Pinterest. It’s one of the busiest places on the web these days, which is no surprise, because it’s FUN! But plenty of clients ask us, “Should we be spending more time on Pinterest?” And that depends…
In a nutshell, Pinterest lets you organize and share photos/illustrations from other websites on “pinboards” — virtual bulletin boards you create for anything you’d want to collect some images of: recipes, travel destinations, fashions, you name it. You can also browse pinboards created by other people, to get inspiration from others who share your interests.
Says Pinterest, “We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people. With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests.”
Book, you say? That would mean Pinterest might have great applications for authors, right?
Well, it can — within reason. First, an author needs to understand that this is almost wholly a VISUAL medium. So, if you have a children’s book with lots of illustrations, or a foodie book with pics of everything we should be eating, great. A book about golf may want to start a pinboard of great golf courses; a travel book can key in on great places to visit. How-to books in just about every category can take advantage of this site.
But what about novelists? It’s a challenge, no doubt. If your novel deals with a visual issue(s) then it’s possible to pin something other than your cover. For example, a novel taking place in certain real locations might key in on some of those. A novel such as Water for Elephants might pin circus scenes. Additionally there are programs, such as Share An Image, that let you turn a book quote into an image, but they don’t get shared as often.
Pardon the pun, but getting the picture? It takes a little creativity and ingenuity to bridge the gap between written words and pin-up posts, but it can be done.
The bigger question is, should it be done? Again, Pinterest is a lot of fun, and definitely has business value to a location-based business that sells clothing or food or home decor. We haven’t seen the real value (meaning – people come buy your book because you pinned the cover or a few quotes) for authors yet, though we do pin pics ourselves of favorite authors and their websites.
So, explore away, and enjoy the site for what it is. Not everything has to be about marketing, after all. But as it applies to author marketing, for now, we’re advising clients not to “go down the rabbit hole” on Pinterest as the effort vs. reward hasn’t yet proven itself for the author population.
That surgeon general warning aside, if you’re successfully using Pinterest to promote your work, we want to hear about it! Share your Pinterest success with our tribe in our comments below or drop us an email.