How to Write Book Reviews on Instagram

As you might expect, book review posts are pretty much a staple of bookstagram. It's pretty common to see a pretty photo of a book accompanied by the bookstagrammer's review and/or rating in the caption. But writing reviews on Instagram is a little different to writing reviews on Goodreads or elsewhere.

I've written dozens of reviews on Instagram, and I've picked up a lot of tricks in the process. Of course, different things work for different people, so think of these tips more as ideas/inspiration than the absolute truth! But if you're thinking about writing reviews on Instagram and you don't really know where to start, I hope these ideas help :)

1. Pair your review with a great photo

At the end of the day, Instagram is a visual platform, and fewer people are going to read your review in the caption if the photo doesn't catch their eye first. Whatever your style is, however, be sure to display the book you're reviewing front and center -- and if you include other books in the photo, make it obvious which book is your focus.

There are plenty of ways to create a good-looking photo with minimal resources, and I wrote a separate blog post about that here!



2. Be aware of the character limit

Instagram has a limit of 2,200 characters for captions, which is much less space to write your review than sites like Goodreads and Amazon allow. That means you need to try and keep your thoughts short and sweet. I have a tendency to ramble, so usually try to limit myself to brief thoughts on 2-3 aspects of the book -- for example I might share my favorite character, what I thought of the magic system, and whether I liked the ending (without sharing specifics of all the plot twists, of course).

Keep in mind that hashtags will use up a significant number of characters, so your review itself will need to be quite a lot less than 2,200 characters long. Don't feel pressured to write several paragraphs, though -- a lot of people enjoy short, bite-sized reviews!

3. Use short paragraphs

This is especially important if you're a rambler like me! Nobody wants to read a huge wall of text, especially when they're squinting at a small phone screen.

Don't be afraid to only write one or two sentences before a paragraph break in your Instagram reviews. You might even consider using bullet points to get your thoughts across! A lot of it is down to personal preference, and as long as you aren't overloading your reader with a huge swathe of text with no breaks, you should be good.

4. Be informal

Unless it fits with your account's style, reviews on Instagram are not the time for a full-on literary analysis -- especially because the character limit discourages long, essay-like captions. Your followers will appreciate a similar tone to your regular captions.

Does that mean your reviews can be a little silly? Yeah, of course! Don't feel pressured to sound overly formal or articulate in your reviews -- people on social media typically prefer reviews that sound genuine and conversational.



5. Throw in a few emojis

This one's more optional than a must, but it goes along with the previous point about being informal. Emojis can add a little color and fun to a long caption. When I'm raving about a book I love, I often end sentences with a smiling emoji to avoid ending every single one with an exclamation mark!

Just be sure not to overdo it, because excessive emojis can make it difficult for people who use screen readers to understand your caption. So sprinkle in, like, two or three, but don't use an emoji every few words.

6. Avoid spoilers if at all possible

Spoilers are a consideration with every review, but spoiler warnings on Instagram are especially important. People aren't as on their guard about spoilers while they're lazily scrolling through social media, as opposed to reading reviews on a dedicated review site. I generally recommend keeping reviews on Instagram spoiler-free to allow as many people as possible to read and enjoy them.

If you must discuss spoilers, be sure to indicate very prominently at the top of your caption that your review contains spoilers. That way, people who haven't read the book and are trying to avoid spoilers will know to keep scrolling.


Final Thoughts

I hope these tips helped out if you've been wanting to get into writing more reviews on bookstagram. I do want to end by emphasizing that reviews of any kind are not required for being a "good" bookstagrammer, and that the most important thing is to do what's fun for you! Whether you post a lot of longer reviews or never do dedicated review posts at all, you're doing great :)

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