Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What Pinterest Has to Offer Writers and Illustrators

I like Pinterest. It's visual, girly and intuitive, which works very well for me. A lot of my fellow writers and illustrators, though, want to know what Pinterest has to offer them. They're already spread thin with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Why join another social media outlet? 

Pinterest has so much to offer if you use it right. I'll get to that in a moment, but first I need to explain what Pinterest is and who uses it. 

Pinterest is used mostly by girls and women, and their main interests are shopping; beautiful things, people, and places; pop culture; and cooking, design and D.I.Y. projects. 

Pinterest is a visual cross between Twitter and Facebook. Like Facebook, you can share, like and comment on images, and you can see the comments others have made. Like Twitter, you don't have to follow someone to see their posts or their boards, and there's a search engine that lets you find images by topic. Another thing, unfortunately, that has carried over from Twitter and Facebook is spam. You just can't escape it nowadays. Pinterest is in its beta stage right now, so the only way to join is to get an invitation, which is easy to do through your Twitter and Facebook friends. Once you join, Pinterest will ask you if you want to follow the boards of your Facebook or Twitter friends, which is an easy way to find things you want to repin (provided your friends have the same interests). 

Pinterest also has categories of topics. "Geek," for example, is one of my favorite topics. Some people like to have boards that are all based around one color. I have a board that's only on chocolate. I find images for it by searching for chocolate, although sometimes I'll search websites for chocolate and pin images from them. Since I'm interested in writing, books, and cover design, I also have boards on those topics. 

Here's a link to all of my boards in Pinterest:

People can follow individual boards. They don't have to follow all of a person's boards. There are some people, for example, who only follow my Chocolate Love board. If you're a writer, I suggest you follow my On Writing and Dream boards. I think you'll find them inspirational. Designers might be interested in my board on Well Designed Book Covers. 

So how have I seen writers and illustrators use Pinterest? 

  • First, keep a board on books in your genre to attract readers of your genre. If you write dystopian, for example, posting your book next to a lot of pictures of The Hunger Games is not a bad idea. Post your book's cover and write a little about your book, using keywords to make it easy for Pinterest's search engine to find it. 

  • Also announce if your book is on sale (remember that shopping is a major interest in Pinterest). Keep boards of things you find interesting, inspirational, and so on. Perhaps others will find them interesting and inspirational too. 

  • Follow the boards of your followers that you find interesting. 

  • Comments on images you find interesting, but please don't spam or overtly self-promote. 

  • Some writers like to post images of actors and places that fit their book or WIP. I have a board of images connected to Ride of Your Life. It's not a very popular board, but who knows? Maybe it will attract people in the summer when they're looking for amusement parks and roller coasters. 

In short, Pinterest is another way--a visual way--to connect with readers and colleagues. It's girly, which tends to make it nicer, but there's also a popularity aspect. 

Like me, tweet me, share me, PIN ME!

If you want people to go to your blog, post the image first on your blog and then pin it on a board in Pinterest. 

If your book is on sale, make sure to to pin the image of the cover from the store where it can be bought at a lower price. 

But above all, don't act like a spammer. Act like a real person who truly likes the same things Pinterest users like. Create a lot of boards, so Pinterest users can get a sense of who you are and why they might like to read your books.

What about you? Are you using Pinterest? If so, what do you like to pin and repin? If not, why not? I'd love to hear from you, so please post your thoughts on Pinterest below.


Meg, Caitlin and Laurie T said...

Thank you Shevi!
Pinterest has been one of those things I've been meaning to get to but have put off. Your tips are extremely helpful. Love the chocolate idea!

I'm also a writer and love the idea of pinning photos and art I find inspiring.


Shevi said...

Thanks, Laurie! I'll definitely follow your board if you do a chocolate one. Can't have too much chocolate.

Ann said...

Thanks for the information. I have been hearing a lot about Pinterest lately. Seems to be the new thing. I have been feeling a little bewildered by it. What purpose etc. I will look into it though. Your post has helped sort out some of my confusion.

cleemckenzie said...

I guess I've been dragging my feet on this because I'm so behind after my C drive crashed. Will take your great suggestions and see what I can do as soon as my computer is up and running smoothly again. Thanks so much.

Cheryl Ann Rose said...

Thanks Shevi,
I've been holding off on getting involved with Pinterest, but you have inspired me to jump in. :)

Elle said...

Shevi, You always give others very clear and useful information. Thanks for your thoughtfulness.

Here's my difficulty with Pinterest: after trying to log in a few times and getting messages that email and password don't match, I haven't been able to get an invite! I've used my email address with email login; I've also used Twitter login and Twitter password. No luck. What am I doing wrong?

Do you have connections? Maybe you can get me a Pinterest invite! I want to post pictures of water/ocean/rivers and fave YA lit bks.

Elle said...

Correction: I've used my email address with email password.

A. R. Silverberry said...

Great post, Shevi! I had heard about Pinterest, but had no clue what it was.

Have you seen many guys there? How does the community respond to them? Any tips for us?!


(AR Silverberry)

Shevi said...

Hi, Peter!

You're right, there aren't a lot of guys there (not unless you count all the pictures of men some Pinterest users love to pin). How do we respond to them? I suppose it depends on what your interests are. You'll certainly be welcomed by users who share your interests, and it's a good opportunity to connect with female readers.

Shevi said...


I can send you an invite if you're one of my Facebook friends, because my Pinterest and Facebook accounts are linked. If you are, DM me on Facebook to let me know, and I'll see what I can do.

Sheila Deeth said...

Great post. I'm there and kind of wondering what to do with it. You've inspired me with some great ideas.

Shevi said...

Thank you, Sheila. Glad to help.