just started a bookstgram (suggested by my BF) as a place to put my love for all things books and have been feeling everything you mentioned. I am currently trying to find my groove as I kind of have a theme as most of my pictures are taken at a castle lol but finding an aesthetic within and outside of that! Great article!
Awhh, thank you so much for the kind words I’m really glad you enjoyed the post! Congrats on starting a bookstagram I hope you have loads of fun with it! You will definitely find your groove so just keep working at it. 🙂 Definitely say hi to me on instagram as well as I’m always happy to chat books!