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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Instagram Reading Challenges With Tons of Recs Courtesy of Kelly Jensen

I have a special place in my heart for anyone who takes on any kind of month long challenge because I have subjected myself to one [31 Days of Horror] every October since 2011.

I am also often asked about ways to better engage with patrons on Instagram. I get this question because as this Huffington Post article notes, readers have really changed the way Instagram is used in the last few years as the #Bookstagram community has grown in numbers and influence.

These visually driven posts put book covers front and center, allowing the object itself to help create the buzz. But it is more than a gimmick. The text that accompanies these posts adds detail about the books themselves and the readers who are posting. The posts are inviting. People interact with the posters and ultimately the books themselves. Many #Bookstagrammers have become among the most influential book promoters on social media, especially in the areas of genre titles [romance, horror, SF, and fantasy] and tend to include more own voice titles.

Again, you can read this article from 2017 which talks about the #Bookstagram movement in much more detail.

Today, Kelly Jensen from Book Riot wrote about her experience participating in a Book Riot month long instagram challenge on her Stacked Books blog. She writes about how she physically gathered the content, managing to post every day despite a heavy travel schedule, and included every single #Riotgram she posted in October of 2018, making this both a great how-to piece and a treasure trove of some great recommended reads.

Kelly makes what could be a very daunting project seem manageable. I know many of you are considering how to engage with readers through Instagram more. You can use this post for inspiration. While those of you who are not using Instagram and have no plans to start, her post is still useful because of the wide range of titles she suggests which you can turn around a hand-sell to patrons right this minute. 

With Kelly's permission, here is the opening to her post. Click here to see the entire thing.


One of the fun things I get to do at Book Riot is put together the prompts for the seasonal Instagram challenge, #Riotgrams. I love not only coming up with fun things to encourage people to post, but I also love spending time every day seeing the books people have, that they’re borrowing, and that they’re excited to talk about.
Since I managed to take part all month long — which is the challenge in and of itself, as anyone who does an Instagram challenge can tell you — I wanted to round them all up in a post for readers who’d like some book recommendations.
Have you ever taken part in any kind of month-long (or week long!) Instagram challenge? I discovered one thing that helped change my participation: take photos in advance. I like to do a week or more at a time and save them, so that if I’m traveling or feeling uninspired, I know that I’ve used the time and creative energy I had at another point to make the process easier on my future self. Take that tip back with you next time you think about wanting to do a challenge but feel you wouldn’t keep up/would forget a day/aren’t home. I was gone half of October, and having the images stockpiled kept me going.

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