Are You Pinterest Savvy? 1 Million Followers in a Year

Pinterest is one of the fastest and biggest growing social media sites. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, it uses pictures to connect with other people. It’s a virtual pin board that allows you to share things with your followers and “repin” photos from others onto your own boards. If people like what you’re pinning, they can choose to follow your boards.

What does this mean for authors?

Pinterest has over 4 million daily users and is now the 3rd biggest social media site. You might be wondering how to harness the power of Pinterest. I just finished reading  Pinterest Savvy: How I Got 1 Million+ Followers (Strategies, Plans, and Tips to Grow Your Business with Pinterest) * by Melissa Taylor.

As an author, I know the power of Pinterest. I’ve been using Pinterest for about six months and other than Google, it drives more traffic to my website than any other social media site, including Facebook. But I wanted to up my game and Melissa’s book gave me some great tips and new ideas.

1. Be as specific as possible with your board names and descriptions. One of my boards was titled Best Recipes. I feature my own traditional from scratch recipes on my blog and these are some of my biggest traffic pins. However, after reading Melissa’s book I changed it to Best from Scratch Recipes and altered the description to include key words of traditional, from scratch, home-baked, etc. You can check out my boards at http://www.pinterest.com/melissaknorris

2. All pins are not created equal. When creating “pins” to be pinned from your website, there are some things you need to know. One, longer photos, rather than wide, show better on Pinterest. You need clear and easy to read type. Melissa gives great examples of what makes a good pin vs. an okay one. This makes a difference! I re-did some of my photos, repinned them, and they were reppined far more than the original version. Here’s an example of a good pin.

3. Protect yourself. Know copyright laws. Read the terms of use on Pinterest. Don’t repin any pin without following it back to its original source. Does the website give permission to “pin”? Is there a pin-it button next to the photo? If not, don’t repin. I recommend emailing the blogger to ask permission. Most will say yes, it only takes a few minutes, and protects you from a lawsuit. It also promotes good will. I emailed a blogger to ask if I could use her photo in a post on my blog and “pin” it. She happily agreed, visited my blog, and shared it with her own readers.

4. Create pin worthy content of your own. Take your own pictures and create your own pins. (I use the free version of picmonkey.com) You don’t have to worry about copyright issues and you’ll become known for bringing new fresh content. You want to be known for creating content on your blog and on Pinterest, not just rehashing what everyone else is already doing.

For a free chapter download visit Melissa Taylor’s website. She also has free worksheets to help you maximize each chapter. Pinterest Savvy takes you through the first step of signing up for Pinterest to helping those who want to increase their following and are already familiar with the site. Having just finished Melissa’s book and implementing a few of her tips, I’ve increased my following by 50 followers in a little over a week. I plan using more of her tips shortly.

Another cool tidbit: Melissa’s book doesn’t officially launch until tomorrow, but she gave me permission to give Watercooler peeps a sneak peek. How cool is that?

*I used my affiliate link for Melissa’s book on Amazon. It doesn’t cost you anything more and I only recommend things I truly stand behind. To read my full affiliate disclosure go to the footer of my website.

Are you on Pinterest? What do you find the most daunting? How do you use your boards to promote your books and website?

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The Results Are In-Did Free Help Sales?

Most of you have heard the arguments for and against offering your book for free to increase sales. I did something a little different by offering a free bonus gift for people who purchased my book, Pioneering Todayfor a limited time.

I ran the promotion for two weeks. Because I started the promotion on the launch day of my book, it’s hard to know what my sales would have been without it. I did have several people take me up on the offer. I also had sales where people didn’t request the bonus material.

It made me wonder if they didn’t want the material or they purchased without seeing the offer. (Amazon allows you to see the sales of both Kindle and Paperback to help track.)

I did have the most amount of requests for bonus material on the last day of the promotion. This confirms my belief that you need a time limit on any promotion and shorter may be better. In fact, I had two readers send me the proof of purchase an hour before midnight on the last day.

I’ll definitely offer bonus materials again. I do think for ease of delivery and time-saving, that I’ll make sure all materials are electronic only. Trips to the post office, cost of delivery, cost of the cards, and mainly the time to address material helped me make this decision.

By far the single most driving force of sales has been not the bonus material or free things offered, but the readers. After reading the book, I’ve had numerous people purchase copies (some up to ten) as gifts.

The take away from all this: the best promotional tool you have is your book. Make sure it’s the best it can be. It will speak for itself.

What promotion has prompted you to buy a book? Authors, what marketing or bonus gifts have worked the best for you?

It’s A Christmas Parade!

As our treat to our wonderful WaterCooler Readers, we thought we’d do another blog parade. Each of our authors below is blogging about their Writer’s Wish List. Hmm . . . I know I’m intrigued to see what’s on these lists. Funny? Quirky? Serious?

I don’t know . . . you’ll have to click on the links to find out!

1. Lucille Zimmerman
Blog Link: http://www.lucillezimmerman.com/2012/12/10/ape-author-publisher-entrepreneur-how-to-publish-a-book-by-guy-kawasaki-shawn-welch-a-book-review/

2. Janalyn Voigt
Blog Link: http://janalynvoigt.com/one-authors-christmas-wish

3. Kimberly Vargas
Blog Link: http://www.kimberlyvargasauthor.com/?p=241

4. Cheryl Ricker
Blog Link: http://www.cherylricker.com/2012/12/smells-and-whistles/

5. Jordyn Redwood
Blog Link: http://jordynredwood.blogspot.com/2012/12/wishing.html

6. Melissa K. Norris
Blog Link: http://melissaknorris.com/?p=1351

7. Gillian Marchenko
Blog Link: http://wp.me/p2Ds6m-zA

8. Dr. Rita Hancock
Blog Link: http://edensfreedomsisters.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-eden-diet-joins-a-blog-parade-find-out-how-to-win-dr-rita-s-b

9. Karen Jordan
Blog Link: http://karenbarnesjordan.com/a-writers-wish-list-grace-gifts

10. Kelli Gotthardt
log Link: http://www.kelligotthardt.com/1/post/2012/12/writers-wish-list.html

11: Jan Dunlap
Blog Link: http://jandunlap.com/2012/12/the-wishlist-of-a-writer/

12: Cindy Dagnan
Blog Link: http://cindydagnan.com/cindy-sigler-dagnan/2012/12/14/one-writer%E2%80%99s-wish-list/

13: Anita Brooks
Blog Link: http://brooksanita.com/a-writers-fantasy-wish-list

Merry Christmas!!

Marketing Beyond Social Media and the Internet

We know how powerful social media and the internet can be in marketing and building our author platform. But have you been overlooking your own back yard?

Backyard

With the launch of my new book, Pioneering Today-Faith and Home the Old Fashioned WayI embarked on  traditional on-line marketing with guest posting, blog tour, and special bonus gifts for those who purchased the book.

But I’ve had the most sales from my home town. I asked our local pharmacy and grocery store to sell copies of my book. They agreed and I’ve sold out at both locations. I made sure to let the owners know I’d be announcing on my social media pages that copies would be available there. (It needs to be a win for both parties)

We have a local movie theatre that is in the homestretch of fundraising for a new digital projector so they can stay in business. The owner is running an ad for my book in the previews before every movie and selling copies with part of the proceeds going to their digital fund.

I’m teaching two classes for the community. The first was a bread class where I showed how to make the artisan bread and thin crust pizza dough. The second is a jelly making class (all from my book). I sold out of books at the first class with more ordered.

Social media is great, but don’t forget about local. Think of places in your home town where people go frequently.

Tips for making businesses say yes to your book:

1. Make an appointment ahead of time with the owner or manager to discuss putting your book in their store. Remember they’re busy and show up on time. Think of this like a job interview.

2. Think of ways their business will benefit from having your book.

3. Don’t expect them to just let you sell your book without giving it to them at a discount so they make money off the sale too. Be sure you know what your bottom line price per book is so you both make a profit.

4. Bring a large amount of copies with you, but ask them how many they’d prefer to start with on their store floor.

5. Keep a file at home noting how many books are at each place. Check in on a regular basis to see if they need to be re-stocked. Make sure they also have your contact info. One of the store’s employees called me to let me know they’d sold out and needed more books.

What ways have you marketed your book in your home town? Are there businesses you could tie the content and theme of your book to beyond bookstores?

Does Free Really Help Sell Books?

As I’ve been working on the launch of my new book, I’m struggling with how much to give away for free. I’ve read conflicting reports on offering your book without cost.

Some say you’ll gain so much word of mouth that we all should do it. Others say you devalue your content and make those who have paid for it feel cheated.

What is an author to do?Melissa K. Norris new book Pioneering Today-Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way

My new book, Pioneering Today: Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way, launches today.

I decided to give something away for free and a bonus gift. But I put a time limit on it. If I know I’ve got a limited time frame it makes me get to it first. I’m thinking I can’t be the only one who thinks this way.

I’m offering up my first chapter for free. Now that’s nothing new, you say. Authors do this all over the place.

But not all authors use this great free application called “Pay with a Tweet.” In order to read my first chapter, people can choose to pay with a Tweet or Facebook share. It represents word of mouth marketing for me and also gives the reader something for free. Want to see it in action? Go to my book page here. 

That’s not my only freebie. For every reader who purchases my book on Amazon and forwards me the copy of their proof of purchase, email, and mailing address, I’m going to mail them a secret recipe and the link to a full length bonus chapter, but only through October 31, 2012.

I’m hoping this will help people to purchase now, before it falls onto their to-do-list and is forgotten. I also feel that these items provide real value and content to the readers of my book.

Because that’s what great marketing boils down to. The reader asking what’s in it for me?

Have you ever bought something from an author because you enjoyed their free content? Do you think free is better or do you believe you get what you pay for? Have you seen a jump in sales from giving away free copies?

When to Tell Your Inner Editor to Shut Up!

We’re not supposed to tell people to shut up. We’re supposed to be polite and considerate.

 Icon Design by Creative Freedom  All copyright for Shimmer Icons belongs to Creative Freedom Ltd.  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/

Icon Design by Creative Freedom
All copyright for Shimmer Icons belongs to Creative Freedom Ltd.
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/

I’m here to tell you that sometimes we need to tell our inner editor to shut up.

I’m not saying we don’t need to edit our work. On the contrary, I even wrote this post, 7 Tips for Self-Editing, but there is a time and a place for said editing.

When you’re writing your first draft, I strongly advise you not to edit. Let your ideas flow. If you try to edit now, you may never finish your novel. Or worse yet, you’ll stifle your creativity.

There is another voice, one that may or not be your inner editor. The one that tells you this isn’t any good. Why on earth did you think you could be a writer? You should just give up before anyone discovers you can’t really write.

These, my friends, are the voice of the enemy. Do not believe his lies.

Recently, I heard these words burn through my mind. When you begin to hear the lies, turn to our source of truth. Pray that God’s voice would be the only one you would hear. Ask Jesus to silence everything that is not from Him.

I’ve started doing this every time I sit down to write. It is making a huge difference. We can choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.

If you’re trying to write your first novel or first draft of a new project, focus on getting it all out on paper or the computer screen. It’s fine to check and make sure your book is keeping in check with your outline and overall story and character goal, but don’t try to make it perfect.

Have you ever had to tell your inner editor to shut up? Do you have any tips to keep yourself going when you feel like giving up?

It’s A Parade!!

Welcome to WordServe Water Cooler’s Very First Blog Parade!!

Listed below are links to many of The Cooler’s authors and we are all writing on this topic: First steps we took to becoming an agented and/or published author!

The goal of today’s post is to give you some great advice and to allow you to see some of the personal blogs of our authors where they offer their ponderings. I think you’ll be amazed at the variety of helpfulness each author gives to the community.

Thank you, our faithful readers, for making the WordServe Water Cooler a great community. Enjoy the parade!

1. Anita Agers-Brooks: Anita Fresh Faith

2. Julie Cantrell: Julie’s Journal

3. Dianne Christner: …plain girl romanticizing

4. Dena Ratliff Dyer: Mother Inferior

5. Jan Dunlap: Jan Dunlap’s Blog

6. Michelle Griep: Writer Off Leash

7. Karen Jordan: BLESSED Legacy Stories

8. Sharon Lavy: Sharon Lavy’s Blogspot.

9. Gillian Marchenko: Gillian Marchenko’s Blog

10. Katy McKenna: Fallible

11. Melissa K. Norris: Inspiring Your Faith and Pioneer Roots

12. Jordyn Redwood: Redwood’s Medical Edge

13. Cheryl Ricker: Fresh Air

14. Kimberly Vargas: Kimberly Vargas’s Blog

15. Janalyn Voigt: Live Write Breath

16. Lucille Zimmerman: Lucille Zimmerman

Hope you enjoyed our parade!