6 bookish instagram accounts to inspire you

Best book Instagram for writers

Now that we’re back from our epic Appalachian road trip, I am kicking myself that I didn’t take more pictures! I’ve always been one of those stay-in-the-moment rather than capture-the-moment types, which is all well and good until you’re home from a fantastic trip and don’t have a single thing to look back on.

Luckily, Jarrett is great at taking pictures along the way–he captured the gorgeous mountain views, the fog rolling through the hills, the happy reunion we had with our grandpuppies, and even the working moments. We also had so many uncaptured, incredibly fun moments of eating, drinking, and meeting with local chefs and producers across western Virginia, eastern Tennessee, and western North Carolina.

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So, in the hopes that you all learn from my mistakes and take photos of favorite moments, I thought I’d share the photographers who most inspire me on Instagram.

I know many writers initially think Instagram isn’t for them–they chalk it off as frivolous or just another distraction. But Instagram can be a key pillar of your author platform if you learn how to make it fun. It’ll give you right back as much as you put into it–if you following aspiring authors, book bloggers, publishing folks, or other influencers in your area, your feed will be full of all the things you find interesting. If you don’t follow too many people, or you don’t share photos and use hashtags strategically, you’ll find Instagram to be a boring, closed-universe space.

There are only two things you need to do to both enjoy Instagram and use it to effectively grow your audience:

  1. Research and follow the people and businesses you find fascinating.

  2. Share your own life, and use the right hashtags so others can find you.

Here’s a head-start on both of those items–these are the feeds I’m going heart-eyes for these days, plus the best hashtags for jumping into the bookish conversation on Instagram:

Obvious State

Best book instagram
This is one of the most gorgeous feeds, full of elegant images and inspiring quotes from classic books. You can also bring the book beauty home with the company’s art prints, tote bags, and other merchandise, which are designed by Nichole and Evan Robertson.

Book Baristas

best instagram for books

Natasha from Book Baristas works at Penguin Books by day but also runs this fantastic account full of hot drinks and hotter reads.

Girls at Library

best instagram for books

I love the interviews and different perspectives on how books + storytelling has shaped the lives of other women (with lots of beautiful still-life shots of women reading!).

Write Now Podcast

best instagram for books

The Write Now Instagram feed is my favorite for inspiring quotes, beautiful images, and motivation for the writing life. It’ll keep you clued in on what’s happening on the Write Now Podcast, too.

Book of the Month Club

best instagram for books

Even if you don’t get their book-in-a-box subscription service, the Book of the Month Instagram feed still has plenty to fill up your day with reading inspiration.

Books and Beans

best instagram for books

Books. Coffee. Sometimes even donuts. What more could you want?

The Hashtags You Should Know

To get the most enjoyment and conversation out of Instagram, make sure you’re also including relevant hashtags with your posts. This is how new people can find you, and it’s a great way to make Insta-friends with people who love the same things you do.

Here are some of the most popular book hashtags:

#bibliophile #booklover #bookphotography #bookworm #booknerd #reading #readwithus #bookblog #bookblogger #bookish #bookaddict #igreads #bookstagram #vscobook #bookporn #instagood #booknerdigans #instareads #📖 #📚 #writing #books #vscobooks #bookgram #booklover #publishing #wip #amwriting #pubtip #authors #writers #bookpublishing #instagood

And here are a few daily hashtags to play with:


And because you know you’ll also be tempted to post photos of your food, here are some of the top food and recipe hashtags:

#buzzfeast #eeeeeats #f52grams #foodgasm #instagood #feedfeed #foodandwine #huffposttaste #buzzfeedfood #yahoofood #instafood #fwx #thekitchn #thatsdarling #foodblogeats #foodblogfeed #foodandwine #beautifulcuisines #favecraves #theeverygirl #marthafood #RSlove

Are there any other Instagrammers I should be following? Or any great hashtags I’m missing out on?

What I’m Reading This Week:

How I Wrote a Book (Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind): Here are 15 tidbits that answer how Erin Loechner wrote her just-released book, Chasing Slow. I adore this cover, and this concept, and though I’m new to Erin’s work, I love every bit of her aesthetic.

Publishing a Cookbook: Food Photography, Part Two (Rachel and Polly of Thriving Home): My authors, Rachel and Polly, have been doing a fantastic behind-the-scenes series on the making of their cookbook, and this post will give you a great look into how publisher-run recipe shoots work. (Yes, they actually cook every dish! And eat it all, too.)

3 Strategies to Guarantee Your Writing Will Attract an Audience (Chad Allen on Medium): “Here’s a question worth asking: If you knew for sure the next piece you published would attract readers, would you still feel aimless? Would you write with more energy and excitement? Would you be less likely to procrastinate?”

Adult Nonfiction Stayed Hot in 2016 (Jim Milliot for Publisher’s Weekly): Understanding the macro of the book market is just as important as understanding the trends and changes in your specific category. If nothing else, it’ll give you clear insight into which categories editors and agents will be expanding their lists into and which categories they’ll be slowing down on.

What We’re Eating This Week

Monday: We were in Asheville on Monday, and we had dinner at The Admiral, which completely lived up to its rep. Get the pimento mac & cheese.

Tuesday: We were spent from touring The Biltmore House, lunching at King Daddy’s Chicken and Waffles, and beer-ing at Wicked Weed, so we had a quiet and simple meal in the Library Lounge at the Biltmore Inn.

Wednesday: Dinner at The Shack in Staunton, Virginia! The best meal of our trip. I am hugely happy to see restaurants of this caliber expanding into the wide world that exists outside of the major cities.

Thursday: Back at home. Penitence salad for dinner.

Friday: Penitence soup.

Saturday: Back to the revelry–we’re having a crew of friends over for an Appalachian themed potluck. I’ll leave you with this image of what we’re serving them:



4 Emotional Obstacles That Trip Writers Up

4 Fears Writers Face Literary Agent (short)

Well, happy summer and happy Friday to you all! Today I’m over on Chad Allen’s blog, where he graciously hosted me for a guest post about the fears I most often have to talk my authors through. If you missed Chad’s wonderful guest post about how editors review and acquire proposals, then hop back there for some great insight.

And if you want to start this gorgeous weekend off feeling a little more ready to conquer the obstacles that lie ahead, here’s a great start:

4 Emotional Obstacles That Trip Writers Up, Plus How to Work Through Them

I often laughingly say that the job of a literary agent is to be a therapist and coach as much as a negotiator and advocate. It’s funny, but it’s true. On an average day we’re just as likely to be talking an author off the ledge as negotiating a contract.

Through this I’ve found one thing to be unfailingly true: the creative process can drive you batty.

I see how authors pour their entire hearts and souls into their books, sometimes sharing the deepest parts of themselves with the world. And I’ve seen how this often leaves them vulnerable to all kinds of fear and doubt. But I’m a firm believer that 80 percent of the creative battle is won in the mind. That’s why authors often need the perspective and encouragement of a friend and agent to talk them through the particularly tough parts.

After walking dozens of authors through the publishing process, I’ve come across many of the same emotional sand traps, just waiting to swallow up an unsuspecting writer. So today let’s pretend we’re sitting across from each other, sipping lattes and catching up, and let’s talk through some of the emotional obstacles that may come up on your path as a writer…

Click here to keep reading this post on Chad’s blog!


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4 Fears Writers Face Literary Agent (long)

A 2-Minute Retreat for Writers

guided meditation for writers with anxiety

But first, the publishing stories worth reading this week:

6 Strategies for Getting Your Book Published (Chad R. Allen): This is a must-read post for nonfiction writers. Because it’s true: there is a very set, step-by-step formula for getting a book deal. That’s not to say the steps are easy, but if you stick with it and follow Chad’s advice, you will see agents and editors come a’knockin’!

20 Signs You’re the Biggest Book Nerd in Your Friend Group (Jen Harper on BarnesandNoble.com): “So you think you may be the biggest book nerd in your squad? We’re here to help you confirm it.” I have to say, none of these applied to me. I also have to say: that’s a complete and utter lie. I am guilty, guilty, guilty.

The Top 4 Secrets to Keep Book Sales High Post-Launch (Chad Cannon): “One of the biggest misbeliefs I see in the publishing world is that you can push a book into the marketplace with an awesome launch plan…and then just call it done. The reality? Marketing is never done.”

100 Must-Read Books About Books (Margaret Aldrich for Book Riot): If you love to read books about books (me, me, me!), you need this list. And if you’re fascinated by design and book covers, take a peek, too. Do you see how the cover and title for The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is so similar to the cover and title of the big bestseller in the category, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society? THAT is how you signal to readers that if they liked that book, they’ll like this one, too. And it works. Broken Wheel was just added to my to-read list.

Everyone’s Getting Into Video. Should You? (Jane Friedman on Writer Unboxed): “Unless you’ve been garreted away working on the Great American Novel—and maybe you have!—you’ve probably noticed that video is becoming a big deal…As a writer, should you care? And if you’re interested, what’s next?”

A Two-Minute Retreat for Writers (& A Book Deal Announcement!)

meditation for writers and bloggers with anxiety

A writer’s life is filled with anxieties. Really, the life of anyone who puts their work out into the world is filled with anxieties. Will people like it? Is it any good? Will it succeed? Will it have impact? Should you shred it right now because, oh wow, this is terrible?

I’m a firm believer that 80% of the creative battle is won in the mind. I see it all the time—the most successful authors have fought those show-up-and-just-do-it battles early in their careers, and they’ve made peace with the fact that their work isn’t for everyone.

Even some of my sweetest, softest-hearted authors will laugh about how you can’t please everyone on the Internet. And if you can’t please the Internet masses, you sure as heck can’t please everyone in publishing.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Authors

7 habits of highly successful authors to get published

But first, the stories worth reading this week:

A Former Book Publicist’s Advice to Traditionally Published Authors (Andrea Dunlop on JaneFriedman.com): “What’s true now is that you don’t have to so much as leave your couch to help your cause. Get your head around social media, web analytics, bloggers, all of it—there are a million resources out there to help you help yourself, and there’s no excuse for you not to be an integral part of your book’s promotion.”

Brews and Books: Beer and Book Pairing Recommendations (Aram Mrjoian for Book Riot): “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, books and beer are a perfect match. Trust me, if you need a legit fix for a lousy day at the office it’s the best medicine. Here are some new recommendations for pairing books and brews.”

The Biggest Marketing Mistake an Author Can Make (Amanda Luedeke, MacGregor Literary): “YOU HAVE ALREADY CREATED SOMETHING. You created your book. Now is the time to step out of the world of creation and into the world of relationships and networking. Get in front of the people who would typically read your book (and no, your author friends don’t count). Engage them. Befriend them. Let them know your book exists. THAT is marketing. And THAT will sell your book.”

Neil Gaiman Shares Writing Advice to Fans on Tumblr (Kristian Wilson on Bustle Books): If you’ve ever wondered how the pen behind Sandman and American Gods keeps writing, you’re going to want to pay attention.

Pinterest for Authors: A Beginner’s Guide (Kirsten Oliphant on JaneFriedman.com): “Finding the balance between actual writing and all the online promotion is a real struggle for writers. Lately I’ve heard many voices saying that writers need to be on Pinterest. With all the platforms to choose from, is Pinterest really an effective platform for writers?”

The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Authors

This week I’m over on She’s Novel, a great writing website run by the lovely Kristen Kieffer. I first came across Kristen’s site through Pinterest (yes, Pinterest is chockfull of writers), and I loved that she had totally nailed her branding and built such a vibrant platform—as a fiction writer!

I know I promised everyone a post answering that big question—do fiction writers need platforms?—but I thought it would be much more interesting to have Kristen tell you herself why she found platform-building worth her time, even when it means less writing time.

So next week I’ll be sharing a conversation between Kristen and I, as well as some of her on-the-ground advice for balancing writing time and platform time.

Until then, let’s talk about the simple habits that any writer can start building now to lock-in their success later…

Remember that earmarked book from the 90s that was supposed to teach us how to be highly effective people? I think we need one for publishing. Raise your hand if you agree!

Everyone wants to be highly successful. And we all know who the highly successful authors are: they get all the sales, all the reviews, all the fame and fortune. But how did they get there, and how do they stay there? Is their success the perfect confluence of writing skill, platform savvy, and maybe some pure, dumb luck?

Yes and no.

Yes, there is an extraordinary amount of whacky, weird luck in the publishing world. (Lookin’ at you, adult coloring books.) But there are also some underlying principles—an operating system, really—that runs on autopilot for these successful authors. They know how to do the right things, because they’ve done them over and over and over again.

When I started out in the publishing world as an editor, I didn’t know a foreword from a preface. I had a full tank of enthusiasm and an empty skull, waiting to be stuffed to the brim with publishing wisdom. At the time, I was pretty sure I knew nothing about publishing.

And I was pretty right. But what I didn’t realize was that I did, actually, have a few things going for me. (Other than a knack for pestering the heck out of people until they would give me interesting work.) I had four things:

  • An obsession with following up and deadlines. (This from a brief stint as a paralegal at a law firm.)
  • A stubborn desire to be over-the-top nice so that every single person would like me. (This is not always a good thing, let me tell ya.)
  • An annoying amount of curiosity about how publishing worked. (I think I abused the “any questions?” prompt more than anyone can reasonably forgive me for.)
  • No other options.

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