What do you do on Instagram?
So, my Instagram page is called 2reador2write. I basically make shapes out of books. I guess you can call them art. Anything that comes to mind, I’ll try to make a shape out of it with books. I’ll also share reviews of books that I’m reading and enjoying.
Tell us about your love of books.
I’m very much an introverted person, but I always say that if someone can talk to me about books, I could probably talk your ear off. My love of books started from a very, very young age. Both of my parents read. My mom’s a reading teacher, my dad still reads almost during every meal. He constantly has a book in his hands. Reading was very much a part of my life growing up, so it was obvious that I would grow up loving to read as well.
[READ MORE TIPS ON GROWING YOUR BOOKSTAGRAM HERE]
Reading is such a form of escape. Anything that you have going on in your life, when you have a good book, you can escape from whatever is happening. I love books. I feel like you can live a thousand different lives through books! With books, you can experience things you will probably never get to experience, or sometimes hopefully never. Definitely one of my greatest passions is books.
What’s your favorite genre to read/write?
I love thrillers so much! I love a book where from the very first paragraph or page, it draws you in. I like that excitement. I’ll read every genre, but I’ve noticed that if a book doesn’t start off really exciting, I’m a little slower to read it. I think thrillers are kind of messing me up with other books because I’m always expecting them to be super exciting and fast paced right away.
Are you more of a reader or a writer?
No books published yet, but fingers crossed for the future. I would say I seriously started writing probably in 2018. I finished my degree and as soon as I started working, I realized that what I was doing was not my passion in life. I decided then to work every day toward my passion, which is to be a published author. I started writing every single day.
The first book I wrote was not good, but I at least wrote a book from start to finish. It’s about 50,000 words, but I did it. I then wrote a second one which was quite long, and I did query that one a little bit. I will say that everything I write falls into the psychological thriller sort of category. I love to write stories with a psychological element. I enjoy the excitement it creates when the narrator is perhaps not stable throughout the story.
You know, so many people want to be writers, but the difference between successful writers and them is that the successful ones actually prioritize their writing. They actually sit down and write. Sometimes I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to writing, so I have to force myself to stop the planning, and just start. You have to just start or you’ll never write anything.
What inspired you to create the images that you create on Instagram?
I started my page in September of 2020, and I was posting a lot of flat lays of books, or books on my bed. When it comes to Instagram, or any social media platform, you have to really watch the trends to see what people like. I started testing images that were semi-book art and they would get so much more attention than the book flat lays did. Sometimes I’d create something that I thought was terrible, but I’d post it and people would love it. So I was like, well, shoot, I guess I’ll keep doing more of this.
So, in January of 2021, I started doing more consistent book art photos because people really liked those. I was like, alright, let’s give the people what they want! So in December, I made a snowman and people were really amazed by it.
I started out with an October Halloween theme. Everything on my page was orange and black. And then November hit so I jumped into a Christmas theme. I just figured I was a very “theme page.” Then January hit and I was like, what’s the theme for January? There’s nothing! That’s when I decided that I’d start doing more of the book art because people really liked it.
How long does it typically take you to create a single image for Instagram?
I’d say it takes me around 45 minutes on average to do a single book art photo depending on the complexity. For example, the bike photo was more complex with a lot of parts such as wheels, the frame, the flower basket, and then I decided to put a little road underneath it so I wasn’t just floating in the air. Those more complex photos can take up to an hour and a half. Sometimes you’ll get into a position with the books and then the books fall over, which adds to your time.
So I would move our dining room table out of the room, and I’d open all the windows. Good lighting is key to great photos on Instagram. If you have bad lighting, it’s just not going to be a good picture. So, I’d have to move all the chairs and table out of the room, and then I’d place a white sheet on the carpet. I’d always have to make sure the baby was asleep because when he sees that white sheet, he’s like, “Play time!”
From there, I just start placing books on the ground. Sometimes it starts out as one shape, and then I might realize…“That doesn’t look like that at all…” But I’d realize that it kind of looks like something else, so I’ll turn it into something else. Once I created the shape, I would have my husband stand on a chair and take the photo.
I am sweating so hard in most of those photos, you just can’t see because I’m trying to hold my position. It takes a lot of abs, and I don’t have great abs! I mean, it really is a workout! I’m sweating and I’m tired by the time I’m done taking book photos. There was one I did that was a slide, and I had to keep my stomach on the books, so I was laying on my side. It’s definitely much harder than I think it looks.
Now I have a tripod because my husband refuses to take my photos anymore. So now I have only 10 seconds to get in position! I have so many crazy looking photos where I’m halfway in it and my face is all crazy. I should maybe share some of those photos.
How extensive is your book collection?
My husband and I recently tried to count how many books we have. We just counted one row and then multiplied! We’re estimating that we have probably around 350 books or more here at our house, but at my parents’ house, I have ten plus tubs of books. My mom keeps threatening to bring them all to my house, but I’m going to have to get a lot more space if she does that!
What are some things that you would attribute to your Instagram growth?
The majority of what you see on Bookstagram is flat lays of books on beds, which are fine, but I think finding something that maybe isn’t being done as much will help you stand out. Images where people can tell you’ve taken a good amount of effort, people appreciate things that look kind of hard. Consistency with the content your posting is key to growing on Instagram. For example, if you want to be a Bookstagram channel, you should probably have photos of books and talk about books.
[READ MORE TIPS ON GROWING YOUR BOOKSTAGRAM HERE]
Mel Beasley has a bachelor’s in creative writing and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He brings 9+ years of digital marketing and writing experience to the table by writing for publications such as Lumina News and Encore Magazine. He spent 2 years as a college-level writing tutor, and is a certified writing tutor through the CRLA, which is a prestigious cert recognized by the Association for the Coaching & Tutoring Profession. He is a professional SEO blogger with experience writing for brands such as Boardworks Education and The Greater Wilmington Business Journal. One of his latest website and marketing projects has been building the website for the now New York Times Bestselling author, Nina de Gramont.