Five Pinterest Tips for (Fiction) Authors
Pinterest may be all about the images, but that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten the love we have for the written word. Here are the 5 tips for using the ever-growing network to help market your novel and get you started if you aren’t sure how to translate that text into a more visual element.
1. Don’t focus on the hard sale
Like any social network, Pinterest is about building connections rather than pushing people to buy your product. Focus on creating a buzz about your style and topic to create reader loyalty and interest. Don’t tell them to buy your product, be interesting enough that they want to. Added note: Don’t shy aware from letting them know that you have a product.
- One way to include your book on your boards without being too pushy is to create pins that include quotes from your book*. These can even be simple text on colored backgrounds. Look through the main pages to see how other quotes appear. Also check out t-shirt sites, like CafePress.com, that have quotes printed on shirts and see how they switch up texts and colors to create attractive, although simple, images. Include a small notation in the bottom corner with the title of the book and the author’s name (in this case, yours) to create a correlation between you and the words. Ideally, this should link back to your personal site or blog for when people click on it. All images on Pinterest are also links. *Thanks to Jess Loren for this tip!
2. Keep your boards cohesive
It can be easy to get carried away pinning on the network, but be aware that your author page and your personal account may not entirely mesh then. Keep your account organized and be aware of your existing boards when you create new ones. Consider keeping either separate accounts or make sure that there is a clear delineation between your author and personal boards. Also, make sure not to pin anything in your personal boards that you wouldn’t want someone looking into your work to see and associate with you as a professional.
3. Get creative with your boards
Pick topics that relate specifically to your work. Don’t be afraid to branch out to find relevant topics that relate to the values or tone of it. For example:
- Create boards that relate to skills in your book (i.e. boards on archery or cake decoration for The Hunger Games)
- Create boards for fictional characters in your book. Pin clothes you would imagine them wearing, music or films they would like, or quotes that fit in with their persona. This can be both useful to you as an author to help flesh out characters, as well as fascinating to your readers that want a visual companion to their reading experience.
- Include some personal boards that relate to your background to give followers a view into who you are. If they find you interesting, it helps to get them interested in your work.
While categories like humor and DIY are big on Pinterest, make sure you don’t pin just for the sake of getting attention. Yet if you can work large topics into your work, it helps to increase interest and brand exposure.
4. Show off your writing style in the board descriptions
While images are paramount on Pinterest, descriptions for the pins and boards are a great opportunity for writers to show off their tone and style. This ultimately comes down to knowing your product and demographic. Descriptions can be either straightforward or creative, the trick is simply: stay true to marketing your brand (in this case, your writing). Keep the tone consistent and it will help give those who view your profile (and actually read the descriptions) an idea of if your style and tone appeals to them.
5. Contests! Have fun with them (or not)
Contests can offer awesome ways to increase your follows, generate interest, and get your work into someone’s hands (or on the screen of their e-reader). There are various types that you can run from picking someone who repins a certain pin or having participants create boards and submit them. Even simple plans, in which the winner is chosen from those who repin or the one with the most likes on a pin, can be beneficial by increasing your followers and creating buzz about your brand. There are also more interactive contests that you can run where participants:
- Create a board for a character: Clothing, style, quotes, home décor, etc.
- Create a board for the book: Places, décor, characters, etc.
This can be difficult if you don’t already have a devoted readership, so consider giving them descriptions of the character or book and seeing what they come up with or ask them to create a character they could imagine in the genre you write.
*Check with a legal representative for the ins and outs of contest running to see if there are any concerns or problems that could arise from the way you decide to structure your contest because I sure have no idea about that sort of stuff.
Looking for more? Check back for more articles soon and also check out Pinterest for Business from Jess Loren and Ed Swiderski. I worked as the research assistant on the book and it has helped me to gain a pretty extensive understanding of why the network is pretty fantastic for businesses. The book will be released August 9th, 2012 by Que, an imprint of Pearson Publishing.