The trouble with being a writer is that you have to write. That would seem desirable, but the writing I’m talking about goes beyond pounding out the next scene in my novel. Since becoming a published novelist, I’ve submitted–at the request of agents, editors, bloggers, and marketing personnel–guest posts, interview responses, pitch sentences, two-sentence blurbs, query letters, proposals, sample chapters, material to use for promotion, back-cover copy, tag lines, book club questions, and of course myriad versions of my biography. Add to this the need to devise creative updates for social networks, and you begin to see why a writer might groan.
Enter Pinterest, a social media platform that allows members to network with pictures more than words. Tweet This! I love writing and (go figure) even have a fondness for words, but I find Pinterest a breath of fresh air. As a virtual bulletin board where users pin images, Pinterest frees me to express my creativity without having to hurt my brain with so much thinking. Since women primarily frequent Pinterest, spending more time on it than on other networks, it provides another benefit. Book buyers are predominantly female. (This varies by genre.)
With 4 million active daily visitors and as the fastest-growing social media site (now second only to Facebook), Pinterest is a site many writers should include in their social media platforms. Tweet This! Since I began to take Pinterest seriously, it’s moved to the number one referrer of traffic to my websites.
I won’t go into detail on how to sign up, since Pinterest makes it easy. If you want advice, visit the Pinterest Help Center and enter “how to sign up” in the search box. I suggest you set up or convert to a Pinterest business account. This will allow you access to account analytics once you verify your website for Pinterest.
Be sure and include your author picture in your profile. Also set up a branded bio. This is a little challenging since you should make it brief so it will be read. Every word needs to pull its weight. To see an example, visit the Pinterest page for Janalyn Voigt. While you’re there, take a look at my boards to help inspire your own.
After you’ve created your account, filled in your profile information, and verified your website, you should visit Pinterest’s Goodies page. There you’ll find instructions on how to:
- install the Pin It button (for Google Chrome) to your bookmark bar.
- drag the Pinterest Bookmarklet to your toolbar (click the red link under the Pin It button copy in the sentence that says: “Looking for the Pinterest Bookmarklet?”).
- add a Pin It button to your site.
- make a widget for your site.
Creating Your Boards:
On your profile page, you’ll be able to create boards. Here are some suggestions:
- Name a board for your blog or website.
- Create a board with the title of your book(s).
- Name a board for the genre(s) you write.
- Think up boards that will reinforce your brand.
- Design boards to attract your target audience.
Pin Three Ways
- Click the Pinterest bookmarklet while at a website that grants permission to pin its images and select the image you want to pin.
- Under your image in the Pinterest toolbar you’ll find a dropdown menu. Click “Add Pin” to upload an image from your computer or enter the URL of a picture you have permission to pin.
- Use the Pin It button on a website.
What to Pin
- Pin your own original images with a link back to your site.
- Pin images from sites that state they allow pinning to Pinterest.
- Pin public-domain images.
- Create and pin your own collages using sites like PicMonkey.com and your own images.
What to Do on Pinterest
- Follow other people. You can choose to follow all boards or an individual board. As with all effective social networking, be sincere. Tweet This! When you make the effort to follow people, some will follow you back.
- Repin from boards of people you trust. Always verify that the link goes where the image indicates it will and that the original site gave permission to pin.
- Like pins others post. This brings you to their attention.
- Comment on pins. To comment, click on a pin and the comment box will be in the enlarged image that displays.
Pinterest and Copyright
First, I am not a lawyer and don’t mean the following in any way as legal advice, but here is how I handle myself on Pinterest. I’m careful when pinning images that I don’t own to make sure the website gives explicit permission to pin to Pinterest in its copyright policy. I don’t take the existence of a Pin It button as permission. I’m aware that even if I own a photo, some things like private works of art or images of people who have not signed a release for me to post their photos, for example, are off limits. I prefer to take my own photographs and create my own infographics. When in doubt, I don’t pin.
Pinterest is a relatively painless way to network that is actually a lot of fun. Tweet This! It can help you keep track of research while simultaneously drawing readers to your books.
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