It’s my first #MeettheBookstagrammer post in the new year and I saved one of my faves for it- today I’m chatting with Kate over at @bookapotamus!
If you’re not familiar with Kate, she’s a bookstagram photo staging GODDESS! She is super sweet and kind, and has EXCELLENT taste in books- without further ado, here’s our fun chat!
Why did you decide to start a bookstagram, then a blog? Which came first?
I started receiving these random ARCs in the mail from St. Martins Press with instructions to post them… so I posted.
On my personal Insta. Huge fail.
None of my friends cared and I didn’t want to be annoying, so I decided to start a dedicated book feed – but had NO idea bookstagram was thing at all!
When I realized having a blog opened me up to better and more opportunities, I decided to start one about six month later. The blog is HARD. I’m not a great blogger, but I try!
A lot of people choose their username to include their name, but you didn’t! What was the thought process behind your username/blog title?
I wanted to remain anonymous for awhile and see if bookstagram was actually something I’d enjoy – and stick with. I’m weirdly obsessed with hippos so I came up with a name that combined books and hippos and made a logo for it cause I hate photos of myself! I have friends that followed me for almost a year and had no idea it was me til I finally posted a pic of my face!
It also works out with a neutral name and profile pic that I never get the weirdo DM’s from creepers everyone complains about!
What does your ideal day look like (think of Miss Congeniality ;))?
Honestly, my ideal day would be lying in a pile of puppies on a beach. Bonus would be with a great book and an even better cocktail but puppies tend to be distracting.
What is your first book-related memory, and/or your favorite books as a kid?
My mom says I was reading by age 3 but I don’t remember that at all. I DO remember returning to school in the fall in middle school and most kids summer reading challenge was like 2-3 books and mine was around 150! My book nerd status was formed very early!
What is your favorite bookstore or book-related place?
I LOVE shopping for books at thrift stores and library book sales. The hunt is the best part! But as far as actual bookstores, The Strand in NYC is always a fun adventure. I’ve visited over ten times in the past year!
You are a graphic designer (um, can I just say amazing?!)- how does your career impact your reading choices and your bookstagram/blog (or does it)?
I am a HUGE book cover judger! I’ve offered authors to redesign their covers for free just so the bad design goes away! (is that terrible?!) I also love to read books with themes of art – heists, artists, historical… as long as the cover is good, of course 😉
From a design standpoint, I’ve actually been designing more book covers for indie authors, helped with book blog graphics, and even a bookish podcast logo! You’ve probably seen some of my stickers and bookish swag designs in photos, and several bookstagrammer profile logos as well.
[blogger note: I am a total book cover judger too- you spend that much to promote and design the book and still it’s unappealing? I’m not a fan…]
This is admittedly a weird question, but ~whatever~. I envision my life as being accompanied by a movie soundtrack; if your life was a movie and had a soundtrack, what would be your entrance song?
Not weird at all. This one’s easy: “Dancing With Myself” by Billy Idol! I definitely don’t follow a lot of trends, or hype, and I tend to march to the beat of my own drum. And I dance by myself A LOT.
Okay, back to bookstagram! You are a bookstagram photo staging QUEEN! Do you have any wisdom or tips for how you come up with your incredible photo ideas for the rest of us?!
Ahhh! Thank you! My favorite part is coming up with a fun photo for the books. I honestly have so much fun doing them! I typically always read the book before posting, and then my photos are staged based on the theme, the subject matter, or my experience while reading it. I get stumped a lot though! I have such trouble staging bookstacks – so I rarely do them!
I think good lighting is SO important. I also love a good bookface!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve found some pretty great books through my fellow bookstagrammers! What are your favorite books that you’ve found through this community?
Omigosh SO many! Some that come to mind right away from this year are Verity, The Unhoneymooners, Daisy Jones and the Six, Bird Box, and The Silent Patient. And I’ve discovered so many new authors who have become favorites!
I know this can be a contentious topic, but I know I’ve got some bookstagram pet peeves- do you have any bookstagram pet peeves and if so, what are they?
I could die happy if I knew I’d never hear the word algorithm again. It seems like the focus has changed so much over the past year where it’s more about the book accounts, than the actual books.
While obviously there’s some negatives of bookstagram, it’s also an amazing community of people. What is/are your favorite thing(s) about bookstagram?
The above is literally 5% of it. The other 95% is AMAZING. I have made so many incredible friends because of bookstagram! Some I see in person all the time. Several I text with daily. I’ve attended more book events than I can count and met some of my favorite authors because of this community. And of course, the bookmail is a pretty sweet perk.
In addition to being a bookstagram photo queen, you are also a queen of bookstagram meet-ups and partnerships! What have been some of your favorite bookish opportunities you’ve had since starting your bookstagram and/or blog?
There you go with that queen word again! Haha! I honestly feel so lucky, and so grateful. I don’t really have that many partnerships and most that I do have, are very recent. It’s been a lot of hard work! I still pinch myself sometimes when free books come. Like, is this real? Is this really for me?!
Every meetup is so fun – the bookish Jersey girls tribe are some of my most favorite ladies, that even if the event is crappy – we still have a good time!
BookExpo2019 was surreal and being part of Suzy Approved Book Tours has been incredible as well. Suzy is amazing, and had a huge event in May where I got to meet several of my favorite authors – and I actually cried meeting them – it was so overwhelming in the best way! And I never cry!
[another blogger’s note: Kate’s srsly a queen, fyi.]
I know this is probably an impossible question BUT I’m still going to ask you: (to you), what makes a great book/read?
My favorite books are ones that hook you in right away. It needs to be written well with an uncomplicated natural flow. Humor and snark is a huge plus. Too much back story or character development is like Ambien to me. Zzzzzzzzzz.
And finally, what are you currently reading?!
I always have one audio, one ebook and one print book going at the same time. Currently it’s Saint X on audio, The Little Bookshop on the Seine on ebook, and Meg & Jo in print. So far I’m really into all three!
Kate is such a serious bright light and creative force in the bookstagram community, and I’m so honored she took time to chat with me and share all her fun insights! Check out her bookstagram here, her awesome blog here, and her linktree here to see where else to find her and her work!
Until next time!