Happy Friday Night Worms! I hope everyone is well and staying safe. So, there have been some things going on in the indie horror lit community as of late. If you know, you know. It’s not my place to make a PowerPoint and explain it all. And I’m definitely not here to rehash any of it because honestly, it’s draining and it makes our community turn on each other and forget why we are all here and connected in the first place. So instead of feeding into all of the controversies, I thought we could all take a second to remember why we joined the online book community.
We’re all here because we love books. We love reading or writing or we want to support publishers that we like. We have found this little corner of the internet and we have made real connections with people we have never met in real life. ALL BECAUSE WE LOVE BOOKS. We can’t forget that. This corner of the world wide web is often a safe haven for people. It lets people express themselves and learn new things. Many of us have found our niche. We feel like we belong. And it’s all because we love books.
So I thought it would be a good idea to go to you folks, the community that I’m a part of, and ask what made us all join this community. Well, I asked and y’all answered… like a lot. So much so that I couldn’t include every single response I got. I went through the MASSIVE pile of answers and chose some at random to share with you all today.
I first joined bookstagram after I had been posting things about my reading on my personal account. No one wanted to talk about books with me. No one really liked books the way that I did. I had a few friends in real life that liked books and they suggested that I start a bookstagram to connect with more book lovers. So I made my account and posted a few photos and I was shown an overwhelming amount of love and acceptance. People connected with me solely because of my love of books. I was taken in by Sadie and Ashely of Night Worms and the rest is history. Because of this community I have read things I normally wouldn't have picked up, I’ve made friends that will last a lifetime and I’ve learned more about photography and publishing. I’m thankful to be a part of this community and I am grateful to those people who are real, supportive, and kind. @pageandparlor
The following are just a small portion of the answers I received.
“When I first joined bookstagram, I was clueless as to what was even happening. All I knew was there was this world where people were taking pictures of books instead of their food. My real life friends are not always the biggest readers, and when they are reading, it is not like we have this common platform to talk about it, ya know? And the Goodreads app/site has always been lacking! So... bookstagram it would be! I was reading King and instantly found my King readers... two of them are extremely prolific in the BG community, both then and now. One of them had a hashtag photo challenge... only I was so fresh I didn't even know what that meant and just started tagging all of my photos with it like a newb. She reached out, introduced herself, and we started talking about the challenge and books and I had loads of questions. She was the greatest supporter and ally then and she is to this day. All about these books and bookish friends!” -@findingmontauk1
“To find new books and talk to fellow book lovers bc I didn’t that around me.” -@axghoststory
“I joined Bookstagram to gush about books and to make friends I can gush about books with. Some of my immediate friends (you know all 3 of my friends IRL) are not readers so I was lacking in that department. I also joined to be a part of something special.” -@marcyreads
“I was looking for a place to nerd out about books after giving up on Reddit boards” - @alinaa.anna
“I had a skin cancer scare, an emergency appendectomy, and one of my oldest friends screwed me over in one year. I needed something to keep my mind occupied. Reading has been my escape from reality my entire life. My sister-in-law gave me a BOTM membership for Christmas - somehow I just started taking photos of my books and posting. I knew I found the right place to be once I started interacting with super cool people.” -@shereadswithcats
“ I joined bookstagram because as I started posting about books on my personal account, a bookstagrammer found me and I learned about this amazing community and opted to open a separate account dedicated to my love of reading, in a community where like-minded people were! 🖤”-@wherethereadergrows
“To promote my booktube channel and to get recommendations for books” -@cup_of_jae
“I used to read a lot with my mum when I was younger and she got me into reading at quite a young age with Harry Potter (generic I know) but that was the main books at the time. Life went to sh*t during my teenage years (I won't go into details because it's not nice and a bit depressive. Just know bad things happened in that era). Anyhoo. Back at uni I rediscovered my love of reading and wanted to like explore books a bit more/ put some of my chaotic thoughts about them out there and just see if I could have discussions about books and try and expand my tastes. That and most of my uni friends who had spare time weren't keen readers and yeah. I felt like BG was a good to place to talk about books freely and not feel totally weird
I feel like bookstagram is a good place to get recommendations for books you might see in charity shops ("thrift stores" I think you guys call them?) And go ‘ooh such and such said about that one I'll give it a go!’ ” -@still_reading_sam
“I joined Bookstagram because none of my real life friends read books. I wanted a way to branch out and find people who liked books. I was also trying to discover horror writers aside from King, Hill, and Little.” -@steelrainreviews
“About a year and a half ago I was going through a tough time, I was depressed, didn't like my job, and was just generally down in the dumps. I wasn't reading... I think I read 20 books in 2018. Then I read Kill Creek by Scott Thomas and I loved it so much that I tracked him down on Twitter and asked for recommendations. In that thread, a couple of people responded with book recommendations. The recommendations looked good so I started following those people. Those people were Mindy, Steven, Sadie, Tracey, and Emily. From Twitter, I followed the profiles to their Instagrams where I discovered that bookstagram is the thing. So I started following a bunch of people on bookstagram thinking that this was not something that I could ever do. And then I found NetGalley and figured out that you didn't need to have any qualifications or connections to get review copies. The first book on NetGalley I got approved for was Violet by Scott Thomas. So I read that and I wrote a review and I decided to post it on Instagram. But I didn't have the book so I messaged Sadie Hartman if I could borrow her photo for my review. I told her that I would give her credit but I just wanted to have a picture to post for my review. She was very gracious and gave me her blessing and I posted my first book review on my personal Instagram account. Since then I've met some of the best people that I know in my life on bookstagram. I consider many of them very close friends even though we haven't met in person. I'm now reading again so far this year I've read over 160 books. And I owe it all to those five or six people that responded to my question on Twitter about Kill Creek.” -@teamredmon
“I didn't have people IRL I could talk books with and that’s basically all I want to do all day.” -@thebookgeekboutique
“I'm not a bookstagram now obviously but five years ago when I joined, I was on an art hiatus after just having a newborn. I was managing a bookstore and discovered this community of bookish people. It was a space to create and share and discuss stuff we loved. So I joined to keep creative while I was on hiatus from making ~serious art~ and to make friends because I was lonely at home with a baby.” -Alyssa, @forestnoir
“I joined Bookstagram almost 4 years ago now after following some book accounts on my personal. I've always loved reading but after I had Jack, I went through a huge reading slump. It was so hard. So when he was about 2.5 I found the community. I joined and I just had so much fun taking photos, getting book recommendations and talking to OTHER people. Being a new mom can be lonely and I loved meeting new people and having a creative outlet." -@bookishmommy
“To promote books, to reach an audience for my books and to support writers” -@_rossjeffery_
“I was posting books on my regular Instagram and no one cared what I was reading and I wanted to connect with like-minded readers. It was super cool to discover a whole world of other Horror readers!” -@readswithdogs
“To read books with cool people” -@heatherboundbook
“I needed something that was mine… separate from kids and work… and to share the joy of reading” -@escapereality4now
“To find more book recs that aren’t NYT lists or what stores are promoting” -@modernbookmom
“I wanted a place to talk about books and get book recommendations” -@adamtriesbooks
“Because I was tired of my IRL friends’ eyes glazing over with my book talk” -@iflirtwithcakeandshoes
“I joined because my family did not give a single shit about my book posts and I wanted to talk about books. I used to feel weird about photographing the books but now it's just like second nature”-@mother.horror
“I joined bookstagram as an extension of my YouTube platform. And another way to simply promote what and whom I love.” - @kamis_korner
“I was originally in the book of horror group when I noticed authors were giving their books away for free in exchange for honest reviews. It was my first experience with indie authors. I remember reading Glenn Rolfe’s “Until summer comes around” as an ARC and think this is gold. Why would these authors have to scrounge for reviews? Someone told me about bookstagram and from there I joined to help promote my favorite indie authors. It was kinda my way of giving back for the free books especially when I really loved the book. After being in bookstagram for a while, it wasn’t just about promoting anymore. I started making friends and connections. It became my safe space to hang out and just talk books. I’ve met so many great people here. Promoting is why I started but the amazing friends and book talks are why I stay and love it here.”- @n0vel.id3a
I’m sorry that I couldn’t include every single person that answered my question, there were just so many of you! It felt really good to learn about everyone and their reasoning for joining this community. I hope that reading these responses reminds you of where you were before you discovered our little book world and how much it enriches all of our lives. I hope it helps us all recenter ourselves and get back to the books. We don’t need real-life drama, we want that in our books. Have a peaceful and stress-free weekend, worms. Stay safe. ~Kallie
editor's note: The opinions in this post are Kallie's. This is her Friday Feels space.