Hi, my name is Alys Jackson and I'm an author and poet

based in Adelaide, South Australia.

My work has been published in books, magazines,

anthologies and online.

#Bookstagram – connecting with young adult readers


noun. A word that makes writers shudder.

I recently decided to find out more about #Bookstagram as it was suggested as a good way to connect with young adult readers – by the Adelaide Dymocks team at the SA SCBWI Spring Retreat. You notice I didn’t use the word marketing. Dymocks Children’s Book Specialist, Linda, and YA Book Specialist, Tori, spoke about the benefits for writers using #Bookstagram to promote books.

I have since ploughed through way too many websites to find out more – so to summarise:

What is #Bookstagram?

#Bookstagram = is an Instagram account where people who love books can share everything and anything book related – reviews, pictures, merchandise … At present it is only available as an ipad/iphone app.

Whereas most people with Instagram accounts (59% of adults ages 18 – 29) share selfies, pictures of food and pets, Bookstagram is 100% book related. Here is the place where young adult readers post #shelfies not #selfies.

I am not suggesting you open a Bookstagram account and begin posting photographs of books. However, considering that Instagram now has (as of 25th September 2017) 800 million users, including 500 million daily users, it may be worth considering.

Why do young adult readers use Bookstagram?

  1. They become part of a worldwide Bookstagram community that shares a love of books.
  2. They get to share pictures of their favourite titles and covers.
  3. They are part of a global forum for book discussion.
  4. They have access to free book giveaways.
  5. It is a way for people with top Bookstagram accounts to read and review books for free.

How can Bookstagram benefit a writer?

In her blog Five Reasons Why Every Bookworm Should Have a Bookstagram, Ariana Carpentieri lists the following as number 3; ‘This is one of the coolest parts of being on bookstagram. When you post pictures of books, odds are you tag the author to show your love for their work. And sometimes, the authors return the love and show you their appreciation! It may be a little hard to come by because big-name authors get tagged in so many different posts on a daily basis. So the odds of them seeing your photo are a tad bit slim (yet not impossible, so never give up hope!) Sometimes, you shine through and the author thanks you for showing your love for their book!

The coolest thing that has happened for me with an author is when Lang Leav (one of my all-time favorite writers) reposted my photograph on her own account, then proceeded to follow me! She currently has 357k followers, and only follows 120 people. I’m honored to say I’m one of those 120, and everyday I go on bookstagram, I still can’t believe she follows me. She has been one of my favorites for so long!

So if you’re a bookstagrammer, you’ll most likely be fangirling over your favorite books. And if the author sees this and reaches out to you in some way to show their appreciation, you’ll feel on top of the world!’

So, if you’re looking for a way to connect with your readers;

  1. Offer your book to a top Bookstagrammer to be reviewed. According to the team from Adelaide Dymocks Bookstore, Bookstagram is now the number 1 site where teens and young adult readers find out about books. And remember to thank anyone who posts about your book.
  2. Post photographs or videos of your latest book. Anabel Jimenez of @inthebookcorner frequently posts videos of herself unpacking book hauls from publishing houses – something that excites the teens. See the article Harnessing Bookstagram: A PAMA Panel.
  3. Use Bookstagram as a way to engage with your readers by posting behind-the-scenes photographs. Remember to use #hashtags wisely. Click here if you’re unsure how to use #hashtags. Readers love to get to know their favourite authors and can always tell if you’re only interested in a sale.
  4. Readers also want to be the first to know, especially young adult readers. So if you have anything exclusive to share; your latest cover reveal, the first sighting of your hardback, a countdown to your next novel, an exciting excerpt, post it on Bookstagram.

I’m sure there are many more reasons to enjoy and become part of the #Bookstagram community both as a writer and a reader. Please let me know, if you think of any.

Thanks, Alys


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