What I Wish Publishers Knew About Bookstagrammers
How to Work With Bookstagrammers
I have worked with several publishers; some have been delightful and some have left me a little frustrated. For publishers, Bookstagram is a new and exciting thing, one I think they know little about, so here is what I think publishers should know about Bookstagrammers.
1. Every Bookstagrammer is different.
I think there is a belief that a Bookstagrammer is a Bookstagrammer and they all just love books. Not true. Often most of them will have a preferred genre and by looking at their pictures you can often get a feel for what they are. For example, I am not a fan of fantasy; I never review it, hardly ever read it or feature it on my account, yet I get countless emails from publishers telling me how their fantasy book will be perfect for me. This makes it clear to me that I am just on some random list and they haven’t even looked at my account, so I just ignore it. We all have our preferences, the books we love and don’t love, so please do a little bit of research. Also, look at what and how they post. I never post multiple posts because they don’t work so well on my account for example, so when I am asked to do them I won’t because I care about you getting the best results from your post.
2. It’s all about the cover.
I know they say don’t judge a book and all that but really in Bookstagram world it’s all about the cover; we are a shallow lot!. If a publisher can’t show me a picture at least of the cover I can’t agree with any kind of feature, because I can’t see the merchandise. Your book can be the best book ever written but if the cover is kind of non-existent we won’t feature it. Sorry, and PDF and audio books are no good to most of us, we need a physical book.
3. We know our audience.
No one knows our audience like we do, we know what they like, don’t like, what pictures work and don’t work so please don’t tell us what to do. Give us the book and leave us to it, we know what works best; we have nurtured our audience and this account for some years. And if you do have an idea in mind, read number 6.
4. It’s not all about the numbers.
Publishers seem obsessed with numbers but often they are not looking at the right numbers. Followers mean nothing really, you want to know about average reach, how far that Bookstagrammers reaches outside of their audience, what are their weekly impressions and what is their engagement rate (likes and comments per posts divided by followers- anything over 10% is high) . Don’t ignore the smaller Bookstagrammers over the bigger ones as their engagement and reach are probably higher. At 32k I know my reach is higher than some accounts with over 100,000 and sometimes my reach is 64% outside of my audience. My engagement rate is about 17.5%. These are all high but you may look me over for an account with many more followers even though my photo may get seen by more people. Ask for these figures and make your decisions based on these and not the number of followers. Your engaged Instagrammer with a higher reach really deserves to be rewarded more because they are doing a great job.
5. A lot of work goes into their pictures.
It isn’t just a point and shoots game, some pictures are easy to take and some, especially for the more creative Bookstagrammer can take hours to perfect. Keep this in mind. I sometimes think the work we do is underrated and we are not given enough credit for the art we create. Good content deserves to be paid for and just because you send me a book don’t think I will post a picture automatically. For me, to spend hours creating something I have to love the book or be rewarded with something.
6. Be clear.
If you want a certain photo, be clear. Ask them for what you want while also trusting their experience. Send them pictures of their own that you like so they can get a feel for the vibe. I often get asked for simple flatlays, but I don’t do them on my account anymore so I will turn the project down. Be clear and let the Bookstagrammers make the decision about whether your style and ideas fit theirs.
7. Give them time.
I know this is a tricky one but we do need some notice. Taking photos requires perfect light and let’s face it, that doesn’t always come easy. Also, some Bookstagrammers plan their feeds, I know I do often a month in advance – I need to know what day you want to post something so I know what photo I have to produce for that day so it will fit with my feed. If you change the day at the last minute I won’t have the right photo and I won’t compromise my feed for anyone or any amount of money. I know not all work like this but some do and they need the time to plan and crate accordingly.
8. Pay them.
We work tirelessly at what we do and we are good at it. We are doing your marketing for you and I believe we deserve to be paid for the work we do. Sure, I take books I am not paid to post, but that is not my norm. We are content creators, often artists and we deserve to be paid for the work we do.