Today please welcome Gail, aka Irish, who blogs at Ticket to Anywhere but also has a fantastic Instagram feed @Irisheyz77 where she reviews books, subscription boxes, and posts photos of her travels.
Tell us about yourself! Where do you work/play? What books do you like to read? Do you have any non-bookish hobbies? Any pets? What's your one great ambition?
Hello! I'm Gail and I have lived in New England all my life where by day I work in the biotech/medical device industry. I'm a total science geek and love to escape from the real world through books which is part of why I started my blog, Ticket to Anywhere, 8 years ago. I love to travel and try and see someplace new every year (this year I'm going to Greece!) and I trying to follow my Nana's footsteps around the globe. My Nana was a world traveler and I grew up hearing all about her adventures and she passed her wanderlove on to me.
How did you get started blogging on IG? How long ago?
I can't remember when exactly I joined instagram but it was just a random hodge podge of picture postings. I think I started posting my book thoughts on a regular basis a little over a year ago when it became clear that I was always going to be behind on writing up full reviews of books. At first I just snapped a photo of the book I read and now when I post a picture I add in three thoughts on the book to give a quick overview to my followers.
What do you like about IG in comparison to other platforms or more traditional blogging?
I like how fast it is and the reach it can get via hashtags. I also like how I can easily import the photo to my facebook, tumblr and twitter to get the word out on a particular title, be it good thoughts or bad. Its also a good reference for me when I go to write my full review on my exact thoughts right as I finished the book. I don't usually wait to take an IG photo...as long as I have service I snap a photo right where I am and then post my main three thoughts on the title. I do this even when I'm up way past my bed time.
Do you have favorite filters or settings you like to use? Is there a particular reason you use them?
I often find myself using Juno, Valencia and Ludwig filters alot. No particular reason really except that they tend to sharpen up the colors of the photo a bit.
What are some tips you would give someone who was thinking of joining IG or had just joined?
Hashtags are your friend and it helps to learn the basic bookish ones (or ones for what you are posting) but don't overload your caption with hashtags.
Hashtags: What are some of your favorites? Do you have any "rules" when it comes to using hashtags?
I will make a personal one for my book thoughts, this year its #irish2015reads and I'll use that on every post. Others I like to use are #bookstagram #instabook, the genre of the book (#romance, #fantasy), target audience (#youngadult, #new adult, etc), author name, publisher, and series of the book (if applicable). Then a few random ones based on current mood when I finish like #allthefeels for books that slay me in some way.
What are some NON-bookish things you love posting?
I love to post pictures of my travel when I am traveling and then just random things that I stumble upon and find of interest during the course of my day. Like watching geese cross the road or finding my friends names on coke bottles so I'll post a picture and tag them, sometimes making up a little story as I do. I like posting book quotes as I read a book, because I love quotes and I like trying to get people interesting in a title.
What are some things that surprised you about IG?
How quickly some people will like a photo when I post it and the new people I've found because they started to like a lot of my photos as they followed a hashtag to them. I found several new IG friends this way.
What's one place, person, or thing you think has appeared most often in your photos?
I think my IG profile says it best 'expect lots of random pics of coffee, books & quotes from books' and that is pretty much what you'll find most.
Selfies: Yes or meh?
I take a terrible selfie so while they do show up on IG they definitely don't dominate my feed.
They say a picture's worth 1000 words. What story does your Instagram feed tell about you? Do you think it's accurate?
I think my feed lets people know I like to read and travel and that pretty much sums me up. lol
What are some tips you'd give people for photographing their books?
Make sure that the title and author name can easily be seen. My book pictures are mostly spur of the moment so I could probably be better at my framing of them and such.
If you could add/remove one thing in Instagram, what would it be?
The ability to edit comments! I am not always the best at the proofreading so editing my replys to people's comments would be awesome-sauce. But for now I'm happy with being able to edit the initial caption so yay that!
I also wish it was easier to resize an existing photo withing IG instead of needed to use a secondary app to make an image fit the square.
How do you integrate IG with your blog? Or do you?
When I'm not being lazy I'll integrate my IG photos into my monthly recap posts on my blog. I have a section that talks about my Random Moments of the month and I'll often highlight some of my favorite moments/pictures of the month there. Though it used to be easier on WP with a simple copy and paste of URL and now there are more steps so when I'm pressed for time I just link to my IG account.
I also post my planned TBR category list onto IG and then at the end of the month I'll sometimes post a how I did on the TBR list and a cover snap shot of all the books I read that month. I then use the cover snapshot in my monthly recap post.
Blogging's more fun with friends! Who are three people on IG you think are must-follows?
- @WhatSarahRead - she makes these amazing mood collages for every book review she posts and then posts them to IG as well. I post collages too on occasion and she's definitely the source of this because she reminds me almost daily how much I love collages.
- @BethFishReads - she's an amazing photographer and I love traveling with her on her daily walks and seeing the world through her eyes.
- @AndiABCs - she's quite the fashionista and my day doesn't seem complete if I don't see her OOTD post first thing in the morning.
What are four of your best or favorite photos/videos that you've posted in the past year?
1) The most fun IG posts I've done this past year is a series I did where I visited all the places mentioned in Anna & the French Kiss when I was in Paris. Those are compiled here and were captured under the hashtag #AnnaARCandtheFrenchTrip
2) Hanging out with friends and authors at BEA
3) Paris!! All the Paris photos!
4) Downtown Disney Paris! Such a fun day!
Thanks for sharing your feed with us, Gail! Don't forget to follow Gail on Instagram, as well as her Twitter and Tumblr accounts.