Today I caught up with fellow Aussie bookstagrammer, Alex A.K.A. @epicbookclub, to talk bookish pics, Insta tips and fave reads.
Alex’s pics have a beautiful aesthetic—bright, colourful and clean! She likes to mix up her shots as well as her genres and she’s always got an interesting book on the go. I also love the little snapshots of her day to day life she offers in her captions. Here are just a few of her gorgeous snaps:
Alex, thanks so much for joining me! Can you start by sharing a little about yourself: Where are you from? What do you do when you’re not on Insta? How did you get into bookstagramming?
Hey! I’m Alex, I’m from Australia and I currently live in Canberra. I tick the older-than- 25 box on forms and when I’m not on Bookstagram I’m either at my job in the entertainment industry or I’m reading/trying to find time to read/spending an unhealthy amount of time on my couch watching Netflix/spending an unhealthy amount of time on my couch playing games/trying to find a new spot to take a photo.
Can you tell us a bit about your Insta account: What inspires your posts? Do you have a particular aesthetic or theme? Has your account changed/developed over time?
So I kind of dislike themes. I like a bit of spontaneity in my life and I also like my Instagram photos to look different. I actually worry if I post a lot of photos that start to look the same! What inspires me… probably the other photos I come across on Instagram. I’ll see a photo I really like and think about incorporating elements of that into my next photo, or I’ll see the lighting someone’s used, etc. It’s all about appropriation!
I’m 10000% sure my account has developed. I think a little about how I set up photos now and try to incorporate as much natural light as possible. Also, I’m pretty sure like 99.9% of my old photos were blurry, ha!
What camera(s) and editing software (if any) do you use for your pics?
I use either my iPhone 6 camera, either on its own or with the Olloclip lens attachment, or I have a Canon DSLR I can use if I want a bit of a softer focus. I do all my editing on my phone – I start off by using VSCO to set up the filters/exposure/clarity and overall tone of the photo, and then if I need to edit it some more I head over to Enlight, which I use generally to fiddle with colour saturation. And then I watermark my photos using Font Candy+.
How often do you post and do you plan posts in advance or are they more spontaneous?
I used to post photos nearly every day, and I do try to post a couple times a week now. Sometimes I’ll stockpile photos to use later, but as I said before I kind of worry about posting too many photos that look the same, so generally the stockpiled photos are pulled out when I think I really need to post something but I don’t have time. I really don’t think far ahead for photos – usually I set up a photo in the morning before work, take the photo and then either edit it then and there and post, or wait until my lunch break. But pretty much every photo I post is taking that same day in a half-hour window. Spontaneity FTW!
What do you think makes a good post?
Personally I like colours, and I like textures, and I like depth-of- field. I also like variety, so I like to make my account varied, and I hope that’s why people like my photos. I also can’t go past a funny caption.
What do you love most about being part of the bookstagram community?
Generally I just like finding out about new books, and getting other people’s opinions, and also looking at all the pretty pretty photos 😀 But I’ve met some amazing people through Bookstagram and I’m actually in the process of setting up a postcard exchange, which should be fun! (and wouldn’t have been possible without the Bookstagram community)
Is there anything you’d like to see change/improve in the community?
I think it can improve the way any online community can improve: just remembering that there’s (usually) a person behind an account and to think before posting things. I don’t see a lot of it in the Bookstagram community, but I have seen a couple of instances of people banding together to take down an account (usually because they’re reposting things without permission), and while I’m all for banding together I’m against any sort of herd mentality – “All these people are commenting about this, therefore I should too!”. I think it’s easy to post now, regret later on the internet and a bit of time to think and compose yourself is always a good thing.
Who are some of the bookstagrammers who inspire you?
– And like a million other people I can’t remember now, but will remember once I’ve sent this off 😉
What kinds of books do you like to read?
I generally like sci-fi and fantasy with a good dose of crime/thrillers and action/adventure thrown in. I like YA but I’m picky about my YA – I’m not into clichés and I like my female characters to be like real females. I also like my romance to be a side note rather than the whole focus of the story, heh. The other thing I want is variety – I like to read about different people, places, things, not just the nth adventures of Generic White Protagonist and Friends™.
What are three key things you look for in a good story?
Great plot, witty banter and an interesting setup. Oh, and amazing female characters. OH, AND NO LOVE TRIANGLES.
What do you love most about reading, and why do you believe reading is important?
I love reading because it lets me escape into a little fantasy for a while. If the book’s good enough I’ll
finish it and not be able to stop thinking about it (yes, Harry Potter, I’m looking at you – always). As I mention above I think reading is extremely important for the variety it gives you – you don’t have to physically live something to experience it through books. I think reading offers a really valuable insight into other people’s lives.
What’s been your favourite read so far this year?
I read Six of Crows back in February, which I’d been avoiding for a while but turned out to be really good! I also got through Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, which I bought on a total whim but which has not disappointed me at all. But in terms of looking back a year to this time in 2015, definitely Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith – SO GOOD.
What five books should everyone who’s reading this add to their TBR pile?
– The ‘Cormoran Strike‘ novels (ok that’s three books so far but I’m counting it as one
– The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch – like seriously if you want to read the because Robin Ellacott is my all-time favourite female character ever) equivalent of Six of Crows’ bigger, badder, brutal older brother, read this book, you will NOT regret it
– Harry Potter (duh)
– Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence – the first in a trilogy (the third book is out in July!) which is brilliant and I love it
What advice would you give to new bookstagrammers?
Do it for fun! I know there can be a competitive aspect sometimes (how can I get more followers? Oh shit, that person unfollowed me!) but seriously, do it for fun and to meet new people. If you DO want to build followers, I would say make sure your photos are as on-point as they can be. I’m talking lots of natural light, nice backgrounds, books you’re passionate about (not what Bookstagram is passionate about). Find your niche and exploit it. There’s something that everyone brings to the table that’s different, and you just need to figure out what that is.
And finally, where else can we find you talking books? (eg: WordPress, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, mailing list, etc.)
Honestly I’m WAY too lazy for anything other than Instagram, but I do frequent Goodreads (epicbookclub) and also I’ve just started using Litsy (also as epicbookclub). I’m also part of The Aussie Book Club on Instagram, Goodreads and Facebook, and The Bookaholic Alliance on Instagram and Goodreads if anyone wants to listen to my definitely-not- opinionated thoughts on books!
Pop over to @epicbookclub, say hi to Alex and see what she’s reading on Instagram.
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