Bookstagram Tutorial 1 – Questions to ask.

This is the first in hopefully a series of blog post tutorials about bookstagram I’ll do over the coming days/months/years (They will be faster than George RR Martin, I promise)

Over the course of my time on Bookstagram I have learnt a lot of things and have changed the way I think about ‘how to’ bookstagram. There was a time when I thought asking a Question on every days post was lame and I tried to make each posts’ caption interesting enough for people to respond to it. It worked, and sometimes did not.

Right now one of my main suggestions to anyone who asks me for bookstagramming tips is ‘Ask questions in your captions’.

True that a lot of people do not have the time/are not really interested in your caption (Instagram is obviously more about pictures) but a good few could definitely be in the mood for some bookish conversation when they see a book post. At any rate, there will be a few who might read your caption. To increase your probability of engagement on your post, you need to make it easy for them to want to respond. If you ask very specific questions, you narrow down the number of people who can answer it. Say, if you post about The Catcher in the Rye and ask ‘Have you read this book, did you like it?’ Most who haven’t read it will probably not respond except maybe if they have it on their tbr. Ofcourse you can ask the question if you actually specifically want to know but it would be smarter to ask a more inclusive questions like, ‘Have you read it? It’s about a troubled teen and his thoughts, would you want to read it?’ This makes it easier for people to respond and for you to start conversations.

What I’ve noticed is that questions about your followers work best, ask their opinion, ask what they prefer, ask things which are easy to answer. And sometimes, just ask things which aren’t specifically related to books! We know it’s a book blog but everyone’s personality has more dimensions which include non bookish things as well. In a recent post I asked what everyone’s favorite ice cream flavor is and a lot of people responded (who doesn’t wanna talk about ice cream!)

So just to make it a little easy I’m compiling a list of questions you can ask on your Bookstagram caption (I’ll keep adding questions whenever I get ideas):

  • Are you enjoying your Current read?
  • Which country is your current read based in?
  • Do you use proper bookmarks or do you use anything you can find near you?
  • Do you dog ear books?
  • What was your last bookish purchase?
  • When was the last time you got emotional while reading a book?
  • Do you read while traveling?
  • Preference: Paperback or Hardcover?
  • Do you read book reviews before picking up a book?
  • Do you care if an author is a woman or man?
  • Do you read one book or multiple books at the same time?
  • Do you quit reading as soon as you think your CR is not good or do you give it some time?
  • Do you review books immediately after finishing it Or later after you’ve gathered your thoughts?
  • Are you a fast or slow reader?
  • What’s your favorite fictional world?
  • What’s your favorite trilogy?
  • You prefer: Classics or Contemporary?
  • Is yours a reader family?
  • Do you know anyone personally on bookstagram?
  • What language apart from English would youblove to be able to read?
  • Is English your mother tongue?
  • Do you prefer to read early in the morning or late at night?
  • Do you read whenever you get time or do you need proper free time to read?
  • Do you have a specific reading spot or do you read anywhere and everywhere?


List will be continued, please send question suggestions in the comments Or via tweets to @theGwiththeB 🙂


The Perfect Picture.

When I started posting book pictures on My Bookstagram, I used my cell phone.

They were not ‘pretty’ pictures, the kind you will see most accounts posting, just normal random pictures without any special attention to detail. A month or so later, after seeing so many pictures of books in varying styles and themes and so forth, I got a better idea about how to setup and click.

I normally don’t over-‘setup’ my posts and prefer to take them in day light.

Here are some:


A few random ideas I have about Pictures and Bookstagram:

Camera – This is obvious, so no use wasting time on this. But there is a catch which I’ll try to explain a few scrolls down.*** I use only my Blackberry Passport Camera to take pictures. I have a Nikon, which for me is too much work: Take pictures, transfer to phone and post.

Theme – I do not have a theme. I can’t for the life of me make myself repeat a certain pattern and bind myself to a certain type of pictures. Bravo to those who are able to. Maybe its the ease of knowing that a certain type of picture ‘works’?

Books – No matter how nice a picture you have, people approving it (double tapping) as a good picture also hugely depends on the book you have posted. If you post an Autobiography (Not popular on Bookstagram) then you can expect a lot of people not double tapping it. And if you post a shitty Harry Potter picture, you’ll still get a few approvals, but of course not as much. Pictures of paper, naturally have no such problems. They are seen as ‘books’ only. So you can expect very good response to them.

***Awww, so pretty! – One thing I have realized over time, which I know may not be true for everyone. But this is my Blog, and i can say whatever I want to (No, really, that’s true) I can even mis-spell Bannanas. So my 2 cents about pretty pictures:

 The prettier the picture, the farther the poster.

When I see a really nice picture, I might double tap and leave. I don’t usually comment. This is not something I do consciously, but I found that I did.

Imperfect pictures make perfect conversation starters.

People look more approachable.

“Hey! Look at that, another one like ‘me’ who takes normal pictures. I shall give it a heart and maybe say Hello!”

And I always wanted to be an approachable person. That was the one thing I absolutely did not want to compromise on. I might compromise on the quality of my picture but I will almost always be involved in the posts. People take out the time to comment and show their support in a way, so its only fair to reply…Except if you have a huge account, then you obviously cannot reply to every single one who comments.

So, Try to never ignore anyone. Unless, its an F4F or L4L or S4S.

But, What made me decide to write all the above?


I posted a really nice picture, I think. It didn’t get the kind of response i thought it might get. Here it is:


So, what went wrong?

You can’t get better lighting than that.

The book looks good, with an interesting shadow and the background is pretty natural.

But things went south.

Maybe people didn’t really notice the book?

Maybe the sculpture didn’t make sense and seemed ugly to many?

Maybe i shouldn’t have posted a sculpture on a Book account?

I don’t know what happened, it happened.

Which leads me to think, there might not be any formula to your pictures.


PS: I feel so vain typing ‘I, I, I…”

Office Desk 04:22pm, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Do you know Me?

Long story short.
My friends don’t know that I am theguywiththebook on Instagram.

This is Yours Truly!

*This is where the Rant begins*

I don’t know why but I decided I should start something where I could express myself without having to think what others that I know personally would think. Except of course my immediate family, who know me and my mind better than I do, I think.
In 2014 I traveled to Shanghai and Hong Kong alone. For business.‎ I extended my stay to have some fun as well. On my flight back i realized I acted differently on my trip there. Maybe it was the ‘foreign-ness’ of the place. Or maybe subconsciously I knew no one would really judge ‘Me’. So, I must have ended being who I am, as I am.
I’m not saying I went berserk and did stupid stuff. I’m talking about the way I think, the way I spoke up and the way I kept my lips pressed.
Some people who know me follow my account, but they don’t know it’s me. I don’t have any pictures of me there. Of course, I’d want people to know I have a decent account. But what good is that to me? On the face of it yes, it might feel good.
But then, I think it might affect the way I take pictures or form my captions.
You know those times when you’re on your personal account and you have one particular person in your mind, so you phrase and rephrase and delete and re-do your tweet‎ or Facebook status or Instagram post? I don’t want that.
I want it to be true to me and my thoughts and free from Me thinking that I’m being judged (Maybe its the escapist in me).
This might not be the same for everyone, there are so many bloggers who write what they want (I think), without having their minds make them edit stuff.
I get affected by what people think of me and my thoughts.
Not that they are dark thoughts. They are my thoughts, and I don’t want to screw with them.

*Rant over*

Some pictures i took in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

I kind of have figured out what this blog is going to be about. And maybe I could call it, ‘Memoirs of a common man’
I’ve got my blog page open at all times at the office, i write a few lines while I’m calling someone and waiting for them to pick up the phone, scribble down something on my draft whenever I get a chance to. I was browsing my feed trying different themes here (I still haven’t got the hang of it, but it’ll come) and realized I actually wrote quite a lot of stuff. Maybe reading them in an years time will help me gain perspective over whether I’ve grown, stayed constant or deteriorated in life.
I have a dozen followers here following me and one or two new users are kind enough to follow it every now and then. I remember when I started the instagram (we’ll call my it Bookstagram) account in late August, my objective was to use that account as a motivation to keep reading and logging down all the books I’ve read (I didn’t know about In a months time I think I had close to a hundred people interested in my Bookstagram.‎ I used to get 9 or 10 likes or maybe 20 on a good day.
Suddenly my interest in the account included me wanting a 100 followers and 25 likes per post.
And as you’ve probably guessed it, I then wanted 500.
‎You get the idea.
Let’s blame Human nature.
How did I realize this? – When i started this blog and the follower count showed ZERO, I thought I’m going to write my thoughts here (for myself) but then I got One Friend – LilRant who has a Beauty Blog and was cool enough to give me some tips on how to go about in here.
So, I thought, maybe in the future if things go like they went on Bookstagram, this page might evolve into something else, but right now it’s for me.
My idea for this account is to help me gain one thing. Writing.
I want to be able to write again. To express my thoughts. And occasionally say things without thinking about them twice.

But I Knew That!!

You know those times when you read a quote by someone famous OR anonymous and you’re like, ‘I always knew that!!’
‘Why did I not write it down myself!?’
The difference is that they decided to actually write it down and We decided to read it.
‎So, my objectives are clear (for now) I don’t ‘want’ followers. I want to give life to my thoughts.
In the process if people decide these thoughts are interesting Or when they read it, They say, ‘I always knew that!!’ then I guess ‘Mission: Accomplished’
There’s one thing I need help with again, and I’m pretty sure if you’ve read until here you will ‎be kind enough to share your thoughts on this. How many blogs do you actually read? And do you read each and every blog that someone posts or just brush through?
What will help me to make this account something that people would Want to read every single time?
Up to this dot —->.
10:41am, a bright sunny day, in the corner of a room on my office desk, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.