Pinterest_LogoOur thanks to author Steve Piacente for this guest post!

If 80 percent of Pinterest users are women and women buy most of the books, authors need to be on Pinterest.

Problem is, authors traffic in words and Pinterest is all about photos. How can writers ever leverage the site to sell books?

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1 – Cover Story (one): Readers always want to know how you came up with your cover. The answer probably runs parallel to your writing, in that there were lots of drafts before you were ready to publish. Try telling the story of your cover in sequential photos, as I did here.

http://www.pinterest.com/stevepiacente/bella-cover-story/

2 – Cover Story (two): Hopefully you saved the rejected covers. Some of mine were awful, but they made for an interesting Pinterest board. See:

http://www.pinterest.com/stevepiacente/bootlicker-cover-story/

3 – Illustrate, Illuminate: Every author offers excerpts. I found an aspiring (read: not too expensive) artist who illustrated several excerpts. They made a nice addition to my website as well as a simple Pinterest board. Check out:

http://www.pinterest.com/stevepiacente/novel-sketches/

4 – Remember Oz: If you’re doing a video trailer, make sure to take readers backstage with some behind the scenes photos. Everyone is fascinated by what happens when you pull back the wizard’s curtain. My trailer shots:

http://www.pinterest.com/stevepiacente/400-pages-in-2-minutes-the-bootlicker-trailer/

5 – Overseas Ads: When you or friends are headed abroad, take or send your novel. You’d be amazed at how many opportunities come up to snag a photo beside a famous landmark or in the hands of a colorful local. During a trip to Thailand, I visited a museum where a Geisha girl was outside. I asked her to pose with the book and she gladly complied. Could she read it? Does it matter?

http://www.pinterest.com/stevepiacente/travels-with-bella-bootlicker/

6 – Writing Recs: You’re a writer; share some insights.

http://www.pinterest.com/stevepiacente/writing-recs/

7 – Reading Recs: If you’re an author, you’re probably already on Goodreads. (If not, you should be). If you are, another idea is to review books instead of just asking people to weigh in on your novels. If you do, take screenshots of your reviews and create a Pinterest board like this one:

http://www.pinterest.com/stevepiacente/my-goodreads-book-reviews/

8 – Road trip: Have you done some kind of book tour? Those photos you took, with a few words about lessons learned, will make a helpful Pinterest board. See:

http://www.pinterest.com/stevepiacente/author-roadtrip-lessons-learned/

For those who’ve missed the Pinterest craze, think newspapers and magazines, a scissors, pushpins and a corkboard. Now subtract the scissors and pushpins, and place the word “digital” in front of “corkboard.” It’s that simple.

The hottest category is weddings, but “favorite books” is also in the mix. Authors are also using the site to organize their drafts, market their books with boards about plot and characters, and to learn what other industries are doing to make their products surprising and appealing.

Best practices include:

  • Crediting your sources;
  • Mixing up your content;
  • Writing likeable content (don’t be sour);
  • Keeping descriptions short (no more than 200 words);

The transition from creative writing to creative marketing is not optional for anyone trying to sell books, and that’s nearly all of us. The good news is that Pinterest not only gets you close to lots of potential readers, it’s also fun.

Steve Piacente Bootlicker and Bella-BEAAuthor Steve Piacente (@wordsprof) has been a professional writer since graduating from American University in 1976. In 2010, he self-published Bella, the story of a widow’s quest to uncover the truth about her husband’s death on an Afghan battlefield. Bootlicker, a prequel focused on a dark secret that imperils a historic election, came out in late 2012. Steve started as a sportswriter at the Naples Daily News, switched to news at the Lakeland Ledger, and returned to D.C. in 1985 as Correspondent for the Tampa Tribune. In 1989, the native New Yorker moved to the same position for the Charleston (SC) Post & Courier.  He is now creative director at The Communication Center in Washington, D.C., teaches journalism classes at American University, and is at work on his third novel. Previously he served as deputy communications director at a federal agency in Washington, D.C. Contact Steve at stevepiacente@gmail.com. His novels are available at www.stevepiacente.com

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10 thoughts on “8 Ways Authors Can Use Pinterest

  • March 27, 2015 at 10:01 am
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    For some reason it seems like lots of authors are still reticent to embrace Pinterest as a social media network to reach their readers and build their brand, but I think it’s the perfect platform to build your author brand. I’m actually covering this topic in a Free 3 day online conference which is by authors for authors – called IndieReCon. It’s aimed at indie authors and includes lots of self publishing advice. If you want to check out the full schedule .. here’s the website http://www.indierecon.org ~ Jay

  • August 14, 2014 at 8:17 pm
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    Thank you, some great ideas in here and a reminder to lift my game on Pinterest. Having said that, I have used it to help generate ideas for places, people, clothing etc to help with some descriptions and scenes in my book. LOVE Pinterest!

  • August 9, 2014 at 6:46 am
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    Great ideas. Has my wheels spinning.

    • August 11, 2014 at 8:47 am
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      Thanks, Pattie. Would love to see what you come up with!

  • August 5, 2014 at 10:02 pm
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    Steve,

    These are the most unique and creative suggestions I’ve seen for ways authors can use Pinterest.
    I especially love 5 and 8. Both of these could be turned into a campaign or contest where readers and book clubs send in photos holding your book from their vacations and road trips. (Wow! I’d better make note of that as I create my marketing plan for my upcoming book.)

    I also like the idea of reviewing other authors books or great posts from our favorite sites such as wherewriterswin.com.

    Your suggestions certainly worked for helping to market your work. I watched the interviews and trailers, and visited samples of each of your suggestions. I’m now going to have to grab your books, and have already recommended them to my favorite book club.

    Thanks Shari for bringing Steve to our attention.

    • August 5, 2014 at 10:45 pm
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      Thanks, Flora! Happy to report Steve is every bit as classy in person and so happy to have met him. A hard-working author whose generosity of spirit has helped so many fellow authors… Steve’s a gem!

      • August 11, 2014 at 8:51 am
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        Thanks for your kind words, Flora and Shari. I find that writers are naturally creative, and Pinterest simply provides another outlet for self expression. The challenge is to keep focused. Remember what you’re trying to accomplish and don’t get sucked into wasting hours looking at all the cool stuff on the site.

        • August 11, 2014 at 9:55 am
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          Easier said than done! I mean, so many cool shoes… and bags… and vacation spots… and… yikes! Advise definitely setting the alarm on this – at the end of 20 minutes, walk away! (If Pinterest sessions last more than four hours, seek medical attention, lol)

  • August 5, 2014 at 4:23 pm
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    Really great ideas – you got my interest going. Thanks. Kathy

    • August 11, 2014 at 8:52 am
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      Appreciate you reading the post, Kathy. Please let me know if you come up with a fun way to use Pinterest!

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