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“To promote books you need to think out of the box”, interview with James Trevino

"Bookstagrammer" James Trevino on how he started taking amazing book pics and what are the best ways to promote books and reading on social media

MILANO – Following our piece about Bookishbronte (here), we are now back with our inteviews with the best “bookstagrammers” of Instagram. #bookstagram counts almost 25 million posts on Instagram, and has become a truly international community where users can share their passion for books. One of the most famous bookstagrammers is James Trevino, 24yo from Romania, whose profile has almost 200k followers thanks to his artistic pics that portrait him with his books. We had already talked about James Trevino here, but we were eager to get to know him better and ask him what are the best ways to talk about books on social media.

How did you start to take these photos?

It just sort of happened. In the beginning I used to take simple photos of the books I was reading. In time they got more and more complicated and seeing how the response was positive, I kept going.

How do you create them? Does it take a long time to do that?

It depends. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2-3 hours or even more. And that doesn’t include editing (where that is needed). I take my pics in batches, once a month. I prepare some raw sketches to not forget my ideas. And then I try to replicate them. Most of the time it works.

How do you create engagement among young readers? Do you follow some “Instagram rules”?

That is tricky because there isn’t exactly an answer to that. I do what everyone recommends you to do on Instagram: engage as much as possible and create the best content I can. It is important I think to have a passion for what you do. My account got pretty big but I wasn’t looking for that when I started. Hell, it is a book related account, not exactly the hottest topic haha. So if you start with the idea of I WANT TO BE BIG it will never work. Just do what you like and do it well. People will notice

Do you think that your photos can make people get closer to books?

I sure hope so. The best DMs I get are the ones asking for book recommendations or people saying I inspired them to pick up a book. It is the best feeling ever!

How many books do you actually read?

A year? Anywhere from 50 to 100 (maybe more in a great year). Again, it depends. Last year was a really bad reading year for me for some reason so it ended up on the lower end. Thankfully, 2018 is  way better so far.

What are the mistakes that people usually do in promoting this activity on social media?

I don’t think you can make a mistake when you promote reading. But if you mean how can books be promoted better (by authors for example), I think pushing the boundaries creatively is the way to go. If you are an author and you want to get your book noticed, you have to think out of the box. Because social media and Instagram especially have become so oversaturated that it takes something special to get people to pay attention. And whether you like it or not, Instagram is a visual platform. You first see the pic and only after that you read the caption (IF the pic was good enough to make you stop scrolling).


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