Let me preface this with a confession: I started creating book-related content on a whim.
One moment I was going through a stack of books I got from a sale, the next thing I knew, I was already thinking of a domain name for my book blog. Before I knew it, 12 long months had passed and here I am, occupying my little space on the internet with a handful of book-related socials.
Happy New Year everyone! The first two weeks of January finally comes to close and today, I reflect on my experiences of my first year in the online book community. Here are four things I realized as a reader and a content creator.
Don’t be pressured by aesthetics.
The first thing that I saw on the Instagram book community (a.k.a bookstagram), I was bombarded by elaborate flatlays with various ornaments such as dried flowers, scented candles, and even wooden trays alongside a book. That put a damper on my spirits because additional props equals more expenses (as if a book isn’t expensive in itself already.)
It took me a while, but I learned to not give in to the pressure of spending money for the sake of making my photos “aesthetic” and “pretty”. I found a composition style that worked for me and I learned to incorporate items that I already own to augment the look of my photos.
Some fave photos I’ve taken on my bookstagram below:
Bottomline is: be yourself. Learn how to work with what you have to build your brand and people will eventually find you, which leads me to my next point:
Engage with the book community.
Don’t be afraid to make friends! While the book community has its own ups and downs, my experience with this side of the Internet has been nothing short of amazing. Not only will you be able to connect with fellow bookworms and scream about books, this community has tons of inspiration to offer and has been an avenue for important discussions to take place.
Follow bookish creators that interest you and don’t be afraid to reach out and comment on their posts. At the end of the day, you get to talk about your favorite books and you might also gain a new friend or two along the way.
A reading slump isn’t your downfall.
If you’re part of the book community, then you might be familiar with the term and know why most readers fear it. Simply put, reading slump refers to the condition wherein you’re unable to read anything no matter how much you try to. It can last for a short while if you’re lucky, or a couple of months to a year if not. Not long after I started my book blog, I bumped into a reading slump that lasted for 6 months before I was able to finally pick up a book again.
Getting into a reading slump doesn’t diminish your worth as a reader. I have learnt to view my reading slump as a sign that it’s okay to spend your time on things that are not reading. Go learn a new hobby, indulge in your comfort TV series, catch up on sleep! Your books will remain with you and you have the rest of your life to slowly get back to them. Please be kind to yourself.
Make an effort to be inclusive in your reading.
Up until I joined the book community, I was reading the same books by mostly white, cis, straight, able-bodied authors because these were the only titles and authors that are available in local bookstores. While I also enjoy reading these books, I longed to see a character that looks and acts like me, a Filipino, on the pages of a book.
Book twitter, for all its charms and faults, has been an avenue and a blessing for me to discover stories that come from marginalized and disadvantaged communities including narratives about people of color (POC), people on the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum, disabled people, neurodivergent people among other minorities.
It is important for these kinds of stories to exist because it breaks stereotypes, fosters greater empathy and understanding of others, and it sends the message that everyone can see themselves as heroes of their own stories and not be confined to specific tropes only.
Consuming these stories have made my own reading experience broader and more interesting. Not only was I able to see myself represented and feel validated, but I also was able to learn about how different people’s experiences are from my own.
It is then vital as a bookish content creator that we make a conscious choice to not only consume these narratives but to also actively promote these stories. By doing so, we support marginalized creators and in turn, open more opportunities for these stories to find their way into the hands of more readers.
Now that I’ve finish this trek down memory lane, this week has also been some help in making me self-reflect on what I want to achieve in 2021, reading-wise. Here are some bookish resolutions of mine that I hopefully (emphasis on hopefully) be able to accomplish for the next 12 months.
Branch out to other genres.
A quick inventory of my shelves had me realize that I have been consuming fantasy books the most. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it made me realize that I might not be having an inclusive reading experience as much as I thought. (And to be fair, I’ve been missing out on a lot of fun reads non-fantasy wise.)
This year, I’m looking to read more sci-fi, romance, thriller, and non-fiction books so if you have any recommendations, feel free to leave some below so I could check them out!
Read more backlist titles.
While I was tracking the titles I read last year, I discovered that some, if not, most of what I was reading were fairly new releases. This year, I hope to get more reading done especially with backlist titles because there are some titles that have been on my TBR since forever, and it was about damn time I get back to them.
Maintain consistent updates for my bookish socials.
One thing I also discovered last year is that maintaining any sort of bookish-related creative platform entails a huge deal of hard work, planning, and dedication. My updates have been sporadic last year, mainly brought on by getting my life in order (aka employment, university graduation, all that jazz). Now that I have somewhat adjusted and created my own routine, I have a little bit more leeway in getting my bookish socials in order.
This year, I aim to be able to maintain the following updating streak for each of my socials:
- Bookstagram: 1 photo per week
- Booktube: 2 videos per month (surprise, I’m on booktube now!)
- Book blog: 2 posts per month
Refrain from participating in book tours.
Last year has been a pretty amazing reading year as I was able to have the privilege of participating in numerous book tours for some books of authors I loved, ushering in a surplus of creative content that I was able to explore (like bookish outfits and dressing up!)
However, as much as I love book tours, being in a full-time job along with other responsibilities has led me to reconsider other priorities and thus, I will be signing off on book tours this year. Reading on a set deadline was okay last year because I had some free time, but this year it’s not looking too hot because I have other IRL stuff of my own.
This year, if there is a title that I am interested in reading early, I’ll just reach out to publishers directly, instead.
Boost engagement and interaction with other bookworms in the community
Last year, I managed to hit 100 subscribers on my blog, 484 followers on my Instagram (almost 500!), and 390 followers on Twitter (almost 400!). My booktube also has 20 subscribers as of this week.
This year, along with a consistent updating schedule for each of this platform, I aim to boost my engagement by:
- Book blog: 120 subscribers
- Bookstagram: 510 followers
- Booktube: 35 subscribers
In this vein, I also want to dedicate at least 2 weekends spent on interacting and boosting fellow bookish content creators. I’ll dedicate set time per week to blog-hop, marathon videos, and browse Instagram as well.
And that’s a wrap for this post! Here’s hoping to be able to commit to all of these promises this year, and we’ll see where we go from here.
What are some of your bookish resolutions for the year? Let me know in the comments below!
Book Club Announcement!
Before you go! I am so excited that I am establishing a book club! Me and two of my closest college friends have been doing weekly book discussions since August of last year and this 2021, we decided to branch out and connect with other fellow bookworms!
Our book club is called Bookas Na Book Club, with our motto being: “A book club for procrastinators by procrastinators.” We started this as a way of building a daily reading habit and to discuss books or stories via weekly video conferencing on Google Meet!
Check out our teaser video on our Instagram account for more details~ We’ll be majorly reading short stories, novellas, novelettes, and even webtoons alongside full novels so we hope to see you there!