Bookstagram: For the Love of Aussie YA

This month at Aussie Owned and Read, our theme is For the Love of Words. I love all kinds of books — ebooks for the convenience (mostly), audiobooks for the hands-free alternative, and paperbacks for, as much as anything, the experience. I’d been increasing my collection of the first two types, but in the last 18 months or so paperbacks have really had a resurgence in my collection.

The reason is that in May last year I joined Instagram and became an avid bookstagrammer.

We’ve blogged about bookstagram before here on the blog. but as a refresher, a bookstagrammer is someone who is part of the Instagram community whose posts consist largely or entirely of photos of books.

The photography approaches can range from dusty, scruffy piles of library books dumped on a coffee table through to elaborate, professionally lit works of art. The amount of time that some people put into their bookstagram photos is mind boggling. Here are five amazing bookstagram photos by talented bookstagrammers, all linked back to the site so you can go, explore their work and follow them. (Because we are on WordPress I can’t embed them in a way that directly links back to the site; still, I’ve done my best to credit each of these amazing artists.)

All these photos were found via the #LoveOzYA hashtag — an Australian book-lovers movement that has even spawned a brilliant anthology: Begin, End, Begin. As a bonus, you can read my review of the anthology here!

Source: Booktineus, showing off Ellie Marney’s new cover (and with a nice use of a Kindle rather than a paperback … though mine is too old to do a book cover justice!)

Source: commasandampersands, with the amazing Undercurrent by Paula Weston

Source: Former Aussie Owned blogger Emily J Mead, showing off her eye for colours and a gorgeous copy of Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Source: Another former Aussie Owned blogger, Cait Drews, displaying the gorgeous interior art in Amie and Jay’s Illuminae (and, btw, contrats to Cait on her BOOK DEAL — OMG!)

Source: lostwithannie, with a minimalist style, gorgeous colours, and the #LoveOzYA anthology

Do you have a bookstagram account? Leave your handle in the comments so we can check it out!

Cassandra Page is a speculative fiction author who spends more time than she should taking photos of her book collection. You can find her Instagram account — which is heavy on both books and PopVinyls — here.

Five Book Marketing Tips You Can Try Today

We’re talking marketing for April and I immediately panicked and flailed. Then, I decided to consult an expert. When I think of YA authors who’ve done marketing well from the ground floor, I think of THE YA GIRL, Jennifer Bardsley.

I asked her for her 5 best Marketing tips… And as luck would have it, she was happy to share!

Five Book Marketing Tips You Can Try Today By Jennifer Bardsley
It would be fun to have a bank account stashed with cash, a nanny at the ready, and a private jet to shuttle me off to book conferences all over the world, but the reality is that when it comes to marketing my books, I need to concentrate on free things I can do on my phone while my kids are taking swimming lessons. Here are five strategies I’ve learned to help connect my books with readers:

Start a Facebook Page
Here’s how.
Post a couple of times a day.
Be brief and witty.
Provide entertainment and encouragement.
Don’t constantly sell yourself or your book.
Only do a “buy my book post” once every twentieth post.
Respond to every comment.
See my article in SCWBI: Tips for Building up your Facebook Author Page.
Read my article for Adventures in YA Publishing Facebook Rules are a Must Read for Authors.
Join the Bookstagram Community on Instagram
Heart as many posts as possible.
Leave as many comments as possible.
When a new account follows you, give that person lots of hearts.
Tag your location in every picture.
Watch for new hashtag trends.
Don’t share another account’s photo without permission!!!!!!!!
Read my article for Adventures in YA Publishing: Great tips for writers using Instagram.


Join the #YAlit Community on Twitter
Post a few times a day.
Retweet to make friends.
Only use two or three hashtags.
Organize your followers in lists.
Uses lists to engage with targeted audiences.
Use Manage Flitter to unfollow people who don’t follow you back.

Build a Newsletter Mailing List
Have a sign up form on your website.
Include a sign up at the back of your book.
Run a Rafflecopter to encourage subscribers.
Stay with MailChimp until you hit 2,000 followers.
Switch to Mailer Lite when your list grows beyond 2,000, because it’s cheaper.
Shoot for a 50% open rate.



About the Author
Jennifer Bardsley writes the column “I Brake for Moms” for The Everett Daily Herald. Her novel “Genesis Girl” debuted in 2016 from Month9Books, and the sequel “Damaged Goods” came out in 2017. “Genesis Girl” is about a teenager who has never been on the Internet. Jennifer however, is on the web all the time as “The YA Gal” with over 21,000 followers on Facebook, 19,000 followers on Instagram, and 11,000 followers on Twitter. Jennifer is a member of SCBWI, The Sweet Sixteens debut author group, and is founder of Sixteen To Read. An alumna of Stanford University, Jennifer lives near Seattle in the United States of America.


Website Twitter Instagram Facebook Goodreads


I love these tips and can’t wait to try them out! Thanks so much for visiting today!!



beck nicholas_ bec sampson

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.

Marketing: How to lose friends and not influence people

Since it’s something we here at AO&R struggle with to varying degrees, the crew decided that this month’s topic should be marketing, so hang on to your seats … we’ll be talking about marketing mayhem all month!

Now, I’m no expert on the topic, but I am a regular Joe on all the regular social media channels. I also have friends who frequent social media, many of which are young adults. I’m a member of a few author groups and a few reader groups both on Facebook and in real life. So although I’m not experienced when it comes to marketing, I do hear a little about what people love and hate. There’s one thing all these groups and people have in common (other than a love of books) and I hear it often.

From the authors:

How can I get people to buy my book?

From the readers / regular Joes:

How can I empty my social media of all the crap people are trying to sell me?

Oh dear.

As authors we want visibility. We want people to know our books exist, to read them, to love them, to gossip about how great they are, but how do we make this happen? I’m going to leave that to someone else to expand on and instead let’s talk about the quickest ways to make that not happen.

“If I’ve never heard of the author or my friends haven’t recommended them I won’t one-click.” (facebook group)

“If an author continually posts ‘buy my book’ I unfollow them. I want to know the real them, not the sales pitch.” – R (facebook readers group)

“If I wanted to buy a book I’d go to the bookstore, not click a link.” – Miss S (14 y.o)

“Authors are all the same on twitter. They just want you to buy their (retracted swear) book. BORING.” (facebook group)

“I hate seeing ads in my facebook feed. They get in the way of my real friends’ posts.” – V (School mum)

“I followed my friend’s page to support her, but…” *shrugs* “she just wanted me to share her posts and all that did was annoy my friends. I eventually stopped reading her posts.” – H (school mum, in reference to a small business, not books)

“I didn’t click to buy it the first time she posted. What makes her think I’d buy it on the tenth post?” – H (school mum)

Righty-o then. :/


Given all of those comments, how does one market on social media? Carefully, thoughtfully, and with the right targeting. If you want to stop potential readers from scrolling right on by I suggest avoiding the following things I’ve heard our target audience complain about;

  • Unsolicited ‘crap’ in news feeds
  • Being expected / asked to share promotional material
  • Only seeing promotional posts / photos from a page
  • Continually seeing pitches for the same product
  • Instragam photos full of nothing but the author’s books
  • Tweets full of links (sorry tweeps)
  • Facebook posts flogging products, even if it’s a different product each time
  • Spamming (that’s the same thing posted/shared repeatedly)

So, how can an author effectively sell books? Lauren had some great ideas on Facebook marketing last week. And if you tune into the rest of our posts this month, AO&R’s other bloggers have some more ideas. Plus, we’ve got an interview with an industry professional coming up, so make sure you stay tuned. There is sure to be some great advice!

While we’re waiting though … what’s your biggest pet peeve when it comes to social media advertising?

Stacey Nash hates marketing with a passion, but she’s trying to get better at it. How else will she sell all the great books she’s written? To find out more about Stacey’s books or to connect with her on social media (where she tries to be engaging), check out these places:, instagram, twitter, facebook.







Do you #Bookstagram?

Combining books and photography is something I’d never really considered a popular art form, but since the rise of instragram it has become quite the past time. There are some beautiful instagram accounts run by YA readers and bloggers, where photos of popular books and current reads can be found. Many authors are also on instragram and use it to give followers a peek into their everyday lives. Honestly, it’s one of my favourite social media sites to hang out on, even if I’m not that creative when it comes to pictures. I love scrolling through, finding new reads and admiring the artist talent.

Remember Cait? She’s my absolute favourite and bookstagrams like a pro under her blog name PaperFury.

Tracey at YoungAdultBookAddict is one of my favourite bookstagram people. She’s so clever.

What about you guys … are you on instragram? Do you play with books and cameras. If not, what do you think of #bookstagram?

Stacey Nash (3)Stacey Nash isn’t a clever bookstagramer, but you can stalk her on Instagram where she posts photos of her cats and books and everyday life.To find out more about her books find her at, twitter or facebook.

Pinterest for Authors: A Newbie’s Guide

If you’re a new author who is looking to build your social media platform, either before you start querying agents or because you’ve got a deal and have been told it’s something you need to work on, then you might want to consider Pinterest, the image-sharing website. It’s less demanding than a blog, Facebook or Twitter…  although it can be just as much of a time vampire if you let it.

Still, with a bit of self-discipline, it can be a way to promote yourself and your books, while also being a great source of inspiration for your writing.

What should I pin?

Look at creating at least ten boards on different themes, and having at least the same number of pins in each. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Have a board directly relating to each of your books or to each series. I have a board for my Isla’s Inheritance trilogy, for example. I’ve pinned not only the book covers and various teasers I’ve made, but images that inspired me while I was writing. That being said, I’ve sorted my boards so that all the ones relating to my books are at the bottom of my list, because I don’t want to be too obnoxious about it. (These boards are admittedly much easier to build as you’re drafting, because as you’re researching things for your book you can pin as you go.)

Have boards that relate to the genre/s you write in. Because all my books are set in Canberra, I have a board full of pins of the city. And although I don’t write steampunk, I’d like to one day, so I have a board for awesome steampunk pictures. If I wrote romance, I’d create one dedicated to romantic gestures, or beach-side holidays, or beautiful dinners. If I wrote sci-fi I’d definitely create a board full of photos of space, and another one of sweet spaceships. The options are endless.

Have boards relating to things that interest you. Remember, social media is about being social. On Pinterest it’s one step removed because you’re not usually going to be talking to people (although there is a comment feature if you’re a chatty kind of person). But if someone’s browsing your boards, they are going to be more interested in you if they can get a sense of who you are, or if you share interests. Bonus points if the things you like are very popular, like recipes, do-it-yourself kids parties or fashion. I’ve got boards on various geek things — it used to be just the one but I split it into three categories recently. I also have boards for gorgeous photography, art, and baby animals. Because who doesn’t like baby animals? 🙂

Have boards relating to seasonal events or abstract themes. Halloween, Christmas, the seasons — if you think of a theme, it’s a possibility for a board. I’ve got friends with boards just devoted to a single colour, which are spectacular to browse through. And if you’re choosing big, culturally significant events, they will be interesting to others as well.

Have boards that are useful to others. This is where an interest in recipes or DIY would be a real asset. I sadly have neither. The best I’ve managed here is a board where I’ve pinned helpful blog posts for writers — I’ve got posts in there on self-promotion, grammar, publication, writing techniques, and loads of other things. They are a great resource for me too. Other writing-specific options include inspirational quotes, writing prompts, and jokes about grammar.

A word of warning

Don’t spam. Pinterest addresses this in its acceptable use policy as follows: “You aren’t allowed to Pin large amounts of unwanted or repetitive stuff, post unsolicited commercial messages in comments, descriptions, etc., or try to artificially boost views, Pins, comments or other metrics.” Even if they didn’t, spam would still be a bad idea. People will unfollow you quicker than my son can eat a lollypop if all they see are ads promoting your book. Like I said before, the “social” aspect of Pinterest as social media is more subtle than on Twitter, but it’s still a factor.

Exercise caution when uploading content. Because Pinterest doesn’t just display thumbnails of images the way that Facebook and Twitter do, it is in a bit of a murky grey area as far as copyright goes. The site tries to get around this by having users authorise that they have the legal right to upload the content. There are a few ways to play it safe on Pinterest:

  1. Only upload content you own, have the licences to (such as purchased stock photos), or have generated yourself.
  2. Only repin other people’s pins onto your boards, rather than pinning directly from the internet.
  3. If you’re going to pin from the internet (which, let’s face it, most Pinterest users do), then use the “pin from the web” function and link back to the original artist’s site. That way the work is  attributed and others can follow it back to the original. What you shouldn’t do is save their image off and upload it as a pin direct from your PC without attribution.
  4. If someone contacts you and asks you to remove a pin of their work, do it. Be gracious about it.

As you can see, the options with Pinterest are pretty much endless, and it can be a lot of fun to build a collection of images. Sometimes too much fun; at times it can be tempting to pin rather than write. As in all things, pin in moderation, folks!

Aussie Owned and Read has a Pinterest page here — it’s a handy way to look through all the books we’ve reviewed, for example, or all of our interviews or advice posts.

If you’ve found this post helpful, you might also be interested in our post Twitter for Authors: a Newbie’s Guide.

Cassandra Page is a young adult urban fantasy writer who has spent too much time creating her Pinterest page.

Cassandra Page

Facebook + Giveaways + Fun!

There’s no trying to hide it; here at Aussie Owned and Read, we really are a social bunch of creatures. After all, that’s how this blog first started almost two years ago now — with a group of women who not only liked books a whole heap, but who also liked each other.

Over time, we’ve come to love interacting with our bloggership, too (which sounds alien-like, and may not be a real word, but we’re willing to roll with it anyway). We do know, however, that we’ve let our Facebook presence slide. And that’s why … Drum roll, please …

Snare Drum Floating

Photo: Big Stock Photo


We are having a HUGE FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY! When we reach 400 Facebook page likes, we will be giving away a stack of books at random to some of our likers. How fun is that?

But wait, that’s not all … We’re also going to start some regular features on our Facebook page so that WE can learn more about YOU. We’d love to share a word that our team has just learnt about every Monday with New Week, New Word.

On Wednesdays, we want to know what YOU’RE reading. Tell us all about the book that is rocking your socks (or not, as the case may be).

And, because we can all use a laugh, join us for Friday Funnies, where you can post a meme, a scene, or something that has cracked you up this week.

Of course, you’re welcome to post anything on our page at any time; we just see this as extra opportunities for us to hang out with you (and who knows? We may be giving out random prizes as time goes on, too).

So, if you haven’t already, jump on the Facebook and please, pretty please with Vegemite on top, give Aussie Owned a like. We’ll love you for it 🙂