Social Media for Writers #5: Pinterest

Social Media for Writers Pinterest, Pinterest for authorsWell, here we are. How do you like the new digs? I was going to write a post about the renovations, but I know that most people hate talking about renovations – they just like to enjoy the new space after the dust has settled. So let’s do that (but, seriously, how much do we love the work that Kelly has done here?).

This week, the Social Media For Writers series moves beyond words. I’ve written about my experiences with Pinterest before, but I have to say that I have moved on a little from ‘why would I do this? I’m a words girl’. For starters, I find that it’s an excellent place to store thoughts. I am working on a series of children’s novels, based around a theme, and I collect images and information about that theme over on a Pinterest board. I also like to keep images of Redheads (because, really, can there ever be too many), writing quotes, book-related bits and pieces and, of course, my ever-popular ‘things I love but will never do’ board.

But today’s expert, the effervescent Peg Fitzpatrick, is a big believer in writers using Pinterest – and that it can help them sell books. Peg is one of the busiest people on the web – she writes, she is managing partner at 12 Most, she moderates/manages multiple G+ and Facebook communities, and she works with Guy Kawasaki on social media marketing strategy. You can read more about her here.

Will Pinterest help me to sell books? How?
Peg Fitzpatrick: “Pinterest is a social media marketing tool. As an author, you want to load your social media tool box as full as possible without overwhelming you or causing stress while still reaching people. Pinterest is a discovery platform where people go to find, share and collect photos, blog posts, videos, you name it! Putting the word out about your book in a non-sales way helps people discover it, share it on their own Pinterest boards and yes, click to buy it.

How exactly do I set myself up to make the most of Pinterest as an author? What should I Pin?
PF: “I recommend at least ten boards on your Pinterest account. Set up something like this:

  • Board #1: About me (pins things you like that share your personality)
  • Board #2: Links to your social media accounts and website
  • Board #3: Your book/books
  • Board #4: Your blog/website articles
  • Board #5: Books you like
  • Board #6: Writing inspirations
  • Boards #7-10: Choose four topics that you like to create boards. Use the focus of your boards to help establish your brand and area of expertise.

Once you’ve built this foundation, you can add storyboards, character boards, location pinboards or any aspect of your writing that you would like to focus on that will entice your readers and get them interested in reading your book.

You want to let your followers get to know you as a person through your pins, Pinterest is not all business or sales. People will not be interested if you just push a sales message through your pins.

Pinterest is a visual channel so make sure that you pin colorful, interesting photos and add descriptions to each pin.”

Do I need huge numbers of friends/followers for it to work?
PF: “You don’t need huge numbers, interesting pins and people spread on Pinterest. The quantity of your following doesn’t matter as much as the quality of the people that you connect with. Your following will grow if you:

  1. Pin on a regular basis
  2. Pin interesting content with good visuals
  3. Share your pins on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ so people can find you.

Top three tips for making the most of Pinterest as an author

  1. “Connect with your readers on Pinterest by checking who repins your content and comment on their pins and follow them.
  2. Be consistent and pin a little every day (ten or fifteen minutes can work)
  3. Use your great writing skills and creativity to create fun pin descriptions that people will enjoy.”

Biggest mistakes authors can make with Pinterest
PF: “Not trying it! And as I mentioned, only pushing a sales or marketing pitch. Share your book and things that are related to your book but share 80 per cent other people’s content and 20 per cent your content.”

Three authors you think are using Pinterest well – and why
PF: “1. Amanda Patterson Great boards with interesting content. You don’t have to guess what she does, that’s a good thing!

2. Guy Kawasaki (disclosure I work with Guy and wrote a chapter in his latest book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur —How to Publish a Book about Pinterest) Guy uses Pinterest to showcase all the media created around APE (reviews, interviews, photos with fans, blog posts, everything APE is here) It also showcases Guy’s fun personality, love of Android and sharing of quirky content.

3. Joy Cho from Oh Joy! Joy is THE pinner. She has 14 million followers on Pinterest and her boards are amazing. She wrote a book called Blog Inc. and she shares tons of information on writing, blogging and pinning. She is one of the original pinners so following her and seeing how she pins, what she adds for descriptions etc. can be very helpful.”

Visit Peg at her website, or say hello on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest (of course!). She’s written more about how writers can use Pinterest here.

Do you use Pinterest? How?