“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
—Sylvia Plath

3 Lessons from Successful Author Pinterest Boards

Confession: I didn’t get Pinterest for a long time. This is embarrassing for me both as a platforming author and as a marketing professional.

But when Pinterest suddenly became the fastest-growing platform with undeniably powerful user trends, I figured I’d better at least set up an account and see if I could figure out what all the buzz was about.

Pinterest for authors

Image by mkhmarketing

Now I’m on Pinterest almost every day, getting fitness tips, travel ideas and inspiration. But now that I’ve got the basics down, I’m asking myself: How can Pinterest help my author platform?

How Pinterest Can Help You Build Your Platform

So I turned to the social network to check out what other authors are doing on it. There’s lot of variation and creativity going on, but here’s three trends I noticed again and again from successful author Pinterest boards:

1. Use Pinterest to Bring Your Novels to Life.

One thing the most successful authors are doing on Pinterest is creating boards for images that bring their novels to life.

Is your book small-town Alabama? New York City? Greece? Show us the streets, the shops, the scenes. Making up your own fantasy world? Even better—pull together the evocative images that inspired you as you created it.

Some authors are even teasing hints about upcoming releases using this method.

2. Share “book porn” on Pinterest.

And I don’t mean 50 Shades of Grey, thank you very much.

I have yet to find an author who isn’t also a passionate reader—it’s something authors have in common with their fans, and that they can share together through Pin boards.

This might mean using boards to share books you’ve loved, or beautiful covers, or book-inspired jewelry and accessories—whatever gets you excited. But all the most successfully pinning authors I found are finding their own way to share their enthusiasm for books.

3. Use Pinterest to Get Personal.

Not everything about your life—or your Pin boards—has to be about books. In fact, those other things you love make you even more interesting and relatable.

So whatever your other life passions are, from baking to fitness to geek culture, get on Pinterest and have some fun sharing it. Pinterest holds a fantastic community for hobbies of all kinds.

Pinterest, like any social network, is not necessarily for everybody. But it’s definitely worth exploring—like me, you make surprise yourself once you get in the groove.

And if you find Pinterest is a channel you enjoy, get the most out of it with these trends. But don’t be afraid to be yourself and experiment with other approaches too. Regardless of the medium, the best way to connect with readers is to share a little of yourself.

Do you use Pinterest? What have you learned about connecting with followers?

PRACTICE

Consider a recently released manuscript or a work in progress—in what ways could you share this work through images on Pinterest?

Then, create a new board for this manuscript on Pinterest and find three to five new images to pin. When you’re finished, share the link to your board in the comments below.

About Emily Wenstrom

By day, Emily Wenstrom, is the editor of short story website wordhaus, author social media coach, and freelance content marketing specialist. By early-early morning, she is E. J. Wenstrom, a sci-fi and fantasy author whose first novel Mud will release in March 2016.

  • My next book will be ACES DOWN/title subject to change – I created this board while I was still working on the draft. Paranormal romance. http://www.pinterest.com/dgolinowski/aces-down/

  • One question – at one time, there was a bit of a brouhaha about Pinterest and copyright/trademark infringement as well as legal liability. Any thoughts on that? Some authors I know stopped using Pinterest out of liability concerns.

    • It’s a good question, Denise. There was indeed some phrasing in Pinterest’s terms of use that was causing some concern, essentially stating that by sharing a Pin you are saying you either own the copyright to an image or have permission from the copyright owner to share it. All the info I can find about these concerns is from 2012, though. And really, unless you own the copyright or have permission from the owner you should not have anything to do with an image on any platform you have online to begin with. If you’re concerned, I recommend only using your own images and those where express permission is granted to use an image (like Creative Commons), and always properly linking and citing the original author and source of your images.

  • Annika Smith

    I love pinterest! And I’m so glad someone finally brought it up as a marketing tool. My main board for my WIP is here: http://www.pinterest.com/ivycloak/taken/. I actually have one main board for my WIP, and then several other offshoot boards for main characters and settings. I’ve got the rest of the tips covered, too.

  • Krithika Rangarajan

    FANTASTIC article – thank you, Emily, for taking the time out to research popular author boards and compile some highly pertinent tips. #HUGS

    PINTEREST is fun, but it can also be overwhelming. So take it one board at a time, friends 😀

    Kitto

  • Miriam N

    Confession. I don’t have a pintrest account, but I do think that it is a great idea for promoting your novel(s) or WIP’s. Thanks for sharing Emily!

  • Great ideas, Emily. I used Pinterest for personal stuff for a while before figuring out it would be good for writing, too. I have an entire board devoted to a novella I just wrote and that worked out great. 🙂

  • Hi
    Yes I’m still working out how Pinterest is useful to writers, but I love the visuals and its a very busy platform; lots of liking, sharing and pinning.

    I’ve just recently left my old blog and started building a new one called ‘The Peacock’s Tale’ . I use my Pinterest board to inspire some writing with the aim long-term, to develop the visual theme/consistency to it.

    Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/dawnystuff/peacocks

    Blog – http://www.dawncaval.com

    Love to hear what you think of some of the groovy peacock-theme PINS I’ve found. And if you’re linking there from here, say ‘Hi’

    Regards Dawn

    • Sidney G Fox

      Wow – what beautiful images! Excited by pinterest potential 🙂

  • Sidney G Fox

    I’ve never been keen to use Pinterest but am learning to do what I’m told. Quite enjoyed this exercise and am feeling inspired, thank you.

    http://www.pinterest.com/sidneygfox/not-a-jumping-off-a-cliff-kind-of-day/

  • Hi Emily – I must admit that I loved/hated this post. I have a traditionally-published author who ADORES Pinterest and really connects with some of her fans that way, so I appreciate you showing while it’s a worthwhile process. But, I also groaned and thought ONE MORE THING I should be doing that I’m not.

    Still, I’m saving your post because you’ve peaked my interest about Pinterest. 🙂

    • I was much the same Marcy. I just gave it a go quite by accident. If I’m stuck writing I doodle. Doodling led me to discover some Zentangle patterns on-line. Some of these were on Pinterest. So one night I thought oh well take the plunge and set up a Pinterest account , which was super easy, and I started a Zentangle board. And them well I started looking for other inspiration. I love landscapes and dew drops, so they came next. And then when I was thinking about a theme for my new blog I moved on to Peacocks.

      I don’t visit often, I don’t use it to generate interest in my published writing (because I don’t have any), but I do find the visual ocean can be inspiring. So who knows where that will lead to next after this TWP post.

      Love Dawn

      • Because of YOU, Dawn, I just might have to give Pinterest a try. I loved you calling it a visual ocean. Maybe I should sit down with my author-friend and teach me some of the tricks. Right now, it just seems bizarre and overwhelming.

    • Honey Rowland

      Pinterest isn’t something you have to do. Pinterest is a way to collect all those ideas and recipes and books you’ve wanted to read and try. It’s a way to connect with folks who have similar interests. After all if Uma loves jewelry made of twigs and rainbow cats wearing dentures and so do you….odds are she’ll have something you haven’t seen and….you’ll find you have something else in common. Pinterest should be for you. If you have to start doing it and not being relatable you loose followers and those you gain will only be the chaff amongst the grain.

      ~Honey

      • Jewelry made of twigs and rainbow cats wearing dentures?! Wow, I want to party with you, Honey. Thanks for showing me the truth about Pinterest. As Dawn said, it’s a visual ocean, meant to inspired…not one more thing to do. Happy Pinteresting….

  • Honey Rowland

    Love creating boards for chracters! Wish more authors would do it.

    ~Honey

    • That’s a great ideaHoney…character boards. That could be quite inspiring, style, colour,moods, hobbies, habits, weakness, foods, etc… Ummm something interesting to ponder.
      Thanks Dawn

  • The sheer number of social networks out there to pay attention to seems overwhelming at times. Is Pinterest really one to prioritize?

    • Michael Kelberer

      The key is knowing your audience – if your audience is on Pinterest, then yes! Plus, as you can see in the post and comments, keeping a Pinterest board for your novel can be a fruitful part of the writing process, not a distraction.

  • Admittedly, I don’t use Pinterest for marketing or networking or any of the things I use Twitter for. 😛 I’ve been on Pinterest for about a year now, but have only started using it regularly. However, I LOVE making inspiration boards for my novels, especially pinning pictures of actors and actresses I’d cast in a movie version of my story. 🙂 It’s so much fun and gives me the extra little push I often need to concentrate and write.

  • Great post. I’ve been using Pinterest for a couple of years now and setting up an inspiration board for my fantasy series was one of the first things I did. You can see it here: http://www.pinterest.com/HBLyne/echoes-inspiration/

    I’d love to see more authors using it and LOVE the suggestion of boards for individual characters! 😉

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  • Great advice! I put everything from research notes to fashion images to art and architecture on the board for the historical fantasy I’m shopping right now: http://www.pinterest.com/reginalupae/aven-inspiration. I’ve been on Pinterest for a while, and while I’ve got boards for several projects in various stages, for books I like, and thoughts on writing in general, many of the boards are also just… me! And the things I like. I always prefer to follow other authors who put themselves out there, not just relentless promotion, so I try to be that sort of author myself. 😉

  • Diane Gronas

    Nice article, Emily! Don’t forget adventure maps, illustrations, and inspiring movies… pins linking to well designed author sights… research topic boards like theories on hyper jumping spaceships or history… I was pleased to find that I already stumbled on exactly the type of things you mentioned (book character, book character wardrobe, intriguing scenes, YA book covers, favorite books, classic books, Illustrations) Conformation is reassuring. Your right about boards reflecting a lot about a person (some can be pretty scary.) I’ve been pinning for several years and am about to upload my book to Amazon. So, if your interested in subjects related to a Cinderella adventure in space and what author boards could evolve into, you might want to check out my boards. http://www.pinterest.com/dianegronas