Pinterest– isn’t that a website for travel planners, lovers of delectables, and vintage-clothing aficionados? Well, yes; but many authors are finding creative ways to promote their books using the social scrapbooking site too.
10.4 million people currently use Pinterest, and that figure is climbing fast; some data shows that Pinterest is the fastest growing standalone website ever.
What exactly is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a combination of a digital pin-up board and a scrapbook. It’s a bit like Twitter, only for pictures and videos instead of 140-character tweets. From your Pinterest page you can create different boards for different interests– one for book covers, one for photos of characters in your book, one for pictures of you and your readers, one for photos of your writing desk, etc. Plus, other people can pin things to your page (if you allow them to become “contributors” to a particular board), which encourages more sharing and interaction.
How authors can use Pinterest as a promotional tool
Well, if you’ve spent much time on social networks, you know that shouting “Buy my book!” every couple days is a sure way to annoy your followers. You have to be more subtle, more sideways, more creative. Pinterest is a great way to enhance your author “brand,” build your platform, and create compelling content that supports your book promotion efforts. And since Pinterest users can create unlimited “boards” for each new interest or topic, you’ve got options.
Here are a few ideas:
1) Create a Pinterest board for the main characters or settings in your book. Ask your fans to add photos they think help make those people and places feel real. What does the mysterious hero look like? What about pictures of that icy field where the murder took place? (Note: you’ll have to add these fans individually as “contributors” to that particular board before they can pin their own content to it).
2) Give us a behind the scenes glimpse into your process. Show fans your desk, your typewriter or computer, your waste basket of discarded poems, the view outside your window, etc.
3) Get aspirational. Where do you want to travel on your book-tour? Where would you love to spend a week writing? Show us the photos! One great example of this is author Priscilla Warner’s Pinterest page. She has a board called “My Dream Writing Studios.” Amazing photos.
4) Ask for inspiration. You can create boards to bring your previously created characters into 2D. But the process can flow the opposite direction, too. What about asking your readers for help when you’re just developing a new story? Are you searching for the right details about pistols to put into your Western? Ask for some photos of old guns.
5) Promote your friends and heroes. Social media followers are turned off by constant self-promotion, but pimping books by other folks can go a long way. You’re giving solid recommendations to your fans, and the writers you promote will be thankful.
Some basic rules for using Pinterest
Again, if you’ve been using Facebook or Twitter for a while, the same general guidelines apply to Pinterest.
1. Stay engaged in the conversation. Don’t just post your own content and call it good. You need to re-pin, like, and comment on other people’s Pinterest content. Follow the Pinterest boards of writers you admire.
2. Put the “P” symbol on your site or blog so your readers will know they can also follow you on Pinterest.
3. Make sure the names of your boards have catchy titles.
4. Large photos are best. Pinterst is all about the visual. Pick great pics.
I hope this intro is helpful for anyone just getting started on Pinterest. If you’ve been using it for a while to promote your writing, we’d love to hear about your experience. Feel free to comment in the section below.