Pinterest Cheat Sheet

What It Is and How Authors Can Use It.

Pinterest, like other social media sites, can be a great way for authors to interact with readers.  Unlike other, more familiar social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, Pinterest functions like more of a magazine, focusing on user-generated content instead.  Why should you as an author consider joining Pinterest?  Well, aside from being a more visually-driven representation of you and your work to readers, it may actually drive sales.  According to the site Social Media Today, 47% of US online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from Pinterest.  Also, Social Media Today reports that Pinterest generates four times more revenue per click than Twitter, and 27 % more per click than Facebook.

Though the focus of social media should be based more on finding new and exciting ways to interact with readers and not sales, the trends towards online purchasing seem to indicate that Pinterest is something worth watching.

How do you use it?  Well, like with any form of social media, it is only useful if you use it regularly, so check it out and see if it’s something you’d be interested in using.  Pinterest still functions on invitations.  If you haven’t received an invitation to join Pinterest yet, please let me know and I will send you one right away. You can create an account using your author name and I suggest signing in with either your existing Facebook or Twitter account.

Pinterest will then give you the option to link your “pins” to your other social media sites.  I have it arranged so that anything I pin also posts to my Twitter, but you can do what you like.

Now for the fun stuff. You now can create your own Pinterest boards.  A Pinterest board is a collection of pictures that the user feels belongs together in a collection.

Your first board, as an author, should be one dedicated to your work.  You can title it “My Books” or something basic.

Then, install a “pinner” or “pin it button” on your leaderboard.  Now, in a new tab, find your book’s page on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Indiebound.  Using your new PinItbutton, click “pin it”.  A series of pictures should pop up, one being your book’s cover.  Click on the picture.  There may be some words (the name of the jpeg file the publisher used to upload your cover to the buy site), make sure that beneath your cover you write your book’s title and your name.  You also may want to include a working link to the buy site, just for good measure.  Then, you get to select the “board” to which you would like to pin your cover.  Select the “My Books” board, or, if you want, you can create another board to pin it to as well.  For example, you can create a board for each series you may have.  That way if you have fans that know your work as the JYC Mystery series, they will be able to search the name of the series and find your Pinterest page, where hopefully they will discover your other books.

If you are like me and are relatively new to the world of writing with only one published novel under your belt, there are still plenty of boards you can create to interest readers.  The one thing I did that drew the most “repins” was to create a board full of clothes my characters would wear. Clothes, shoes, jewelry, anything I felt the characters would like.  Also, I “pinned” the playlist I listened to while writing the book.  Anything that may help connect you with the world of potential readers. If you write international thrillers, then you might create a board with the title of your book as the board name and then include the sights and sounds of the cities through which your characters travel.

If you would like a great example of an author with an amazing Pinterest presence, check out Laurie R King.  Her Garment of Shadows board can give some great ideas about how you can use Pinterest to interest readers in a specific book. Also be sure to check out and follow ITW’s Pinterest page to see all the ways we try and introduce readers to our authors’ works and our programs.

You may end up having many boards, such as boards about your favorite foods, crafts, or your collection of musical instruments.  Remember, like all social media, the focus of Pinterest should be to represent yourself to the world and to interact with readers, it doesn’t have to be all about the books all the time.  I find that the keys to social media are respect and interaction. Respect in being courteous, and interaction by taking a genuine interest in what the people you meet post or have to say.  If you focus on having fun and building relationships, not just in broadcasting a sales pitch, you will find your social media base and hopefully your fan base, ever growing.