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:



Read, Eat, Drink: How to Hit the New York Times Bestseller List and a Recipe for Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach


How to get published

How Bestseller Lists Work (Tim Ferriss): Ever wondered what it takes to hit the New York Times bestseller list? Well, the truth is that it’s mostly luck, timing, and making sure you’re on the Times’s radar. I’ve seen lots of books with extremely high sales not hit the list, and I’ve also seen plenty of books with moderate sales hit the list, simply because they launched on a slow week. The takeaway? Hitting the NYT list isn’t as much about sheer volume of sales as it is about playing your cards right, while the Amazon lists are a more accurate representation of a book’s popularity.

How to Gain a Massive Following on Instagram: 10 Proven Tactics To Grow Followers and Engagement (Courtney Seiter for BufferSocial): As I’ve written about here, Instagram is an interesting platform because it engenders engagement, and it isn’t over-crowded (yet). It’s also a place with high conversion from fans to sales, so it’s been the hot new thing in the publishing world lately. Is it better for visually driven nonfiction than for fiction? I think so. I’m still of the belief (more on that here) that Twitter is the best social media home for fiction writers.

I Quit My Job Today (And So Can You!) (Sarah Knight on Medium): Ooo, juicy! Don’t we all love a I-quit-my-job-and-went-after-my-dream story? Chasing a passion over a paycheck is practically the American Dream of the millenial generation. Read Sarah Knight’s story of how she quit her Senior Editor job at Simon & Schuster to go freelance, and check her website out here if you’re an author looking for a top-notch editor.

Will Book Publishers Ever Start Fact-Checking? They’re Already Starting (Boris Kachka for Vulture): “It’s every editor’s nightmare,” says an editor. “You live in fear that someone’s gonna get by you. It’s like working for the TSA. You don’t want to be the guy who let the terrorist in.” Being the editor or agent behind a book that’s found out to be fraudulent truly is what our nightmares are made of, but there are so few systems in place for vetting authors and books. Happy to see that some imprints and private companies are finally filling this gap.

The Clues to a Great Story (Andrew Stanton in a TED talk): This is a Watch, not a Read, but it’s a worthwhile one. Stanton is the writing genius behind smash hits like Toy Story and Wall-E, and if anyone knows how to spin a good story, it’s the minds at Pixar. In his words: “Storytelling is joke telling. It’s knowing your punchline, your ending, knowing that everything you’re saying, from the first sentence to the last, is leading to a singular goal, and ideally confirming some truth that deepens our understandings of who we are as human beings. We all love stories. We’re born for them. Stories affirm who we are. We all want affirmations that our lives have meaning. And nothing does a greater affirmation than when we connect through stories. It can cross the barriers of time, past, present and future, and allow us to experience the similarities between ourselves and through others, real and imagined.”

Eat & Drink:

Orecchiette with Sausage and Spinach

When I was in college, I studied abroad in Verona, Italy. If you do an Italian vacation right, you should expect to gain a few pounds. If you live there for nearly four months, you can expect to buy a whole new wardrobe. This happened. And naturally, I blame a cookbook.

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Why You Need the 80/20 Rule if You Want to Grow Your Platform

the 80 20 rule 

We are creatures of habit, and we can so easily be caught up in our routines and systems. This is especially true for bloggers, who control their own schedules and have to face a whole slew of new challenges as they grow: how to build traffic, how to monetize, how to avoid burnout, how to resist the urge to give up. And as I wrote about a few weeks ago, one of the biggest mistakes bloggers can make is to spend too much time simply churning out content. If you’re just operating in survival mode five days a week, it becomes impossible to tackle the big-picture growth initiatives.

Which is why the most successful bloggers I’ve seen—the ones that built blogs with millions of pages views in just a couple of years—are the ones that understand the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule is this: you should spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% of your time finding ways to share it. Here’s why it works:

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Read, Eat, Drink: How ClickHole Became the Best Thing on the Internet & a Rhubarb Gin Cocktail Recipe


How to get published

60+ Fantastic Email Newsletters to Read and Share (Courtney Seiter for Buffer): I love email newsletters because they’re such an effortless and fun way to learn new things. And this list is especially awesome, since it spans so many topics: general news, tech, marketing, design, photography, sports, food and beverage, general interesting-ness, and self-improvement (i.e. a lot of the topics I represent as an agent)! I really do not want to confess how many of these I signed up for. Let’s just say it was more than 2 and less than 20.

How ClickHole Became the Best Thing on the Internet (Dan Kois for Slate): “But the Atlantic reports that [The Onion] plans more independent site launches in the ClickHole mode, and according to Quantcast, the online traffic-measuring tool, ClickHole’s traffic has mostly held steady between 10 million and 15 million page views per month. Like many websites, ClickHole’s had game-changing mammoth viral hits; in November about 7 million people read what I believe to be ClickHole’s masterpiece, “’90s Kids Rejoice! The Spider Eggs They Used to Fill Beanie Babies Are Finally Hatching,” in part because at least a few social-Web visitors worried the threat was real. And as ClickHole has grown,  the site’s moved away from being a simple BuzzFeed parody; instead it’s become richer, weirder, a darker reflection of our own dark times.” Did any one else burst out laughing at the thought of spider eggs hatching in Beanie Babies? Way, way too good.

The Quick-and-Simple Guide to Getting Started with Video Content (Matt Aunger for Buffer): Video is a fabulous tool for connecting more deeply with your readers, because it creates an intimate, face-to-face, three-dimensional experience. (Why do you think Food Network stars, John Green, and other TV, YouTube, and movie stars manage to sell so many books?) Here’s the delightfully short guide to layering video into your existing platform without driving yourself nuts.

How to Repurpose Your Book or Blog Content for Profit and Promotion (Nina Amir on JaneFriedman.com): “As an author who has just produced or may be in the process of producing amazing amounts of content, you have a great advantage: You can turn all that content into money-making products. These ‘information products’ can provide you additional income and a business that revolves around your book. This strategy also works for long-time bloggers who are often sitting on as much information as a book would contain.”

Eat & Drink:

Over to Jarrett, for this gloriously delicious drink:

Rhubarb and gin cocktail recipe

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