12+ On 11 January 2018, I started a #bookcovers and #firstsentences series on Instagram. One of my goals was to showcase and pay homage to the books and writers in my bookcases. Another was researching the effect of book covers and first sentences on the reader. And on 28 January 2022, I shared my 600th post.
I've admitted elsewhere how I soon realised the research aspect of my posts lacked "scientific rigour". Likes and comments are affected by the number of followers, timing of posts, and tags used. For example, my most popular books are Long Way Round (106 likes) and Long Way Down (70), tagged #EwanMcGregor, #CharleyBoorman and #motorbikes.
The frequency of my posting has also affected followers and likes. And while it took only four months to post my first 100 books and just over a year to reach 300, it's taken four long years to achieve the 600 milestone (see below).
The following summarises the milestones of my #bookcovers and #firstsentences homage series, with links to the posts on Instagram:
- First post: On the Beach by Nevil Shute (11 January 2018)
- 100th: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka (10 April 2018)
- 200th: The Knot Handbook by Maria Constantino (15 October 2018)
- 300th: The Natural World of New Zealand by Gerard Hutching (22 March 2019)
- 400th: The Berlin Wall by Frederick Taylor (29 November 2019)
- 500th: The Boy Behind The Curtain by Tim Winton (8 October 2020)
- 600th: The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku (28 January 2022)
Frequency, Mix and Media
In the enthusiastic early days of my Instagram series, I posted multiple books every day to build up a following. And even when I dialled down my posting volume after a few months, I still managed daily posts.
However, as the frequency of my posts decreased over time, I increased the range of the books in the series, reflecting the eclectic mix of fiction and nonfiction titles in my bookcases. And I included children's and young adult books from my son's collection (now stored in boxes in the attic) and Agatha Christies and sci-fi from my wife's bookcase.
Another change over the past year is the number of ebooks and audiobooks I've posted to Instagram. Although I still love the feel of traditional paper-based books, I've come to enjoy the convenience of reading a Kindle in bed at night. And the entertainment value of audiobooks while walking my dog. (My top six books for 2021 included an ebook and three audiobooks.)
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600 Posts and Beyond
In celebrating my 500th Instagram post in October 2020, I observed:
While I've enjoyed the Instagram posts, it's proved more time-consuming than simply taking a photo of a book and entering the opening lines. And my writer and editor roles at Tall And True keep me busy, with blog posts like this and short stories and other fiction and nonfiction writing. And then there's my new podcast, Tall And True Short Reads.
But I concluded, "I'd continue posting #bookcovers and #firstsentences to Instagram. It might just take a little longer to get to my 600th post." And so it did!
Like life, I've learned that the journey with my homage series matters, not the destination. So I look forward to sharing more books and carrying on towards my 700th post and beyond.
More on Book Covers and First Sentences
You might like to read the other posts and articles I've shared on Tall And True about book covers and first sentences:
- Writing First Sentences (9 April 2018)
- First Sentences on Instagram (31 July 2018)
- Celebrating 200 Instagram Posts (4 November 2018)
- 300 Book Covers and First Sentences (30 March 2019)
- My 500th Instagram Post (12 October 2020)
© 2022 Robert Fairhead
Robert is a writer and editor at Tall And True and blogs on his eponymous website, RobertFairhead.com. He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads storytelling podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.
Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story. In 2021, Robert published his first twelve short stories for the Furious Fiction writing competition, Twelve Furious Months, and in 2022, his second collection of Furious Fictions, Twelve More Furious Months. And in 2023, he published an anthology of his microfiction, Tall And True Microfiction.
Besides writing, Robert's favourite pastimes include reading, watching Aussie Rules football with his son and walking his dog.
He has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.