You have probably seen Christine Manzari or @xenatine ‘s awesome bookstagram account over on Instagram. Today I have an interview with her for you guys!
What made you decide to start a bookstagram?
I started my bookstagram by accident. At first I was just interacting with other book lovers to try to connect with YA readers, but then I stumbled upon some amazing bookstagram accounts and decided to join in on photo challenges for fun. When I started gaining larger numbers of followers, I dedicated my account solely to books.
When did you start your bookstagram account?
I don’t know the exact day, but it was in May of 2016 when I started posting solely about books.
Do you take a lot of pictures at once or do you take them each day?
Since I usually post 3-4 times a day, I take lots of photos when I do photo shoots. Most of my photos are taken Monday-Friday in the morning and I’ll take 5-8 photo layouts. I find that if I do an elaborate setup, it’s easy to take a lot of photos with different perspectives and just save those pictures for a rainy day.
What would you consider your style or vibe when it comes to your pictures?
My style is colorful and often geometrical or symmetrical. I was an art major in college and I was a graphic designer for about ten years, so doing bright color combos and detailed compositions are my bread and butter.
What kind of books do you like to feature on your account?
I like to feature the kinds of books I read. That usually means YA fantasy, sci-fi, romance, and sometimes paranormal. I feature NA romance sometimes too, but fantasy and sci-fi are the most common because that’s what I read most often.
Where do you get all your accessories that accompany the books in your pictures?
Some of my props are things I have around my house, but I get most of my things from Michaels craft store or Amazon. Storygramtours has a great post on their website with links to different props that the owners used and I’ve found some fun items on there that I’ve added to my prop collection over the last two years.
Do you have a particular favorite bookstagrammer?
I don’t have one favorite and I don’t like choosing because I have so many dear friends on bookstagram, but here are a few accounts that have inspired me for various reasons.
– @darkfaerietales_ does a nice variety of shots and styles which I admire. She can do cosplay, epic stacks, shelfies, flatlays, etc. I am in awe of the shots she takes.
– I love the bright and colorful feed of @paperfury and her captions are the best ones on bookstagram. I wish she could live with me and just leave me funny notes in varoius places around the house. The only reason I ever go on twitter is to read the posts that @paperfury makes.
– @everlasting.charm has a gorgeous feed that looks so peaceful and perfect. I’m not a girly type of girl, but she makes me want to love pink.
– The pictures by @myfriendsarefiction are so lovely and she does a great job of showing off merchandise. I also love that she reads a lot of ARCs so she does the hard work of reading books ahead of time and letting followers know which ones are worth putting on their TBR.
– I really like the way @eden.hammond uses colors and geometrical layouts. She’s so creative and unique in her setups.
– I wish I could take pictures like @lifeandliterature @ursula_uriate and @lifeinlit Their styles are magazine worthy and I love looking at them.
You’re also an author, reader, and mother, how do you juggle it all?
It’s all about getting into a routine. I’m a creature of habit so I take bookstagram photos in the morning, do my mom duties during the day, and write and read at night. I try to squeeze in reading at other times of the day by listening to audio books in the car or while I work out. When I’m lucky, I can usually do some writing during the day, too.
As for being an author, can you tell us a little bit about your books and any upcoming releases you may have?
One theme that is prevalent in all of my books is that I like to write strong female characters. They are bold and sassy and clever. So far I have written six books and co-written two others.
The first series I wrote is a YA dystopian trilogy, called The Sophisticates Series, which is about a group of teens who have been genetically modified to be human weapons against terrorism. The Sophisticates Series is great for fans of The Darkest Minds and the X-Men.
I’ve also written a NA romcom trilogy called the Hearts of Stone series. They are all standalone books which are connected by three men who all share the last name Stone. These romcoms are a little bit steamy and a lot snarky and perfect for fans of Helena Hunting and Christina Lauren.
I’ve co-written a NA romance trilogy with Laura Ward called the College Bound Series. We are publishing the third book in that series this summer. The interesting thing about this trilogy is that there are special needs characters in each book who have integral roles in the stories. What I love about this series is that it mixes my snarky sense of humor with Laura’s tender storytelling to create stories that I think fans of Colleen Hoover would enjoy.
Lastly, I’m currently working on a YA fantasy about stolen magic, a fearless warrior girl, and a gladiator tournament. Fantasy has always been my first love so I’m excited to share this story with readers.
Do you have any advice for others interested in bookstagramming and building their fanbase?
I think the biggest piece of advice I can give is to have fun! Interact with people in the community and be genuine. Be you. If you interact with other bookstagrammers by commenting on their photos and chatting with them, you will develop true friendships and discover that this community is more than just pictures of books. It’s about finding your tribe.
As for taking pictures, joining in monthly photo challenges is a great way to find inspiration that will help you discover your style. You can love other accounts without having to take the types of photos they take. Be unique, be you, find the types of photos that you enjoy taking. Show off the books you love in a way that shows your personality too. Bookstagram should be fun so don’t worry about numbers of likes or comments. It takes time for those to come and the more active you are, the more fun you’ll have. And that’s what reading should be about.
The technical advice I can give:
– Take pictures when you have good natural light. I take pictures in my library in the morning.
– I use my iphone so you don’t need special cameras, your smartphone can take great pictures.
– Use monthly photo challenges for inspiration.
– Take photoes of the books YOU love, not what you think others want to see.
– Anything can be a prop. You don’t have to go to the store or Amazon to buy crazy props. I’ve used silverware before and old bridesmaids dresses for splashes of color. Things around your house can create fun textures, places around where you live can be pretty backdrops. Experiment!
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