The Bookworm of Notre Dame


Clara Bantos lives in Paris, France; she is the 4th year university student of literature, publishing and communication

Link to her Instagram and Twitter 

How did you get to creating your Instagram profile with books?

I used to watch videos every day and started to think about creating my own channel. I wanted to talk about my love for words and share it with this so-called book community. However, I was way too insecure and self-conscious to show my face on the Internet and to talk in front of the camera. I tried but I was ashamed of the result so much that I had to delete all of the footage. Plus, I wanted to talk in English but was afraid of what people would say about my accent since I'm French. So I decided to change my plans and I started my bookstagram account. No need to show my face or to make a fool of myself because of my accent! I could post daily AND I could improve my photography skills as I love taking photos! It was a perfect combination. Boom, a few days later I created my account and my bookstagram journey has begun.

What does it look like "behind the cover"?

I do not have a particular feeling of being "behind the cover". It is, however, a little bit odd to see strangers starting to follow you and telling you that they love your work. It feels weird, but mostly good, especially for someone who struggles with self-confidence.

When I take pictures, I have to be fast. My feed is based on the Parisian architecture so I do not take pictures in my house anymore. As I get all of my photos outside, I need to be quick because people usually stare at me (although I learned not to care anymore). I simply had to learn to get a good photo on the first try as I had no other choice. (laugh)

Regarding the editing of my photos, I do not do that much, even though I could. I know that some people take A LOOOOT of time to edit their pictures; they have all those fancy programs on their computers and I wish I was that professional. I take all of my photos on my phone and edit them on the free app VSCOcam. A simple free filter, some adjustments and the picture is ready. I try not to edit too much, mostly because the natural light and the beautiful architecture of my city do all the work. But, you know, I am a control freak and I love to have a clean feed with pictures which look great together, and so I have to play with filters anyway.

I try not to edit too much, mostly because the natural light and the beautiful architecture of my city do all the work. 

Can you predict which photo will get more likes than another? Or is it rather random?

Usually, I can. I know that a photo in which I am posing will somehow get more likes than the one with a book on a table. More original and "brave" your picture is, more likes it gets! However, I often get surprised! It happens that I think a particular photo is not good enough and still gets A LOT of likes.

Is there some secret for getting likes?

There are two ways to get more likes: the hashtag/repost technique, and the community technique. Let me explain!

I use hashtags, but not that many, and I just paste the same one to every photo I post. They are important and you definitely want to use hashtags on your post. Another great way how to get likes is to use the hashtags of accounts which repost bookish pictures. That way, your photo can be selected and will be posted on a HUGE account, which will give you a bigger audience and more likes.

More original and "brave" your picture is, more likes it gets!

About the second technique. First of all, I strongly think that you picture must be original, as I said earlier. If you take a picture of the first page of a book, it's okay - but everyone does it and you will not get a lot of likes. People want something new every day! Second of all, be nice. I know, you must be like "what is this doing with likes?" but it is important. If you are nice to your followers, if you are an active member of the bookstagram community, if you show everyone that your account is a safe place, a place where they are loved no matter what and where someone cares for them, people will follow you, and then always like your pictures.

Do you own all the books posted on your Instagram?

I own every book figured on my account! Hate me if you want, but I have never really gone to the library to borrow a book.

What is your favourite book and why?

WHAT A HORRIBLE QUESTION! Well, my favourite genre is fantasy, although I have no idea why. I like the complex worlds which allow me to escape from the everyday reality. That's why all my favourite series are fantasy: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

On the other hand, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky taught me a lot and helped me to become who I am. That's why I may call it my favourite book.

How many books do you read per month/year?

Last year, I read 85 books and my goal for this year is to read 90. (Here's a secret: I am aming to read 100 books!)

What is on your reading list? Any good tips for the upcoming spring?

For now, I want to finish the Heroes of Olympus series and the Raven Cycle series too! After that, I'll probably start Shatter Me, A Darker Shade of Magic, History Is All You Left Me...

Some tips? Have fun while reading! Read whatever you want, whenever you want!