Friday, 25 March 2016

The Juicy Details Behind My Exciting April Bookstagram Challenge

At this point in time, it's not an unknown fact that I really really really love Instagram. I've talked about so many different angles and aspects, from favourite tools and a bigger presence, to photo shoots and editing, and it feels like a platform that encourages you to try new things, go outside the box, and experiment, big time. I already experiment a lot with Instagram and always have, my journey with the platform has been quite varied, but I'm always open to new and exciting adventures. The next one? A month-long book challenge.

First things first, what's the heck is a monthly book challenge?

You've probably all heard of #photoaday, you share a photo of something, every single day. A monthly book challenge is just that, except it's specifically about and for books, rather than just every day experiences and adventures. Every month, there's a collection of book challenges released by numerous other bloggers, photographers and creatives alike, and people take in them, following the prompts, getting clever with their photos and sharing them with other likeminded book creatives through specific hashtags

Okay, so what made you want to create your own challenge?

There's actually a few reasons I bit the bullet and wanted to experiment with a book challenge, however, there are two main reasons, each with their own reasons, and these are the ones that made the most impact.
  1. I wanted to create a community. You hear it all the time around the blogging space - 'you need to create a community' - and usually, that takes place in your email list. HOWEVER, I tend to find to more you pressure yourself into doing something you don't enjoy (like trying to grow your email list, hard!) rather than focusing your efforts on something you love (like Instagram), you're more likely to fail.

    It was important for me to hone my focus and efforts into something I love, and Instagram made sense. It's definitely the fastest growing social media, and it's without a doubt one of the most creative, which suits my current place and time right now. The kind of community I want to create and be a part of is creative, positive and exciting, full of people who like and appreciate pretty things, and love to experiment, develop their skills, and be proud what they do, and Instagram is the place to do that.
  2. I wanted to teach the old dogs some new tricks. I love teaching others how they can develop their skills, progress ahead of others and use their creativity, their style, their knowledge to achieve great things. I tend to find that a lot of book challenge reuse the same prompts, and their not the most exciting of prompts either. I wanted to create a challenge that pushed people to try something new, rather than more of the same.

    I also wanted to bring back some of the more forgotten about book tags. When I first joined bookstagram, there were a lot of classy, clever and creative tags floating around, and it's extremely rare that people used them, let alone bring them back into the spotlight, so I really wanted to shine a light on some of these old favorites and give them the attention the rightly deserve.

So what is the challenge like? What are the prompts? How do I take part?

Aha, the juicy part of the post now, I like it. The challenge covers the whole of April, all 30 days, like so:

As you might have already seen on Instagram, I announced the challenge on Thursday, and also announced that I'm actually co-hosting it with another wonderful blogger, Erica, (check out her Instagram here!) who blogs about books, blogging and all things beautiful over at Novel Ink. Creating the challenge was actually a lot easier than I thought it'd be, both in designing and the prompts. I designed the image, and both Erica and I brought some ideas to the table, tossed them about, stretched them, ditched them, produced them and organised them until the set-up was complete.

Most of the prompts are actually common sense, but for the sake of ease and simplicity, here's a quick look:
  1. Anticipated Reads: A slight twist on the common 'April TBR' which involves sharing your planned months reads. You could share a normal TBR, or focus on a specific book for the month.
  2. Ombre Book Tag: One of my old favourite tags. You're looking for some sort of ombre style in your choice of books, either book spines, book covers, go crazy, get creative.
  3. Book Spine Beauty: As easy as it sounds, share a/some book spine(s) that you love.
  4. Book and Mug: Another nice simple one that says what it means.
  5. Bookish Spiral: I'm a HUGE fan of this prompt, possibly because I love the look and style it brings. You can check out this post, this post, and this post for a variety of styles.
  6. Book Palette: Another of my personal choices and old favourite book tags. You can see this post for my original concept, but this post and this post could easily be inspiration too.
  7. So Bad, So Good: I rather interesting prompt. You're looking for a book that you know wasn't really that good, and had it's faults, but you absolutely loved it anyway.
  8. Anticipated Sequel: Once again, it does exactly what it says on the tin.
  9. Books and Nature: As we're coming into Spring and the season of sun (for the Northern Hemisphere at least!) we thought we'd get people befriending nature a little more.
  10. Underrated Reads: 'Underrated' is totally interpretable, but we're hoping for some really underrated reads, debuts, forgotten series, books you thought were awesome that no-one knows about.
  11. Book and Merch: We weighed up Fandoms and Funko's, but decided that Merch allowed for more variety, had less restrictions and worked for people like me, who don't have funkos.
  12. Book Rainbow: No challenge is complete without a rainbow, am I right?
  13. Book and Flowers: Once again, we're going for the spring theme and florals.
  14. Sea of Books: There are so many creative options for Sea of Books, like this post, this post and this post, so don't be afraid to go outside the box and mix up a variety of ideas.
  15. SOSNSBSB (Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue): I stumbled across this tag thanks to @paperfury and instantly thought it was super creative. It doesn't have to be limited to books, but you're certainly looking to include at least one.
  16. Ditch That Jacket: One of the more popular prompts and tags, just strip off your hardcovers until theyre completely and utterly naked and have some fun. *wink wink*
  17. Book and Snack: You're not just limited to snacks, you can include food of all sorts.
  18. Auto-buy Author: Once again, does exactly what it says, an author you would always buy books by.
  19. YOUR Spring Colors: We really wanted a colourful prompt, and wanted it to be spring-like and summery, BUT we totally understand that elsewhere in the world, out spring is autumn/fall, so we wanted to cater for all, so share books that full of colours that relate to your current season or make you think and feel spring, no matter where you are or your season.
  20. Unpopular Opinion: I don't know about you, but I love getting opposing opinions on books, and what's better than an unpopular opinion. Disliked a book that EVERYONE else loved?
  21. Favourite Couple: Simple as it sounds, you're sharing your favourite couples.
  22. Crazy Book Angle: This prompt is all about getting creative to the max. Don't take the same old photo, tilt the camera, do something exciting, get a new perspective like this post and this post.
  23. Book and Fairy Lights: Once again, simple prompt is simple to understand.
  24. Shelfie/Bookshelves: It's only right that we should share out shelves, right?
  25. Book and Spring Drink: Throw away the hot coffee/tea/hot chocolate and get a spring drink out. Something cool, maybe a soft drink, some fizz, some sweet tea, whatever it is, go crazy.
  26. Bookish Chevron: This one can be highly interpreted, but you're looking for something like this post, or like this post by @devorandominhaestante. You're looking for mix in direction from your photo.
  27. Cover Buy Books: You're looking to show off a/some book(s) you bought merely because of the cover, which is a really common thing for bookworms to do and totally okay.
  28. Book and Candle: As always, a simple easy prompt where you feature a candle somehow.
  29. Latest Book Purchase: A common prompt flipped, instead of a book haul post, although you can do that too or instead of, you're looking to show off your most recent buy.
  30. Fave Read of April: Much like a wrap-up, you can either show off one book, numerous, or all the books you read, it's totally up to you.

Just like other Intsagram book and photo challenges, all you need to do to take part is to snap your photos and use the tag #NovelNellieApril16, (not case sensitive, don't worry!) it's as easy as that. Sure, you can, and we would love it if you could promote your participation on Instagram, either within a caption, or by sharing the photo yourselves, and of course, if there's any prompt you're still not 100% sure on, you can always message me or comment asking for more detail or information.

I'm super super excited to get to work on this challenge, in fact, I've already prepared half of my prompts with, so that's even better. Follow me over in Instagram to not miss a post, and if you have plans to get involved, let me know either in the comments, on Twitter, or Instagram and I'll look out for your snaps!

Are you taking part in any challenges? If so, which ones?


  1. I've never taken part of a challenge before. NEVER. *wails* I'm just not organised enough?? And I tend to just take whatever photos I'm randomly inspired for. hehe. BUT I KIND OF WANT TO CHALLENGE MYSELF AND TRY ONE SOME DAY. Is one able to sporadically join this challenge or is it an every-day-or-nothing thing? :D

    1. Oh no, not at all, you could take part once, or every single day, it's entirely up to you Cait. I would LOVE it if you could, but I totally understand your feelings, I get bursts of creativity and take LOADS in one day, and then go like a week with nothing, you can't force inspiration I guess. Thanks for being interested though :D

  2. I'm abysmal at Instagram challenges! I start heaps and then get side-tracked by other things I want to take photos of :') Or new things that have arrived in the mail. This one looks awesome! :)

    1. There's nothing wrong with that Emily. I always like to post other things between my book challenges, so there's always room for other things. Hopefully you'll get involved, it'll be great to see you there :)

  3. I NEED to do this. Even though I already missed Day 1. That is okay, I am the worst at these, but I try, so that has to count for something ;) I will do my very best though! I also should have read the post and linked to Erica too, I didn't know you guys were doing this together! This is why you read BEFORE linking ;) Such a great challenge, I am excited for it!

    1. You can get involved at any time Shannon, please please don't worry about missing it and feeling like you can't get involved later. There's always room for you! We are indeed, I'm the main host at the moment, but you can link to either of us, it's all good :D

  4. I'm super new to Instagram and have been struggling with creative ideas, so this challenge is great. I'm not sure I'll be able to pull off a post every day, but I'll do my best. Thanks for hosting!

    1. Thanks Angela! Hope you get involved and don't forget to mention me so I'll check out your posts :D

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