Becoming an Instagram influencer might seem reserved for those who only post in the fashion, lifestyle, or travel niches. But book lovers worldwide have banded together to create an entire community on Instagram dedicated to books – enter #bookstagram. The question is, however, can you really make money from bookstagram?
No matter what type of influencer you are – if you have an audience and are sharing your opinion with them then there is a high chance that you can get paid for it. Brands and businesses are on the prowl for influencers to market their latest product or campaign. And not just companies – but publishers and book authors, too!
All Bookstagrammers are book aficionados, but not all are earning money. Some simply share aesthetically curated pictures of their current reads for the simple pleasure of being part of the book community. But if you're willing to put in the work, who says you shouldn't get paid for it? Better yet, how can you make your bookstagram work for you so that you get compensated for your time?
In this guide to making money from bookstagram, we'll take a detailed look into the life of a Bookstagrammer and how it can pay to read your favorite books and post your reflections on Instagram.
Can You Make Money As A Bookstagrammer?
What Is A Bookstagram?
If you've actually never heard of bookstagram before, you're not alone. The term originated from the #bookstagram hashtag on Instagram (similar to #travelgram or #catstagram), but quickly evolved into something much larger than itself.
Now, the hashtag has over 60.7 million posts – and counting! That's even bigger than the hashtag #book which currently has 54.9M. Should you dare to click on its tag, you'll be greeted with a diverse array of book selfies, curated flat-lays, quotes, book stacks, shelves, libraries… and more!
Upon digging further and clicking on several people's handles, you'll see cohesive feeds that please the eye and make you want to hit that ‘follow' button.
To sum it up, a bookstagram is simply an Instagram account dedicated to book lovers; a place of common ground and community where bookworms can hide and play among the worlds that live inside the pages of their books.
How To Make A Curated Bookstagram
A lot of people set out to start a bookstagram but ultimately abandon the idea after seeing how difficult it is to constantly engage with others while creating fresh content daily, in order to grow.
That said, if you want to start a bookstagram for fun – do it! There's no reason why you shouldn't if you are just wanting to have fun and be a part of the community.
However, if you want to monetize a bookstagram then listen up. There are a few things you'll need to do differently with your bookstagram account than your personal account.
Here are a few tips for how to set up and curate a bookstagram account that will attract your ideal audience!
1. Pick A ‘Style'
Cohesive feeds are key to converting viewers into followers, so the first step in creating a bookstagram is picking a style that fits your brand, personality, and overall character.
Some Bookstagrammer's accounts are dark and moody – just like the books they review – while others are light and airy. Others may be earthy and boho-chic. Whatever is your style, make sure to choose one and edit all of your photos that way.
2. Engage Daily
If you post and ghost – no one will see your account as genuine and therefore won't follow you. To increase engagement, you need to be interacting with other accounts on the daily. This can be for 30 minutes before/after you post, for a solid hour during the day, or just whenever you have free time to do so.
3. Be Valuable
Why should a fellow book lover follow YOU? What is it about your posts that would make someone hit that blue follow button? The key to growth on Instagram can be summed up with one word – value. Offer value! Whether that's by providing your authentic feedback on a particular book or giving a discount to your readers, or by simply making someone's life a bit easier with what you have to share.
4. Make Use Of Instagram's Features
Avoid only posting on the grid – make use of all of Instagram's features, if possible. Meaning, upload not only grid posts, but also stories, Reels, Guides, and IGTV's. Obviously, this requires finding a balance of how often to post – don't overdo it or you'll risk burnout!
A popular “growth” hack used by some influencers is the 3x3x10 method (i.e. 3 grid posts and 3 Reels per week plus 10 stories per day).
5. Refer Traffic From Other Channels
A good way to grow a bookstagram account is by referring traffic from one of your other social channels. For example, many Bookstagrammers also are on what they call “Booktube” (aka – the book side of YouTube!).
You should also seriously consider starting a book blog where you can post long-form reviews of books and diversify your income even further.
More on how to make money from bookstagram, booktube, and book blogs below!
Ways To Make Money From Bookstagram
There are several ways to make money as an influencer and yes – Bookstagrammers can use these same methods to make money reading and posting about their favorite (or most hated) books.
In this mini-chapter, we'll go over the three most popular ways to do this – affiliate marketing, brand partnerships, and banking off other social accounts!
Affiliate marketing is the “Stephen King” of ways to make money as a Bookstagrammer. (See what I did there?) You can make decent money by simply referring to the books you read with affiliate links. Luckily, you're allowed to post affiliate links on Instagram in the bio section and also in the swipe-up feature in stories.
What's amazing about affiliate marketing is that you can promote the books you love and make money doing it. Whenever someone reads your review of X book and decides to purchase it after clicking on your link, you get a small commission. How much depends on the book affiliate program you're enrolled in.
Another way you could potentially make money as a Bookstagrammer is through brand partnerships. Even small creators with 5-10K followers can still land decent-paying deals.
Note: If your account is solely featuring books, you may be able to reach out to publishers for deals, but know that it won't be big bucks because many authors send out a massive amount of books to reviewers for free – in exchange for the book.
This culture of not paying book reviewers is slowly changing, but don't be afraid to negotiate for a deal (especially if you have a following on Instagram, TikTok, or your blog).
To wiggle your way around this, you could combine your book posts with some in the beauty, travel, or fashion niches on your bookstagram and land deals that way.
Book Blogs, BookTubes, & BookToks
We've already mentioned that starting a book blog might be in your best interest. But why? Well, book blogs have the power to bring in a lot more organic traffic which could lead to high affiliate conversions and partnerships. And not to mention, you could monetize via display ads.
The same goes for BookTubes – you can make money on YouTube from simply posting videos, amassing an audience, and earning from the YouTube display ads (once you're accepted into the YouTube Partner Program which has a minimum requirement of 1,000 subscribers).
And have you heard of BookTok yet? Well, just like Bookstagram, BookTok quickly came about after TikTok exploded in popularity.
Moral of the story?
No matter what type of app gets created or how content is consumed – audio, video, pictures – you can guarantee that the book community is going to flock to it just because people love books that much!
If you're thinking about creating a BookTok, just go for it! Accounts are literally blowing up for creative book reviews.
For example, the account @bettysbooklist has amassed 220K followers on TikTok simply by orally describing the plot of each book – making you think she's revealing a juicy and oft bewildering personal story for a brief moment before she reveals the book cover. Genius.
Now, thanks to her growth, she could go live on the platform and make money on TikTok from donations, affiliates, and brand sponsorships!
Examples of Bookstagram Influencers
How to choose just a handful of Bookstagrammers from the lot? There are so many accounts to mention – big and small. Here are a few examples of bookstagram accounts that are plugging into the same money-making methods we mentioned above. Check 'em out!
Example 1: @paperbackpoets
Hope, the account owner of the bookstagram @paperbackpoets is just the type of Bookstagrammer one would think about when hearing the word. A curated feed, cohesive in color and style; book mentions and reviews; and most important of all – an affiliate link!
Seeing as her individual posts receive high engagement for a small account (averaging 1,500-2,000+ likes), it's a no-brainer that she would be able to make money as a Bookstagrammer. (Actually, we can state she already is thanks to her referral link!)
Example 2: @bookloversbookreviews
Astrid behind @bookloversbookreviews is another great example of someone who is making money from bookstagram. On her profile, she shares book reviews, book hauls, and more! As her bio states, she is a book influencer for Penguin Teen and Wattpad Books.
She is also an ambassador for Once Upon A Book Club (and has a 10% discount affiliate code for her followers). Last, but not least, she is a book blogger! From what we can tell, Astrid is earning money from both affiliates and brand deals.
Should You Start A Bookstagram?
Should you start a bookstagram? Is it profitable? Unless you are able to attract an engaged audience (that doesn't mean you need 50 or 100K followers!), it will be difficult to make money as a Bookstagrammer to replace a full-time job.
However, if you were to pull from several of the above ways to make money – affiliates, starting a book blog, growing a big TikTok following, etc – then yes, your job as a Bookstagrammer could be very lucrative! It's all about what you are able to make with what you have.
That said, there's definitely the business side of bookstagram that will take a bit of patience and practice to master. Don't give up and keep at it!