Pinterest is yet another tool authors can use to raise awareness about their books. It differs from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in that it’s less about content that you create, and more about what you find and share. For authors, Pinterest is another way readers can get to know the real you, which helps with soft-selling.
Pinterest for Authors 101
Pinterest is a “visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas.” Users save bookmarks, or Pins, to different boards, which usually have some different theme or idea behind them. You would “pin” something to come back to it later. In the case of authors, pin images that inspire you from other users or from external websites. Others can then save your pins to their board, and so on.
Building your Boards
Last week, we talked about an Instagram aesthetic, or a look and feel that conveys your overall theme. For Pinterest, we can take that idea and apply it to different boards. If you’re using Pinterest 100% professionally, you should consider having boards for each of you book series (both published and forthcoming, more on this later). You also might add boards for writing, quotes, scenes, etc. Find authors in your genre and see what kind of boards they have.
Pinterest is a great tool to help build word-of-mouth for unpublished and forthcoming books. Users can watch you put together your inspiration in real-time, and get an idea for the book before they read a single word. Once the book is published, you can add pins to buy the book.
Legal and Copyright
Before we go further, we should mention that Pinterest’s copyright issues are well-known, so tread carefully. If you’re pinning from an external site, and they have a “Pin It” button, it’s usually safe to assume they want their content shared. Before you pin, it’s also a good idea to check the link and make sure it’s a legitimate site. You also want to make sure proper credit is given to any piece of art you use for your inspiration board.
Growing your Pinterest Audience
We talk a lot about a social media half-life, or the length of time a post is visible and shareable. On average, the average lifespan of a tweet is under five minutes. Pinterest? Three months! (Source) Not only that, but 80% of pins on Pinterest are re-pins, which means people are using the content within the site versus finding their own.
For authors, you can leverage your existing social media audience to draw them in, or start following authors or readers who are pinning similar images (check the “Also pinned by” board). You can also comment on popular pins, but be careful not to spam with too many comments.
While Pinterest is a great tool, for authors, for most folks it’s less of a must-have and more another facet of your online persona. We use it more for personal/professional use, having a mix of food boards with inspiration quotes, and even publishing knowledge. In particular, the inspiration board is great when things are going a bit rough.
If you haven’t tried out Pinterest, we do recommend spending an hour or two on it.