Natasha, aka BookBaristas on Instagram is perfectly summed up by her description, “just a book person recommending you hot drinks and hotter reads.” With over 68K followers, and nearly 800 posts, Natasha has built up an impressive following by sharing her life though book reviews and beautiful photos. She agreed to talk with us about her experience using Instagram to talk about books and publishing.
– Interview by Bethany Olson
How did your account get started?
I started my account when I first started my blog, Book Baristas, because I was planning on using social media to drive traffic to my website where people could read my book reviews, see bookish content and hopefully stick around long enough to want to come back for more later. I never really intended on growing so quickly on Instagram; it was just going to be another platform that you could reach my blog from.
Why do you choose to use Instagram to make book recommendations over other social media platforms like Twitter or Tumblr? Why do you think the reading community is so successful on Instagram?
I have both Twitter and Tumblr for my book blog, but have found that making book recommendations on Instagram, or bookstagram, is a lot more interactive than using the other social media outlets. Personally, I think it has to do with the visual aspect of the recommendation and how easy it is to interact and engage with other book lovers on every post.
What do you think makes a successful Instagram account?
I would have to say that a successful Instagram account is one that is engaging, real (this is important) and posts quality content. I can’t stress this enough: post what you love because your passion will show. If you’re posting content that you don’t actually love, it’s might come across as impersonal.
Do you feel any pressure to stick to certain genres or read more popular books? How do you pick which book to read next?
There’s definitely a pressure to read the more popular books, if only to stay in the loop of what everyone else is reading, but at the end of the day, I’ll read what I want to because life is too short for stories that won’t stick with me. I sometimes follow a reading schedule, or I’ll stray from that and choose a book that may have been highly recommended to me by another reader.
I saw that you’ve recently moved to New York City. Do you feel this will influence your account in anyway? What are you most excited for?
I did! I definitely think it’ll influence the look of my photos – I’ve got a city that’s teeming with life and all kinds of photo opportunities to take advantage of! I now need to learn how to balance my blog and my job, but I don’t think I’ll ever be out of content to post; there’s always something happening in the city. I’m most excited for the newness of it all – the day trips to other cities close by (Boston, I’m coming for ya!), the landmarks that need to be seen, the food that’s waiting to be had. I can’t imagine that I’ll ever stop being excited about this place.
You’ve done takeovers with authors on your account, how do you choose which authors to work with? What do you like about takeovers?
For author takeovers, I’ll choose to work with authors whom I absolutely admire. It’s exciting having an author whose work is something you can actually attest to loving take over your Instagram. Actual fangirling occurs, every single time.
How did you create contacts in the book/publishing community?
The only way to make contacts is to talk to people. Reaching out via social media goes a long way. Make conversation, befriend other bloggers, email publishers and let them know you are a reviewer looking for titles to review. Give yourself a voice in the blogging world and make yourself be heard.
What do you think about reading physical books vs digital copies?
It really depends on my mood. If it’s daytime and I have a great reading spot/chair, then I’m all for physical copies. If it’s nighttime and I’m reading in bed, I’d rather read on my phone because it’s more convenient. Basically I’m too lazy to hold up a heavy book in bed, LOL.
What advice can you give to students who are looking at graduation?
Ah, I’ve got words for this topic. Here’s what I think: it may seem daunting, this whole adult thing, but it’s actually quite nice once you’ve gotten the hang of things (as most things tend to be). There’s probably going to be this awkward state of limbo where you’re not a student anymore, yet you’re not really an adult. I was stuck there for a bit and it was just a really confusing time, but embrace it! Be okay with just being there, you know? Eventually, you’ll find a place in the world and it’ll be great. But absolutely enjoy the last bits of being in school. Lastly, congratulations! Graduating is an amazing feat, so be proud of yourself because you did it!
What is your favorite book and why?
My favorite book, at the moment, is MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I can’t really pinpoint why, mainly because it feels like there are a million reasons why. It could be because I read it right after graduating college and it just felt like the perfect time in my life to read that story. Or it could be because I felt very close to the main character. Whatever the reason is, that story will forever stay with me. One of my favorite quotes from it reads “you never know what you’re ready for until you have to face it.” There’s beauty in not being ready for whatever life throws at you. It’s all about how you handle what you’re given. I can’t recommend this book enough. If you haven’t read it, please do. It might be just what you’ve been needing to read.