#FeatureFriday – Bookish Star Designs Owner and Bookstagrammer – Laura!

Hello! I wanted to start a Friday series where I interview some of my favorite small bookish companies and let them take over a post on Fridays. I have been friends with Laura since last June when I held my first rep search for BibliophilePrints. Laura has since been a huge inspiration within my store and one of my biggest cheerleaders and supporters. In turn, when she opened up her own shop BookishStarDesigns , I helped her start her Etsy page and brand her with her logo. We have shared so much more than just business tips and some nights we find ourselves talking wayyy too late and daydreaming about getting a chance to visit one another. (She is all the way in Minnesota, and I am down here in Texas – so far – *cries*) I am thankful to have her as a friend, supporter, and mentor in so many things that I am passionate about.

I did interview her over email, so here are the questions and answers I received!

1 How did you get started on Bookstagram? 
Riddles Tea Shoppe rep search. *laugh*  So, backstory..  I never ever thought I could be a bookstagrammer. I’d always admired the lovely photos and set up, and to be a rep for awesome bookish companies would be a dream come true, but to actually imagine myself doing it? I knew I wouldn’t be good enough to compete with the awesome accounts I saw. Well, my best friend saw my desire and encouraged me to give it a try. She believed in me, and thanks to her, I started.  It was hard at first. I had huge confidence issues, but everyone on bookstagram is so wonderful, awesome and supportive, I fell in love with the community and learned more and more as I went. It’s so fun to share my bookish love with others who instantly just “get it.” And nope, I still haven’t snagged that dream Riddles Tea Shoppe rep spot. Someday! 🙂
2. What was the inspiration for Bookish Star Designs?
Well, I had already been sewing rice bags as a fun way to earn money at local craft shops/shows, and I even had them featured in a store in my hometown, but it was always in the back of my mind, “Should I make an etsy shop?”  I talked myself out of it a few times, just due to all the unknowns, but finally in July, I took the plunge, and made my etsy shop.
I just love natural calming ways to relax, and I hoped others would love my rice bags & fandom prints, and you all do! It’s awesome and amazing.
3. You are famous for your #TeaTuesday posts, what is your favorite type of tea and do you have a favorite company you buy tea from?
It makes me smile that I’m now famous for #TeaTuesdays, because initially, when I started my little account, I wanted a way to be unique and stand out, and since I adore tea, and had a lot of pretty tea things, I decided to start a #TeaTuesday weekly post where I could feature my favorite teas, to share with others. I also figured it’d be a great place to practice my tea photos to hopefully get a tea rep spot, and it was! Plus, they’re some of my favorite photos to take. I just love them.
I am a sucker for any fruit teas. That’s really my jive, although I do love a strong cup of black tea with cream, and a delicious herbal or green tea with honey.  Some of my favorite tea companies on IG are Grimoire Tea, Bookish Teas, and Riddles Tea Shoppe.
4. If you were trapped on a desert island and had a limited library of ten books, what would they be? 
Oh man. Probably a few Harry Potter books, the Illuminae trilogy, ACOMAF, Mark of Athena, Everything Everything, and some Bardugo titles.
5. What are your future goals or dreams for your bookstagram, company, or other goals and dreams you hope to achieve in the bookish world? 
I actually LOVE to rep for companies, its one of my passions. Not just to get free stuff, but to get to know the fabulous owners, other reps, and to help them build & expand their business. I have a small list of companies I’d someday love to work with, so here’s hoping some of those get to happen someday. Especially a book box! I’d love that.
When I started my small account, I thought I’d finally “arrive” the day I was sent free books from companies and authors to feature on my page. And thanks so some awesome Book Tour companies, that’s started to happen, and I just love it. Free books are a great perk of bookstagram!
And honestly, my shop dreams have already happened. In October, my shop exploded with sales, and really took off, and I was SO not expecting that. To see so many people love my products was incredible. I recently reached 1,000 sales and still can’t believe it. I’m so thrilled & excited. But I’m excited to see what the future holds. I’d love to collab with a few more book boxes! That’d be really fun.
6. Do you have any hobbies that don’t get featured on Instagram as much?
I actually am a homemaker at heart, and I love to garden, can and preserve foods for my family of 6. We live on a small rural hobby farm, and I love all that comes with it. Well, maybe not watering my chickens in winter. That just stinks. *laughs*
I’m also a huge movie buff, and love any PBS and BBC dramas. I love to travel and explore new places, and am a huge aspiring foodie. I love trying foods from different cultures.
7. Imagine you are throwing a character dinner party. Which characters would you invite and why? 
Hm.. I’d love Nina Zenik & Nikolai, (Their one liners & sass are epic) Jace Lightwood (he’d be so fun to have at a dinner party!) Nik Malikov & Ella Malikova (their conversations would be epic) and Ginny Weasley, (she’s my fave HP character) I think that sounds like a crazy fun dinner!
8. You are a homeschooling mama to 4 kiddos, and as a teacher I understand how difficult that must be. What do you do to make homeschooling fun for you and for your kids? If you could recommend 5 books to teachers and parents for all kids to read, what would they be? (Sorry I know that is two questions…they just go together)
Yes, honestly as a 2nd generation homeschooler, ( my parents homeschooled me) I thought I’d have this homeschooling thing in the bag. But, wow.. it’s a lot more work & sacrifice than I thought. But it’s worth it to have my kids at home and know exactly what theyre learning, and to control the speed/timing/scheduling etc.  To make homeschooling fun, I do a lot of field trips, and we participate in a homeschooler’s co-op, which is a group of fellow homeschoolers who get together 2x a month for fun classes with their friends/peers & mom time for us.  It keep us all sane! haha.
As far as books, Harry Potter, Narnia and Percy Jackson books I will forever recommend to those starting with elementary readers, for parent read-alongs. I’m not much of a non-fiction reader, which might be horrible as a teacher, but I do love historical fiction, either kid or YA. Things like “Magic Tree House” “Dear America books” “American Girl books” and the like. It’s a great way to get kids interested in history and the world around them, while still being fun.  Just find something your kid loves and read it with them. It’s that simple.
9. Running a small business is so rewarding and so difficult at the same time. What is the best part about it for you, and the worst part?
I love having a small business, but my danger is letting it take over. I love it so much I’ll gladly put aside other parts of my life (housework, teaching, etc) to put my full self into it. So, I very occasionally just step back and do as much as I can, when I can. The best part also goes right along with it, is getting to choose your own hours, work when you want to, and meeting all my fabulous customers, and my reps, and hearing their reviews. It’s so worthwhile!
10. If you could give a newbie to #bookstagram some advice, what would it be? 
Your account should be a reflection of YOU. Do it your own way, at your own speed. And don’t worry about the quality of your first few photos, or compare yourself to other accounts that have been posting for years.  You WILL get better and learn more as you go. Have fun with it, and just enjoy this magical bookish community and your journey. We’re all here for you. Don’t let it stress you out. Bookstagram should be FUN. Enjoy it!
Please visit Laura’s Instagram page HERE and her shop instagram HERE to join in all the #bookstagram fun!
Laura also has a blog so step on over to check out what she writes about over on ToReadisToBreathe
Also go grab a ricebag from her whether or not you care about books because these things are HANDY.
All Photos from this post are from Laura’s Instagram! Thanks so much Laura.
Who would you like me to feature for a feature Friday?? Drop a comment below to let me know!
Advertisements

Being a Bookstagram Rep

Since I started my bookmark store, BibliophilePrints, I have gotten to see both sides of repping, and why it is so important to small, independent companies.

For those of you who don’t know, being a rep on bookstagram means that your bookstagram is now representing a small company who thinks that you can help advertise their products.

Here is what being a rep IS and IS NOT: 

Being a Rep IS advertising and marketing for a company in exchange for some samples of their goods.

Being a Rep IS NOT getting free stuff.

Being a Rep IS about helping the store owner make connections and gain sales as well as followers.

Being a rep IS NOT about getting free stuff and posting once.

Now that we have established that being a rep is NOT getting free stuff for free lets talk about what small companies are looking for when they do rep searches and what you can do to catch their attention.

When a company puts out a rep search they are looking for bookstagrammers that they think can help them sell their products by taking clear, bright photos, interacting with their followers, and really genuinely can show that they enjoy their products.

Here is what you can do to catch shops attention:

  1. Have followers and interact with them! Don’t waste the company’s time if you just started your bookstagram and have 50 followers. Stores are looking for established accounts with a good amount of followers. When I am considering reps I am usually only looking at accounts with 500 or more followers. If you are newer here is how to gain followers on your posts:
    – Use the max amount of hashtags on your posts. Instagram lets you have 30 hashtags per post. Make sure those hashtags are relevant
    – Interact with people. Follow instagrams, like their photos, answer questions on posts and ask questions on your posts, watch people’s stories and reply to things, post on your story
  2. Feature products on your feed that the companies sell. If you want to rep for a bookmark company, take pictures of the bookmarks you already have. If you want to rep for a candle company, take pictures with the candles you already own. Even better, if you can afford to, buy something from the company and feature it on your bookstagram before the rep search is over or before it begins.
  3. Interact with the store owner! I don’t remember every entry of my rep searches but I do remember the people who talk with me and constantly comment on my posts!
  4. Read and reread the requirements for entry. Make sure you use the right hashtags and comment on their rep search post if it is required. Half the time when I don’t choose a beautiful bookstagram it is because I can’t trust people that can’t follow directions of entry. Simple as that.
  5. If you TRULY want to rep a company, keep entering their rep searches. I remember people that keep trying!

If you don’t get chosen, keep working on your account, keep posting original content, and don’t bad mouth the company. Small bookish companies have a tight knit community. Trust me when I say, if you get a bad rap, you won’t be a rep.

If you ARE chosen as a rep make sure to fulfill all your rep duties. I have had a couple reps who have not done this and if they apply to be reps for other companies I will be letting those other companies know this. When you don’t fulfill your rep duties you are wasting the company’s money and small companies don’t have money to waste.

If you are a small bookish company and you are thinking about adding reps consider a rep reward system to help motivate your reps, especially if they are only reps for one month or in their last month of repping for you. Keep in good communication with your reps. I HIGHLY suggest a rep group chat where your reps can send in their photos and so you can share news with all of them at once.

 

Do you have any advice for bookstagrammers wanting to be a rep for a company? Drop your comments below!

 

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List

The Broke and the Bookish are taking a break until August 15th for TTT until August 15th so I thought I would take this time to do some of their old prompts that I missed out on.

Summer is my favorite time of year because no school and little or no work so naturally  I get a lot of reading done. My literature class this summer is taking up all my reading time which is not a bad thing but I am definitely not working on my TBR pile like I normally would. I also haven’t been traveling so no car or airplane time to binge read during. 

giphy-downsized (1)

So here are the top ten books on my summer TBR list that will more than likely remain on my TBR into the fall.

  1. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
    20170611_120521
    I absolutely adored Between Shades of Grey by Sepetys so I will no doubt love this book. And that cover is just so pretty.
  2. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
    DSC_0056.JPG
    Cait at PaperFury just raves about all Victoria Schwab books and this one really intrigues me because I played the violin for 9 years. Also how gorgeous is this cover??
  3. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
    DSC_0060.JPG
    Okay, I admit. This was a total and complete cover buy. (I HAVE NO SELF CONTROL)
  4. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
    20170409_160551This is a book about two worlds colliding, friendship, magic, and the word ‘blades’ is mentioned more than once in the blurb. What book isn’t good where ‘blades’ is a word in the blurb? (YAS WOMEN WIELDING BLADES)
  5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    20170507_141606I almost always tackle a classic or two during the summer. This is one of those books I am deeply ashamed I have not read yet.
  6. Cinder by Melissa Meyer
    20170528_135532
    I have had so many recommendations for this book and have not picked it up yet. I want to read it so bad. CURSE YOU MASTER’S CLASSES
    giphy (5)
  7. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
    20170528_133137
    This duo has also come highly recommended to me and seems right up my alley with the crime and outcasts. Also, my reps are begging me for Six of Crows bookmarks so I need to get on that.
  8. The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan
    20170528_134057
    I absolutely loved the first book in the series. It was a laugh out loud kind of funny. I did get this around the time it came out but have yet to read it…
  9. My Lady Jane by Multiple Authors
    20170528_141052
    My Lady Jane was recommended by one of my other favorite bloggers, Miss Leslie Ann. I originally followed her because of her classroom blog and discovered how much I adored her as a human being and I follow her lifestyle blog and instagram as well.
  10. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
    20170528_133137Actually this whole picture is pretty much in my TBR pile. However, I love these tortured love stories and “not all is as it seems” plots.

 

What is on your summer TBR list?

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme brought to you by the lovely blog The Broke and the Bookish 

 

This week their Top Ten is *drumroll please*

giphy

THE TOP TEN SERIES YOU HAVE BEEN MEANING TO START BUT HAVEN’T

  1. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
    Clockwork Angel
    Okay I read most of The Mortal Instruments but after City of Glass the series started falling short for me, so I never read book 6, and then I never picked up this series. Even though I have heard Book 6 is good and this series is better. I guess I got Cassandra Clare burn out. Someday Clockwork Angel, someday.
  2. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
    The Lunar Chronicles
    I have heard nothing but amazing things about this series. I actually have the first 2 books that I got with one of my classroom Scholastic orders. I tend to purchase books for myself from their YA catalog when my orders are close to being to the next reward level. This is actually quite dangerous for me as then I get over excited and tend to push to the next next level and spend over $50 on books that I never intended to spend. I never did actually read them though.
  3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
    12689526._SY540_
    I am about an hour away from finishing ACOWAR and Throne of Glass is coming in the mail tomorrow, so tomorrow I will most likely start this series. I cannot get enough of Sarah J. Maas. I know I am going to be in a serious book slump after I am done with this series and have no more Sarah J. Maas books to read.
    giphy (1)
  4. Legend Series by Marie Lu
    legend series.jpg
    I don’t know why I haven’t read this. They have amazing reviews, good covers, an interesting plot blurb. I have seen them so many times in the store. I have picked Legend up and then returned it to the shelf when I see something I want more. Maybe one day.
  5. Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan
    tumblr_static_3qjmvh1qrdkw8sko88o844swc
    Okay. HELLO. This is a lot of books. with a lot of pages. 15 books with nearly 12,000 pages. That is a large commitment. Plus there are companion books and novella e-books. It’s a lot. I am scared of these books TBH.
  6. Blue Blood Series by Melissa de la Cruz
    fc9f707e1bf27828aadd7d5ba917d90d
    I have all of this series in beautiful hardback that I got for $1 a book at HPB 2 years ago. Except for book 1. That’s why I haven’t read these.
  7. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
    dark-tower-covers1
    I can’t find the first book in a store. Plain and simple as that. I know I could order off Amazon but I have priorities on Amazon. I have a whole wishlist of priorities. Someday maybe this will be one of them. I will die next to a pile of books.
    giphy (2)
  8. The Book of Ember Series
    book of ember
    This series of books has made me a hypocrite on many occasion because I actually have recommended this series to a lot of students without actually having read a single one of these books. I am all, “Oh yeah this series is GREAT. You would love this. Here check it out.” Actually personally I have no idea how good they are. I have only ever read reviews.
    giphy (3)
  9. The Unbecoming of Maya Dyer Series
    maya.png
    I keep hearing mixed things about this trilogy which is why I haven’t read it. From what I know book 1 is great and the rest sucks. So I haven’t bought it.
  10. DiscWorld By Terry Prachett
    discworld
    This is another huge undertaking like Wheel of Time. There are 41 full length books and several short stories. Plus the order in which to read these is so confusing that there are MULTIPLE charts and websites dedicated online to tell you how to read these. Just. What?

 

IN OTHER NEWS:

My DSLR camera came in. I haven’t figured it all out but I have taken some pics on it. My favorites are the portraits of my dog.

DSC_0008

ISN’T HE JUST BEAUTIFUL. My little kitty floofball won’t let me take his picture. Typical cat.

Week in Review

This is a couple days late and I haven’t updated my Instagram this week. I am failing in my promise to myself to work on this stuff! I think I put this particular  post off because I only finished one book this week.

giphy-downsized (2).gif

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

20170608_131837

This is the story of Emi and her best friend Charlotte. These two girls are fresh out of high school, and deep into the film making process in Hollywood. Emi designs the sets for movies.  While extremely talented and artistic, Emi is not good at relationships, especially with her on-again, off-again girlfriend. Emi is left the keys to her brothers apartment for the summer to live with Charlotte on the promise that they will use it to do something amazing. Neither girl knows what they are going to do until they find a mysterious letter from an Estate Sale.

While the story was interesting, this wasn’t one of my favorites. I don’t really care about how films are created which is a huge secondary part of this story. I also found the plot overly predictable.

3 out of 5 stars

 

Coming Soon… 

So I am currently reading

Three Dark Crowns and Wuthering Heights 

I am also taking Children’s Literature for my library science class this summer so next week expect a post on Picture Books!